Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 20, Tuesday, May 15, 2012




Aromatherapy @ La Belle

Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well being. It is a form of alternate medicine that uses essential oils, reduced from natural plant material and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering a person's mood, mind and health.

Various types of oil essence are used with each serving a specific purpose. Most popular are Lavender, Tea Tree, Chamomile, Peach, Peppermint, Lemongrass and Rose.

Reflexology, on the other hand, is known as zone therapy. Reflexologists divide the body into 10 vertical zones, five on each side, which corresponds to areas on the feet. Pressure is applied using thumbs, fingers and hands resulting in healing, soothing, calming and general well being. Aches and pains can be said goodbye to.

La Belle is introducing Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Swiss massage at the La Belle Spa where you can their avail services in a pleasing, relaxing and comfortable environment. Offered by trained, professional masseuses, the services are a must have. A 10 percent discount for the entire month of May is available for their valued clientele.

Contact: La Belle, 13/A/2 Kemal Ataturk Ave., 3/ 4/5th Floors (Adjacent to lab aid), Gulshan2. # 9885850/ 8815974


20 pages of Star Lifestyle

On the verge of our twelfth year of publication, Star Lifestyle decided to get the party started early this time around. Thus instead of waiting for our anniversary, which falls on the first Tuesday of June, we got the ball rolling three weeks in advance.

Today and for all the Tuesdays to come, Star Lifestyle will be published as a 20 page supplement as we are adding another four pages of high fashion, glitz and glamour to its existing sixteen pages. Naturally we are pretty perked up at the LS Desk; the office air is filled with excitement mixed with a tinge of apprehension.

Apprehension because it is certainly a big leap, excited because we want to try and reach greater heights. We want to present our readers with a magazine that they will not just flip through but actually sit down and read. We want them to enjoy Star Lifestyle in the same manner we enjoy bringing it out for them.

As you must have noticed our glossy cover jacket certainly gave the magazine a glamorous look. Editorial content-wise, we introduced a few new columns in the last few months like 'Skip the Gym... Get Fit' and 'Loving and Living with Plants'. We also have Nasreen Sattar back with her sound investment suggestions. Not to forget the kaleidoscopic column of Neeman Sobhan, these mid-year additions added a definite touch of sparkle to our magazine.

Maintaining the same trajectory we are going to introduce a few more interesting reads to Star Lifestyle; a do-it-yourself column called 'The Creative Mummy', which we are positive you are going to love and an extreme adventure column for the daredevils at heart.

We have decided to bring back our shoptalk column; only this time our emphasis will be on product photography. To feature products in this column we are asking interested parties to contact us with their products so that we can do the needful.

As we scratch our heads to come up with new ideas, we are, at the same time, desperate to amend our weaknesses and limitations. We don't want to look stale; we don't want to give our valued readers a magazine worth flipping through but not reading. We want to look good and read well too.

Thus amid a lot of elaborate preparation and high expectation, we at the LS Desk are not only undertaking a huge attempt, we are also re-doing everything from the start. Re-inventing ourselves has become the only job of the day; no story is good enough, no editing is stylistic enough, no photographs are glamorous enough.

And as our struggle for perfection continues, we, with our thinking caps on, gulping down tons of bad canteen tea, shingaras and vanishing up in smoke or chewing off nails, are busy as bees trying to look good in print.

Amid the jittery nerves and all the cursing we are definitely elated but with a mixed sense of nervousness for taking this adventurous leap. We want our readers to enjoy our rich content and lavish spreads, we want them to see in detail the nitty-gritty of our photo shoots, enjoy Star Lifestyle and continue to give us feedback and valued suggestions. Good or bad we'll take them with a pinch of salt and learn to make you want to pick up Star Lifestyle every time you see it.

So here's to wishing for your support in the years to come.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid


Blocks of Memories

The impending demolition of Wonderland does stir one's memory. With the tumble of every brick, a fragment of our memory is firmly put to rest. The echoes of laughter, tears, fear, joy and anticipation still resonate from within the area all of us were once all too familiar with. And although pieces of our childhood disappear in this ever-changing city of ours, the memories stay forever.

Many amongst us reminisce about the very first taste of ice-cream at an actual ice-cream parlour. How excited we were, as we all bundled into our Volkswagons or Publicas and made our way towards Flamingo, Snow White or Cinderella. Although the options were few, for us it seemed limitless. The twirly ice-creams on wafer thin cones are still considered more delightful than all that we have now. Then, one day, along came Rainbow and introduced us to a whole new world of ice cream experiences. Would we dare try the new flavours or ever be able to finish the highly expensive Tk.400 worth eight scoops Ice Cream bonanza called Volcano?

