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Linking Young Minds Together
  Volume 6 | Issue 33 | August 18, 2012 |


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The Wonders of Rabindra Sharabar

Naziba Basher
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

“There is hardly any place in Dhanmondi where we can just relax and hang out without having to order food! The place is just filled with cafes and restaurants. And, that too, with so many people cramped up in one place.” says Rafid Imam, a student of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).

Students gathering at the amphitheater.

Many wonder why there is no place worthy of spending some quality time with good friends and a few munchies. Many even have their minds made up about the fact that if you want to have a good time with your buddies, Gulshan, Banani or a historical areas in Old Dhaka are the places to be. Where in fact, there is a place right in the heart of Dhanmondi that is not only perfect to make memories with loved ones, but also a place where even the elderly face nostalgia when they walk by it.

Dhanmondi is well known for its lakes. The lakeside walkway is one of the most popular destinations in Dhaka and is usually crowded with people during the evenings. One of the more prominent features of the lakeside walkway is the Rabindra Sharabar, an open air amphitheatre near the Road 8 bridge, where dramas, concerts, and various cultural programmes are held from time to time by both amateur and well known artistes, especially during major festivals and holidays. Rabindra Sharabar has been the hub of life for many students across the area. Not only is it a good place to just take a break after a long, hard day of school, it is also a great place to have the perfect Dhaka delicacies. “The reason I love hanging out at Rabindra Sharabar is the food. We can have a cheap meal here and even though they are completely dipped in oil and have a lot of spices in them, they are absolutely lip-smackingly delicious!” says Shumi Akhtar, a student of University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB).

The 'delicacies' of Rabindra Sharabar.

There is, of course, much more to this place than meets the eyes. From Dynamic Food Court all the way to Kabab Karigor and Soup, there are many stores in every corner of the area that will be sure to serve you a good meal within Tk 100. There is a large variety of Kababs, Chaaps, Luchis and the place is also full of stores that serve the ever-favourite chotpoti and phuchka. “The phuchka in Rabindra Sharabar is my favourite. Every now and then I have a craving for a good plate of phuchka and that is the only place I go to,” says Rafid Jamal, another student of University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh. While some prefer the phuchka and chotpoti, others opt for food a little heavier. Rubaiya Mohsin, a student of Stamford University, for one, loves the liver bhuna from Kabab Karigor and Soup.

A group of young friends taking the pressure off with music.

The place is rarely empty as it is always buzzing with students and people from different walks of life. Mohammad Jalil, a food joint owner says, “The one reason I like my job as a store owner here is because of the crowd. Students from different universities and different backgrounds always fascinate me. I love interacting with them and I have some regular customers who are all very young and close to me. They have literally grown up in front of my eyes and I have made some good friends here.” Like him, Razzak, a seven-year-old who helps a phuchka vendor says, “Some of the bhaiyas and apus come here regularly and are always very nice to me. They come here and have a lot of fun and they always include me as well. I feel like I am their sibling.” Rabindra Sharabar is not only a place for the youngsters, there is a long lakeside walkway where friends, aunties, uncles and couples are all walking and talking their hearts out to each other. Rafiquzzaman, a business man who lives in the area, says, “I come here to walk every night after dinner and now that it is Ramadan, I come after iftaar. The place is always buzzing with kids. It reminds me of my childhood when I used to hang out with my friends. The environment is great. It's fun yet peaceful. Sometimes I ask my friends to join me for a walk because I feel like having the kind of hang outs these kids have.”

Filled with snacks at cheap prices.

With 'Dingi' right near the amphitheatre, many choose to take a boat ride along the lake with their favourite people to have some special moments and create memories. Others plan a sports day out and play football, cricket or any other sport that they like with everyone around, young or old.

Young students meeting up at Rabindra Sharabar for group studies and a little bit of 'adda'.

“I come here a lot with my friends. We are all getting our Master's degrees and we all have jobs. So handling school and work is very hectic for us. Sometimes we need to catch a break and this is the place we choose to do just that. I bring my guitar along with me and usually after a nice meal, my friends and I just lie back and sing our favourite songs. It really helps us take the pressure off for the two or three hours that we spend there,” says Shujon Ahmed, a student of Dhaka University. On the other hand, Tabassum Shorna, also from Dhaka University, says, “I come here sometimes with my friends. We are not regulars here but when we do come, we have a very good time. Even though there are people everywhere you look, you get a sense of privacy because people are just minding their own business and having fun in their own way. It is best here when it's a little dark, say at around 8 pm. My friends and I just sit by the lake and spend hours catching up on each others' lives.”

Playing football, with the known or unknown, is a regular task at the amphitheater.
Youngsters making memories at Rabindra Sharabar.

As Eid comes closer, people all over the country are making grand plans for the prestigious day. Some plan to visit their relatives and spend the day with cousins, some plan on staying home with mom and dad and some have parties at their friends' places. On a different note, there are those who have the excitement and spirit of Eid within them but just do not know where to go and enjoy that very spirit.

With the perfect ambience and the breezy evening, one could really use the time to breathe and just let go. If you are not a fan of spending hours at a cafe full of people and then having to pay loads to have a good time, Rabindra Sharabar is perfect for you. Indulge in the buzzing evenings of the amphitheatre and be sure to get addicted to the wonder that is Rabindra Sharabar.

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