• Thursday, October 02, 2014

LIVING WITH THE STARS

He bondhu, he shokha amar

Rafi Hossain

Fahmida's career in music began in the 80s, and because she grew up in a family of artists and was under the tutelage of her father, Mahmudunnabi, she picked up the basics easily. Her father was a celebrity singer, and this gave both her and her sister access to mainstream singing. Samina, her sister, although younger, became the first star of the family. And due to various issues, Fahmida's career became stagnant in 1987, and she was gone completely from the music scene. For a time, she was not in the country either. But there is a sense of destiny about her, because, thirteen years later, in 2001, she re-launched herself in Bangladesh as a singer, as a performer. And she slowly cemented herself amongst the big names of Bangladesh. Her unexpected comeback, examples of which are very rare, was felt throughout the country when her song 'Lukochuri' took the industry by storm. She had sung Lukochuri for the film 'Aha', directed by Enamul Karim Nirjhor, the music for which was directed by Debojyoti Mishra. But today, I am not writing about Fahmida's musical career, but rather about her as a person, about knowing her as a friend.

Although I became friends with her late in life, becoming friends with Fahmida taught me one very important thing – that friendship has nothing to do with age, time or space. The common belief that childhood friends are the best friends is not always true, at least not in our case. As a music lover, I am fonder of Samina's voice, and Fahmida, her sister, always teases me saying that I don't like her music. Every time Fahmida releases a new album, she hands it to me with the following taunt, “Should I give this you? Do you want to listen to my songs? Or would you prefer one of Samina's?” But that's the strength of our friendship  - we don't need to lie to stay in each other's good books.  But this does not mean that I don't love Fahmida's voice also, because I do. To the eyes, Fahmida as a person is as joyous as her music, her demeanor is always enthusiastic and she is always in high spirits. It is next to impossible to figure out if there is anything wrong in her life or not, because she will never allow unexpected misfortune in her life to affect her state of mind. Being a close friend, even I didn't always know that she was going through difficult times; because she is extremely strong-minded and always deals with her problems herself, like an immovable rock that never breaks down in the face of any challenge. The more I have known her, the more I realized just how strong she is, because the kind, level and magnitude of troubles she has fought singlehandedly, even at time when those closest to her were against her, is really astonishing. But I am not here to talk about Fahmida's problems, what I do want to talk about is how indescribably strong she is as a person, and how just knowing her gives me a world of strength to withstand problems in my own life. Only close friends of Fahmida's will truly be able to relate to what I am saying, especially those who have seen her fight insurmountable odds while still smiling, still keeping up her public appearances, and always being active as a singer. Not that I will ever be as strong as her, if I was her, I would probably have had a breakdown years ago and become a hermit! Being Fahmida's friend has taught me another important thing – that strength must be complemented with compassion. Her best quality is not her strength of mind, but rather her ability to forgive those who have wronged her. It is only when you believe the best in people that you can forgive them. It is only when you have the biggest heart, that you can see the good in people even after they've always been negative towards you. Maybe that is why Fahmida sings, 'Ami akash hobo' (I want to be the sky), so that her heart can make room for even those who wrong her, and give them a second chance.

 

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, August 09, 2014

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