Naureen Aqueel

Archive for July 2008

An edited version of this article was published in Dawn, Magazine, July 20, 2008.

You have it as a refreshing sweet drink; you dip your chapatti in its spicy variant; and you drown your rice in its thinner flavoured form—yes, yoghurt is one of the most popular dairy products present on our tables during almost all meals. And for those tables that are deprived of its presence there is much reason why it must become an essential part of daily meals.

Yoghurt is a fermented dairy product containing live bacterial cultures that have proven to be very beneficial for health. In addition to this, yoghurt is rich in calcium, iodine, phosphorous, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and protein. On average, one cup (245 grams) of yoghurt contains 58.1 % of iodine and around 44% of calcium. Anyone wanting to supplement their calcium, iodine and protein intake has a good choice in this healthy food item.

But the specialty of yoghurt nonetheless is the teeming load of healthy bacteria that is present in it. This bacteria which is abundant in yoghurt helps boost immune response and fortify the immune system. One study has found that Lactobacillus casei, a friendly bacteria found in yoghurt can help improve the body’s ability to fight off pneumonia.

The active cultures found in yoghurt encourage the right kind of bacteria to multiply in the stomach, the anti-biotic qualities of which help combat and prevent infections. Yoghurt can also prevent diarrhoea and dysentery because of the high levels of prostagladins it contains.

The health promoting bacteria in yoghurt known as probiotics not only produces cellular immunity but is also said to have an effect on metabolism. In its role of bolstering cellular immunity, some researchers have suggested yoghurt can protect against some types of cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2000) pointed out that the immuno-stimulatory effects of yoghurt prevent diseases such as cancer, infection, gastrointestinal disorders and asthma. The Lactobacillus in yoghurt has also been found to improve respiratory illnesses and asthma.

Probiotics found in yoghurt have proven to be particularly helpful in treating gastrointestinal problems like ulcers and inflammatory bowel diseases. Interestingly, probiotics can also help protect against food poisoning. So, it would always be a good idea to devour a healthy cup of yoghurt when you have given into your temptations and indulged in that not-so-hygienic boti roll.

Yoghurt consumption can also be a means of preventing osteoporosis on account of its high calcium content. And it is not just calcium that makes yoghurt bone-friendly. Lectoferrin, an iron building protein present in yoghurt also helps build bones.

Yoghurt has long been used as an important food item to promote health and treat many diseases. A century ago, a Russian microbiologist by the name Elie Metchnikoff put forward that the consumption of live microbes present in fermented milk products may in part be responsible for the long life of certain ethnic groups.

Yoghurt is an ideal food item for people of all ages. You can have it plain, or mix it with fruits or vegetables or top it with syrups, nuts or herbs. It can be presented and eaten in a myriad of different forms. Have it with lunch or as a dessert. And you can be sure that as you savour its smooth texture and the taste you have blended it into, it will work its way through your body improving your health in many ways.

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Published in Newsline, July 2008.

Summ: Feel the beat!, a documentary by film-maker Sharji Baloch, screened at the FTC auditorium on June 7, is about nine-year-old Hassan who understands, enjoys and finds comfort in classical music at a young age despite being mentally challenged. Touching scenes, moving comments by Hassan’s parents, his grandfather/mentor in classical music, S.M. Shahid, sitar player Nafees Khan and background by Khalid Ahmed, all form part of this 30-minute film.

By outlining the gradual and difficult process of acceptance that confronts such families, Summ attempts to help families in similar predicaments by guiding them on how to deal with special children.The well-managed event was attended by prominent personalities such as Anwar Maqsood, Javed Jabbar, Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, Ghazi Salahuddin and Sirajuddin Aziz, some of whom were called on stage to share their thoughts on the film. Many in the audience suggested that this film be shown on television and at other forums in order for its inspiring message to reach a wider audience.

“The art of living is all about converting our misfortunes into opportunities,” remarked S.M Shahid, the love – and pivot – of Hassan’s life.

The film received a well-deserved round of applause.


Published in Youth magazine.

Exercising control over how to decorate their own rooms is one of the much-valued freedoms many young people enjoy. Add to this freedom a bit of creativity, a few resources and voila! You have your personally-designed-to-suit-your-likes haven where you can find safety, warmth, solace and a sense of achievement! It’s YOUR room!

But, designing a funky yet elegant room requires a lot of thought, planning and effort, and a budget which can preferably be kept in limits if you use your creativity to make do with low cost items. The most important and definitely most prominent thing about any room is its colour—the colour of its walls, rugs, carpet, furniture, curtains and other decorations.

