Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 14, Tuesday, April 03, 2012




Dual income can be the saviour in hard economic times!

By Nasreen Sattar
Former CEO, Standard Chartered Bank

I remember when I first started working it was mainly to kill time and not for financial reasons. As the years progressed I started to contribute towards the family expenses, initially grudgingly, as I thought my money was my money to be spent on myself only. Then it started giving me a sense of accomplishment and more importantly it became a necessity.

In today's world, unless you are from a business family and even then, I think it is imperative for the spouse to work. Whatever income she may earn adds to the family budget and more than anything it also gives her an identity of her own.

In the developed world DINK couples (Double Income No Kids) have been the lifestyle of upwardly mobile yuppies for over two decades. In our part of the world young couples with equal educational accomplishment have also been playing 'catch up' not necessarily for monetary needs but rather for professional satisfaction and recognition for both partners with similar levels of education.

It is refreshing to see how so many young women take up careers after completion of their education; this has become the norm rather than the exception. In our country the social infrastructure of extended families and domestic help allows the women to continue with their careers after marriage and after having children.

It is essential that a husband and wife open a separate joint account where every month a certain amount of their remuneration is deposited. Once a substantial amount is accumulated it can be moved to a Fixed Deposit of a convenient tenure. This can be on an ongoing basis.

The reason why I think it is imperative is that it will serve as a future nest egg for children's education or a medical emergency or even a much looked forward to vacation. You can open separate joint accounts for each purpose so that you don't touch one for the other.

We tend not to think of the future especially about children's education. This has become a major expense with school land college fees rising continuously; and moreover if parents want to send their children overseas for higher education, it is unthinkable unless they have made provisions for it.

In the West, as soon as a child is born a College Fund Account is opened immediately and instead of relatives/friends giving gifts (in some cases very useless ones) money is given so that it can contribute towards the child's future.

We can follow the same culture in our country and encourage relatives and friends to give monetary gifts at the time of the baby's 'Aqikah', birthdays, etc. This can go to the parents' joint account designated for the purpose of education.

I know it will mean breaking our social etiquette of not demanding the kind of gift we want, but it will be a very beneficial one. With the financial situation being the way it is, the purpose of a dual income is absolutely necessary because it prevents the burden on one person and more importantly it is a major help towards 'rainy days in the future'.

At the national level it will add to women's empowerment, an insurance against economic and job market uncertainties, recognition of professional worth of both partners making marriages stronger and adding to the national GDP. What could be a better win-win situation?


Small town view

By Laila Karim

Last week I was touring for my field work, in the northern part of Bangladesh where winter is still on. The weather was moist, you can hear the fall of leaves on the tin roof in the middle of night. Or was that the sound of a cat looking for a rat, or going to meet a friend?

Morning starts late here -- shops and offices of this small town don't start before ten, no hurry could be seen anywhere. Men wrapped in light shawls or bed sheets enjoy freshly made hot paratas with tea at the tea stalls, people walk at an easy pace, children walk to the school and some go by motorcycle looking smart in their sunglasses.

No hurry or noise anywhere houses are surrounded by trees, calm and quiet. Evenings were melancholic and night falls gradually. You can hear some children in loud voices memorising the next day's lessons. By eleven the small town goes to sleep. Electricity comes and goes in between. I felt nostalgic.

Our heroes our farmers
Throughout my journey about three hundred kilometres away from the city, once again, I felt good and proud. Our countryside is covered with all the shades of green. The houses are surrounded by trees, saplings of all kinds that one can hardly have a full view of that bari/para.

Farmers, men and women, particularly adibashi women work in the paddy field cleaning the weeds, bringing to mind the sketches of Zainul Abedin or Ram Kinkor. Deep tube well irrigation is going on in full swing; land is being prepared for the next crop.

Our farmers are taking up all sorts of cultivation: rice paddies, wheat, vegetables, banana plantations, nurseries, even commercial cultivation of flowers in the main agricultural land. A visible change is taking place in Bangladesh. We should feel the touch of our farmers on every single grain, the love and care they have put in to grow those. They are our real heroes, we must salute them.

Small town Gardening - Innovation and use of simple technology
This trip is memorable to me as I observed interesting methods of vegetable cultivation in the premises of an office of an international development agency.

“The Pit Hole Cultivation” is a way of using the small patch of land for multi levels of gardening. The size of the required land measures 3 to 5 feet with access to enough sun light.

At the centre of the land dig a hole one feet in diameter and three to four feet in depth. Fill the hole with all the daily kitchen garbage -- vegetable peels and used tea leaves and also other perishable waste that decomposes quickly. Do not use greasy cooked food, chemicals or plastic materials.