The lucky among us still recall our Fridays with a fondness attached that the Fridays of now have lost. A trip to Sangshad Bhaban was surely necessary, running or skating down the slope that lay before the imposing parliament building or flying kites and playing cricket on the abundant fields that lay on the side. Then we could move on to Zia Uddyan and climb down those huge hills which now seem as unimpressive as possible. The Zoo was always an option and so was a casual stroll down Ramna Park, being awed by the huge bats hanging on the trees or chasing the many squirrels. Dinner at one of the few Chinese restaurants would follow and just before heading home a stopover at Filmfare would ensure a quality VHS movie for the night, once again with family.

Even the occasions seemed more special back then. A birthday would mean a custom-made cake in numerous shapes or an elegant cake from Sonargaon. Birthday gifts had to be from Rajanigandha in UAE market, which stocked the largest collection of toys, expensive as they came yet of superior quality. Khazana was an option too then. Sports World would also suffice, when it came to all things sporty. Back then, joy rides were a way of life. There was no traffic to bother us and Bookworm and Pizza Howdy seemed like the ideal place to unwind. And every day would round off with family time.

Indeed, to the lucky few, those were the days. However, as the days pass, the memories fade and the blocks of buildings and spaces that held such dear memories have all either gone or had a facelift, for better or for worse. The parks have been turned to malls, the roads have become clogged and the shops have shifted focus away from catering to families to catering to individuals. And here finally the realisation strikes; our beautiful memories weren't a product of the place we associate it with but rather of the people we were with. And looking at the same familiar faces around us, we derive some semblance of comfort, although the empty space on the sofa reminds us that there are some losses that can never be compensated for. So, we hang on to our memories, tighter than before, because although the sights, sounds and smells are changing, our reveries never will.

By Osama Rahman
Photo: Rashed Shumon


You can also embrace change

By Nasreen Sattar
Former CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Afghanistan

No one likes changes; we all want to remain in our comfort zone. I remember, as a child growing up with many siblings, our needs were few but we grew up as happy children sharing and learning the values our parents taught us. There were no overseas trips, no expensive clothes, yet we were perfectly happy and more importantly, we looked just as nice as anyone else in our peer group. One of the most important things our parents insisted on was a good education without which there can be no future. Happiness cannot be bought; it comes from within and can come from simple things in life.

In today's lifestyle one cannot help but notice how values have changed and how 'Keeping up with the Joneses' has become an integral part of one's life.

I remember a close friend very proudly announcing that he was giving his son a Gold Amex card for his 16th birthday -- we can only blame ourselves -- the parents, for instilling wrong values in our children. In many cases especially in the upper social level, children take it for granted that the parents will provide for all their needs on a silver platter.

It is high time and never too late to ensure that we change and also change the thinking patterns of our children -- our uncertain world is not the same anymore and however rich we may be, nothing can be or should be taken for granted.

We have a fast growing middle class with a growing disposable income and consumer credit expansion. This sounds great, but a word of caution 'ensure your expenses are never more than your allowances in any particular month', I am addressing this more to salaried people, although even individuals having their own business should take care and be a little frugal. Also be aware of overusing your credit card -- you do know that you have to pay for all the purchases you have made eventually with interest!

Beauty salons and restaurants are reaping huge earnings. It is great that people can go out and have meals with family and friends and also spend money to enhance their beauty. But do remember there should always be a balance between indulgence and savings!

Instead of going to a salon several times a month for pedicure/manicure/hair treatment etc. one can easily cut down on that and do the same at home. You will be amazed as to how much can be saved to be spent on something more useful. Remember 'A penny saved is a penny earned'!


Our children, plants and leaves

By Laila Karim

Few years back, a close family member, while visiting our roof garden, was excited to see the white-purple small flowers hanging from all over the 'macha' (framed support for creepers). “Oh what a treat of orchids!” he exclaimed. For a moment I was speechless. I could only see the blooming bunches of winter vegetables called 'sheem' (flat beans).

This is the most common winter vegetable grown everywhere in Bangladesh and is available in abundance in all groceries. This particular creeper is seen in almost every household of our smaller towns, villages and even here and there in Dhaka city (in the houses where some patches of land is still available).

Could I blame him? No I couldn't. Perhaps this is the case of most of our urban children. They are not curious about nature as in their childhood very few of us had taken the effort to make them familiar with trees and plants that we pass or cross everyday; the flowers we buy from the florists, or the vegetables we get from the vendors or nearby bazaars.

The other side of the story, which I feel is important to share with you is about the youngest member of our family, a boy of four. He recognises well the 'tulshi' plant (local basil, a medicinal plant that is also worshipped by the Hindu Community), as his Dadi treats him with tulshi extracts whenever he catches cold.

At this age he is familiar with tomatoes, green chilli plants and also recognises the guava or the kulboroi tree in his house. Credit goes to the Dadi who takes him often to the roof and shows him plants, flowers and fruits. A smart boy indeed developing life skills starting with nature.

His father sometimes takes his two young children to the local kitchen bazaar. This becomes a favourite outing for these children. They can see so many things, the whole range of items they have in their everyday life. They also enjoy the bargaining and conversations of their father with the shoppers and shopkeepers. Now they know what a koi fish looks like, or the sizes and shapes of their favourite shrimps.

