Over the last week, 24-year-old Farhana Afroze became a talk-of-the-town on Facebook when a video of her surfaced in the social media and went viral. In that video, she was seen coming out of a beauty parlour after putting on make-up and riding a motorcycle, posing for photographs while heading home with fellow bikers.
To make the gayeholud day memorable, Farhana arranged a bike show in her locality in Jessore. She spearheaded the bike show, which was a historically unprecedented step in our society. All the participants of the programme shared photos and videos of the event on their Facebook. It took little time for the videos to go viral on Facebook and YouTube.
Some people hailed Farhana for this unexpected act,while some others severely criticised her for riding a motorcycle to her gayeholud programme despite being a woman.
"Everything has a good side and a bad side. Some people have taken it positively and some negatively. The negative stuff is always uncomfortable for anyone," Farhana told The Business Standard on Wednesday afternoon from her father-in-law's house over the phone.
"So, we are trying to overlook the negative stuff. My family members, as well as my in-law's family members, have seen it. We are all ignoring the negative comments, that's all," said Farhana, who is pursuing an MBA in Human Resources at Daffodil International University in Dhaka.
Farhana was born and raised in Jessore town. Her father, Sohel Hasan, was a businessman who died in 2018. After her father's death, her mother, Mira Hasan, has been running the family-owned Chinese restaurant business in Jessore.
She also has a younger brother. Farhana's father used to ride a motorcycle and Farhana learned how to drive a motorcycle in 2007 by seeing how her father rode it.
"No one taught me how to ride a motorcycle. I took it out on to the street all by myself without telling others and tried to learn. Whenever I had small accidents or if there were small dents on the bike, I pointed a finger to my younger brother," Farhana said laughing.
Farhana has been living in Mirpur-11, Dhaka, for seven years. Beside her academics, she works for a consulting firm in Gulshan. Her responsibilities are to process papers and documents for clients who want to take loans from banks. She used to commute to and from work riding her scooter.
"A few years back, I sold my scooter. I will soon be back in Dhaka and buy a motorcycle this time," said Farhana, now staying at her in-law's Nagarbarihouse in Pabna.
"My in-law's family are happy, and there is no problem with my family, either. Everything is just fine," she replied, when asked about the situation after the video went viral.
She said as she was tall, it was easy for her to learn how to ride a motorcycle fast. They had a private car, and she can drive that too.
"Now, I have a desire to fly a plane. If I get the opportunity, I'll learn it too," said Farhana.
Why this bike show?
Farhana's marriage was registered on April 28, 2017, at Mirpur in the capital. But they arranged the "gayeholud" programme on August 13 this year. The marriage ceremony was held on August 14.
She has been planning such a unique programme for many days.
"I only thought of doing something uncommon on the day to make it memorable. Then I decided that I would go home by doing a bike show. I had never imagined it would go viral in such away," said Farhana, who rode her younger brother's bike.
"Bridegrooms in Dhaka commonly use bikes to go home from the beauty parlour. I thought as I am a woman and I can ride a bike, why not arrange a show to fulfill a wish," said Farhana.
She said that she knows bike groups in Jessore where her brother and relatives also ride bikes. They participated in her show.
"My in-law's family know that I can ride a motorcycle. They are surprised to see people being bothered by my bike driving."
She believes that if she were a man, people would not treat her negatively. "Many people in my in-law's area are still praising me for my bravery."
"As it is a new thing in our society, it went viral so fast. If some more women do the same thing, it will look normal," said Farhana.
"There was a time when the bride danced in her "gayeholud" programme, and the event was severely criticized. But this event is regular now. My event will also be normal when all female bikers will go riding to theirgayeholud," said Farhana, who married Hasnain Rafi, a textile engineer working at a factory in Gazipur.
"I've 20 cousins and have a friend circle of around 50. If 70 people upload 70 videos on Facebook, it will automaticity go viral because it was a unique concept," she said, who also uploaded her videos on Facebook.
She requested people not to see the incident negatively because she did not do any crime.