Monthly Archives: November 2012

There is no such thing as a happy period

I had talked about periods and mensuration on this post before.

Today I wanted to talk about it again because I read this in the news. I am sure most of you have already read it but for those who haven’t here it is.

Richard Neill complained on Facebook about pad-maker Bodyform; that he felt mislead by their years of advertising about periods. That, in fact, the company had lied to him about menstruation. He had believed that a woman’s period was a fun and exciting experience, thanks to advertising conventions that have become a genre all of their own.

Here are his exact words, “’Hi, as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years.As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things, I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding, rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings!! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !!. There was no joy, no extreme sports, no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform, you crafty bugger’.

I couldn’t stop laughing while reading it but I do understand where he is coming from. Even in this 21st century, TV advertisers are scared to say period or menstruation and use words like “that time of the month” so of course men will have no idea until they have to deal with it.

Look at some of the ads below.

When I was growing up, period or menstruation was a taboo subject. Until I had my own period, I really didn’t know what it really meant. There was a little information in Sex Ed class but definitely not enough information.  I knew women get period for 4 days every month from my mum and aunties but no one told me what it really is or what to expect.

The first time when I had my period, a ceremony was performed called Bahra which I have described in my post here. I had been to Bahra ceremony before but it was all about fun, party and gifts and nothing about period.

In the Hindu faith, women are prohibited from participating in normal day-today life while menstruating. She must be “purified” on the fourth day before she is allowed to resume her normal chores. I have seen all the female member of my family following this rule while growing up.

This follows description in Puranas (Hindu holy book) about Indra’s ‘Brahmahatya’ (act of killing of Brahmin) and the mitigation of the sin. Part of this sin was taken by women and is considered to be active during menstrual period. Therefore menstruating woman are forbidden from performing any rituals and contact with menstruating woman is also forbidden (with exception of small children).

For this reason they forbid women from entering a temple to worship or do any other religions acts when they are on their period, because they are considered “impure” at that time of the month.

I get this logic as in the olden days as there was issues with hygiene as there were no sanitary napkins or tampons available but it is bit silly to follow nowadays as well.

Even in Australia, in a room full of people, when I said, “I am having such a bad day because I am having my period.” I can see so many discomforted faces. Menstruation is completely normal and natural but no only men but women are also uncomfortable to talk about it.

I wonder why they forget that a woman getting her period means she is capable of having children which is the nature of life.

The worst thing is that lots of people ignore that there is PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) when women has some emotional reaction. It is not lazy or crazy but that women’s body does go through the process that makes her more emotional. I know in some women it is higher than other but deal with it every one and accept the facts.

Imagine if menstruation was for men and not for women. Do you think the same rule would have applied in this society? I am sure it would have been glorified instead of hidden.

Gloria Steinem wrote about what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not during the 1970s on this topic and I couldn’t say it any better. 🙂

  • Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event.
  • Men would brag about how long and how much.
  • Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
  • To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men would be hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.
  • Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields- “For Those Light Bachelor Days.”
  • Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods.
  • Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat (“You have to give blood to take blood”), occupy high political office (“Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?”), be priests, ministers, God Himself (“He gave this blood for our sins”), or rabbis (“Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean”).
  • Male liberals and radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join their ranks if only she were willing to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights (“Everything else is a single issue”) or self-inflict a major wound every month (“You must give blood for the revolution”).
  • Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man you looking good!”
  • “Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!”
  • TV shows would treat the subject openly. (Happy Days: Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still “The Fonz,” though he has missed two periods in a row. Hill Street Blues: The whole precinct hits the same cycle.) So would newspapers. (Summer Shark Scare Threatens Menstruating Men. Judge Cites Monthlies In Pardoning Rapist.) And so would movies. (Newman and Redford in Blood Brothers!)
  • Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month.” Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself, though all they needed was a good menstruating man.

 

Switzerland

I couldn’t be happier when we were in Switzerland. As I mentioned in my previous post, Switzerland was a dream come true for me and to be able to see and be in the place one has been dreaming from one’s childhood was a great experience. Snow-capped mountains, green rolling hills, no poverty and political neutrality is Switzerland, what more could I want. At that moment I felt really happy with our holiday. I knew no matter what other people said about Switzerland that I will be coming back again and again during my lifetime.

We were really lucky in Europe as we missed the rains during our tour.

Fluelen

While in Switzerland we stayed in Fluelen which is the farthest point of the lake from Luzern, a picturesque little place with the train station right beside the landing stage.

