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Music-aholic savvy

If you are a music freak and stay glued in front of the computer screen most of the time, you are bound to hear of any of the three music forums of Bangladesh, namely: AmaderGaan, TunesBD, and Underground Inc. These music forums are the very hub of interactions between the general Bangladeshi music lovers and sometimes the musicians themselves. It is a venue to explore the unlimited world of music. Sometimes it is through these forums that the concert organizations and band line-ups are decided.

Stacked up with hilarious and creative user names and cool graphic signatures, these forums are basically fun hangouts for musically associated people. Inside the BIG "lounges"…
there are smaller user-opened topics called "threads". It is basically a chat area where you DO NOT get instant messages unless the next poster is online. But that's the fun part of it…you wait for the next random person to comment on, support your funny picture or a piece of line that you wrote or a piece of song-composition you came up with.

There could be times when a band really liked your lyrics from a forum thread, and asked you if they could use it in their composition. This correspondent believes many enthusiasts would've been proud if their lyrics were made into a song!

All this apart, the three of the most popular music forums of Bangladesh are detailed below:

Today, enjoying the top spot is undoubtedly the biggest self-domained music forum in Bangladesh: www.amaderGaan.com. AmaderGaan.com (AG in short) started its excursion on 31st July 2002 with a small group of members and now has grown to a whooping 6273 members (and counting)! AmaderGaan.com offers a wide collection of Bangla music, videos, previous interviews, album reviews, band profiles, promos and lyrics. AG has the highest number of musicians actively participating in discussions with the fans. Famous names include Sumon (Aurthohin), Maqsood (Maqsood O' dHAKA), Helal & Kaya, Pentagon, Arbovirus, The Watson Brothers and so forth. Basically AG caters all the way from underground to mainstream. Other array of categories of interest includes music, sports, entertainment, technology and so on. Not only concerned with forums, amaderGaan.com had organized a get-together party, and a fund-raising concert for the treatment of the great Bangla folk music legend Abdur Rahman Boyati (on Oct 8th 2004). AG and "Sound Machine", one of the top live sound companies in Dhaka, had also signed a deal where both would work together to promote each other. Undoubtedly it also crossed the borders, and now mostly Bangladeshis from all over the world come here to get registered and be a part of the fun.

Next we move on to possibly the second biggest forum www.TunesBd.com (TBD). Starting on 22nd July 2004, TunesBD now deals with any type of music from pop to reggae to alternative, rock and metal. TBD has similar categories of music, sports, song collections, technology and games, some music videos and not to forget band promotions. Recently however, since Bangladesh now offers GPRS, TBD enabled their users to download WAP games into their mobile phones. TBD often called on bands for interviews, where the fans can ask any questions they want to the band members. They had organized two concerts: TunesBD and Orestes Construction Completed on the 29th July and also the Sunbeams reunion gig. Apart from the concerts they had fun get-togethers at The Xtreme Paintball, Bashundhara Cineplex and also an Iftaar party at Boomers.

They also have had member of the year, best artist, best poet and best moderator awards to encourage user activity. With a light silver-background, this forum is well on its way of reaching peak popularity, reaching 1000+ members in just a year!

Last but not the least, there is Underground Inc (UGInc). According to some registered users, although the number of members is quite small compared to the previous two, Underground Inc is making quite a progress since it started in 21st December 2004. It had already organized some gigs along with a hugely successful concert at ISD on 25th of July and also a tribute show. Although there are "Other Genre" lounges, members mainly post in the Alternative, Metal and Time Out lounges. Other popular lounges are Underground and Concert News and also the Ratings lounge. Most of the music forums in Bangladesh contains sections like Games, Sports, Love and Relationships…do not expect this in UGInc! There is a Time Out! Section, which is the only section, not related to music. Underground Recharge and Save the Underground -1 (Series) are two of the concerts organized by UGInc, from which Underground recharge was one of the biggest concerts in the history of the Underground. 1600 people showed up, from which only around 1200 could witness the concert while the rest unfortunate had to wait outside. New members in the underground venue might want to check out Band Profiles. Its pitch-black background may look mellow, however you'd realise the fun once you enter the forum lounges. It's a favourite hangout for the metal heads. According to the admin Majed, for those of you who love a small community and plenty of fun, this is a forum for you! Check it out at www.uginc.org.

Some of the forums mentioned above have gaming options but that I leave it up to you to find out!

A last few notes all the forums mentioned are working towards the same goal…promoting local music and creating a platform for the upcoming musicians. With all this fun and enthusiasm, some users may get carried away and so all of the above forums have similar rules for posting; no swearing, no off-topic-ing (except in off-topic lounge) and more

This correspondent would like to thank Noyon and Faysal (AmaderGaan.com), Kamran and Imran (TunesBD) and Majed (Underground Inc.) for providing us with their forum details and permission to print a web shot of their forum names.

By Critico Nio

RS Hangouts
Water Kingdom

They gave us our very first theme park, complete with a story line, lovable characters, and rides and thrills to suit every member of the family.

