Jon Kabir talks to Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
School days were the best days of my youth. My parents were always a little reserved and strict when it came down to going anywhere but school. My dad made it a point to take me to Wills Little Flower School everyday and made sure he combed my hair in front of the school gate. This not only embarrassed me but also gave ample opportunity to my friends, particularly to my female classmates to ridicule me throughout the day. But thinking about it now, it does seem a little ridiculous. However, in school I was never quite the studious one rather I was stuck in the midst of the average Joes.
In class four, I often received terrible scores in my class tests. So, once upon receiving a nine or a ten out of 25, I was obliged to make a deal with a friend. I made him take my exam script home, so I wouldn't have to tell my parents what I got in my test. There were several incidents like this where I was bound to pull some strings out of desperation. However, after I got my results at the end of class five, I realised I had what it takes to be a genius. I topped in Math, receiving 98%, in Science 96% and in Bengali, 78%. I was extremely delighted because I didn't really put any effort for any of these subjects.
My school life was great; I dedicated my mind and soul to music even then. My first performance was in class ten in our Annual Function at Wills Little Flower. Despite the fact that I lacked interest towards my studies, my mom inspired me. She was my mentor at home. Every time I had to write an essay for homework or had to memorise one for my exam, she used to help me out. There were times when she would sit down for hours and write essays for me, which was extremely sweet of her. And soon I realised that I had to try to keep my grade consistent and hence started doing well till I reached college.
College was a different experience all together. We moved to the States but my brother and I couldn't adjust well, so we had to come back to Dhaka. I joined Adamjee Cantonment College. With the transitions I never really got the opportunity to enjoy my college life to that extent. Even though, I passed my SSC and HSC examinations with flying colours, I was stuck and wanted a way out which eventually came when I joined North South University.
With the new found exposure which I did not have until university, I felt like a free bird. After the first two semesters, when my CGPA was a 'zero point something', it hit me! I figured out that I was doing something wrong somewhere. I soon discovered that I was ignoring my studies and dedicating a chunk of my time to my guitar and music. So, I decided to go ahead with my music; everyday my father gave me 150 taka as travel fare and each day, I took the cheapest means of transport to get to university. My bus fare was 6 takas per ticket but the bus was always smelly and suffocating, so, I always kept a deodorant in my bag! At the end of the month I had around 580 bucks, which I chipped in to pay for our (band's) jamming sessions at Sound Machine in Moghbazar.
At university, I spend most of my time zoning out during classes. There were so many occasions when my Linguistics teacher, Dr. Abdus Selim caught me lost in the cloud of my thoughts. There was also this one time, when my friends and I had to work on a presentation, but all we did was talk about music till it was late at night forgetting the purpose of the meeting all together. So, we had to call in sick the next morning.
There are just so many memories from my university days, so many incidents. Another incident was when we were performing our first gig as Black for the Annual Cultural Event at NSU. On reaching the venue, it was all a disaster, our bands 'long girly haired drummer' Tony was screaming at the top of his lungs. Apparently, the drum set was missing and the only other alternative was an octopad. So, Tony ended up playing the octopad instead of drums for the first Black concert! It was indeed hilarious. Taking a glance back at my student years in university, I can surely say that I would do anything to go back to those days filled with fun and enjoyment.