Walif and I Did Something Together…!

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2021-04-13 01:45:00.0 BDST

My happy almost-nine-year-old big baby boy Walif and I.

Walif and I did something together. It started off crazy but ended with us in fits of laughter.

Walif has autism. Some sensations cause sensory overload and causes him to go out on full-blown panic attacks. This is why it has usually been very hard to get him haircuts since he was 3 years old.

Yesterday, after a late dinner (around quarter to ten p.m.), he wanted me to let him use my PC for a while. As it was late and closer to his bed time, I made a deal with him, if he let me clip his unsized hair, I would allow him to use my PC. Generally, he would not take this deal, but surprisingly, today he simply said “okay”.

The powerful vibration of hair clippers along with the sensation of clipped hair that falls on his shoulders and arms send his sensory overload into maximum overdrive if he is not slowly conditioned into it before a haircut; and that is why I started by using my fingers and my beard trimmer to size down hair on the top of his head first. When he was okay with the feeling, I used a comb and the trimmer. The top was good to go but needed some finishing touches, but the side and the back needed work. Since he was now completely fine with the vibrating sensation of the trimmer, I told him to just run the body of the trimmer over his head while I went and located the hair clippers in the next room – this was ensure he stayed comfortable during the second phase of the haircut.. The plan was to use a 12mm clipper guard on the top and then taper down the sides with a fade, manually.

Unable to find the kit, when I returned to my home office 5 minutes later, I see a slightly panicking Walif touching his head and looking super worried. Yes, he actually got comfortable enough with the beard trimmer to fiddle with it and took out a straight line of hair, centered and halfway down his head! I came in and said it was okay, but now having felt the empty space with his hands, he starting crying.

I quickly took him to the bathroom and slowly trimmed off all the remaining hair. He calmed down a little but was still a little upset, so to normalize the situation, I took him to the mirror to see he still looked handsome. Wrong move! He started bawling! I comforted him and trimmed the remaining hair from the back and sides of his head extra slowly (as to him, the area behind the ears is the most sensitive to the sensation and sound of the vibration). He was upset, this was a sensation he had not felt in the last 7+ years! To put his mind at east, I took my trimmer and started trimming my hair off. This instantly calmed him down. Just as I was done taking the hair off my scalp, the trimmer ran out of charge! Now he was laughing and I was panicking! I put Walif in the shower trying to figure out how to use scissors and a straight edge razor to clear the back of my head.

From next door, my mother, Walif’s beloved grandmother, summoned me. Since my wife Jessics is feeling unwell, she was going to ask me to keep the little one with me tonight in my home office. I panicked double! My mother would kill me if she saw Walif’s head all shaved, and mine halfway there! This full-grown thirty-five-year-old man panicked like a five-year-old child who did something wrong and was trying to hide it! From outside the door, I talked to her and told her “something happened and now Walif’s head is shaved. She went off on me in the quietest, coldest voice – “I was just telling your father today, no one touches his hair until after his birthday is over in a week.”

I rushed back to my room, Walif was still in the shower, he was actually enjoying the sensation of the cold water on his bare head. He asked me for some shampoo, which he put on his bare head and giggled a little, that is until the shampoo quickly ran down to his eyes. A quick rinse and pat down with the towel, and he was ready to go.

I finally found the hair clippers I was looking for, but it was too late. I shaved his head and my head and now the both of us are baldies. Walif could not stop touching his head and mine and smiling. I finally sat him down to take a selfie and this is when he finally saw the end result – his bald head! He found it funny! The pictures speak for themselves. Overall, what had turned into a moment of sadness for Walif had eventually become a fun experience later on.

This is not the first time that I have had experience sizing up his hair. In this house, in this very room, around four and a half years ago, a similar situation occured, but back then, Walif had his head full of hair while I had lost half of mine.

Oh well, as the other WS (William Shakespeare) had said, “all’s well that ends well”.

Teaching, mentoring, communication and work

Some of my fantastic kids who worked with me on a grand audiovisual project for 21 February, 2020.

