I enjoy taking part in The Daily Posts – Weekly Photo Challenges, especially when I get to integrate our travel photographs and stories into the different themes each week. I have been pondering on this week’s challenge – Achievement and the first thing that sprang to mind was my first Marathon earlier this year, but in the end I decided to go further back, and write about my contribution to something bigger than my own personal life!
This is me fire spinning when I lived in America almost 12 years ago now..it was a hobby I picked up in Boston, and while I had great fun and adventures with it, joined a fire troupe, met amazing fire spinners from New York, Boston, California – highlight was spinning with 500 other spinners at Burning Man – I didn’t think I could reach higher grounds with fire spinning when I moved to Bangladesh in 2003. I did not think I would be bringing back with me something that was the BEGINNING of so much more!
JOURNEY OF NAUR
It was a novelty in Bangladesh, no one had ever seen fire-spinning, I felt lonely at first doing it by myself, mostly at friend’s rooftops or gardens at parties. I had started taking Salsa dancing classes and my teacher Parash (also my friend) said he wanted to learn to spin – it was a great exchange – dance lessons for fire spinning lessons – few weeks on and we had our first dance/fire show on stage, they even showed it on Television for a few seconds!
Another friend at the time Ashique, now my husband 🙂 wanted to impress me (he will deny it 😉 and took up spinning soon after. He has great craftmanship skills and started making Pois(what we use to spin with) which made a huge difference as it was expensive to buy from abroad. The day the two of us got together, Ashique, Parash and I also formed the first fire-spinning troupe of Bangladesh – NAUR – and so begin a journey of love, light, fire and travels!
We started performing immediately and offered our first fire spinning lessons to 10 students. The fourth member of our troupe – Shup – was one of these students and together the four of us sparked a new rage in Bangladesh. We officially named our group NAUR – it means fire in the Elvish language.
This was before the world of facebook and instagram. We had a website, think its still there. We were in the papers often, and my mother lovingly had kept all the newspaper and magazine clips from all our shows across the country. We were a magnet for young people who fell in love with fire spinning when they saw us perform in Schools, Concerts, Clubs and many other places. In that year we taught over 60 students, two of whom – Atef and Altamash – went on to become NAUR members too as they did so many of the shows with us!
Why do I think NAUR is such a great achievement for me?
Besides the personal fame and glory of being quoted as ‘the premium fire spinner of Bangladesh’ – one of the best reviews I received was being compared to accomplished women like Begum Roquia Hussain! – the reason I am so proud of bringing fire spinning to Bangladesh is what we accomplished with NAUR –
We used it as a platform to promote positive living, we used it as a hook to attract young people and talk to them about saying No to Drugs and embracing positive hobbies and lifestyles. We went to different schools and youth centres, promoting drug awareness and healthy lifestyles and showing them how we are doing it. At that point in time, we were consumed with fire to say the least! We spun all day and night, and when not spinning, we were planning and training for shows and classes.
And this was not the best part either! We used lot of the money we made from fire spinning for Charity work which we coordinated and implemented on the ground ourselves. The foundation of NAUR was based on a simple principle that we would always use one third of our earnings from shows for good causes – we built house for people who had none, we donated medicine, food, rations during floods, we gave winter clothes and housing, year on year.We provided a village with tin roofs with the NAUR logo! At that point in time, it felt so wonderful to make that difference, no matter how little, with our contributions.
I still remember the adrenaline rush we got during and after we completed a show, loved the cheering crowds, the loud applause after each show, the celebrations afterwards 🙂 We had shows every week, sometimes few times a week, we travelled all over the countries to places like Cox’s Bazaar and Rajbari for performances. Some of the charities we fundraised for included Acid Burn Victim Charity and Orphanages.
Ashique and I left Bangladesh to complete our higher studies in England, got married and started our family. But I am happy to say NAUR continued to grow and flourish, thanks to dedication of Parash and Shup, and even more so the students they taught over the next few years. Several of those students had the same passion, enthusiasm and dedication to fire spinning as we did and today NAUR is bigger then ever, has taught more than 100s of students, does fire shows all over the country and have taken it to the next level with visuals, props, and social media! You can find them here – They are now a registered company and we just celebrated NAUR’s 11 birthday with cake earlier in May . Last year we also had a mini reunion in Bangladesh with some of the original NAUR members and few new member, including Shahaar who spun with fire for the first time!
I for one could not be more proud, for what NAUR has become, for my own achievement in introducing fire spinning to Bangladesh, for what a few good friends started and contributed to society, for the amazing people who continues to take NAUR to higher grounds…
May the flame continue to burn so bright ALWAYS 🙂
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