From Bullies to Beauties!
talks to Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
Photo: Zahidul I Khan
My first school years were in Leens Kindergarten School in Abu Dhabi. I was always stuck in the loop of being bullied around by kids of my age. I often endured torture from other expatriate kids. Being the shy kid around, I was often located in unknown corners of the school.
After coming to Bangladesh, I attended St.Marys School in Chittagong. When I was in grade 1, I had this one friend named Tanzina Mahjabin; we were the best of friends. We always shared our lunches and exchanged home works. We would always be together. In fact, I would never let her go out of my sight even for a second. In fact, there were times when I would not even let her go to the wash room!
In grade 6, I was a student of Ispahani Public School and College. Once again I was the victim of bullies and this time I was picked on because I was the odd one out. On the first day of school I wore my brand new pair of oxford shoes. The boy, who sat next to me, asked me in an intimidating manner where I had bought my shoes from, upon which my answer was 'Abu Dhabi' in a rather shaky and scared voice. And the next thing I know the boy has his muddy and drenched shoes all over mine!
Once I began to get used to Chittagong, my problems began to disappear. However, the life changing experience came when I entered college. My life took on a new meaning. I figured then that I needed to man up and make my own decisions about my life. I guess that was the main stimulating element that helped me become the man I am today. My results were always excellent and my mother wanted me to attend Chittagong College while I wanted to study at some other college, mainly because that's where my first love-interest studied! However, my grand plans to follow her eventually collapsed because my mother not only had the keys to un-lock my chances with her but she also had the key to lock the cupboard which had all the certificates I needed to get admitted to that college!
After my first love-interest fell into pieces, I gradually began to change from an ardent lover to a carefree spirit. When I started my Higher Secondary Certificate studies in Chittagong College, I used to bunk classes left and right. Yet, I never had to face any long term consequences because I made sure that I was eligible to sit for examinations and I did this by bribing the registrar to fill the roster for me just before the exams. However, this wasn't the end of my monkey business. I recall this one incident where I turned up at the examination hall completely unprepared. The girl who was sitting right parallel to me asked me if I could help her. I told her that I didn't know anything and that I had the intentions to walk out. Sweet enough, the girl decided to help me. It wasn't just one exam but in all of them, she helped me obtain the pass mark. Thank god! I guess without her I probably would have had to repeat my exams!
After college, I took a year off and did several courses in search of my true talent. During this time, I taught students, both senior and juniors and earned a pretty decent amount. I used that money to buy a huge collection of movies every month. I also came to Dhaka every year on 'pleasure trips' to attend the Film Festivals and watch movies. I guess one could say that my desire to make films was ignited by watching so many kinds of films. I learned a lot about film making by simply watching varieties of movies.
The gap year eventually led me to my destination. I did my Bachelors in English from National University in Chittagong. So, I did not have any proper education in film making. In 2003, a workshop was organised on film making and script writing in Chittagong. I attended that seminar and I knew instantly that I wanted to study and work in this field. I was chosen by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki to work with his team. From then on, my journey in making fictions and films had begun. My childhood journey, from being bullied and then taking a complete turn in life to bribing others is very exciting. Looking back, I miss those days enormously and in fact without those experiences I don't think I would be here.