As a teacher, officially, I have spent only about three years as a lecturer at a reputed university in Bangladesh. But as a mentor, I cannot remember how long I have been the go-to person for so many. People I have helped in life have gone far, very far, farther than I have so far. My joy lies in their success. I wish I could go that far, but I have always seemed to play second fiddle in the greater scheme of things in life by choice. When I did have a chance of breaking out, I was not as careful or understanding of how the world works; to my defense, I was in my 20s, and thank God, it was then that I let things slip a little bit and not later. The best part about that phase of my life is that, now in hindsight, I am a lot more careful, patient, calm, understanding of situations and headstrong.

This blog post will be a little bit about my life and how I became the mentor, guide, and communicator that I am today.

Growing up in a somewhat liberal household with loving parents, an amazing grandfather and a super sister, I had family support for pursuing whatever I wanted to pursue, but this was much later in my youth. My sister was, and still is, the star of our family. Poetry and dance competitions on the radio and national television, arts, studies, she aced everything that she did. I on the other hand was much more of a black sheep. My mother did not know what I was exactly interested in or good at other than playing with He-Man and G.I. Joe action figures and making sound effects with my mouth. I wouldn’t do any of what my sister did. She was a good sketch artist and a painter, I was not even much enthusiastic about my art classes, she was into classical and folks dancing, singing, all of it! She aced all her exams in school. She was the star of the school. I always grew up in her shadow.

I was a bad student because I was bad at mathematics. And by bad, I mean really very bad. But then again, there is a good reason for that. I went to a school that I generally have fond memories of, but not all memories are great. I was bullied by other students because I was the skinny short boy who was liked by all teachers as a good pupil, but also the student who the teachers did not have much hope for because I simply failed to understand mathematics much. Well, how could I? From the age of 9 to the age of 15, I was constantly scolded, sometimes hit and mostly looked down upon by my math teachers who were supposed to be caring and nurturing. My third grade teacher called me “lazy” she let my mother know that my weakness was that I was a “lazy boy” when it came to mathematics, that I was not enthusiastic, that I took no interest in learning. My sixth grade teacher termed me as a “daydreamer” as if it was something bad. During my mathematics classes, I would often look out the fourth floor classroom window at the trees and the birds, they calmed me down tremendously. My daze would be broken when a flying blackboard duster would hit my arm of my chest, yes, corporal punishment was all fine back in the 1990s and early 2000s even in the renowned private schools in Bangladesh. I feared mathematics because it was ingrained within me that I was not good enough at it.

My high school years were spent between Bangladesh and the USA. An art teacher in my final semester of high school in the USA showed to me what nurturing is, how teachers should be. She was the best, she is still the best. I am still in touch with her. She is one of the best friends I will ever have because she made me feel like I mattered. She has no idea of what a dark hole she pulled me out of as I was going through moments of massive uncertainty in my life.

I went to the same university as my sister did. There, I started off decently, but then my CGPA plummeted. Why? Ah, the heartbreaks of young lovers. Yes, like a fool I let it affect me. But if it was just that, it would be more acceptable to me because it would have been my carelessness, thus my fault. Unfortunately, initially I had declared Marketing as my major. I thought I would do fine, my sister studied it, heck, she graduated as a Summa Cum Laude, top 1% student in America! Furthermore, my father was a quiet leader and pioneer in advertising in Bangladesh. Surely, it would be easy for me, right? Of course I needed to work hard, but when I was not doing too well at times, my teachers, yes, my university teachers would call me out in front of the class, and ask me what was wrong with me because my sister was such an amazing student, among the very best they ever had in their classes. One of the teachers (who is still my sister’s favorite) even showed a presentation in class once as an example of what our final presentations should look like. It was my sister’s presentation. This teacher upon opening up the presentation gave me a look of utter disappointment. I was crushed. I felt utterly defeated. I was not good enough anymore. I stopped attending classes the same way I had during my high school years in Bangladesh. You see, I never missed a class in my final year of high school in the USA because I had caring teachers. My spirits were lifted when I went into their classes. My university teachers crushed my spirits again. And then in my third year of undergraduate studies I finally figured out what I was cut out for and changed my major. I got teachers who were much more caring, understanding and encouraged me to keep at it even when my grades were down. I ended up doing enough to pull-up my CGPA up decently in my final year. Though it was not the best, I am glad I learned lessons from those years of not doing so well in my studies.