Every corner was an OMG moment looking at the beautiful scenery, the mind blowing engineering of the train lines and roads, and at snow on the higher peaks even in spring.

We stayed at Hotel Hirschen-Cafe Seehof which is a small hotel in front of the lake. Although the view of the mountains is breathtaking, there really isn’t much to do in the immediate area. The church beside the hotel is beautiful but when we went for a walk in either direction for an hour and we didn’t find many things to do.

As for the hotel, it was small and very basic so was a tad disappointed. But we were lucky to get the back room as our fellow travellers were complaining about the noise. Even though the front room had the stunning view of the lake and mountains, since the train tracks run along the lake, it was also a bit loud and guests in the front rooms couldn’t sleep. On top of that, every morning, a herd of cows walked past the hotel with big bells on their necks that made lots of noise as well.

Also the clock tower rang every 15 minutes even in the night, but honestly as both me and AS were so tried from walking the whole day during the trip, it didn’t keep us awake at night.

We had a couple of meals in the restaurant of the hotel and it was ok.

We got to see the real Switzerland in this town where there were less people, more natural beauty with the view of snow-capped mountains everywhere and the big beautiful lake which took our breath away.

Lucerne

Lucerne is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking part of that country.

Complete with gable paintings, the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. A further landmark of the town is the Museggmauer, a wall which, with the exception only of one of its towers, has been preserved in its original, well-fortified state.

Historic houses decorated with frescoes line the picturesque town squares as they do the ‘Weinmarkt’ square in the car-free old town. Lucerne is a city of town squares and churches. The Jesuit church dating from the 17th century is regarded as Switzerland’s first sacral Baroque building and the twin towers of the Hofkirche form an integral part of the townscape.

We also visited The Lion of Lucerne, a carving of a wounded lion on a stone cliff. The figure of a dying lion which was hewn from the face of rock in remembrance of the heroic death of Swiss guards killed during an attack on the Tuileries in 1792 is one of the best-known monuments in Switzerland.

And with its 112-metre-long Bourbaki panorama, Lucerne possesses one of the world’s few maintained, mammoth circular paintings.

Tradition and modernity stand side-by-side with ease in Lucerne, as the town has also earned a reputation for itself with innovative design. The futuristic Culture and Convention Centre (KKL), designed by leading French architect Jean Nouvel, is one the architectural highlights of the town. The KKL is also a landmark of Lucerne and venue for a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year.

Lake Lucerne cruise

Formed in the ice age by an ancient glacier, the lake can reach depths of over 700 feet. The crystal clear fresh water is home to swans, ducks and fish.

Once the tour of Lucerne was over we went on a cruise on the Lake Lucerne. The weather was overcast and cool, but the lake was nice. There was something very peaceful about this quiet lake tucked in between the Swiss Alps.

The cruise was really nice where we got to explore and admire nature at its best with gently rolling meadows, idyllic bays, dramatic fjords, and near-vertical cliffs. We also got to see Switzerland’s most significant historic landmarks like the Ruetli Meadow, where the Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291, William Tell’s Chapel, and the Schiller Rock.

Shopping

Lucerne has a great mix of retail shopping in a very small area. As Switzerland is not part of the European Economic Zone prices are more expensive than the rest of Europe.

Watches, timepieces and clocks are one thing that the Swiss are famous for. Rolex, Longines, Tissot, Omega, Tag, Swiss Military, Swatch were everywhere. But as we were time poor we went to just one shop and spent almost 500 Swiss franc buying watch , Swiss knifes and souvenirs.

Dinner at Lucerne

I think once you had the best, it is easy to get disappointed. When we went to dinner in Lucerne, we had fun but definitely not as much as in Prague.

The night started with people playing traditional Swiss music and singing Swiss folk song.

It was followed by the audience participation in Yodeling and drinking beer.

Lucky for me (and unlucky for AS) AS got picked to be on the stage; it was really funny to hear him Yodeling and gulping down the beer. I am sure he had fun.

Food wise, Switzerland was similar to most of the Europe. We were served Founde (Swiss cheese dish) with various salads. It was followed by Geschnetzeltes Kalbfleisch (strips of veal in mushroom sauce) with Rosti (grated and fried potatoes). And the evening ended with a serve of Swiss Chalet Desset (Meringue with applesauce and strawberry ice cream).

Please click here for more photos.

Aloo dum (Nepali potatoes curry)

Aloo dum is a very popular dish in Nepal. My mum used to cook it almost every day when we were little as both me and my brother were very spoiled and didn’t eat most of the other veggies except potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed ginger and garlic
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons of unflavoured yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon of oil

Steps

  • Boil potatoes and cut into cubes.
  • Heat oil in a wok.

