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News Flash

Executive facials for working women


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Mrinal: A painter nonpareil

Originating from Mymensingh, and painting in Kolkata, Mrinal Saha studied drawing and painting under such master painters as Professor Dr Farida Zaman, who herself is an expert from Shantiniketan.

Flamboyant and fancy-free, Mrinal's works are daring and buoyant to say the least. One could almost hear the chords of the chamber music in the harmony of his waves, clouds and the river with its piling of boats sailing on the river, and ships sailing on the sea.

Residing in Shymnagar Road, Mrinal's solo at Basilo, DOHS, will last a week till the weekend of March 13, and as long as the flow of guests are there to say “Bravo” to the intrepid painter nonpareil.

His “Kheya Ghat -2”, an acrylic on canvas, has rectangles of pink, maroon, pearly white, with the shafts of iridescent, aquamarine and brown worked through. The figures of the working men and the poles of the boats as well as the details of the ropes, the neat wooden benches of the boats form the backdrop. This is seen as a bold mixture with insets of neat, geometrical lines and squares that play a light and shade game of rare rhythm

The neat maze of boats, ships, sails, masts, and the collection of buildings at the back are set off by the grey-white and blue scenario that include the seated gypsies and sailors before the covered deck. The beauty of the oars, the wood and thatch cover of the boats, are not to be belittled or ignored. All items on the canvas backdrop appear to display a rare opalescent sheen of the dancing and playing full moon.

Done mostly in blue, red and slashes of white, the “Bede” (gypsy) acrylic on canvas, has the swirl of the hips, the flow of the hair despite the tying of the neat, rounded bun includes the scintillating draping sari and the fitting blouse. Older women are seen cooking and men enjoying the repast. The men are included in the crimson and brown details of thatched roofs at the back.

The parade of colours runs on through the collection of the artist's creation by the waterside. The laden carts pulled by pure white cows with horns, the thatched huts in the distance. The “barret sky” in mauve and blue are included as if in a midsummer's night dream. Details at the back have a smooth melange -- with sweeps and splashes of contrast of colours.

By Fayza Haq

When I wake up in the morning, I am my boro chacha's niece sitting at my verandah, watching the world rise and stretch while I hum a Tagore song stuck in the needle of my mind.

As I start getting ready for the day, I am my nani's granddaughter, contouring her cheekbones, lining the almond shape of her eyes, dabbing colour on the fullness of her lips.


Stepping into my workplace, I am my mother's daughter with an exacting eye and a perfectionist's pencil to check off all the things that need to be done.

Stuck in traffic for the umpteenth time, I am my nana's granddaughter with his creative flair, finding stories in ordinary images, weaving words over people pondering at bus-stops.

At dusk, tracing circles around the park, one time-two times-three times-four, I am my choto chacha's niece regaining strength in solitude, segregating myself from fools who do not question, knowing the difference between being alone and feeling lonely.

Evening time with family or friends, I am my father's daughter sifting through the lessons of the day -- learning to laugh at the silly, penning down the vitals, erasing the bitterness willy-nilly.

I am the fragmented summation of my genetic disposition as I finally lay my head upon the pillow late at night. For all the ways I am determined to be my own woman, I am more me because of the people who have come before.

Who were you today?

Nasreen Sattar has worked in the banking industry for 23 years starting in 1986. She was one of the first women to join this often male-dominated profession in a management level.

Nasreen's last assignment was as the CEO for Standard Chartered Bank in Afghanistan, where she worked for two and a half years. She was the only female CEO in the banking industry there and was responsible for increasing Standard Chartered Bank's profile despite the various constraints and challenges she faced.

Currently, Nasreen is a Director at IIDFC (Industrial & Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd.) and a freelance consultant. She enjoys travelling and writing.

She has previously written for Star Lifestyle as its first columnist, penning her highly popular column 'Banking Tips', before leaving for Afghanistan. We now welcome her back to pick up from where she left off, offering financial advice to our readers. Please send any finance-related queries such as on investment, savings etc to lifestyleds@yahoo.com

The year was 1986; I was new in the banking industry never having thought I would choose this career. I had always thought this was a profession for men only, working late hours and crunching numbers till I was told one day by a Senior Executive that banking was no rocket science, it is how you apply yourself!

I realised the comment was true of any job and soon I found myself comfortably settled, of course having gone through numerous training courses. I got used to hearing comments from male colleagues that I was hired to be a 'wall flower' and just an instrument to change the image of the male-dominated organisation.

