Grameenphones' Bondhu Garage, one of the fastest growing online communities in Bangladesh, had one amazing, adventure packed year. With so many bondhus of such diverse tastes and hobbies, Grameenphone's Bondhu Garage was found to be constantly innovating and coming up with new festivities for their large base of friends. Indeed, in the Bondhu Garage, the fun never truly stops.
This week, we pore through each of their activities and invite you to come join the bondhus on their next great adventure.
One of the more innovative of the all the events, on 5 September, 2014 Bondhu Garage organised the first event of its kind consisting of the perfect union of food and football!
This event, called 'Food Ball', was organised by Club Orange in partnership with Food Bank, a social media based food review group along with the help of Asiatic Events Marketing Limited on behalf of Grameenphone. The whole venture was sponsored by Bondhu Garage and powered by HungryNaki.com and promoted by media partners – Independent TV, Radio Shadhin and Dhaka Tribune.
It was a daylong event held at the grounds of Banani Model School with a mixed, 6-a-side football tournament kick starting at 9 AM with energetic players battling for the title of winner. The tournament finally came to an end at 7 PM and was won by Seven Nations Army, one of the most popular underground football teams.
Aside from the sporting event, there was a Food Cart fair that featured popular carts such as Mad Chef, Hot Box and Tabaq. The fair also introduced newcomers like TBW Fish n' Chips, Bat Gone Broke, Wrapped and The Palate Circus. The event also witnessed a Burger Eating Contest, a live DJ performance and a fire-spinning show by Naur.
Later on the day, the Best Cart Award was given to Hot Box based on the number of votes it received.
The cover for attending this unique and exciting event was only Tk. 50, but Bondhu Garage members received the special advantage of free entrance for themselves as well as a friend.
FOTO FUN 101
Up next was the event the social media fanatics loved to hear about. Bondhu Garage combined photography and fun together in this exclusive event called Foto Fun 101!
BONDHUS pushed their boundaries and captured their lifestyle in amazing shots with their devices to participate in an online competition hosted on Bondhu Garage's Facebook page. Winners were selected based on viewer's choice and judge's discretion.
Finally 10 lucky winners were summoned by famous celebrity photographer, M Shamsul Hoque Komol, who praised them and imparted some valuable photography tips that they could apply and then the winners were asked to conduct a shoot. The model for the photoshoot was none other than the glamorous, Naila Nayem who struck poses in different avatars such as cyclist, photographer, traveller and geek, which were related to the interests of Bondhu Garage.
The bondhus spent a wonderful day of fun and laughter while discovering the magic of photography. They received a lot of valuable advice from their mentor for the day on how to buy a camera, what to look for in a photograph, lighting and composition techniques, and much more!
FOTO FUN 202
One event was not enough to satisfy the passion of photography in our bondhus and that is why after the huge success of Foto Fun 101, Bondhu Garage introduced Foto Fun 202! This time, bondhus were pushed out from an enclosed space in a studio to an outdoor experience for a photo walk!
In order to join this event, bondhus had to participate in an online competition on Bondhu Garage's Facebook page by sharing a picture in which they had captured emotions.
The lucky winners were selected based on vote count and judge's choice for this event that took place on 24 October, 2014. Renowned photographers from the popular photographic community, “Through the Lens” (TTL) accompanied the bondhus in this eventful photo walk that started from Rabindra Sarabor.
Here they photographed people and then they moved on to visit Shakharibazar. Here, they witnessed and took several pictures of the colourful presentations of the then upcoming Durga Puja. Finally, they made their last stop for the day at the ship-breaking yard at Sadarghat.
All these destinations helped the bondhus capture not only emotions, but also wonderful memories that they carried back with them after the event.
But what could be done next? Well, the skies, roads and jungles may have been conquered but there were still some places left to be conquered and it was time. Bondhu Garage went out to climb one of the highest peaks in Bangladesh, Keokradong! An online competition was held from 1 to 6 December and 15 members were selected for the trip. They started their journey on 12 December to Bandarban and came back on 16 December. They took a chander gari from Bandarban, on 13 December morning to Ruma Bazar.
From Ruma Bazar, they took another chander gari and went to Boga Mukh. Then they went up by foot to Boga Lake and had the night stay there. On the next day, they started for Keokradong. After spending some time at the top, they climbed down to Boga Lake and had their night stay. On the next day, they started for Dhaka.