  • When oil is hot, add cumin seeds and let it fry for a few seconds.

  • Add onion in the wok and fry till they are brown.

  • Add diced tomatoes and turmeric powder and fry some more.

  • When the paste starts giving out oil that mean it is cooked so add the boiled potatoes to the wok.

  • Just toss potatoes around and add salt, cumin, chilli, coriander powder and a half cup of water and let it boil.

  • Now add the unflavoured yogurt and mix it well.

  • Take the curry out of heat and serve with rice or roti.

You may also like :

*Momo *Aloo ko achar *Chicken chili

Hot Trend Chunky Statement Necklaces

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in Nov 2012 issue.

Ladies, get ready to vamp up your wardrobe with some statement necklaces this spring. The chunkier, the funkier, the bigger, the better! There are myriad choices from floral accents and multicolour gemstones to layered pearls and bib necklaces as well as acrylic, plastic, shells or resins.

Here are a few I absolutely adore.

How to wear it?

  • Wear a really plain top and jeans and mix it with a statement necklace.
  • Wear a sundress or white dress with a chunky flowery necklace for a beach looks.
  • When dressing for a formal affair, an elegant statement necklace is great to transform from plain to fabulous.

You may also like :

*Autumn Trend Alert: “Dot On” *Fashion from Nepal
*Pretty in Pastels this SUMMER

Slave of Smartphone and Instant messaging

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in Nov 2012 issue. 

“Tring!!!” mobile phone rings. Within a second, everyone in the restaurant takes their phone out and checks for call/sms/mms/Facebook alert or Tweets.

That is a common scenario I see everywhere. Today, when you walk into a restaurant, you will notice that almost everyone has his or her phone out, and they’re texting, emailing, tweeting, or updating a Facebook status. Even though we are socialising and having a great time, a ring from our mobile phone will stop what we are doing and we start checking our phones.

There was a time when visiting a restaurant with a friend/family meant enjoying a tasty meal together, having an engaging conversation and updating each other about one’s life. These days with smartphone in our hands checking Facebook while having a conversation, tweeting a photo of a dish during the meal and taking a call seems to be accepted behaviour.

If you travel using public transport, look around and I am sure you will see almost every single person staring at their phone. The worst and dangerous ones are the ones who drive while talking or texting on a phone.

Also what about those who talk on the phone while someone is trying to serve them, completely ignoring the person.

Don’t get me wrong, I am just as attached to my smartphone as anyone. I love gadgets and technology in general. But lately I have realised that the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my phone for emails, messages, Facebook alerts and Tweets. Like many people, I have become so addicted to my smartphone that it is hard for me to go an hour without checking my e-mail, Twitter or Facebook alerts. It is with me, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

I am sure I have been doing it for a while but I only realised what I was doing when I saw my husband reading his eBook on his smartphone all the time.  After a long day work when we come back home, we were sitting in the same room but often, he is reading his book while I am watching TV or using my phone to Facebook, Tweet or just surf internet. We were in the same room but we were not really talking. That moment, I realized that I wanted to get out of the slavery of phone.

Another habit that I realised I had was that I tend to look for my phone every time a pop alert for email, Facebook, Twitter rings so my smartphone was constantly demanding a significant part of my attention taking away my attention from just about anything instantly and consistently.

I realised that rather than me using a phone, I was the slave of it and its instant messaging. The ability to instantly connect with anyone has its advantages but it comes with a price. We pay the price in terms of the time which we feel we have so less of in this busy world.

I have also read about a research which proved the following.

Those who are constantly breaking away from tasks to react to email or text messages suffer similar effects on the mind equivalent to losing a night’s sleep.”

So lately I have changed the way I use my smart phone. In other words I have stopped being used by my smartphone but start using it again.

  • I know all the emails and messages I check in my phone can wait and people can always call if things are important, so I check them a couple of times in a day rather than as soon as a message lands in my inbox.
  • I turned off all the alert sound from Facebook and Twitter so it doesn’t pop on while I am in the middle of something urging me to check it instantly.
  • I make sure I put my phone inside my bag or pocket when I am meeting people.
  • At home, phones stay in the table so no need to check every 5 minutes.
  • I turn the internet off on the mobile before going to bed.

I am sure lots of you might have similar habit like mine so go ahead and try not to use for phone for an hour. See if you get more things done without getting distracted. Turn off all the alerts and have a quiet and piece time for a change.