“Yesterday… all my troubles seemed so far away… now it looks as though they’re here to stay…ohh I believe in Yesterday…♪…mmm…” The legendary song form the English rock band The Beatles… Yesterday…. Such a wonderful and touchy part of life that always walks with us… it’s something where we never can get back but somewhere we always want to belong… or its a smile that you put yourself by tasting those memories and feeling like stupid when people laugh out that you are smiling without any reason… Yesterday… 1991… Dhaka…Bangladesh Not a very busy place but busy… Roads are very open… You can find enough green wherever you look… You can breathe in by blowing your heart till it gets filled…. You can hear the sweet song of the birds if you come out for a morning walk… One thing that you might never see again that is the “Baby-Taxi” with yellow and black combined which was the only standard vehicle for little long distance journey within Dhaka…
What about Alliance Française?? It seemed more like a Myth when I was checking out the pictures of those golden times…. She was beautiful as a term of olden splendor. She had everything in that time like we have today, a glowing Admission Office, A pleasant library, a café full of life, and the jam-packed classes with the latest technology of that time… but that was the Yesterday where everything is so touchy… Since Alliance is in this country from 1959, I’m just starting to look back from time of my birth….
19 years… so many things got changed, updated or may be forgotten… & most important this the time of my belongingness in this earth so far… 19 Years!! I’m Really Thankful to Mr. Faizul Kabir Sir who managed me these Golden time photographs in just an asking. Mr. Zia Hyder Sir who explained me the history and all the photographs very delightfully that drived me in 1991… according to his words I’m just walking through here… I’m just standing on 2010 and looking back to 1991…with these precious photographs… through the smoky time… Photographs section#1 The Reception
The admission office was in 2nd floor, Yes!! It was one of the modern receptions of that time. Even then, they used to put all the arts on interior. The big worldmap in backside, historical photographs, colorful books… That place is now the Classical Guitar Class… But I really feel crazy to see the metal window, that gives the real taste of oldies… and I feel wonder to know, in 1991 that place was as busy as today… Now I really feel lucky that whenever I want I can go and take a look… now the admission office is in ground floor straight ahead to the main gate…the place shines with golden illumination, Colorful Catalogs, Different books and the traditional Photography’s. Now the place is much bigger, two PC is there, colorful file folders. But still the touch of oldies. Photographs Section#2 The Café (La Viranda) and Parties
This is the place of folklore we often think but can’t draw exactly. The old steel chairs, a café desk made of wood and bamboo, metal cashbox, Millat ceiling fans (Millat was the only one Brand of ceiling fan of that time) and old lightings… even in that time, the magazines and current posters were there… The early 90’s jazz night, Every Thursday night there was Jazz night in Alliance Française, Even the drinks were also made with tradition of Jazz music… Yes!! in 1991, Jazz night with mono speaker, keyboard, guitar, candles, friends and so many things you may mix yourself as you are in folklore. By keeping the tradition of jazz, today we meet 5 photographs of jazz music legends just after entering the café. Now this place is somewhere light and darkness plays hide and seek. You’ll never know when your heart got colorful after entering the café we have today. We have everything new now, new view, new arts, new chairs, new tables, new food items, new architectures. Since we don’t have the jazz night now, but we have the Disco nights. Full of excitements, best sound systems with a great Dj Mr. Faizul Kabir. Everything is new!! Fulfilled!! If something is old, that is Mr. Francis Biswas, who’s the café in charge from uncounted years…really I don’t know… Photographs Section#3 The Library