I moved back to Bangladesh. I got married, I got a job, I resigned from that job because there was a lack of honesty and transparency in the working culture of the company, I co-founded a film production house with my friends but our working styles did not match because I was too serious for their easy-going working culture. I opened my photography studio and within days of that, my first child was born. I also freelanced as a filmmaker. Both the photography studio and the freelance filmmaker gig were failed ventures because I could not do more than breaking even due to a variety of reasons.

Down on luck? Give up? No. I kicked into full gear. The need for stability was growing, I was maturing. I went onto work for one of the largest technology companies in the country, looking after their internal and external communication. I went for trainings to Singapore at my own expense because I needed to grow for the company I worked for. Then my wife fell ill. She suffered from bilateral pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and dengue fever. Her right lung had full consolidation as did 85% of her left lung which also partially collapsed. She had 10% chance of survival. Our son was not even 2 years old. Thankfully she fought hard and survived. 31 days across 3 hospitals, half of the time was in the ICU and on life support. Life was changing fast. I did well at my job, but there was a glass ceiling and bureaucracy which I did not understand yet. I was working full-time and studying for a master’s degree full-time. I had 11 As and 2 A-s in my graduate studies and I graduated with a CGPA of 3.95 out of 4! I took part in a special research project from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I was then invited to go to UCSD’s prestigious Global Leadership Institute (GLI) as a visiting scholar for an entire semester. I now knew that I could achieve anything I put my mind to.

From my teenage years well into my 20s, I was quite cocky. No, I was not arrogant or over-confident, I had a pride not bad ego, my ego faded over time, but I was cocky. Becoming a father and then with my parents getting older, I got calmer, more patient and I was slowly becoming the person that I am today. I was doing great in branding, marketing, communication, public relations and even though I was so passionate about photography, film production, music and graphic communications, every place that hired me placed me in a communication management role because I was always good at it.

I was a boy scout, I excelled at it. I was a part of the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in the high school I went to in California. I was always a leader and I always liked to take the weakest cadets under my wings and bring out their fullest potential. I guided some of my cousins, some of my junior friends, especially through their undergraduate studies journey. I gave career counselling to many. None of this ever stopped. I still do it for my students, current and graduated.

I consulted briefly for an international communications agency before joining the university I currently work at. When I joined, I expected to be hired to teach film editing and film production related courses under the Digital Film and Television Production major, yet I was chosen to teach Public Relations major courses because of my experience and field of study. I took on the challenge and I loved every minute of it. I love to teach just because I get to share my knowledge with so many bright youths. They are beyond amazing. Even the so-called “worst” students are just misunderstood. There will always be a few who will give you a hard time no matter how nice you are to them, but majority will always cooperate.

As a teacher, I employ empathy. I am a teacher, a mentor, a guide and as most students consider, more of an elder brother and a friend. I see the potential in the worst student because I see my younger self in them. I do not wish to be like the unfair bad teachers who gave me a life-long fear of mathematics and instilled in me the thought that I am not good enough. If a student does bad in my class, they are open to discussion with me, I provide chances to improve and share with them where they went wrong. Openness, transparency and critiquing.

Critiquing is not the same as criticizing. Critiquing is scrutinizing and analyzing the work done and measuring it’s merit based on assessment rubrics, it is telling the student where they went wrong and what they could have done for a better result. Criticizing is judging and disapprovingly indicating faults. The teachers who believe criticism is good are often the ones who say some students “deserve” a bad grade. I am allergic to the word “deserve”. There are assessment rubrics to go by and a student earns what they get. We cannot be the judge, jury and executioner and say what someone deserves. We are no one to say that. Students deserve what they earn, but we cannot outright say they deserve something if we have failed to bring them up when their grades are down. We as teachers have to try as hard as possible. We only stop when the time is up and the student has not cooperated. This requires a lot of energy. Understandably, it is not something everyone can do. It can be draining, tiring, and some students can take teachers for granted. Caring so much can be a double-edged sword and so anyone wishing to go down this road of never giving up on their students need to be weary of what lies ahead and how to handle all types of students.

