Not many people travel around the country as a part of their job, so I consider myself extremely fortunate. Since the last 10 years, Celebrating Life has been one of Bangladesh's premier lyric, film and photography competition. After the competition, the winning entries are showcased in 12 districts, and those district tours are one of the most enjoyable aspects of working with Celebrating Life.
We recently finished touring four districts, where we visited Mymensingh’s Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Dhaka's Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University and Cox's Bazar Government College. Although we only did a photography exhibition in Cox's Bazar and Mymensingh, there were concerts at Jahangirnagar University and Chittagong University.
We opened up our travel diaries with Mymensingh, and I must say that it was a smooth experience. When we got there at 9 am in the morning, there was nothing left to do than to thank the team that had worked for us while organizing the program. The photography exhibition was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor at 10 am, and it was packed to the brim afterwards. Mr. Al-Zabir, an assistant professor in the Theatre and Performance Studies Department, deserves a special mention for his crucial help and support. The program ended on 6 pm, and we started for our next destination: Jahangirnagar University.
Band music is extremely popular within the young generation, and I myself am a big fan. Whenever there is a concert in a university, the excitement and happiness can be felt in the atmosphere and it was no different in JU. The concert was supposed to be on 19th September at 6 pm, and we overheard the students talking about it from the day before. They were worried that it might not take place because of the rain, as they did not want to miss out on a stellar performance by Chirkutt. We had to shift the concert venue to Zahir Rayhan Auditorium from the Selim Al Deen Mukto Moncho. Since Celebrating Life believes in promoting new and fresh talent, we brought in the upcoming and talented band “Doob” to perform for us. To be honest, I was a little worried about how the crowd would react to them, but I was awestruck by their performance and reception. The crowd absolutely loved their two lead vocalists, Sadi and Upama. The band was a breath of fresh air, and the crowd reactions only increased after each of their renditions of songs in their signature fusion style. Since we were a little short on time, we had to stop them to make way for the headliners, Chirkutt. I was eagerly awaiting my favorite Chirkutt song, Morey Jabo, so I stood beside the stage anxiously waiting. I noticed that the crowd not only sang along with their famous numbers, but their reactions to their recent playback songs in films were immense. It makes me wonder if they will sing for films more often! The event was organized with the help of Jahangirnagar's TSC, and they had arranged a fulfilling meal for us after the concert.
We, of course, had no time to waste. We instantly left for Chittagong, where there were a huge slew of fans waiting. Not my fans, of course! Fans of Band Lalon! When the event started at Chittagong University, I could not believe the reception that Band Lalon got. When we reached there, word was already in the air that they are going to perform, and a huge amount of people turned up even though there weren't any classes on 22nd September. Even though the concert was scheduled to start at 3 pm, the hall was completely full around 2. When the concert started, it was packed to the brim, there wasn't even an inch spared. The crowd went crazy, and you could not hear the vocalist’s voice because literally every single person in the hall was singing along. It was near uncontrollable after a while, as the fans invaded the stage to take pictures with the band. It was truly an amazing sight.
As our next destination was Cox's Bazar, I had thought that we can relax by the beaches for a while. How wrong I was! The weather was so bad that it felt like a complete anti-climax from the past few days. However, the students at Cox's Bazar Government School thoroughly enjoyed our exhibition, especially the film Joker Tel. After every event, Celebrating Life's Festival Director Rafi Hossain and Standard Chartered Bank's Head of Corporate Affairs Bitopi Das Chowdhury speeches resonated what I thoroughly agreed with, let us celebrate all youth, talent and life with Celebrating Life.
By Abdullah Al Amin Rubel