Raise the plot gradually high (surroundings of the hole) with layers of mixed soil until it takes the shape of a half-done small pyramid of two to three feet. When ready start planting the saplings/seeds in three layers -- the upper layer for green chillies, the second layer for tomato or egg-plants/okra, and for the bottom, make three to four equidistant holes to plant Pui Shak, gourd or bitter-gourd. To prepare the plot, you should apply natural fertilisers on the bed two or three days before you plant the seeds.

When the young plants start getting healthy, provide them support with bamboo sticks that will also act as a fence around your Pit Hole garden. Don't forget to dump your waste in the hole and water the plants regularly. A good drainage system is necessary so that there is no stagnation of water.

Seeing is believing! Now try it!
Bag gardening is another option when space is limited. Fill the fertiliser bag(s) with different layers of materials. At the bottom you can put brick chips and “khor” (hay) or fallen leaves. Then put some mixed soil; at the middle of the bag set a half cut plastic water bottle, put some smaller prick particles and fill with water, then again some khor/bechali and mixed soils with cow dung or compost fertilisers.

In this way make two-three layers in the bag. When one-third is filled in, wait for a few days to plant the sapling, one or two in each bag or 3-5 seeds of pui shak, dherosh, korolla, borboti. Later, when they become 7-10 inches tall, tie with a stick to help them stay straight.

Potato can be grown successfully in bags making small holes in two layers around the outer side of the bag. Bag planting requires regular watering. From time to time, feed the plants little pinches of fertiliser. By doing the same you can make nice bag-gardens and enjoy the difference.

Please feel free to send me emails to share your thoughts, feedback, and photos of your garden, or to tell your story; or ask a question on the garden issue.

Email: lifestyleds@yahoo.com



Baishakh with Rangta

Celebrate this Baishakh by donning a piece form Rangta's Baishakh collection. Saris, panjabis, fatuas, shalwar kameez sets and shirts are available. These designs by Shahnaz Khan are in local materials adorned with various hand-embroidery and prints.

Tajmahal Road, Mohammedpur, Orchard Point, Mirpur Road, Dhanmondi and Jubilee Road, G.H City Center, Munshigonj.


Grameenmela is here with their Baishakh Collection including saris, shalwar kameez sets, panjabis, fatuas and children's wear. Keeping in line with the Baishakhi theme the collection consists of designs on local fabrics with different embroidery and print work.

Contact: Delowar Plaza, Plot-5, Block- Ka, Section: 6, main Road-1, Mirpur and Hosaph Shopping Complex (Ground Floor), Malibag. #9011344, 9334061.


Yogathon is an Art of Living Foundation initiative supported by KING'S sunflower oil to create awareness of 'Yoga' and to create interest in its practice for a healthier living. This is a "fee-entry event" on the occasion of UN World Health Day, 7 April, 2012.

The Art of Living Foundation and KING'S sunflower oil are organising 'Yogathon' in both Gulshan and Dhanmondi. On 6 April, Friday 'Yogathon' will be staged at President Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed Park, Road 83, Gulshan-2 between 5.30 pm to 8 pm. The Yoga session will be followed by Full Moon Meditation.

'Yogathon' will also be arranged at Rabindra Sharobar, Dhanmondi Lake, Road 6/A on 7 April, Saturday between 5.30 pm to 8 pm.

For more details please contact: #0171 3083 639; artofliving.bd @gmail.com; artofliving.org

Nitya Upahar

To usher in the Bengali New Year, fashion boutique Nitya Upahar is hosting an exhibition of their Baishakh line titled 'Arek Bhorer Potobhumi'. The collection incorporates the thousand-year old heritage of the region, which is brought to life by various artists -- including Dhrubo Esh, Bahar Rahman, Chandrashekhar Saha and Qayyum Choudhury -- who have worked on the collection. The exhibition will start from April 5 and will be open to the public from 10 am till 8 pm.

The line consists mostly of saris and t-shirts. Apart from the traditional red and white of Baishakh, the colours are predominantly light, keeping in mind the heat. The materials used are cotton, silk and half-silk. There are also twenty new t-shirt designs.

Address: Gallery Nitya Upahar, 4th floor, Aziz Supermarket, Shahbag.

Baishakhi Buno

If you want something for your wardrobe this Baishakh, Baishakh Buno has a collection of shalwar kameez sets, fatuas, men's shirts, panjabis and children's wear. Made from local materials in red and white, these clothes have been designed with hand embroidery and different prints.

Contact: 46 Aziz Supermarket (3rd Floor), Shahbag, Dhaka; #01911691842


We request all our event invitations, press releases and other forms of correspondence be sent to Raffat Binte Rashid, Editor, Star Lifestyle (7th Floor), 64-65 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka 1215. Email: lifestyleds@yahoo.com or raffat@thedailystar.net


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