As a teacher, I am extremely energetic in class and try to engage all my students in conversations. I help them when they need it and I try to lift them up when they are down because if we have synergy in class, everything works out fine. In my class, there are no “stupid questions” because the only stupid thing to do is not asking a question and then performing badly at a task. Students in my class have the liberty to ask me a hundred questions. If they are hesitant to ask a question in class, they can come to my desk (pre-COVID-19 days), email me, or call me. They can even call me as a group. No one should be left out. If everyone in my class feels secure about participating, no one will perform badly due to a lack of communication. Communication is key here! I got to visit the London School of Public Relations – Jakarta, as a visiting lecturer. Thankfully my thorough knowledge of interpersonal and intercultural communication came in handy there. Through practical experience, what I learned about teaching and learning there, I came back and shared with my students so that they can become better global citizens.

This job is very demanding and energy sapping. Yet my ultimate reward is in seeing my students (or as I like to call them, my kids) succeed. That is the only thing that makes me love this job. That is the only reason why I teach. Sometimes I think I have invested too much time into teaching. I did. I do. Sometimes I need some time to look after myself, my family and think about what is good for myself and my family. Is it selfish to think that way? Maybe it is, but sometimes it is needed. What will happen to my kids at the university when I am no longer around? I will perhaps be able to be their brother and friend for real then. Ah, there is always a silver lining, isn’t there? Positive thinking is the key to success, always.

The key takeaways from this long post is that empathy, understanding, nurturing, listening and then speaking, giving everyone a second chance (if there is an opportunity to do so), communicating transparently, explaining patiently, creating a strong synergy and lifting everyone up when they are down are a few of the most important things that can make a classroom, a family, a team at work, perform to the best of their abilities.

I was a rebel in picking up the guitar, forming a band and performing on stage, I was a rebel in becoming a documentary filmmaker and wishing to open a photography studio, my family supported me every step of the way albeit being a little confused about what I wished to do with it all at first, but life persisted in putting all my interests in a box because it had other plans for me. I am a flower in bloom a little late in life, but the best I can be is a mentor, a guide, a communicator, a team builder and a selfless person who wishes to do his best at his job. I hope I can continue to rise and all that is good in life will shine upon me for me, for my family, most importantly for my sons and my aging parents.

My Grandfather Now Lives Inside My Heart.

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2017-08-02 2:50:00.0 BDST

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It’s 2:04 AM here in Dhaka right now. As I have been working through these last few hours, something felt a little amiss.

As I minimized Microsoft Word, I got my answer as Facebook open on my web browser showed me it.

There he was. My paternal grandfather. The man I loved so much and who loved me back so much more, looking straight back at me with the most beautiful placid smile I have ever witnessed on a human being.

I felt restless. I still feel restless. The feeling is unknown, unnamed. I left everything on in my room and headed upstairs, blank and dazed, in the dark, stumbling, my mind numb.

Through the open floor blanketed in complete darkness I walked straight to his room. I don’t know why I just did so, but I did. Perhaps hoping to feel his presence. No, I wanted to feel his presence. I wanted to see his smile. I wanted to see him smiling that placid smile.

As I turned the lights on, the room was empty. His bed is still here. Resting on it is one of his favorite shirts and bottoms. Both freshly washed. Still, his clothes smell of him.

As I lie on his bed right now, I write this not because I want to be heard, but because I want to know what this feeling is of. This yearning for those whose physical presence is gone but memories linger on so strongly.

I just realized something. I took that handsome picture of my best friend on August 2, 2013. Today is August 2, 2017. It has been 4 years to this day that he smiled at me for that photograph. I guess it just felt like yesterday when I saw it a little while earlier.

Dada, I love you and miss you terribly. You are always on the back of my mind and will always be in my heart, my thoughts and in my prayers. My mentor, my first idol, my hero, my teacher, my best friend. Take care in heaven old man. Heaven was made for people like you.

I love you. I miss you. I cannot repeat it enough times to make anyone understand how true those feelings are. I will always remain selfish when claiming you as my Dada because you will always be MY Dada only as life had given me the blessings and the privilege to be your only grandchild to have spent more time in the same house as you than any of the others.

Stay well and please watch over us. I know you are here in spirit. I love you to the moon and back and through to my afterlife.

The Trial and Death of My Hair!

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2016-10-18 1:20:00.0 BDST

Buzzcut

Photo: Wafi Aziz Sattar

My four-year-old son hates haircuts. He has beautiful, soft, curly hair. It’s all fluffy and makes him look super cute, but it does need to be trimmed down every now and then or else he looks like Mowgli and gets all hot in the humid Dhaka weather.

