the last minute shopping, Eid for some people is incomplete.
Without the hassle and traffic and the noise and pollution and
clamour, what fun it is to shop…the last minute tension, the
last minute bargain, the last minute comments. It's all good
as long as you get to do them before Eid. Sath Masjid Road,
for example, provided the complete package for such crowd-hungry
people. There were cars everywhere, people, racket, lights,
and the works. It was a night to rejoice and what better way
to brighten up the night than through lights. They were everywhere,
by the roads, on walls of houses, all over shopping complexes…
especially on shopping complexes. For one whole week before
Eid, Dhaka City looked a bit like Las Vagas in full swing.
I was tired
after all our shopping and as I was staring at the lights of
Meena Bazaar, a fairly new mall, I was mesmerised by its dazzling
effect. It seemed brighter than it usually was. It reminded
me of a breathtaking fireball show I had seen some weeks back…
the first time that I had been selected for something…something
special. I was selected as a Facilitator for the 9th Annual
Cultural Evening (ACE) of North South University. It was organised
by NSU Shangskritik Shangathon (NSUSS). I was utterly speechless
from the moment Rifat, the President of NSUSS, conveyed this
message to me. She had to say it twice to make sure that I understood.
I was a Facilitator. It was almost as if someone had tapped
my shoulder and told me to rise as a knight. I finally had a
title. It was my moment. It felt magnificent. I smiled in reply.
The truth was, I had absolutely no idea what a 'facilitator'
was. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Nabeel, Amit and Rifat: the Executive body of NSUSS.
the day of the ACE, all the facilitators were told to meet up
beforehand and plan on what was to be done. It seems that there
were quite a number of people who had received the 'honour'
of being facilitators. In fact there were more than fifteen
of us. Very quickly, I lost that special feeling. And then I
found out our 'duty'. We were supposed to make sure that
the event (ACE) was a peaceful one without any disruptions (not
that we were expecting a bio-chemical warfare anytime soon)
but one never knows students nowadays.
gave us our duty (he was in charge being the senior most and
one of the sports legends of NSU), I gazed at the paper he had
in his hands that Rony had drawn. It was a map of all the seats
that were available at Osmani Memorial Hall, all numbered to
precision to prevent anyone from standing once the festivities
kicked off. We were supposed to take positions around the seats,
at different corners, at different entry points and at different
key points. But before the event, there was also the question
of letting the people into the hall. The whole 'plan' was like
a S.W.A.T. team's recipe for invasion.
up getting the fascinating job of collecting the girls tickets
at the gate. (Hey, who's complaining?) As the doors opened for
the gala event, a queue had already formed that stretched about
half a kilometre. Everyone was dressed to kill and looking grand.
why did they all have shopping bags in their hands? I suddenly
felt someone shaking me. I quickly realised that I must have
dozed off and had started to daydream. I was looking at the
people in front of Meena Bazaar. Shameem and Emdad, my friends
who had shopped with me the whole day were trying to shake the
dizziness out of me. They succeeded and also managed to give
me a mini 'heart attack' in the process. Plus I was carrying
some of their shopping bags in my hands. I managed to pull a
straight face and started to stare at the lights again. But
my mind wondered off.
as I finished my duty outside and made sure that everyone was
inside, I entered the hall. It was completely dark and there
was an expectant hush as the show started. Present on the occasion
was Mohammed Shajahan, Chairman, Board of Governors, NSU; and
Dr. Hafiz G.A. Siddiqi, Vice Chancellor, NSU. The first item
to set things off was a Rabindro Shangeet, soon followed by
a fireball show. The fireball show. The whole stage was in darkness
and as the performers started swirling their little balls of
fire, the whole crowd was in complete awe; many of the audience
released unattended 'gasps' and 'wows'.
soon, the comedy acts came up and the whole crowd was roaring
with laughter. I knew a few people who had no idea what was
going on but still they were clutching on to their bellies.
I found their acting much more entraining than the gist of the
jokes. My duty around this time was to stand between the isles
of students and make sure that they were in accordance with
the rules of conduct. I did my part and more. I even made sure
that the students were sitting straight. I made a lot of enemies
saying goes 'good things don't last', that night was one that
passed really fast. The last item on the menu was the chorus,
featuring all the performers, all the organisers, all the people
associated with the programme and lastly, all the facilitators.
As our names were called we went up on the stage for the grand
finale. Though it was our turn under the limelight, I couldn't
help but wonder what the weight limit was for the wooden stage.
I was astounded. There were close to a hundred people on stage
at the same time and it held. As the curtains fell, everyone
on stage started to jump up to rejoice; my mind was still on
the stage but it never ceased to surprise me. As I joined the
group and started to jump, it felt really good. We were all
a team and we had all worked together to create something.
thing I remember was Shameem telling me that we had reached
our destination. I stopped day dreaming. I guess we all reach
our destination one way or another, it's the little twists and
turns that make it really worthwhile.