FOOTBALL was soon to make yet another appearance before the year had ended. On 2 November, 2014 Bondhu Garage united with Manchester United Supporters Club Bangladesh to treat our football-loving bondhus with the biggest BPL live screening event in Dhaka! The highly anticipated match between Manchester City FC and Manchester United was screened at Baton Rouge Banquet Hall in Banani where a total of 207 people showed up!
Bondhu Garage members just had to sign-up three of their friends to the group to attend the event and get free tickets for themselves and their friends.
Apart from the screening, there was a PS3 video game competition where the bondhus showed off their gaming skills through some FIFA 15 matches. Documentaries of Manchester United, inspirational videos and some short videos related to Garage were also shown.
Non-bondhu members were pretty impressed with the awesome arrangement and amazing spirit of Bondhu Garage and by the end of the day, they too signed-up for the group and officially became a part of this cool community!
Although everyone's favourite club, Manchester United, lost the match, the delicious dinner served to them after the screening was a definite winner!
Then it was time for another sort of an adventure, one that was more physical than mental. From 13 – 16 November, 2014 the bondhus of Bondhu Garage took their cycles off their road for an extreme trail in Rema-Kalenga.
Mainul Islam Rahat, the renowned moderator of the BDCyclists Team, led this group of cyclists into the wilderness of this 37 km rocky off-road path.
25 cyclists who participated in an online competition from the Bondhu Garage group were selected by submitting a screenshot from the Endomondo app, of their best cycling performance within the last three months.
They departed from Dhaka on 13 November, 2014 and arrived at their place of accommodation, “Hermitage” in Sylhet that very night. On the morning of 14 November they embarked on their journey for Rema by crossing the river Khuai by a boat to reach the forest.
It took the team 2.5 hours to complete the trail and when they returned to their cottage, a warm and delicious barbecue awaited them! After devouring the delicious dinner, they had a fun interactive session with Mainul Islam Rahat.
Throughout the journey, bondhus faced several challenges but they emerged strong and united by supporting and helping one another. This inspiring spirit is what Bondhu Garage is all about.
SKY ADVENTURE WITH FLYING BOAT
Indeed, walking the silent and misty paths of Sundarban was a surreal experience. But it was time to get the hearts to beat faster and harder. Adventure took a new turn as the bondhus conquered the skies on a flying boat! This experience was hosted in Meghna Village Flying Resort at Baluakandi, near Munshiganj. Few lucky winners were selected through an online competition that asked for the Bangla name for 'Flying Boat' and its pilot. The excited winners flew over the waters of Meghna River and for the first time experienced a thrilling ride on a boat that took off into the sky!
NIGHT OF HORROR
ADVENTURES and talent-spotting aside, it was time for all the friends to have some fun. Bondhu Garage set out to explore the mysteries of the haunted places in Cox's Bazaar on the spooky night of 15 November, 2014. Five bondhus were selected from Bondhu Garage's online competition after they submitted spine-chilling stories of horror. The journey started from Dhaka during the early hours of Friday and participants reached Cox's Bazaar at night.
As soon as midnight struck, the bondhus set off to explore not just one, but three haunted places on the same night! The experiences definitely gave the bondhus the chills as none of them could sleep that night. They encountered many strange things and admitted that they would never have dared to do such a thing if they were out there alone.
The night of horror was followed by a day of fun and laughter as the bondhus said goodbye to the place and enjoyed their time around the beautiful Cox's Bazaar beach.
Y now, the bondhus had most of their talents shown, their endurance proven and their bonds strengthened. It was time for Bondhu Garage to do something even better and thus was introduced the winners of 'Adventure Mania' to an exciting world of fun and games at The Base Camp, Gazipur. In order to participate, bondhus were asked to answer, between 11 – 16 November, a simple question on the Facebook, which was:
Suppose you had a tiger to your left and a cliff on your right, what would you do and why?
The most creative answers were selected and the winners were revealed on 19 November. A daylong event was held on 22 November where fifteen teams were set up to face challenges to emerge victorious.
The first round consisted of floor-based activities such as Tyre Run, Zig Zag, Tyre Sandwich, Through the Tyre, Rope Walk, Log Walk and Hop n' Jump. One of the bondhus, Monisha Rahman, surprised everyone by breaking Base Camp's existing time record of 2 minutes 13 seconds, by completing all the tasks in the first round within 2 minutes 9 seconds!
Eight teams advanced into the second round where they had to face challenges such as Archery and Rowing. Challenges got harder in the final round where four teams played for the title of 'Winner' with challenges such as Division Wall and Sports items.
