Wednesday, 29 March 2017

[Health] Smile Like You Mean It.

They say you have not understood the really meaning of pain until you get a toothache. Well. Actually, I said that, not them. A toothache is definitely one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. Oral health is absolutely as it is indicative of and can be a precursor to many health issues. As World Oral Health Day was celebrated on 20th March, oral healthcare brand Shield did a major public service campaign with #ShieldYourSmile and providing free check ups across major cities of Pakistan. 

Not to scare you or anything but....

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a relationship between gum (periodontal) disease and health complications such as a stroke and heart disease. Women with gum disease also show higher incidences of pre-term, low birth-weight babies.
Other research shows that more than 90% of all systemic diseases (diseases involving many organs or the whole body) have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Such diseases include diabetes, leukemia, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
Your  poor oral hygiene can actually lead to other health problems, including:
  • Oral and facial pain. According to the Office of the Surgeon General, this pain may be largely due to infection of the gums that support the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, and advanced gum disease affect more than 75% of the U.S. population.
  • Problems with the heart and other major organs. Mouth infections can affect major organs. For example, the heart and heart valves can become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis, a condition that affects people with heart disease or anyone with damaged heart tissue.
  • Digestion problems. Digestion begins with physical and chemical processes in the mouth, and problems here can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.
At home, you can practice good oral hygiene like so: 
  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes, using fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can't reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet to provide the nutrients necessary (vitamins A and C, in particular) to prevent gum disease.
  • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which are known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. This is one of the most effective ways to detect the early signs of gum disease.
To know more about oral health care, check out:

Sunday, 25 December 2016

RIP my love, George

I am not sure what I should write about George Michael that could possibly explain what an influence he was on my life, or rather what he meant to me. From Last Christmas to Amazing - the crucifix earring and the stubble, the supermodels and the erotic music videos, George Michael defined pop culture,particularly fashion and sexuality for an entire generation. 

He was my first crush. He defined the kind of man I would look for and desire in the years to come. Rugged,older, broken,confident, damaged,sexy and intensely sexual. A man who could be both Father Figure and Fast Love(r). 

Imagine the disappointment of women when he was outed. Some how, that made him even more relatable.Not all of us are brave enough to 'come out'. He struggled with what was expected of him as a gay man. In fact, he once said his life had become tougher since the public declaration of his homosexuality. His big, fat Greek family was important to him and part of the reason for him staying in the closet was that. More than ever before, I loved George Michael for his emotional weakness and blatant sexual 'misdemeanour.'

He easily discarded earlier versions of himself with such rage.From Wham! to a solo artist, burning the infamous Faith jacket in Freedom 90, from straight to gay. He lived many lives in one. Yet, he remained true to his sound. You were more than the music to me. Thank you for being you. RIP George Michael.

Friday, 23 December 2016

[Travel] All I Want For Christmas Is.....


Yes, I confess I am a mall rat. Considering the climate we live in, a nice air-conditioned space with dining, entertainment and shopping options is the best place to even. And if you are travelling to the cooler regions, it's a good idea to get warmed up in a mall. Here's where I would rather be:

1. Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Year End Sale in Malaysia is a force of nature. The discounts are huge and the shoppers are fierce! Suria KLCC is one of my favorite destinations in KLCC and not just for the shopping. The dining options are endless (one of the best Nasi Ayam/Chicken Rice can be found at the Signatures Food Court on Level 2), a tropical park and a 12 screen cinema. Oh, and Aquaria KLCC, Petronas Art Gallery.... and so much more!

And Christmas really is the loveliest time of the year, even in the tropics. The Christmas decor is just stunning and the malls in KL really up their game every year. Check out Santa's workshop in the main Concourse at Suria KLCC this year. Also, don't forget to get your Tourist Privilege Card at the Concierge,

2. Dolmen Mall Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan

The greatest part about this one, it's home! Feels and smells like any international retail space should. The mall hosts fun activities from time to time but for a mall rat the best one is a nice, fat sale. This year's sale goes from 16th Dec to 1st Jan (I think it should be extended to include the next pay check).  For a list of the all discounts offered go here.  Besides the discounts there's Sunday brunch specials at the food court with live music, a Beauty Lounge and Kids Arena as well. And lots of activities for adults too, shop and win style. Because free stuff is always a winning feeling! They also have a bunch of online contests happening so do find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as well!

3.  VivoCity, Singapore

Not only is VivoCity Mall the gateway to Sentosa Island, it is a destination in it's own right. And come Christmas season, the sales and freebies alone demand that you spend an entire day there. In terms of dining, your options range from Burger King to Jamie's Italian. The mall also has a 300 m water front boardwalk, a rooftop amphitheatre and a water feature the size of four Olympic sized pools! Is this a mall or WHAT? This Christmas, there's 107 ft tall tree and similar sized discounts all across the mall.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

[Education] Horlicks and WWF Pakistan’s Initiative to Empower Ceative Minds!

The education system has long been criticized for rewarding conformity rather than creativity. As a teacher, I do feel that conformity is crucial in some areas. However, enabling creativity in young people propels them to achieve more than teachers and parents expect of them. Most importantly, enabling and encouraging creativity allows each child to learn in his/her own style. As educators, it is our duty to tailor our teaching styles and provide opportunities for children to arrive at their own answers to life's questions.

