Lalon Geeti is My Life
We know her as an artiste of Lalon's Sufi songs. She is synonymous with the art form in Bangladesh. She has shared her memories of growing up in a rural setting with us. Since Insight is particularly interested in settings outside Dhaka, this is a story through Farida Parvin's eyes
Was any part of your life spent in a village? If so, which village?
Since my father was a doctor by profession, we had to move around and live in different places very often. A part of my time as a child, as I can recall, before and during the liberation war was spent in a village called Kolom Gram in Natore. This was only one of the small villages that constituted the village of Shaoeel in Natore and there, I used to live among my maternal and paternal cousins as both sides of the family lived there at that time. A great part of my childhood was also spent in Kushtia.
Do you have any special memories of your days in the village?
Since such a large portion of my childhood was spent in that village, I hold my memories of that time very dear to my heart. We were all in school then, so going to school with all my cousins is something I will always cherish. Not everybody gets the chance to go to school and have so much fun with their closest cousins all the time. We used to bathe in the river water which was an experience by itself. Apart from fishing sometimes, we used to find Kingfishers' nests to steal their eggs. All these are simple things that I found the most happiness in doing but what I miss most of all is the date juice that we used to relish and have in winter. The smell and the very taste of the pure date juice fresh off the tree have remained ingrained in my being since childhood. One does not find such pure juice in the city and so it is very difficult to explain the fun of having puffed rice with date juice or having pitha dipped in the juice. It is not as though date juice is not available at all these days. It is available, but I feel a very stark difference in the taste of the juice we have now and that which we used to have in the village as children. Memories of life in Kolom Gram and later Kushtia are the most pleasant memories of my life and I cherish them greatly.
What inspires you?
I am basically a very simple person as I believe and find happiness in leading a simple life. It is the simplicity of things that inspires and drives me. Ever since my early years, I have always felt an attachment with my soil- my motherland. That is also why I eventually pursued and learned Lalon Geeti. I have always felt a connection with the works of Lalon Fokir and they leave me inspired always. As for poets and writers who I find inspiring, Jibananondo Das's poems are ones that best suit my personality. I have always been more interested in music than literature but when it comes to novels, I love reading the works of Rabindranath Tagore. However, it is Lalon Geeti that my life literally revolves around. There are a lot of people who are interested in learning Lalon's style of music, but unfortunately there is very limited source of learning the correct form of Lalon's style from. This is why I, myself train children in Lalon Geeti so that the future generation can indulge in and enjoy this form of music, which I believe is not just a form of music but a way of life.
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