Two events has taken place in London recently, which are a lifetime experience and memorable. Not many people have the luck to be in these two places.
First, it was the Queen's Garden Party at the gardens of the Buckingham Palace. As I entered the palace for the first time in my life after taking many photographs from outside, it was an anti-reaction.
Indeed a big lawn and beautifully kept green with some large trees with men in traditional palace dresses escorting the royalties. After about 30 minutes I saw the Queen briefly as she walked past to her tent in one corner.
Then came Prince William. He shook hands with selected people in the crowd and exchanged pleasantries. Soon his beautiful and elegant wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was also seen. She too went around as the clock clicked away of the two-hour event.
I met a few Bangladeshi-born Britons and some members of the diplomatic corps. But truly I wondered why people were crazy to be invited to this Garden Party? Seeing the royal family very close is possibly the only good reason, but they are humans too and why take so much trouble to be at the event! Trouble --- yes standing for long two hours, although sitting option is there, very few do so.
I noticed a fashion parade, although unannounced, of women's dresses, especially the variety of hats. The queen and the duchess too wore hats.
Then it was time to have some snacks and tea. But some stalls were closed and the remaining others were also closing down as they had run out of food half-way through the event. Queen's party and shortage of food! It was extremely surprising. Many disgruntled people just had no choice either to go back hungry or taste the ice-cream that was being distributed.
I told myself, I must have the ice-cream otherwise it would be rude to leave the party without eating anything. Her majesty would be upset if she came to know that few of her guests had gone back hungry! So, that was it -- just a plastic cup of ice-cream to celebrate my experience of the Queen's garden party. Ah! But it was tasty!
Just one thing crossed my mind. At Dhaka's Ganabhaban and Bangabhaban I always find so much leftovers! It is only in some weddings where there are more guests than the foods available.
Anyway, thank you Your Majesty for inviting me and offering the delicious ice-cream.
One is invited only once at this party and sometimes after many years a second one may arrive.
The other event was the performance of two Bangladeshi singers, Luva Chowdhury and Aditi Mohsin, at the Royal Albert Hall along with Indian maestros in the Oval Hall with red upholstery. Great maestros like Pandit Ravi Shankar and bands like Beatles have performed here in this historical building with typical British royal design and modified light and sound system.
Queen Victoria opened this hall in 1871 and named it after her husband Prince Albert. Since 1941, the hall with a holding capacity of over 5,000 people has been host to the most famed of the famed in many sectors.
Almost a packed crowd, with many munching on nuts or pop corns, the evening started with the presentation of santoor by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and on the flute was Pandit Hariprashad Chourasia.
The five-hour event was named 'A Classical Odyssey - A tribute to Maestro Ravi Shankar' featuring performances by Anoushka Shankar, L Subramaniam, Luva Chowdhury, Aditi Mohsin, Shivji and Hariji. It was the brainchild of the Bengal Foundation with the partnership of Dhaka's Channel i (eye). I was told that it took almost two years to materialise the show which was dominated by Indians and some Bangladeshi or Pakistanis living in London.
Luva Chowdhury and Aditi Mohsin, to my great pride and joy, made the historical appearance where many crave to perform. I congratulate all those who made it possible, as since coming to London I have been dreaming to arrange a gala show of Bangladeshi old and young artistes in the Royal Albert Hall.
However, Luva's choices of songs were not fit for the crowd, but Aditi got applause.
The show was stolen by Pandit Ravi Shankar's able daughter Anoushka Shankar. But at least we made a presence at the Royal Albert Hall!
Nadeem Qadir is a renowned journalist and writer and is currently Minister (Press) at the Bangladesh High Commission in London