Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 27, Tuesday, July 03, 2012



Take control

By Karim Waheed

Beef Chaap and Alu Puri at office cafeteria. 5 p.m. hunger clouding my judgment. Deep fried red meat or deep fried carb? Carb won that round. Self-control lost.

Self-control is one of the most sought after yet least understood aspects within our culture. We all strive for it and we all want more of it. Many people blame a lack of self-control as the reason why they can't stick to a diet or exercise programme.

I too struggle with self-control. Just when I thought I had an iron grip on my diet and exercise routine I would binge on junk food and skip workouts for days on end.

This would then result in a stronger resolve to improve my self-control and never lose that control again. I would be fine for a while only to then lose control once more and the whole cycle would keep repeating itself. Such a cycle can be a very draining and frustrating experience. You work so hard for so long only to somehow have it slip through your fingers and send you back a few paces.

The good news is that it is possible to break the cycle.

The first thing we must learn is the purpose of self-control. I know on the surface it may seem like self-control is about not eating that plate of fries or working out on time. But there is a much deeper reason we believe we need self-control.

At the heart of self-control is the myth that you have to control your own self to succeed in reaching your fitness goals. This can bring up the image that we humans are an out-of-control and unruly bunch of animals by nature. Therefore our animal tendencies must be controlled or else we will all turn into fat and lazy slobs.

This sort of thinking is what drives the 'You vs Yourself' mentality in the fitness culture. So many folks claim that we are our own worst enemies or that you must defeat yourself to win. I couldn't disagree more with this idea. The fact is that getting in shape isn't about fighting yourself. If anything, that's the most certain road to failure.

Just imagine what happens when an army fights itself. Such self-conflict causes a lot of stress and wasted energy.

If people can convince you that you have to fight yourself then they can convince you that you need some sort of help. You'll need to buy some sort of product to fight your inner self that wants to do nothing but sit on the couch and eat junk food.

We do have cravings for chocolate cake and kachchi biryani after all. We all feel like skipping out on a workout from time to time. We all feel the desire to give into that evil self that must be controlled. The great mistake is in believing that the desire to stray is coming from within our own selves.

Here is an example for what I'm talking about. Get down on the floor and start doing some push-ups. Keep doing them even though your muscles burn and your breathing may become laboured. As your body starts to protest, just keep going. Keep fighting all the way until your absolute breaking point. After you collapse on the floor, rest for a few minutes and then do just a few more push-ups once you've regained some strength.

The purpose of this exercise is to teach you that you're not the one supplying the challenge. As your body grew tired and weary, you were not fighting yourself. You were fighting fatigue. After you rested a bit and did just a few more push-ups, I'll bet you were able to do them a whole lot easier. You were the same person both when you were struggling and when the push-ups were easy. Nothing about you was actually different except for the level of fatigue brought on by the exercise.

Know what you should really be fighting against. Fight distractions, boredom and fatigue. When you crave that sugary drink, you're not fighting your “evil self” that wants it. You're fighting hunger, stress, boredom, deprivation and anxiety. These are not things that are coming from you. They are simply reactions you have towards external elements.

The feasible solution is to restrain and release, depending on your needs. That is real self-control. That is when you are calling your own shots.

Of course such self-control doesn't come easy. It will take time and practice to know just how much you should and should not do. Most of all, no one else on earth can know exactly what you should and should not be doing. I only know if having a scoop of ice cream after dinner is the right call to make or not, for me.

Sure we'll make mistakes along the way. It's okay. This is how we'll learn to stop fighting ourselves and learn to trust ourselves instead.


A Capo di Tutti Capi lesson

"No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.”-- Theodore Roosevelt

The world is devoid of great leaders. This is because we have forgotten what leadership means. Without the qualities of a leader, one remains half a man. So what does it take to be a great leader? The Fortune 500 can't help you. The answer lies with people like Sun Tzu and the great Dons of the yesteryears. The Mafioso knew their way to the top echelons and its time you do as well. But greatness as a cause has a price and you must learn to be able to pay it.

Self belief
This lies on the same page as self assurance or rather, conviction. A person striving for greatness cannot second-guess himself, like a Don wouldn't. Even when it comes to tough decisions, you must take charge, make your decision and then stick to it. If you doubt yourself, so will others around you. But your conviction cannot blind you.

Be open to suggestions before making a decision. Deliberate too much and the chance may be lost. However, conviction without care for consequences isn't part of a Mafioso. Remember, as Wheezy said, confidence is a stain they can't wipe off. You may be labelled stubborn and hard-headed but you will learn to cope with it and they will learn to respect your ways.

A Great Don and a great Leader both need to be able to reason. Reasoning is crucial to success. Here, we view reasoning not from a moral standpoint but rather as a cost-benefit analysis.

Do the risks outweigh the reward? Is the reward worth the effort?