I paid no heed and decided it was up to me to really apply myself and take this career seriously and more importantly encourage other women to join this line of profession.

A few months after I had joined another woman was hired at the same management level as myself -- I was happy to have a female companion and soon realised the feminist comments aimed at me were now aimed at both of us. We both decided to ignore them; at least we now had strength, and two is always better than one.

My remuneration was good or so it seemed in those days, I started enjoying my hard-earned money by going on trips to Calcutta, buying saris and anything else I fancied. I saved nothing and it never occurred to me to do so.

It was after a couple of years I realised that my colleague, who literally sat a few feet away from me was doing something quite different with her 'hard-earned money'.

Every month she invested most of it in Government Savings Bonds, which in those days gave a very high yield in return. So here I was with no savings whatsoever and my colleague (who I shall call Seema) had a relatively substantial nest egg saved in bonds -- not only did she have a principal amount, but was also reaping huge interests on them. Not to forget, investing in Government Bonds (Shanchaya Patras) also gave her tax benefit.

It was an awakening for me and I remembered Aesop's fable 'The Ant & the Grasshopper' where the grasshopper danced and sang all year round and the ant worked hard and saved for the winter. I decided from then on to do exactly as Seema was doing for the past years, save a portion of my money. It would take a few years to reach a substantial amount, but it was a beginning.

The above piece is a light-hearted one about my early days in the banking sector and the realisation of how important it is to invest whatever amount you can. I will follow up on the various investment opportunities and pitfalls for individuals in my next installments.

Dear Dr Ara,
I came to know that our brain releases different waves at different activity levels (e.g. gamma waves are emitted during problem solving and delta waves are emitted during deep, dreamless sleep). According to a theory, listening to binaural beats (I don't exactly understand what they are!) through stereo headphones can induce our brain to emanate particular waves. YouTube has many such links; there are alpha beats, theta beats, etc.

Can listening to them artificially take my mind to the desired levels of consciousness, like listening to alpha binaural beats taking me to “alpha level” of relaxation and drowsiness? Is practising this harmful?
- Student of Life

I'm not surprised that you find all this information on the Internet. However, I'm not sure if all this information is evidence-based or not. There is also a difference between theoretical knowledge and practical use of that knowledge. I don't mind sharing my practical knowledge with you in this field of your interest. It is quite time-consuming though to do the necessary research to find the truth behind all these apparently scientific claims we find on different websites. After all, time is a costly commodity in modern life. So, I'm writing from my day-to-day experience of working with patients which may not reflect exactly what you want to hear.

Binaural means both ears. Listening to rhythmic beats through stereo headphones is sometimes used in therapy sessions to accelerate processing of trauma memories. I'm not aware of any evidence from scientific research of changing brain waves to a particular pattern by this device but it makes perfect sense to me that soothing music can relax our brain.

The predominant brainwave in a relaxed mental state is alpha wave where a person feels almost drowsy. So, the conclusion can be easily drawn that yes, listening to alpha (soothing) binaural beats can take you to the “alpha level” of consciousness. A neurologist or anaesthetist might be able to answer it better. To tell you frankly, I don't need any research evidence to prove it in my case anyway!

However, every individual is unique. What can induce relaxation in one person may not be able to do so in another. I don't think it can physically harm anybody but can definitely make some people uncomfortable instead of relaxed. People who are suffering from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) may initially find it hard to relax with binaural beats or even with any kind of guided relaxation methods per se.

EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) method to treat PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) patients uses some kind of alternate sensory stimulation (e.g. eye movement, binaural beats or body tapping). Functional MRI shows EMDR technique enables both sides of the brain to get involved in the processing of traumatic memory which is trapped in the right hemisphere of the brain.

I believe gamma waves are also linked to this kind of processing of memory. The target here is not to induce relaxation but rather to stay focussed on the intra-psychic process of separating emotion from the memory. This accelerated processing of trauma memories during therapeutic sessions facilitates healing.

Similarly EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping some energy spots of the body) is also used by some therapists to open up energy flow in the body. Alternate tapping is also used as a grounding technique to calm down an excessively aroused nervous system in a triggering environment.

Polyvagal therapy is also based on a similar principle. These techniques also seem to help abort an impending panic attack resulting from intrusive, unconscious memories. Relaxing body and mind simultaneously tend to break the vicious cycle of anxiety.

In a nutshell, I would say there is nothing wrong in trying any of these techniques and see if it works for you or not. Practice can make things perfect. I don't see anything harmful in listening to binaural beats but if you notice any problem it would be wise to consult some healthcare professional or just stop doing it!


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