Located inside the Fantasy Kingdom premises, built as an extension to the park is the Water Kingdom, it promises a lot of rolling, rollicking family fun.

The entrance is a beautifully stylized Virtual tunnel, with Disney-esque sea theme on the walls and mosaic-covered floor, with large plasma screen videos of underwater scenery reinforcing the feeling of walking through an undersea tunnel. You reach the end of the tunnel, and are greeted by the sounds of beaty music and the smell of chlorine and water. Your first stop is at the changing rooms, where you, ah, 'slip into something more comfortable'. Remember, shoes are strictly verboten in this realm of watery wonders.

A vast concrete kingdom of colourful slides and blue pools waits for you to sample its delights. For those who like it fast and furious, there are the huge, convoluted wet slides that you ride down on inflated tube seats. There are two levels to these slides, depending on how high you dare to make the slide from. No less scary are the dry slides which take you down a steep slope on a rubber tube. Again, there are two levels to these slides. Another version of the slides includes one were you go down face first, lying on your stomach on a board. For people who are mildly acrophobic, like myself, the hardest part is forcing yourself to lie down on the board and looking at the long slide down that awaits you, but once you're on your way, the rush you get is amazing. There's also a fat wet slide that three people at a time can board, and it leads you straight down to the water with a big splash.

For those who prefer a more quiet mode of enjoyment, there is the Lazy River, which is a pool fitted with an inflated obstacle course and tunnels for people to swim in and out of. This is the area for family fun, as it is very popular amongst the children.

Perhaps the biggest show-stopper is the wave pool, which is a huge pool where everyone grabs a tube and waits for the mechanically generated waves that toss them up and down. A word of caution, though, and this goes particularly for the kids; don't venture into the pool without a tube. The water is not deep, and the park has staff standing in the sidelines to dive in and help you if you're really in trouble. Even so, once the waves start, you're bound to go underwater if you don't have a tube, and getting thrashed about under people's legs while you're struggling to the surface isn't a very pleasant experience. Ladies, go into the pool in groups and stick with people you know to avoid getting squashed in with total strangers, all of who may not have completely honourable intentions.

Other than clean water and watchful staff, the park also has a first aid station close to the Family Lounge (which has rooms you can book beforehand if you want to rest and eat there). The Lounge also has its own kitchen where you can select from the Deshi, Thai, Indian and Italian menus.

The Water Kingdom entry fee is Tk 260, but as you have to pass through Fantasy Kingdom, you pay Tk 120 at the entrance there. The individual rides cost between Tk 30-50. Don't forget to take clean towels and a change of clothes! A day spent there is a memorable experience, so don't hesitate to try it out.

By Sabrina F Ahmad

Selfless courage

At the birthday party of one of my father's Filipino colleagues, I found myself seated next to an elderly foreign lady, during the cultural program. Dressed in a white saree bordered very thinly by blue, with a tiny silver cross dangling from a little chain across her neck and speaking in too formal Bengali, she looked like the perfect image of a Nun. And she was one; Sister Margaret Shield, was her name as I later found out.

"Tumi Ki college-e poro?" (Do you study in college?) -- The lady inquired.
"I have just started my A-Levels." I replied.

They were to have an exam at her school, Holy Cross, the following morning. And the Sister said that would be invigilating. I told her that I had once been refused admission in Holy Cross, for I was, as the examiner had told my mother, big for my age, something she had deduced by my teeth. The Sister laughed and inquired whether she had been the examiner, at that time. She regarded such rules for admission at Holy Cross, as 'absurd.' Every child is perfect, she put in and is not to be judged on the number of teeth they had lost at a certain age.

After dinner, as we were preparing to leave for home, my father offered Sister Margaret a lift, noticing that she was in a dilemma about her travelling from Gulshan to her Holy Cross boardings in Farmgate.

As we travelled past Gulshan-2, she told me stories of what Gulshan looked like in her early days in Dhaka. 51 years back, a younger version of Sister Margaret could be seen strolling around the farmlands of Gulshan, with her Missionary friends. Sister Margaret has come to serve the Bengali people from America. Her nationality, she confirms, is sad, but true. Never once, she says, did she return to her homeland, California, in the 51 years of her service. She would return to America, of course, she confessed, the day she felt herself incapable of serving; that is, according to her, the day her hearing aid and glasses failed her.

Reaching Farmgate, she insisted on being dropped off in front of the Al-Raji hospital. As she bid me farewell, she touched my forehead and said, "May God Bless You."

It surprised me to even think of the fact that, while we, Bangladeshis, wish to settle abroad, people like Sister Margaret not only seek to migrate in countries as gradually developing as ours, but also devote 51years of their lives to serving us. She is no less than an ideal superwoman. To me however, she seemed, for some reason or the other, something more than that. She had been blessed with the ability to leave her mark on the people she came across. That way, she had left her mark in me. While departing, as I told her that I was glad to meet her, I knew that, for once in my life, I had truly meant those words, and not said them solely as courtesy.

By Reesana Sifat Siraj


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