Colour adds your own personal touch to your room. You can choose from a variety of hues and shades, colour schemes, contrasts, combinations etc. Colour in addition to lending beauty and liveliness to our rooms and homes, is considered to be an important mood enhancer, and thus is considered a vital aspect when deciding the interior design of one’s house.

Colour can have a great influence on our physiological as well as psychological functioning. It can affect our moods, feelings and states of mind. It is therefore very important that we choose wisely when deciding the colour of our rooms, where we spend a great part of our lives.

Colour Psychology and Colour’s effect on the room

So, before you start painting your room black or a deep shade of red, it is important that you find out more about colour psychology and the effect different colours may have on your physiological as well as psychological functioning.

  • Red

Red tends to be associated with danger, passion, energy, warmth and optimism. It has been proven to increase heart beat, blood pressure and energy in people. Most researchers therefore don’t consider red to be a very good choice for bedrooms especially if its strong shade is used alone. Colours like red also make the room look darker at times. But using a combination of colours like orange, red and white in rugs, fabrics, curtains etc can make your room look very inviting and cheerful.

  • Blue

Blue is serene, tranquil and relaxing. A lighter shade of blue tends to soothe the nerves and have a calming effect. It is also said to promote intellectual thought. It is because of these effects that blue is often recommended for bedrooms, bathrooms and study rooms. However, it is very important that one choose the correct shade of blue. Light blue can be used with brighter shades of blue with a warm undertone by having light blue walls, a brighter shade for the bed and chair covers and perhaps a white surface curtain to have a cool and peaceful look. Dark blue however, can have the opposite effect by making the room appear dark and evoking feelings of depression etc.

  • Yellow

Often associated with sunshine and energy, yellow is a cheery colour for some. It is considered better for kitchens, dinning rooms, bathrooms and narrow and dark hallways or small spaces to which it adds an expansive and welcoming aura. However, yellow is generally not considered a good colour for rooms because of some of the negative influences it is reported to have on feelings and mood. Research has found that people more often loose temper in a yellow room and babies tend to cry more in rooms painted in this colour. A lighter or warmer shade of yellow can however be used as a contrast or combination with other colours like orange or green to add a cheery look to your room.

  • Green

Refreshing and pleasant, green also has a relaxing effect. Associated with nature, energy and stability, green is recommended for bedrooms and living rooms to promote comfort, relaxation and togetherness. Light greens with a combination of yellow, white, orange or red can help add freshness, serenity and cheerfulness together.

  • Orange

Associated with warmth, excitement and energy, orange can make your room appear cheery and inviting. However, too much orange can become an eyesore and also make the room look dark at times. When using orange in the room make sure you use a shade that you can live with for long since it is not just about a temporary boost of energy. Orange can be used with red and fabrics with a white surface and coloured designs to add a funky look to your room.

  • Purple

Purple is rich, sophisticated and feminine in most of its shades. Dark purple symbolizes royalty but can make the room appear darker and can be overpowering. Dark purple is therefore not preferred for bedrooms. However, lighter shades of purple like lavender and lilac, carry the restful qualities of blue and can be serene, tranquil and cheerful all at once. Lighter shades of purple can be used with darker shades in rugs, pots and lamps to add a sophisticated look to your room.

  • Pink

The favourite bedroom colour for many young girls, pink is relaxing and calming colour. Used in combination with lavender or lilac it can add a tranquil and cheerful look to you room, although many may oppose this combination for its Barbie doll associations. Research has shown that pink can reduce anger temporarily and calm one down. Used with other combinations, lighter shades of pink can also help make the room appear spacious and serene.

  • Brown

Associated with security and stability, brown is often preferred for living rooms. Although most young people consider it boring, brown can be used with different colours like orange, red or even green to add a cheery look to a room. Brown can at times be soothing and comfortable.

  • Black

Never to be used as a base colour, black can be used in combination with other colours to lend a modern and funky look to the room. Some say black is linked to submissiveness, while others say it is linked to authority, eccentricity and drama. Black can be used with a mix of white, and bright shades of orange, pink etc to lend a funky and modern look to the room. However, it must be kept in mind that dark colours make a room look smaller and darker.

  • Grey

Grey is said to enhance creativity, so if your room is your creativity hub, it may not be a bad idea to use grey. Grey furnishings or fabrics can also add a modern look to a room. Grey can be used with other lighter colours like lilac, green or blue to add an elegant and sophisticated look.

  • White

Associated with innocence and purity, white can also be serene and tranquil. But it can be very boring if not complemented with other colours. Curtains and fabrics of bed and chair covers with white surface can give the room an elegant and bright look. This can look very pretty when walls are of light shades of green, blue, pink or lilac but can also help tone down and provide balance when walls are of brighter shades like orange, red or yellow.

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July 2008