Jubilant @ Jamuna
Jamuna-one of the major names of the river-list of Bangladesh enchants everyone for its astonishing width and depth. For the past five years or so, it has earned another appeal to the people for sustaining one of the county's biggest structures-the Jamuna Bridge. On early January this year, six of my friends: Asif, 'Chingri' (sorry pal), Masum, Sakib, Shifat, Zayed and I, had the opportunity to appreciate this concrete construction and its adjacent area.
We set off from Dhaka airport train station at around 3pm. It took less than three hours of a jiggling ride to Ibrahamabad (the nearest station to the bridge). Upon reaching our destination we were enlightened by the golden sodium lights of the pitch-black approach road. A ten minutes walk then took us to the resort of the Jamuna authority, where a whole big cottage was awaiting our arrival!
People without a previous visit would find it fairly hard to believe that a double-standard accommodation lies on the brink of this river. It is totally a different experience from what we are used to in the hustling-bustling capital. The whole enclosure boasts its beautifully aligned cottages amid trees in rows with brick-laid driveways. Meanwhile, after refreshing ourselves, we got ready for the evening entertainment, thanks to the private company which is in charge for all sorts of privileges a visitor can imagine of. We first checked out the indoor facilities which ranged from billiard, table-tennis, darts and a gym. The evening turned out to be much exhilarating and lively as we were fortunately in time for the occasional concert arranged by the resort authority, performed by professional artists...
It was almost midnight after the concert when we headed back to our guest house and made ourselves comfy and warm from the chill of the winter cold. Back in the full-furnished cottage, some of us then devoted to prepare hot coffees for seven of us which coincidentally matched with the popular song: 'coffee house-r shei adda-ta...' despite the fact we were not in any coffee house! Next, with the bless of our portable speakers we made the air of the house go wild as we enjoyed some catchy songs and dance tracks from our mp3 players and iPod in turns. It was more like a 'partay in da club', sipping on the hot coffee and 'gejafying' almost all night long...
Most likely, the next morning started quite lately, beating the biting cold of the shivering winter. The sun had already peeped through the dense fog as we finished our late breakfast. Now, it was time for heading towards the bridge by the five-door Land Rover we were provided with. It appeared to be an enthusiastic drive over the 4.8km Jamuna Bridge, luckily finding trains on the rail transit both the occasions! A river cruise was on the cards but we had to decline it for some unavoidable circumstances.
On returning back to the resort, we had to warm ourselves up in the winter noon with it's outdoor activities from the likes of basketball, tennis, badminton and football, before venturing into the swimming pool. After spending even less than an hour in there, our jaws were already biting like anything! No problem with the lunch though, as it was a rare example of an 'appetite exhibition'-with everyone fullest to our palate.
The following night and last of the trip was yet again another sleepless one, where we rocked the whole cottage with whatever we had in resource, enriched with a late night walk through the fogs around every corner of the resort... Altogether, it was an exciting visit to the bank of the mighty river. This one will always be a craving one to me and my friends to an infinite extent. We hope to carry on the trend in future in search of another exploring destination...
By Md. Montasir Islam
Sunnydale basketball tournament
It has been only too long, since the wooden-floored Abahani basketball court echoed with the shrill of the whistle, the cheers (or pochanis) of the energized audience chanting a common tune, the thumping of the game ball, the heated cross arguments of opposing coaches, spiteful silence of the players,.
There was once a time when, a couple of years back only, when the matches at Abahani were THE happening events, for the Dhaka teens, next to concerts of course. They showed up in hordes, bunking classes and dropping any clashing event to come and enjoy a good match and cheer on friends. Every final match of these tournaments like the Aktel tournament, Southbreeze-Transcom tournament, BFTS tournament received tremendous media coverage. Clips of these matches were actually included in the 'Sports News' and the usually ignorant participants would crowd in front of their television sets later that night to watch the 'khelar khobor' in every single news in the hope of catching a glimpse of their 2 seconds of fame and they weren't disappointed. But then struck the time of Islamic extremists and holding girls' sporting tournaments or any big event at all, became an issue of controversy and hence, a risk. So the past three years the huge gymnasium saw little or no action.
However, the hosting of the 'Sunnydale Invitational basketball Tournament' (10th-12th Feb) shines towards sports lovers as a ray of hope that could lead us back to the times when such events were common place. The tournament saw the participation of girls' teams from Aga Khan, Green Herald, Play Pen, Sunnydale, Sunbeams and Scholastica, while there were junior boys' teams from the aforementioned schools plus from St. Joseph, Southbreeze, Mapleleaf, Summerfield, Radiant and BIS.
Thursday and Friday were the first rounds, with the gym holding continuous matches from morning till evening. In the mornings it was interesting to see the teens, who usually need parents to throw water on their faces to wake them up on a Friday morning, come trudging into the gym with excited red eyes a grin on their faces and (whether they changed out of their bathroom slippers or not) sure to have an empty plastic bottle for the drum beats. The competitions were fierce even between the energetic fifth grade boys. With sheer determination, the toughest teams made it through to the semis.
Saturday was the day of real suspense. With thumping hearts and jittery hands, the Girls' teams from Green herald and Sunnydale fought the semi finals. It was a smooth sail for the Sunnydale team as they went steadily towards a win of 18-1. The second semis was between Scholastica and Aga Khan, where again the difference was rather striking as Scholastica soared to a win of 24-0. The boys semis were fought between Play Pen and Sunnydale A, where Sunnydale won by a great margin of 19 points. Summerfield and Green Herald (20-11) made it to the second semis and Green Herald with sheer effort and good game play made it to the finals.
The Boys' final was a real close match. The performance of both teams was equally commendable! When I say equal I mean it, because the score was 13-13 with 28 seconds left on the clock. That's when the free shot scored by Green Herald led them to scratching the championship trophy. The Girls' final was a severely competitive match as well. Initially it was Sunnydale on the lead but Scholastica soon caught on and over took them, finally ending the game in a 26-21 win.
The tournament was greatly enjoyed by all participants and spectators. These events bring in a sense of unity, be it while screaming in crowd or when toiling in a team. I am quite sure that I speak on behalf of most sports' lovers when I express my heart-felt gratitude for sponsors, organizers and promoters of these events and I do hope that such initiatives are more frequently taken in the coming days.
By Aniqa Moinuddin
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