Remember, you need to know that the only person worth proving anything to is yourself. Emotions have no deserving place in rationale and at times a show of mercy can come back to haunt you. This may make you seem heartless and cautious but it's better to adhere to caution than to regret not doing so.

This is simple. A Great Don needs to be reliable. A leader's worth is judged by the weight and number of his followers. A leader can never stand alone although he needs to be able to fend for himself alone. If your people cannot rely on you, you can never be The Man.

Set standards for yourself and your soldiers will follow suit. Break your own commitment and others around you will break theirs. As the Outlaws put it, Word is Bond. Your troops may think of you as high maintenance, but they will know that when faced with adversity, you'll be the first to back them up. They will feed off this protection and in the end, unity will be your biggest strength.

Respect others and they will do the same. But here respect means more than just what's on the surface. Respect also means never underestimating your enemies. You should always show respect to a man capable of hurting you. You must also prepare for them and this is also a way of showing respect.

One of the most important traits of a Don is awareness. You need to know your surroundings and you need to know how exactly everyone around you functions. The worst position to be in is unknown territory. Take notice of the most utmost insignificant things, especially what your soldiers are doing. If you are caught off guard ever, you are as good as dead. Late reactions and lack of perception are weaknesses you must eliminate. Be prepared; ready to die and ready to lose.

So there you have it. The most basic rules for the Capo di tutti capi or 'Boss of all bosses' are now at your disposal. Be a man, do the right thing.

By Osama Rahman



This relatively new boutique brings a wonderful assortment of T-shirt on monsoon. Apart from that, there is also a wide variety of attires for men to chose from polo shirts, casual and formal shirts, pants and panjabis.

For details contact 63 Aziz Super Market (2nd Floor), Dhaka. #01812 306 287

Monsoon Collection @ Kay Kraft

This reputed house has once again proved their position as one of the market leaders in the field of fashion. Their exclusive Monsoon Collection brings a wide range of designs suited for the need and the romance of Monsoon.

Be sure to log onto their website: kaykraft.com or visit their Facebook page. Or if you prefer, spend an evening with Kay Kraft at your nearest KK outlet.

@ Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel

There is simply no better way to enjoy the season than with mangoes. So relish the taste of fresh mango recipes in a 5 star fashion. The mango galore ranges from Fresh Mango Cut, Mango Cake, Mango Tart, Mango Faluda, Mango Ice-cream; if you prefer sour and savory there is Mango Chicken Salad, Mango chat, etc.

Prepared by the most seasoned chefs, this is one gustatory offering you cannot afford to miss. The mango promotion will continue till July 19, 2012 in all restaurants of Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel Dhaka.

For more information contact #02-8754 555 ext 8811

New shoes of Cava Cava

Cava Cava is a shoe manufacturing and retail business that makes shoes out of Bangladeshi leather, designed specifically for Bangladeshi users. This monsoon, Cava Cava is offering you shoes specifically designed for the weather. Cava Cava also makes tailor-made shoes. The stores are at Mirpur 11, Mukto Bangla Shopping Complex, Sunrise Plaza, Bisal Center, Uttara Tower, Happy Orchard, Hosaf Tower and Eastern Plaza. For more details, please call 01190843923.

Halen's World

Recently, designer Halen A Nasreen launched her exclusive clothing line for women, which includes saris, kameez, kurtas and others, which is a reflection of her vast experience in the field of fashion. She works from her own work studio at House #2, Road #0, Section #3, Uttara. For details, contact # 0171 338 7825 (Rafi).




Boutique Sayambara has inaugurated its collection of the season. Designer Shireen Karim has once again exercised her brilliance in bringing together a collection that is rich in its designs and apt in the selection of fabrics -- truly something for the season.

For details contact: Sayambara, Flat A4, Tulip Apartment, 119 Monipuri Para, Tejgaon. # 9118 365, 0171 142 7285.



Charm bracelets

Ever wondered while putting on that bracelet of yours, with tiny charms dangling from it, whether it could be more than a trend that jewellery makers had once come up with? That the idea of such bracelets could have a history attached to it and could have evolved over the years to be what it is now an accessory?

The use of charms actually came into existence thousands of years back, during the Neolithic period, when Neoliths would wear shells, animal bones or stones stringed together to ward off evil and bring good luck.

The Egyptians then followed, as found by many archaeologists, in the use of charms for status identification, protective shields and as symbols of faith and luck. For them these also served to identify an individual to the Gods in the afterlife. The Egyptians' version of charms was made of gold and silver often embedded with precious stones.

Then came the Roman Empire where Christians would wear tiny charms shaped like fish, hidden under their clothing, to identify themselves to other Christians. During the same time Jewish scholars used to write tiny passages of Jewish law, insert these in amulets and wear them around their necks.

Medieval knights used to wear charms for protection in battles but as the Renaissance approached people of wealthier classes started to lose affinity towards these, although charms and amulets were still used by people belonging to less privileged backgrounds.