So I was looking on Amazon for a hair trimmer he might be okay with, and fortunately at the same time my father got one for him.

After giving it a try earlier yesterday afternoon when he was asleep (he did not like it last night when I introduced him to his own, personal hair trimmer), and failing miserably, I tried to acclimate him to it later in the night.

I played and read his favorite book of nursery rhymes with background music, played a couple of rounds of Digimon Heroes on my phone with him because he loves it, and then put on his favorite ABC songs and all his favorite nursery rhymes on YouTube. Doing this helped in me getting him to take the trimmer from me, and despite being hesitant, he was okay with it, but as soon as I took it back and trimmed a tiny bit of hair from the side of his head, he freaked out at the sight of his hair coming off (oh darn it!).

So unlike the traditional father, I did what modern dad’s do. I played it by example. I let my little munchkin have at it on my head. He freaked, he was okay, and then when I pretended to cry, he had fun. He drove it like a lawn mower on my head, and I let him.

So after the abstract hair art on my head was completed by him, I approached to trim his hair again, and again he freaked out. I let him watch me size up the hair on my head. He watched me, and also his favorite rhymes on YouTube, but he kept checking up on me, making sure I was there, entertaining him!

And when I was done and it was his turn, he took the trimmer from me and turned it off (see picture), and as I tried to take it from him nicely, he shrieked out loud, dropped it on the floor and ran to his grandparents upstairs!

So what’s the real bummer in all of this? After trying for an hour, I lost my hair, I would be totally okay with it if he’d let me trim his hair down. And tomorrow my mother will freak out at my buzz cut (or maybe now if she’s awake and reading this on Facebook).

Ah the trials of a modern father. It’s fun, but the kids are getting naughtier these days. In all honesty though, I don’t think we should change a thing.

P.S. I’m balding!

Significance of Peace.

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-09-21 13:30:00.0 BDST

International Symbol of Peace

Good day folks,

Sorry if this post bores you, that is not my intention. You can skip this and watch your cat videos if you wish to. For those who choose to read on, if ignorance is bliss and oblivion is what you dwell in, I hope this post makes you think a little bit harder about togetherness with all those you consider ‘different’, and some (if not a lot) negativity towards divisiveness.

What is the significance of peace? In fact, what is peace? These questions may seem silly to most people who already ‘feel’ they understand the meaning of peace and are for it, yet secretly or unknowingly go about doing things in their lives that go against everything peace stands for. This hypocrisy is not due to misunderstanding what peace is, but rather a lack of will to learn the whole meaning of what peace is, and furthermore, a lack of willingness to practice it for selfish reasons.

Unity, community, understanding, amicability, accessibility, open-mindedness, respect, empathy, sympathy, peace, love and oneness is what peace is all about globally.

Racism, religious hatred, communal hatred, xenophobia, chauvinism, ethnocentrism, misogyny, sexism, semitism and antisemitism, prejudice, bigotry, nativism and even resistant traditionalism are all forms of extremism and bias against peace, friendship and respect towards each other.

Change yourself if you wish for the world to be ‘nicer’ to you. No matter how ‘negative’ the other person may ‘seem’ to you and how much of that you may have actually made up in your mind, remember, when you are judging, it is you who is making that conscious decision to judge. And when you spew hatred from your mouth, it is you again who is making that deplorable action. Unless the other person or persons is literally poison for you and have caused you literal psychological, physiological, or in this fake world, material harm, the problem of judging someone based on your preconceived notion that they must be bad because you must be good, makes you the problem. Change yourself if you wish to change the world.

Remember that a good life starts when we all can coexist in harmony. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had said best,

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community”

Hoping for peace, love and a better world from all of you, I am signing off this post on International Day of Peace and wishing you all have a blessed pro-peace and hate-free life.

Love,
Wafi Aziz Sattar

Kontho Joddha: Voices of Freedom, for Freedom, by the Free

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-04-03 09:00:00.0 BDST

Kontho Joddha Shukti Mahalanobish Chowdhury

Photo: Pritam Chowdhury

The history books of Bangladesh have taught us a lot about the valiant freedom fighters of the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation but seldom has any of them talked about the heroics of the “Kontho Joddha” (Voice Warriors) who played a pivotal role in raising the confidence and creating a positive psyche in the minds of the freedom fighters and the citizens of Bangladesh during the war.

