An Event To Remember
PASCH Goethe Institute Summer Camp, New Delhi
THE excitement took the best of me and I, along with the rest of the Bangladesh team of eight, galloped towards the Jet Airways plane and boarded it. We were selected to participate in the PASCH Goethe Institute Summer camp 2010, held in New Delhi, India in the last week of May. Students from Oxford Intl School, South Point School, Mastermind Chittagong and Maple Leaf Intl School represented the Bangladesh team.
As we settled down inside the plane, it seemed as if time had slowed down, and slowly, the plane crept towards the runway, and exactly as we finished the count down, the plane took off for India!
The sight was amazing! Looking out the window, we could see the morning sun as if it was right by our side, peeping through the maze of fluffy white clouds; and below, Dhaka City, which seems so crowded and stuffy all the time, now seemed to be like a small harmless little speck!
Stepping into Delhi was like walking into inferno! How hot it was! The boiling wind simply peeled off my skin! But to our rescue was Ms. Priyanka, who was one of the coordinators of the camp, and she had come to pick us up at the airport and take us to our hostels via a nice air-conditioned tour bus!
We stayed in the Delhi Public School in R.K Puram. The hostel was quite comfortable and was more than enough for a bunch of campers! The school had a huge campus, where you could play almost any sport you wanted, from cricket, basketball, football, badminton, lawn tennis, table tennis, squash and so on. They even had swimming pools where we used to cool off after playing.
Our stay there was well routined; every morning we had to get up at 5 a.m. and by 6 we had to be on the grounds for playing whatever sport we liked. One could not even hope to sleep after 6 a.m, as the warden would quickly be at your door, banging it till you wake up and leave! I really don't know how, but we Bangladeshis always seemed to come out on top no matter which sport we played. Whether it was cricket, football or basketball, my good friend Ibrahim and I, were always sought after in the game. But then again, the Indians and Afghanis still posed a threat!
At 9 a.m. we were served breakfast, which was mostly Continental food. After a short breakfast and a quick chat with friends, we went to our German classes, which began exactly at 10 a.m. and ended at around 12:45 p.m. The classes were full of fun as we learnt the language through different activities. We had activities like singing in music classes, short general quizzes about Deutschland, drama in Deutsch, painting etc. and it wasn't anything out of the book; everything we did was for the fun of it! The teachers made it much more enjoyable. Our class teacher Ms. Mohita was like a friend to us. She took a lot of interest in everything we did. Mrs Puneet, a coordinator and teacher in the camp, was someone whom everybody loved but was afraid of at the same time! And of course our favourite was Ms Priyanka, who is probably the nicest person you'll ever meet. There are countless number of compliments I can say about the other teachers and coordinators who were also present at the camp, but quite simply stating, they were simply fabulous!
Finally, after a long session of Deutsch classes, came the lunch time to fill our desperately hungry little stomachs as we were desperately hungry! It felt really good to get our appetite satisfied and gulp down on coke and freezing cold water from the water coolers. The sumptuous lunch consisted of North-Indian biriyani, vegetables, rajma (beans gravy) and a few other dishes.
After the delicious lunch, we were back to our classes, which was either singing our hearts out in music classes, or answering short questions on Deutschland, or surfing the Internet for information on famous Deutsch personalities. All of these were for fun competition!
Every evening at around 5 o' clock, we used to go out for sight-seeing and shopping. Seeing historical monuments such as the Qutub Minar really took us back to the times when the Mughals ruled the land. And for shopping, we were taken to Delhi Haat, Janpath and DLF Prominard, an amazing shopping mall, with sparkling floors, as if it were studded with diamonds.
Delhi Haat and Janpath were cheap enough for us to buy a few souvenirs to bring back for our family and friends. DLF Prominard, on the other hand, was unbelievably expensive! One of my Afghani friends, Omar, wanted to buy a sunglass. As he chose a Rayban, he turned it around only to see a price tag of Rs.9999 hanging from it. 'Who in hell would want to buy that?!'- was my first expression after seeing it. But other than the price issue, everything else was pretty awesome.
And coming to the food, the Baskin n Robins' Banana Split literally made me fall in love with it. The grilled chicken we had from Delhi Hut was simply amazing; some of us were drooling as we saw the sumptuous dish. We really did enjoy every single bit of it! Soon after returning from these trips, we were served dinner. And soon after dinner, it was party time! A bunch of hyper students, loud music, a dance floor, and twilight like lighting was perfect for losing your mind in a realm of dance and music. It was the first time I danced in a party, and honestly speaking, I never knew I could dance so well.
Finally came the last day. I could see depressed faces everywhere. No one wanted to leave. But one thing kept everyone's faces lightened a bit. It was the Traditional Evening, a show where you had to perform songs, dances or drama of your culture. As Bangladeshis, we knew we had to perform well to show what Bengalis were made of! Some of my very close friends at the camp, Ibrahim, Naim, and Trayee, came up with the idea of singing a song for the Evening. After listening to some songs we had in Naim's cellphone, we chose the song Aalo by Tahsan. After the performance, I couldn't believe the applause we received from the audience. Darpan, Shivam, Shreya and Nivedita, a few Indian friends commented on the song as being very melodious and deep. In fact, we had to make about twenty Bluetooth transfers from Naim's cell to others. They loved it! Other performances included beautiful cultural dances from the Afghanis and heart-thumping dance-moves from some participants from Chennai; there were Sri Lankans singing inspirational high-pitch songs at which everyone was simply awed. As the final performance, a few Indian friends, Shreyas, Angad, Darpan, Sunit, Shivam and a few others sang very famous Hindi songs with which everyone sang along. The night ended with a wonderful dinner that was arranged in the lawns of the campus. They had mouth-watering dishes, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
I would sincerely like to thank the Goethe Institute, PASCH and our schools for giving us the opportunity to participate. The experience of the trip was simply incredible. I don't think anything else could be compared to the lessons we learned, the friends we made and of course the mission that we accomplished as Bangladeshis. A few Indian friends even said: “You people have made your country proud”! What an accomplishment I say!