Memoirs of a Dancer
Manipuri Dancer Warda Rihab
Courtesy : Labib
I was the laziest person around while studying at the Agrani Girls School. My sister and I used to study together and she would always pass with flying colours, clinching the top positions in class, whereas I used to somehow pass the exams with very little effort. Of course, when it came to sports, culture and after-school activities, I was always the first one to show up. As far as I remember, my teachers had a lot of complaints against me! For ten years straight, I heard the same thing from my teachers -- “Nothing is possible for you!” My only reason to go to school was my friends. We had a big group of 13 friends and we used to call ourselves the 'unlucky 13.'
However, education started making sense to me when I entered Viqarunnesa Noon College. I am not sure if it was the atmosphere or the people, but the college felt as safe as home. All the teachers were very cooperative and supportive. Our principle, Hamida Ali (the then principal of Viqarunnesa Noon School and College), was very supportive and used to encourage all the students into being better people. Whether it was a cultural activity, debate or education, they always played their roles by supporting us. Viqarunessa Noon School and College was where I gained my confidence and realised how studying is not so tough. They had different methods and techniques of teaching anything and everything which were very handy and also enjoyable. The two years in Viqarunessa just went past in a flash but it was like magic.
When it came to university, things changed more. I realised that the friends you make in university are actually the ones that last forever. We had a close group of around 30 friends. Now, we are all in different parts of the world but we still hold onto those university memories and still keep in touch. I got my BBA and MBA degrees from Dhaka University but I held onto dancing and did not let one hamper the other. While studying there, I decided to be independent and so I ran around five dance schools to finance myself. My friends always knew that, since I had such a hectic life, they needed to help me out. When the exams came around, before thinking about themselves they would always say, “Let us help Warda first!” Four of my friends' names that I absolutely have to mention are Rashed, Rimon, Sayem and Shormi. They made everything so much easier for me.
When I enrolled at the Rabindra Bharati, in Kolkata for my Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Manipuri dancing, that was when I realised how important it was to achieve this education for my career as a dancer. I learned a lot there-- stage design, lighting, sounds, choreography and so much more. With this education and knowledge in dance, and a touch of my own style, I try to make things different and unique even today.
Whether you are a dancer, singer, actor or banker, you will always need your basic knowledge. As I grew up and faced the world, I learned that life is nothing without education, because at the end of the day, your education will always save your back.