There is also the widely held belief that the content taught in school, or rather the way the content is taught has very little connect to the outside world. So while our students may understand theories and principles, they may not be able make the connection between theories and physical manifestations. This is connected to the idea of 'mindfulness'. Not just children, but adults as well, are not mindful or aware of their surroundings - why do things happen the way they do, how can we improve our surroundings, what is my role in the bigger scheme of things - these are kind of reflective learners we need to nurture. It is important for parents, teachers, schools and even big businesses to realize this. After all, creative thinkers are good for business!

As a 'new' teacher, I have been going through some extensive training. It is encouraging to see that the focus of new teaching methodology is creativity, individuality and reflection. As a new generation of teachers takes over, I hope to see a generation of empowered students who take responsibility of their own learning and are mindful of their surroundings. It is now also time for big businesses to also step up - invest in a more creative workforce for the future! Horlicks Pakistan has recently launched an initiative to do just that.

Horlicks Pakistan in association with WWF brings #DreamsForTomorrow, an art competition that will take place in schools across Pakistan, bringing out the creative side of students. The campaign is focused towards engaging school going kids and their parents in a creative process of talking about a child’s dreams for the future. Participating schools will be given books that contain stories designed separately for each grade, providing the necessary direction for the creation of the artwork.  All schools will be submitting their entries for the competition.  If you are a parent or a child reading this, contact your school to find out if your school is part of the program. You can also find more details on this Facebook event page.

Horlicks Pakistan was kind enough to send over a kit for me to go through and make a mess painting with my nephew. While my 3-year-old nephew has usurped the art supplies, the books are an invaluable resource for children in Grade 1 to 10. The books are concise and written in the local context (there is a severe shortage of such content).

I remember filling in the WWF Sticker Book of Animals when I was a child. The joy it brought to me was immense – the agonizing over the Number 1 sticker ‘The Giant Panda’ led to many sleepless nights; learning about different species, the sense of responsibility and accomplishment was amazing! I hope that with #DreamsForTomorrow, this generation of Pakistani children can experience the same wonder and mindfulness that it instilled in us.

For more information on how I am using the kit, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - @sundusrasheed

Monday, 5 September 2016

[Ideas] How To Kill Time Without Internet

Although I clearly remember the pre-internet age when we looked forward to watching Star World sitcoms and Ninja Turtles. However, I cannot imagine a world without the interwebs now. Every now and then I do get nostalgic about the good old days but then I quickly remember how much they sucked. In the case that we do get sucked back into those days, here's some creative ways you can kill time at work without internet.

1. Chronicle your love life. Its time to start counting the hits and misses.
2. Paper football. You do not even have to have a partner. Just staple some paper into a ball and you're good to go!
3. Compliment your married coworkers on their weddings rings. People love talking about themselves so ask them how they met their better half.
4. Read the company handbook. Because why not.
5. Write down a business plan. Work on it during your employers' time, using their resources.
6. Plan your weekend shenanigans.
7. Clean your workspace. Your boss just might notice how dedicated you are.
8. Get faster internet.

Invest in 3 in 1 Storm Fiber - with a landline, cable tv and blazing internet that does not cost the earth.

Find them online at:

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

[Event]: Azadi Weekend!

I am not much a public celebration person. I tend to avoid going outdoors on festival days for several reasons:

1. It's hot
2. August is sticky and everyone is smelly
3. There's no lights to look at.

Yup, Karachi does not light up for Eid or 14th August the way it should. I suppose I am spoilt with celebrations having spent time in Malaysia (mostly in malls) where every festival is celebrated with such zest, fervour, decorations, promotions and sales! Luckily for me, Dolmen Mall exists.

It was lovely to see the atrium decked up in green and white, stalls selling patriotic T-shirts and badges, photobooths and just the general festive air that the space that to offer. Call me materialistic and missing the point of 'independence' but sales count!

So I put on my super duper patriotic Sonya Battla kurta and hit the mall not once but twice over the azadi weekend. It was also great for my Instagram following and I got to attend an InstaMeet! It was almost like a scavenger hunt and while I am a bit late to the InstaMeet party, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Who knew a trip to the mall would bring out the patriot in me? Dolmen Mall completes me. Those who know me well, know this well.

Here's to freedom! Freedom to live life to the fullest and spend our money any which way we like! Pakistan Zindabad!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Education for Kids: Parental and School Teaching

In the early year of a child’s up-bringing, education plays a great role. This means the contribution both at school from teachers and at home from parents. While both forms are important for the kids, maintaining balance between them is something that shouldn’t be ignored at any cost.

Kids these days end up spending a lot of time at schools which makes their teachers, friends and other students the primary source of learning. This plays a great role in shaping their personalities. While education at school is inclined towards academic and social up-bringing, the education at home solely focuses on the moral and ethical up-bringing of a child. Both parents and teachers play a vital role in shaping a child’s career, personality, decision making skills and abilities to function and adjust in the society.

Keeping that in mind, it is essential that a child gets, if not, perfect than a balanced mix of both in his or her growing years. Parents and teachers should always be aligned with the changes in the child’s behavior, the addition and subtractions to his or her daily requirements and how they are responsive to changes.
To ensure a balance, both parents and teachers should actively make an effort to engage the child in discussions, earning trusts and maintaining an overall environment. Kids these days learn so much from media and their surroundings, it’s the parents and teachers who have to build that sense of understanding for the kids to comprehend what they see, experience and learn.