The winning team, Navid Hasan and Rahatul Ashik, received a travel jacket along with a certificate for their accomplishment. The runner-ups, Shorno and Farah Rabby, received a travel bag and a certificate. In addition to their victory, Navid Hasan received the Overall Best Performer Award on behalf of Base Camp.
Claws of Sundarbans
The spirit of holidays took Bondhu Garage by surprise when 18 lucky winners got the chance to experience the wilderness of Sundarbans along with their chosen friends! On 17 November, as soon as the event was announced in the Facebook group, bondhus went wild with excitement. They had to participate in an online competition on the group, which was to create the next two lines of the song,
"H Avwg evN wkKvi hvBgy, evN wkKvi hvBgy
e›`yK jBqv †iwW nBjvg Avwg Avi gvgyÓ
The winners set out for their daring expedition on 28 November and returned to Dhaka on 2 December, 2014. Our adventurers experienced the beauty of the largest mangrove forest in the world through boat rides, nature walks, and a visit to Kochikhali, Pristine Beach and Harbaria.
RETURN OF THE VIKINGS
After ample amount of heart-stopping adventures, the bondhus now needed to relax for a while. On 19 December, 2014 music lovers of Bangladesh witnessed an epic return of a legendary rock band. The Vikings, known for their classic rock tunes and distinctive style, made a grand comeback after a decade of break!
Bondhu Garage hosted this comeback at the GP House in Bashundhara where 400 eager fans gathered to witness this epic history in the making.
Tickets were exclusively given to Bondhu Garage members, who participated and won in an online competition held on the Bondhu Garage group from 7 – 12 December, 2014. One hundred and fifty members were selected and were given two passes each. The remaining tickets were distributed among friends and family of the band.
The musical night started off with a power-packed performance by Shunno, who welcomed the Vikings on their return. People cheered them on as they took over the stage and they continued to play some classic tunes of their own.
Their well-known song, Elo Melo, created a mass hype among the crowd and it made them realise what they had been missing out for a decade! From that point onwards, there was no turning back. People got lost into the musical sea of their songs, mesmerised by their wonderful tune and hardcore style. Meanwhile, many celebrities came on stage and congratulated the band on their return.
Fans expected a great night of music and fun from their old-school favourite band, but what they did not expect was a surprise performance by Aiub Bacchu! This surprise element was just the icing on the cake for the audience! They went completely wild with excitement. People kept posting photos and updates on Facebook to their profiles and the Bondhu Garage group. Their excitement was evident from the way they kept posting about it one after the other.
After receiving such a wonderful response, Bondhu Garage is determined not to step down. More musical adventures will be organised in the future. So stay tuned!
On 26 and 27 December, Grameenphone brought the defining chapter of the three part epic, The Hobbit – The battle of the five armies, exclusively for the members of Bondhu Garage. The occasion was made all the more special with the first ever Bondhu Garage Middle Earth Carnival along with the movie show.
The carnival was a massive success among the ardent followers of the Lord of the Rings trilogy since they had a chance to cosplay as their favorite characters. Eighteen year old Rumman dressed as Bilbo Baggins said, “It was unthinkable for us to have a carnival solely for the fans of The Hobbit, so I thank Bondhu Garage not only for the Free tickets to the show but also the entire event around the movie”.
With eight shows in two days at Blockbuster Cinemas, free tickets for the fans and a festive atmosphere to go with the movie, Bondhu Garage has surely delighted the fans of The Hobbit with Bondhu Garage Carnival.
Bondhu Garage is going to finish the year with its last three campaigns, one rock gig in GP House, a Middle Earth Cos Party with screening of the movie Hobbit at Jamuna Blockbuster and the grand finale with Bondhu Garage Carnival in Banani Field again creating some one-of-a-kind programs.
The carnival will be designed with stalls from popular online and Facebook based lifestyle, hobby, food and adventure clubs and businesses.
Bondhu users will enjoy mega discounts on Cycles, Cameras, Food, play games on retro and modern arcades, experience a psychedelic Nagor Dola (Bengali Ferry's Wheel) and participate with their favourite musicians on a unique unplugged session. The aim is to reinstate the forgotten rituals of winter festivities of fashion with this.
And thus will be concluded an exciting year for all the bondhus in Grameenpohne's Bondhu Garage. For a while, many of us have said how there is hardly anything to do. Now, Bondhu Garage offers us the opportunity to be constantly doing a lot. Question is, can we handle it?