Releasing The Energy:
A Student's Need
for a Sound Mind
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
"Growing up in a foreign country, I have always been around a lot of activities. Even in a conservative country like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with more than just a couple of limitations for women, there were still gaming arcades and activity centres for students to get some place to release their energy,” says Sumaiya Sara, a student of North South University, currently residing in Bangladesh.
Young students always need a place to release their energy.
Much like Bangladesh, every other country in the world are currently expecting and waiting for the 'youth' to take charge, to change the country, to change the world and for the better. Many nations are prioritising the growth and development of the young person's mind, getting the young minds and souls involved in activities to train them physically and emotionally, to let their minds be as free and open as needed. Bangladesh, in this case, is sadly, falling behind.
We believe that education is the only way that a country can move forward. While education has a bigger role to play than anything else in everyone's lives, we cannot ignore that children, teenagers, young adults, all need a platform, to release their energy and express creativity. Sitting at home, studying from morning to evening, and then going off to their part time jobs, which again requires them to sit in front of the computer, either writing, calculating or researching, will not nourish their minds and bodies.
Different activities in arcade centres can be of big help for young students to vent out.
Biologically speaking, children have a higher metabolism than adults. Because they are growing and developing, until late into their teens and sometimes early into adulthood as well, they need to make more building blocks, requiring food, water and oxygen. The main means of getting these building blocks to various parts of the body is via blood. Therefore, in order to grow, the heart will need to pump faster to transport more materials around the body. This is why they end up with excess energy in the blood stream (oxygen essentially) that needs to get burned off. In other, more psychological aspects, teenagers and young adults need an active participation in sports and gaming to keep away from harmful activities.
Inter-active games can help students keep their minds busy.
Gaming arcades and activity centres are common in foreign countries. Every shopping mall, every hypermarket has one. If not as a part of a mall or a market, there are independent activity centres in every corner for youngsters to pop in and have a good time. Not too long ago, Dhaka had Thunderbolt Fitness Centre situated on the top floor of Rifles Square. It had activities such as bowling, billiards, a gym, and much more. It was a haven for students to go visit whenever they thought they needed some stress release. A couple of years ago, it closed down. Sports Zone is another place that offered a variety of indoor games and fitness activities. Not too long ago, it closed down as well. 'XTREME PAINTBALL' was another one of these activity centres that closed down shortly after it had opened.
It has always been difficult for girls to become a part of Activity
centres like Bangladesh Billiard Center.
“Dhaka always seems to be on the right track, but somewhere along the line, due to unknown reasons, we seem to take an unexpected U-turn. With all these places opening up, I was excited to finally lead a normal teenage life. Before I know it, they're all closed down. I was most disappointed about the paintball place being closed down. I think it would have been a superb place for children our age to spend some time, instead of the usual 'go to a coffee shop, drink coffee and gossip.' I think, as the youth, we deserve more than that,” says Aninda Haroon, a 9th grade student of Sunnydale School.
There are, of course, many billiard centres all over Dhaka city like Bangladesh Billiard Centre, Dhaka Billiard Centre and more. As much as young boys love going to these centres and sweating their energy off with some billiards, young girls cannot seem to be able to do the same no matter how much they love the sport. Sharmin (not her real name) is giving her A' Levels from Maple Leaf International School. She loves playing billiards ever since she
learned how to play when she visited her cousins in the United States. After returning, she accompanied some of her male friends to BBC. Speaking of her experience there, she says, “I was shocked at the behaviour of the people who go there. I knew that 'eve-teasing' was a common thing in Bangladesh. The boys seemed to be educated too. However, for them to behave the way they did around a girl was not only inappropriate but absolutely unacceptable. I couldn't even stay there for five minutes. I was very disappointed.” As it has been seen, time and again, because of sexual discrimination and harassment, it is always harder for the girls.
Some places, like the Bench, where boys and girls both have been always treated equally, have taken initiatives of making indoor sports more common among the youth. By placing a table tennis table right near the entrance, fully equipped with a net, two bats and balls, the Bench has become quite a 'hang-out' for young boys and girls living around the area to sweat their worries off for a couple of hours. Charging Tk 300 per hour to play, it is a great option for a group of friends to split the charge and get an hour of good fun and exercise.
Another recent observation has led us to Saad Musa City Centre situated on 189/HA, Jamoj Road, Kuril-Bishwa Road, Badda, Dhaka. Built like the hypermarkets in the Middle Eastern countries, Saad Musa City Centre is three floors built on 86,400 square feet of sheer bliss for the entire family. It is the ultimate combination of Wal Mart, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, Jetro, Ikea, Chuck E Cheese and Dave and Buster, USA. The first floor of Saad Musa City Centre is the market, second floor is Ikea and the top floor is an absolute haven for the youth—the gaming arcade. The gaming arcade has every coin-operated game you can think of starting from air hockey, ball toss games and billiards, all the way to shooting games and pin-ball machines.
Along with all the games, the place also has a 3D movie theatre and a food court on the very same floor. There is also a party centre available in one corner of the floor for birthday parties. Saad Musa City Centre is the first of its kind in Bangladesh in terms of availability of equipment, having shipped all their gaming equipment from the USA. For those who crave for the arcade experience, Saad Musa City Centre is a must visit.
With initiatives like Saad Musa City Centre, Bangladesh can not only become a better place to live in, but also play a more active role for its youth. Most of us follow the same day to day routine of waking up, sitting at our tables to study, watch some television or go to work, come home, have dinner and go back to sleep. At the end of the day, leading an active life is just as important as anything else. Our physical and mental health depends on how we grow. And how we grow depends on what the society offers us...to fill the void!