Till now charms have had a more or less functional purpose. It was in the early 20th century when this changed dramatically and they gained identity as fashion accessories; this was propagated by Queen Victoria. She popularised the wearing of small lockets, glass beads, and family crests, etc. that hung from bracelets and necklaces.

It was in the late 1800s when the famous jewellery brand Tiffany and Co. brought out their first charm bracelet that had a single heart charm dangling from it. This continues to be an iconic symbol for the brand.

While in the 1940s celluloid (plastic) charms that could be attached to bracelets and necklaces gained popularity among children, in the 1950s they became indispensable accessories for girls and women. People recorded major life events in the form of charms such as 16th birthday celebrations, graduations, weddings, etc.

The 90s saw a large number of people seeking vintage charms which started becoming collectibles and selling for at times 10 times their original price.

With the dawn of the new century, a renewed fascination for charm bracelets came into the fashion scenario and they were declared must-have accessories by fashion gurus. They are mostly sported by teenagers who wear bracelets with different themes including coins, keys and locks, animals, flowers, etc. While younger girls can choose from loud, colourful themes young adults are often seen wearing more sophisticated single neutral-coloured and neutral-shaped bracelets mostly gold or silver coloured often with pearl charms.

If you are looking for dressy charm bracelets you could drop by at Aarong where they have had thin silver charm bracelets for a long time or for funky ones you could take a look at Sparkling Emotions, which is an online store on Facebook where they have numerous charm bracelets from Singapore.

By Karishma Ameen
Product: Jatra
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Woes of the curly-haired

"Eta chul na kaaker basha” (Is that hair or a crow's nest?) remarked a random passer-by, deliberately, as I walked down the street as if the comment of “his highness”, who seemed to have walked straight out of a garbage can, regarding hairstyles, was the bottom line.

Anything even a little out of the ordinary is always looked upon with an unembarrassed cynicism, especially in our country where something as normal as a fully dressed women walking down the street is gawked upon. Because having that slight difference that was bestowed upon them in the form of busts makes them as exotic as a flamingo among a bunch of crows even if there are a hundred flamingos walking around. The logic behind it being, they are still flamingos!

Now if one those flamingos happens to have a feature slightly different from the other ones, that is curly hair, then such snide remarks are a taken.

You would think that road-side Toms, Dicks and Harrys would be the only ones interested in indulging themselves in such evaluation and commentary. But, you are wrong as there is this other group of people who find it their sole duty to scrutinise affairs that do not even remotely involve them and draw conclusions and make suggestions, while in the process discussing such issues with others of their kind, a.k.a. the Aunties! Because, once off the road, spared from the Toms, Dicks and Harrys, and into a department store, where throng the respectable of the society, these Aunties will spot any anomaly from the regular get up, which they deem acceptable, and start on their uncalled for badgering.

“Tumi tomar chul straight koro na keno? Erokom chul ki bhalo laage naki?” (Why don't you straighten your hair? Does curly hair look good?) said an Aunty, out of the blue, to an unsuspecting curly haired-me, innocently browsing for shampoo at a superstore, with an expression of utmost irritation on her face, leaving me flustered by the sudden attempt of “advising”.

These are the same Aunties who consider themselves to be highly eligible to decide what should be and what should not be, who decide dark-skinned girls will face huge difficulties in finding a suitable groom and in my case, I am pretty sure, this Aunty was thinking the same -- just that she replaced the skin tone with curly hair. Makes one wonder how she would have reacted to a dark skinned, curly haired girl. Oh, the horror for her!

Then there are the trivia that come along once in a while, “Did you know that people with curly hair are said to have a certain influence of the devil on them?” a friend once observed. Really? Do tell me more about the devil's association with me because of how my genes decided to arrange themselves!

Growing up with curly hair was a pain, but now that it does attract a lot of attention, minus the unwanted ones, it is quite flattering to see people turning their heads and to hear the “Oh! I wish I had hair like you” or “Would you like to model for us?” That is when I think: in your face haters!

By Karishma Ameen
Photo: LS Archive


Conquering stage fright

It's inevitable. For some, stage fright is a problem without any cure. But some of these people have become very successful stage performers (ballet dancers, musicians, etc). It's inevitable; you accept it, get used to it and perform anyway.

Don't bother with complicated details about body language, posture, etc. It is better to focus on what you are saying, body language eventually takes care of itself. Know your stuff. Being an expert on what you are going to say, the fact that you have practised, experimented and researched your topic gives you the confidence.

Look Away. Sometimes the idea of hundreds of eyes trained on you is pretty scary. Every word and gesture from your part is up for scrutiny. Eye contact makes it worse. In this case just look at the end of the room, at the back wall. Once you gain your confidence, only then proceed to make eye contact.

Smile. Stage fright might make you pretty darn stiff and that's the biggest problem. Smile at the audience, make light of your mistakes and engage your listeners. Move around instead of standing still if allowed.

- LS Desk


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