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By Tanziral Dilshad Ditan

Nupur Beje Jai
Date: Thursday, 17 January
Time: 6pm
Venue: Chhayanot
To be held for the twenty-second time, this monthly programme will promote the artistic achievements of distinguished troupes -- the renowned Kathak dancer Kochi Rahaman with his group, Akriti; Sanjida Alom Akhi with her dance group, Shadhinota.
Tickets will be available at the venue before the show for Tk 200.


Nazia and band “Project Porikroma”
Date: Thursday, 17 January
Time: 6pm
Venue: Radius Centre, 5th Floor, Bay's Galleria, 57 Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan.
Those who have heard her perform will acknowledge the power of her voice as she sings the ragas, fused with Western styles. At the show, Nazia will be performing a range of ragas, such as Bhairavi, Ahiv Bhairavi, Jog, Yaman and Asavri in a superb combination of fusion-music.

Tickets: Tk. 600 per person, available at Radius/Red Shift. Or contact: 8833471-3; 0173 005 4403 (Shiuly).


Beat n' Boom Night
Date: Friday, 18 January
Time: 5.30pm till 11.30pm
Venue: Spicy Affair (Old Shwarma Palace) Dhanmondi 27 [Opposite of HSBC Bank]
If you could not party on New Year's Eve, this is your chance to dance till you drop as Loco Motion presents "Beat n' Boom Night”. Entry fee Tk.1500 (per person) and includes food. For details contact 0167 698 6570, 0167 266 0468, 0171 784 4486.

Lokkhi Terra
Date: Friday, 18 January
Time: 6pm
Venue: Red Shift
Red Shift is pleased to welcome the award winning pianist Kishon Khana, a key figure in the Jazz and World-Music scene in the UK and the leader of one of London's most critically acclaimed bands Lokkhi Terra, for a performance and discussion. Lokkhi Terra is made up of musicians who have each made a name for themselves in London's dynamic music scene. Kishon Khan (piano), Oreste Noda (congas) , Tansay Halil-Ibrahim (drums) , Denny Hernandez (bass), Justin Thurgur, (trombone) , Javier Cossio ( vocals/percussion ) and Jay Phelps (trumpet) . They will be collaborating with 3 or 4 local musicians to complete the total sound-scape.

Children's Film Festival Bangladesh 2013
Date: 19 January till 25 January
Time: 4pm to 9pm
Venue: Public Library Auditorium, National Museum, British Council, Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institute, UCEP auditorium, Daffodil University

Children's Film Society, Bangladesh is a film society totally run by children and young adults. Every year an international children's film festival is arranged under the auspices of this society along with many other events.

CFS Bangladesh is a cine-platform where children enjoy movies, discuss films, participate in different film sessions or workshops and learn how to make movies. The main objective of the Children's Film Society, Bangladesh is to create a suitable environment for children to learn and use film as the most powerful artistic media to develop themselves positively to contribute to the society.

Seminar on Ethical Hacking, Gaming and Android Technology
Date: Saturday, 19 January
Time: 3pm to 5pm
Venue: NIIT Dhanmondi Centre, Road 8, House 39/a, Level 6. Dhanmondi.
NIIT Bangladesh has arranged a free Seminar on IT Career prospects. Take advantage of this opportunity and learn more abour Infromation Technology. For details please call: #0177 522 8624, 0177 522 8625 and 0176 610 7386.

TTL Photo Adda
Date: Saturday, 19 January
Time: 10.30am to 1pm
Venue: 120/B Monipuri Para, Tejgon, Dhaka. (Opposite of Tejgaon Thana).
After a long break TTL is back with TTL Photo Adda. This is a unique opportunity for young photographers to have a critique of their work. Bring along 5-10 of your best shots and be advised on the nitty-gritties of the art that is photography.

There is also a platform for displaying your work. The photograph which creates most impact (not the best photo) among the participants and the critiques will be crowned "Photo of Photo Adda."
For details: http://www.flickr.com/ groups/throughthelens/discuss/72157632354001939/


Time to turn the tables

The vows of marriage and the promise to live together in holy matrimony should be based on mutual trust, respect and dignity; but in reality these bookish oaths are far from what is practised in reality. If you are to probe into the family life of a poor woman and an educated, solvent one, the picture of family life for both the women is not very different.

Although there is ample evidence to suggest that women are more empowered today than they were in previous generations, there are still widespread examples of women who live with egotistic, bad-tempered, chauvinistic, abusive husbands. And while the rich woman's husband, after beating her black and blue or using abusive language against her may try to buy her off with diamonds till his next rage attack, the poor woman's husband will wander off to other women leaving her to fend for herself and their wards.