Now days, Library is the most stunning place of Alliance Française as I’ve dedicated a solo post on library. Although in 1991, it was one of the best libraries in Dhaka. Even that time, the collection was huge with famous French Books, English books, magazines, video tapes and audio tapes. Even the historical photographs weren’t missing. The wooden bookshelves, long arrangements, pale wall paints, and the old charger light on the desk, gives a real flavor of prehistoric times… wow…how the time was… The lady in the picture of 1991 is Miss. Shirin roja, who was the librarian of that time. Finding this name was so tough today. Do you know who found this name for me?? Mr. Zia Haider Khan, the current librarian of Alliance Française. Even he is working here from 1997 and he was a French student of 1991. Today’s library is the multimedia library; even everything is customized to keep the flavor of the art and conformability. Even the sitting arrangements for the readers are kept in old flavor with new style. That time there was tree tubs around the chairs to feel in a naturalistic theme, now we don’t have that inside. But we sit in a table from where the total garden and lawn view is clear, where the sunshine falls on the page and talks with the alphabets of our book. This is a place ever old like gold and new like glitters. Photographs Section#4 The Gallery
Most often I make mistake to write ‘Gallery’ as I’m quite habituated with ‘Gallarie’ now days. In 1991, Gallery would rather mean a lot in Dhaka, if cultural institute had its own. I don’t know exact where the gallery was in that time, but it was a place of real social art promotion that I know. In that time, maybe we had only the zoom gallery, though we have today. But today we also got a large gallery with the best lightings I’ve ever seen. This is the place where people loose themselves in silence and depth. Even in the photo of 1991, you can see the best lighting outputs of that time… Photographs Section#5 The Auditorium and movie festivals
Yes in that time there was an own auditorium of AFD and movie fastivals were also there. Most exiting even that time, the chairs of the auditorum were customized as they can be moved anytime they needed. Now we got a colorful and latest cutomized auditorium where evey Friday evening students comes to enjoy french movies. I’m really unlucky that I couldn’t magange my time to enjoy a movie there till now for my stupid life schedule. But hope to join there soon. Photographs Section#6 Technologies
This is really something I’m feeling great to share, in 1991; they had CESTI, Ms. Myriam. Who had a DOS mode computer as we can see on the photograph. Now days, uncounted latest computers are there. But in that time a computer meant a lot here. Now we don’t have CESTI. But at least we have the memories of Ms. Myriam. Today we have TV, VCD; even our teachers enter class with their own laptop where all the lessons are prepared. But that time, they used Video tapes and audio tapes for lessons. But the TV was there. Most exciting thing is I found 1 machine in some pictures I’ve never seen. Later on Mr. Zia said, that is Magnetophone (Barthe Edu). That was the player by which they played the audio and video lesions. Most shocking those things appeared from France in that time. Even we have the same thing today in our class but it’s the 2010 edition. Photographs Section#7 Classes
Often people think Alliance Française is place where they can learn French language. They are right but not exactly. Cause if somewhere, we can get the full lunch with a great number of dishes, we can’t think of only the rice. From that time Alliance teaches different types of creative and cultural courses they offer today. Beside French there were theater class, drawing Class, Photography class and may be more I couldn’t know. Now we got several new courses by the grace of time like Latin Dance, western Classical guitar, Violin, Interior.
How will you feel if you left someone 23 years ago in a class room, after travelling the whole world, doing so many things, when you got back, saw the person still standing there with a smile and teaching your children. How you should feel??? Yes!! The person in this picture of 1991 is Mr. Mujibur rahman who’s teaching photography. And in the Picture of 2010, this is same person sitting over there. Teaching Photography… Generation to Generation… since 1987… People may fall in love with Paris or London or New York… they can call these places by their own given name… so who doesn’t allow me to fall in love with this place and call her “May Queen”… she got history, she got beauty, she got wisdom, Knowledge, loyalty, festivity and so many generous and kind children… Time Changes so many things… Everything is not changed here, cause it’s not possible here. Still when you’ll walk through this place you’ll surely feel the footsteps of your Grandpa beside… walking with you… whispering the tales… This is the belief of here… where dream and life walks together…. Even I feel sometime, the dust I’m carrying on my shoes, It can be some filth of those dust laid on the floor of 1991, who knows? Who cares? I care… I care to think like that… & I feel fantasized to think like that… Alliance Française…May Queen….