I had the opportunity to interview one such silent hero, Mrs. Shukti Mahalanobish Chowdhury, who along with her elder sister Bulbul Mahalanobish formed the core of the group of singers for Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro back in 1971. Below are the excerpts of the interview:

Wafi Aziz Sattar (WAS): Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your childhood and upbringing.

Shukti Mahalanobish Chowdhury (SMC): Hello, my name is Shukti Mahalanobish, Chowdhury after marriage. I was a singer at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. I am a “Kontho Joddha”. I was born and raised in Narida, Old Dhaka. My hometown is in Bikrampur, Pachashar. I have never been there. We are 6 siblings, 4 sisters and 2 brothers. I am the 3rd child.

WAS: Let me ask you first, how did you get involved with Shadhin Bangla Betar Kenro and how did you travel to West Bengal in 1971?

SMC: I can’t remember exactly, most probably in the middle of April or May. I went there along with my family. We were living in Kanchara Para, my sister was involved in a renowned drama titled “Jallader Durbar” on Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. Mr. Raju Ahmed who played the lead role of Yahya Khan was our family friend. He offered Didi to join the Betar.  I would accompany my elder sister Bulbul Mahalanobish to the Betar Kendra. It was then that I got involved with them.

WAS: Please tell us a little bit about your feelings and experience of that time. How was the lodging and food situation for you back then?

SMC: I was about 13 or 14 years old back then. We had to leave our house, our country and go to an unknown land where we were refugees. But we never lived in a refugee camp. My uncle lived in Kanchrapara, West Bengal. We rented a house in the railway colony since my Mesho (aunt’s husband) worked in the railway and we could manage to lower the rent. My father lived in Kuchbihar, he was there for his work. He would send us money with which my mother would manage all the family expenses. Then Didi and I started singing for Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. We were paid a lump sum amount from the Betar.

My mother would manage all the expenses. Of course as refugees we did not get to eat good food. When we were in Dhaka, we never ate things like Water Lily, but there that was what we had to eat very frequently. My youngest sister was 4 then. She wanted to eat eggs and meat which was unimaginable for us to acquire at the time. My mother tried her best with her cooking skills to make the food edible for us. At Betar, we did not get food. Once in a while maybe some snack.

WAS: Were you often reminded of your relatives and other loved ones? What were your thoughts on the future?

SMC: My entire family moved to India. I had never encountered war before and unlike the matured children of today’s time, I was not matured enough to understand what war was or of the consequences it brings, but I could guess it from my mother’s face that it was bad. She was worried all the time. I did not like the life there; I wanted to come back as soon as possible. I wanted the war to end soon. There were so many people who suffered. My sister had just got married, and my brother in law (Mr. Sarit Kumar Lala) had joined the war as a Freedom Fighter. We wanted him to come back to us safe and sound. Thankfully, he did come back to us alive and well.

WAS: How did you get into music?

SMC: Didi was the one who took music lessons. Her teacher would come to our house. I would join to play the Tanpura. All my siblings were students of Konchi-Kanchar Mela, a music and art school established by Rokunuzzaman Khan Dadabhai. Mr. Shukhendu Chakraborty was our teacher. So music was a part of my family tradition. I later joined Chayanot as a student of Rabindro Shongeet.

WAS: How was the relationship between the artists there? What of the other refugees and locals? How helpful were they?

SMC: All of us were refugees there. So we were all a tight-knit team and had a strong bond among us. We knew this was how we were serving the country during its time of grave crisis. Poeple around us were very helpful as well. They were empathetic.

WAS: Did you often have to travel afar for singing?

SMC: I was not one of those who had to travel and sing. I only sang at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro.

WAS: When did you first get to know that we were liberated, that we were had won and become a free nation?

SMC: I don’t exactly remember when that was. We were hearing of the possibilities, and it was most probably on the morning of 16th December that we heard that Niyaji was to surrender to the Indo-Bangladesh joint army troops.

WAS: When did you come back to free Bangladesh? Please tell us a little bit about your feeling back then.