One can recall, up to the early 80s we had trees, plants and ponds around us in Dhaka city. From the 90s all those started disappearing with rapid urbanisation. We became busy making block buildings by cutting trees which our parents or elders planted so fondly.

The children of those bygone days had grown with nature. Now we need picture books to teach them the most common thing about nature. How many of our children have seen a real butterfly in the garden or have run to catch it? We do not feel that it is important to make our young generation acquainted with plants and leaves around us or the vegetables we eat everyday; yet they need to know and touch these. These are essential life skills they need to acquire.

We often hear complaints that children do not like to have fish or vegetables and prefer fried chicken, burgers and pizzas. Actually, it is us who opted to select those handy foods for our children that made our lives easy and manageable. It saves us time and energy. Now, children are hooked to these, life without burgers or cola is boring and tasteless!

I would request my readers to think about this learning gap, if we do not make planned efforts, one day the entire urban population will be ignorant about our plants and nature.

Let's spend time with our children at nurseries to show them plants and flowers and let them ask questions, take snaps in their phone cameras. Later, ask them to download more photos and make an album of their own creation. Also buy some easy growing pot plants for your children. While travelling, help your children to identify trees, tell them which one is 'Krishnachura', or 'Radhachura' and so on. Show them the jackfruit trees, banana plants -- they will be excited. During the weekend, take them to Ramna or Baldha Garden. Show them the colours of leaves and the petals of flowers.

Take them to the shops and outlets where grains are available and let them recognise and know the varieties of rice, pulses and grains.

Lastly, when we think about birthday gifts for our young children of 4 - 12 years old, we often end up with toys and other exciting and expensive gifts. Why can't we think about a nice vbgplant in a nicely placed pot to give as a present? Tell him/her how to take care of this, where to place it, how to feed it and protect it from harm.

I am sure the child will not be upset, rather, it will help him/her learn the need of care, love and responsibility. Let our children grow well with all these qualities which they need to have starting from the beginning of their lives. Let them grow well.

Please feel free to email me to share your thoughts, feedback, and photos of your gardens, or to tell your own gardening story; or ask a question on gardening.

Email lifestyleds@yahoo.com

Photo: LS Archive


Yesterday's eyeliner

By Iffat Nawaz

So what does she do? Goes to sleep with eyeliner, the thick crease over the eyelid smudging, moving, with the slight shifting of the eyes while she dreams and un-dreams. When she wakes she doesn't feel like dragging herself out of bed for a long long time. That has been a recent problem. No it's not depression or laziness; it's preparation for what is coming. What might be next, and perhaps delaying the future as it happens.

She walks downstairs, with an unwashed face, yesterday's eyeliner still on the eyelids, not as perfect, giving the look of smoky eyes that magazines teach girls to draw in five intricate steps.

Outside the world is gloomy, the sky is down because May is here. The civilized world has learnt to deal with such weather, with dark clothes and heavy jackets, and of course umbrellas in the hands of all.

After testing the weather and re-grounding herself to the new place she goes up, and after an hour she reappears on the street, showered, jacketed, hair brushed and eyes with a new fresh coat of liner. As if to see the world with a lining, a defined line, not boundless.

Walking down streets, she sees many faces. The friendly Americans first time in Europe, the Arabs shopping madly with their never ending funds. Everything breathes pastel colours, frilly white shapes. The world here is a giant window, with materials to be consumed, materials defining happiness. Things that cost house rent for middle class in certain countries in Asia or one year's school tuition. Happiness is bought in an instant and forgotten as soon as it's worn. Happiness is enjoyed in restaurants with flavours from all over the world. Fancy organic shops and dog collars, dogs running ahead, dogs running behind.

Just past Oxford street, down Regent she stops, she realises she cannot breathe with ease. Is oxygen for sale here, did she forget to buy the card for that, where she was supposed to top up on oxygen? She leans against a giant window. There is no litter on the street, even with all the rain there is no mud. There are no beggars just rough sleepers, and even they are civilized enough to remain hidden from sight.

She screams silently inside her head, “This is not for me, this is not for me, this is for someone else. I want uncivilised roads, people eating with their mouths open but enjoying every bite, I want beautiful street children poor and almost on the verge of becoming prostitutes, but still with that slim chance that they might make it for the better, a teacher maybe or an associate at one of the telecom offices. I want that sliver of a hope, the tiny bit of hope that the entire third world hangs on to, that's all I want. Because that is more alive than all of this, all of these oxygen hogging civilized individuals smelling like pricy perfumes and years of boarding school. This is not for me.”

By the time her silent screams stop, she is at a park. There are loads of those here. And she knows there is much to explore. But exploration of rough edges is so much more meaningful then readymade culture and history. She bumps into a statue of Tagore, but it doesn't look like him, the sculptor has civilized the beard too much and the eyes are blank. She says “Happy birthday Robindronath,” and then she stumbles down to her doorstep back to her bed, to make today's eyeliner yesterday's again.


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