There are few historical reasons for the plight of women to be the same in all strata of society. The reflection of a patriarchal way of thinking are deep-rooted in today's society or family, culture, norms; even the mass media and societal laws reflect this chauvinistic mindset. And this kind of society is based on the disproportionate sharing of power and unstable relationship between a man and a woman.

Gradually the men became authoritative and went on to govern the society's power and culture and in doing so have cornered women to the extent that their basic human rights are under question. Such unfairness and prejudice against women have been going on for eons now.

Just think about it -- beating your wife or raping her or treating her like she is a domesticated animal is common in our society, and no one can utter a single protest against such violence because the institution of marriage made it his family matter. Thus these brutes get away with murder all the time.

If you leave marriage aside, even when men and women are in a relationship, the girl is often dominated. I hear young women say “my boyfriend will react or he will not agree to me doing this”. I am at a loss to figure out what these girls think; that these boyfriends are their saviours or knights? These girls should know better than to be doormats and not let the men in their lives rule them in this day and age.

Women today should be empowered in every sense of the word; they should not only be financially independent but also have the courage to change the disproportionate power distribution in their relationships.

I strongly feel that shock therapy is what these chauvinists need. For instance if the woman uses the same abusive language, threatens castration, actually uses tasers or beats him black and blue, then maybe men will fathom the meaning of violence. Men don't actually think women are capable of standing up for themselves and against violence; and when you actually give it to him the shock might jolt him to his senses.

The recent Delhi rape has left our conscience in tatters but what is worse is that even after this brutal rape and murder, perverted men did not stop raping women for even a day. While Indians were mourning Damini, a Kolkata woman fell prey to and met almost the same fate within the span of a few days. And our Bangladeshi perverts didn't want to lag behind in the race either; they too were raping schoolgirls and adolescents at random as if there is an unadvertised gore carnival of rape going on and these men must make their presence felt.

I really don't understand what goes through the minds of these men when they attack women in such an animalistic manner. Husbands, boyfriends, uncles, stepfathers, fathers -- for all of them violence against women is all about power play. They just want to appease their distorted chauvinistic ego by being violent, they just want to prove to their otherwise failed self that they too are powerful and strong enough in some twisted way.

I really feel that it's time women should learn to turn the tables and give men a taste of their own medicine.

-- Raffat Binte Rashid


Natural remedies for painful periods

This week Star Lifestyle introduces its valued readers to a new column that will address issues related to women's health. The team at Maya.com.bd hope to provide useful information that can help women learn about their bodies and health-related matters.

For those of you who haven't heard of Maya.com.bd yet, it's an initiative dedicated to empowering women in Bangladesh through technology. Please do let us know what you think about the column and upcoming topics you would like us cover.

Do you dread the thought of your monthly periods? That painful day 1 of your menstrual cycle that you have to learn to live with? Most of us have been told that it is something that we are making up in our minds or it's a price that we have to pay to be a woman.

What you have is called dysmenorrhoea and you are not imagining it. Studies have shown that three quarters of young women and a quarter to half of adult women experience pain and discomfort during their period. In 1 out of 5 of these women the pain is so severe that it hampers their daily activities.

The pain starts from the lower back and extends up to the thighs. It begins with the bleeding and can last for 12-24 hours. Your womb muscles contract to expel its lining and the contractions compress the blood vessels that line your womb and temporarily cut off the blood supply (and hence the oxygen). Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain in your body. The pain can get worse with heavy bleeding but it tends to improve as you get older. Many women also notice an improvement after they have had children.

Although the pain is caused by reduced oxygen supply there may be a few secondary causes. Fibroid, which is a non-cancerous tumour in your womb can cause pain during menstruation. Endometriosis is a condition where the cells that normally line the womb grows in other places in your body, usually in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. When these cells shed and fall away, they can cause intense pain. Using an IUD (Intrauterine Device) for contraception, can cause pain as your womb contracts vigorously to remove it. Whatever maybe the cause, you must get yourself checked if you are suffering from dysmenorrhoea.

Watch out for associated symptoms such as irregular periods, bleeding in between periods, thick or foul-smelling discharge or pain during sex. Period pain with an underlying disease will show a variation from normal pattern. You will notice that the pain has increased or lasts longer than usual.

Once it has been determined that there is no disease causing the painful periods, then you can move on to finding natural ways to lessen the suffering. There are a few home remedies, dietary changes and exercises that can ease your pain.

Start with the “Grandmother's Choice”, placing a hot water bag on your lower tummy. This causes blood vessels to dilate and improves the blood supply. Heating a kitchen towel in the microwave and placing on your lower abdomen does the same work. Try massaging the lower abdomen and back with warm olive oil to reduce the congestion. If you have time to rest, trying resting in foetal position.