SMC: Sometime in mid-January we returned as a family. We came back to Dhaka. The feeling cannot be expressed in words. I was almost accustomed to the war living and then suddenly the sense of freedom. Coming back to a free land felt like I was able to breathe again. But this time it was different, I could breathe free.

WAS: How do you feel when you reminisce of your days at Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro?

SMC: Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro was born during a time of crisis. All the members of the radio station gave it their all to help the country, but I feel that our task is not over yet. Recently we have been united again to spread the original history, the real songs, the original tunes, the names of the original lyrisists, music composers and singers to the new generation. We did not sing for recognition, but now that we have a country of our own, I feel it is our just duty to ensure that history of the times passed exists.

I feel very proud to have been a part of Shadhin bangla Betar Kendro. Although I never held a rifle, I used my voice as a weapon for the cause of freedom. I feel priviledged to have been a part of the Bangladesh War of Independence. I have raised my two children, a son and a daughter, with the same spirit of becoming a responsible citizen of Bangladesh.

WAS: Thank you very much for your time and this insightful interview.

SMC: Thank you for your interest in knowing about us, the group of Kontho Joddha of 1971.

A Promising Start for the Adventure Club Bangladesh

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-03-26 09:00:00.0 BDST

Inauguration Ceremony of the Adventure Club Bangladesh

Photo: B-Cube

The Adventure Club Bangladesh held its inauguration ceremony at the prestigious Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on March 25th. The event was held to bring together all stakeholders, decision makers and influencers who deeply care and want to change the tourism industry of the country.

The Adventure Club is an organization that is officially patronized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Government of Bangladesh and is an initiative of the Build Better Bangladesh Foundation (B-Cube Foundation).

The purpose of this ceremony was to introduce the functions that Adventure Club Bangladesh wishes to serve in the tourism sector by creating a network and engaging the youth of Bangladesh in the tourism sector to help create trends through adventure, thereby branding and presenting Bangladesh Tourism in an entirely new, trendy and glorified manner.

The chief guest at the event was Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, Honourable Minister of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, and the special guests were Mr. Khurshid Alam Chowdhury, Honourable Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Mr. Akhtaruz Zaman Khan Kabir, CEO, Bangladesh Tourism Board, and Mr. Mario Hardy, CEO of Pacific Asia Travel Association.

Mr. Menon spoke highly of the initiative and highlighted the positivity that the organization will bring through its work for the development of the tourism infrastructure by ensuring community development and it’s special focus on policy advocacy in affiliation with the Bangladesh Government. Panelists at the preceding discussion reciprocated their support and offered valuable insights and ideas to all attendees at the event.

The half-day long inauguration ceremony expressed much positivity about the organization and its goals which is surely a promising start to a great initiative to bolster the hot and cold tourism sector of Bangladesh.

Rotary Club Bangladesh District Conference 2015 Held

Wafi Aziz Sattar
Published: 2015-03-15 09:00:00.0 BDST

The Rotary Club Bangladesh District Conference 2015

Photo: Wafi Aziz Sattar

The Rotary Club Bangladesh held its District Conference 2015 at the Bashundhara Convention City in Dhaka from March 13th to March 14th. The event was chaired by Past President Rotarian Mr. Humayun Rashid of Dhaka North and presided over by the current District Governor Rotarian Mrs. Safina Rahman and the was attended by Mr. Ku, Chineg-Cheng (Tiger Ku.), the HonoraryRotary International President’s Representative. The special guest for announcing the commencement of the event was Mr. Abul Mal Abdul Muhit, Honorary Finance Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

The two-day long event was attended by all Rotarians from every chapter from all over Bangladesh. There were multiple sessions and panel discussions at the event all discussing the various successes and upcoming projects that are to be undertaken by the Rotary Club Bangladesh chapters to bring development, peace and prosperity across all levels of society.

Some of the key projects to be undertaken by the Rotary Club this year are CPR training, solving water and sanitation issues in the slum and rural areas, making a difference in communities through implementation of sustainable service projects, administering a successful microcredit program among the ultra-poor, and tackling the literacy mission in Bangladesh.

The program successfully ended on the second day with reflection on the year passed, introduction of future Rotary leaders, the Rotary Foundation contribution and recognition and a cultural show.