Drinking hot liquids can relax muscles. Vegetable juices such as carrot or cucumber contain anti-oxidants and help remove the toxins from your body. You can boil some ginger in water and drink it regularly. Chewing mint candy can also help. You can also add 15-20 coriander seeds in a glass of boiling water, allow the mixture to stand until it has cooled and drink. Replace sugar with honey when you sweeten your drinks. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on food as cinnamon is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic.

Eat a healthy wholemeal diet and avoid fatty food. Drink plenty of water but make sure you relieve yourself at regular intervals, as a full bladder can press on the womb and worsen the pain.

Although you may not want to exercise during a period, keeping active can help. Try some gentle swimming, walking or cycling and relaxation techniques such as yoga.

There are medications available, which your doctor may prescribe. If that does not lessen the ordeal, hormonal treatment may be necessary. Primrose oil is also a good option.

Remember the best remedy is to eat healthy and stay active not only during that part of the month but throughout the year.

By Dr. Kazi Mashfia Fardeen
Medical Specialist at www.maya.com.bd


Amsterdam's flower market

By Laila Karim

''Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”
-- Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

We know that Amsterdam is a culturally rich city. It could be called the city of museums, art and culture. Who can forget the painting of sunflowers by the great Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh? The city also carries the memories of Anne Frank, who through her famous diary penned down the moments, scars and history of the Second World War and the darkest side of extreme national racism, hatred and cruelty -- to us a reminder of our days of Liberation War. Amsterdam is also well-known for its flowers and flower market -- 'Bloemenmarkt' in Dutch.

About the market
Last week we spent one full day in the flower market, an experience I would like to share with my readers. The market is a twelve-minute walk away from the Amsterdam Centraal Train station. During the early periods (1862), the plants and flowers sold there were brought to Amsterdam on barges via canal from various parts of the city and then marketed. Now the organised market is situated on the banks of the Singel Canal. The market stalls on the barges are permanently anchored here. Bloemenmarkt started gaining popularity and became a favourite spot for flower lovers across the globe from the middle of the 19th century.

How much time, money and attention needed?
At least half a day is required for a full sampling of the market and its products. The stalls sell everything from fresh flowers and bonsai trees to herbs, roots, stalks and ready-to take-plants, accessories, pots, soil, fertiliser, pesticides and almost anything a gardener may need. In the bulb season -- August till December -- visitors can buy bulbs of numerous varieties of world famous tulips, ground lilies, sunflowers and many more. Souvenirs are also sold at the market and throughout the city. But it is not advisable to buy bulbs or seeds from those souvenir stalls as the quality can be poor. Prices are lower towards the centre of the market -- while higher at the corner shops.

Amsterdam's floating flower market is open all year long so locals and visitors can take advantage of a wide array of colourful plants irrespective of the season. Dutch tulips (real and wooden) in an amazing array of colours are the main attraction. At Christmas time, the barges are covered with evergreens of all shapes, sizes, and hues. In addition, tropical and other non-native plants are also seen in this market.

The market is open every day from 9am to 6pm except Sundays. Prices are quite reasonable in terms of Euros, but not in converted Takas! Many tourists enjoy taking home a few tulip bulbs that they can plant in their garden when they return. Visitors like me may find it very difficult to make a choice and resist the temptation of buying everything in sight.I felt I needed everything available at the market, then ended up with over five kilos of bulbs, seeds and herbs including some small, light pots! To our surprise, we found a wide variety of bonsai plants -- seeds (packed mix!) are available with instructions. We bought one that is supposed to produce a miniature version of an orange plant with its fruits! Let me see how it goes.

After returning home it will be the greatest challenge to do justice to those in terms of matching with our weather, sun and rain and also make the seeds/plants comfortable with the right kind of soil, fertiliser and save them from insects. Here in Europe, besides the weather, the quality soil, fertiliser and nice pots/containers of the requisite size are so easily available that everyone is encouraged to be a flower and plant lover. In general, the Dutch people genuinely love flowers, so flowers and plants have become a part of life; all the eateries, tables, entry points, lobbies, office desks, or kitchen windows have flower vases or pots to adorn them.

If you are a flower lover and have the opportunity, you should consider a quick day-trip to the flower auction just outside Amsterdam.

Buying and bringing home
One thing to look into is what is legal to import into your home country. The merchants will know exactly what is acceptable for the US, Canada, UK -- so the easiest thing to do is just ask them if you are not sure. Many packages have flags marked on them for what is legal to take into those countries. There are also ways of having the shopkeeper ship the bulbs to your home address, but not all of them can be sent to all places. There is plenty to choose from, so you should be able to find something that works.

Please feel free to email me with your questions, feedback, gardening stories or photos at lifestyleds@yahoo.com.


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