“Naur” sounds like a very familiar word, yet its meaning and enigma manages to slip away somehow, just when you are about to grasp it. What does it mean? What does it represent? Dhaka Insider went inside the mystery with one of the torch bearers of “Naur” itself – Nasser Hasib Siddiqui.
If you are still confused or living under a rock, here’s a check for you: Naur, quite simply, plays with fire. They have mastered the element of fire and hold the ability to bend it to their will. The fire-spinning group was founded in 2003 and has been shining ever since. We started the conversation by entertaining our basic curiosity. Here is how it went.
Naur means fire of the elves. It is an elvish word.
Nasser: I started fire-spinning in 2013. Back then, I was just seeking my identity; trying to discover myself as a person. I was always attracted to art, and naturally, I tried my hand at a lot of things. I tried learning the guitar but I was bad at it. Then I tried to shift my qualities to drumming and that failed miserably too. I got acquainted with people from Naur while I was on my fumbling search. I liked dancing, and I was quite into it for some time but let’s face it: Fire-spinning was the coolest thing I could think of! Little did I know, what started as a mere trial would end up being such a huge part of my life. To tell you the truth, I was once asked to get a life by a girl, and so I did. Thanks to her, I guess.
Nasser: Well, early days are always shaky for any art you try. Fire-spinning was no different. You test your passion and enthusiasm for the art in the first month, learning the basic moves without even lighting fire is what I had to do. We learned in a batch and we used to compete against each other all the time. So the training was fun and energetic. But my best moment was when I lit up my poi for the first time. Luckily, electricity went off just as I lit fire, the music stopped and all I heard was the Whoosh sound of fire beating the air – it was like a drug to me! I think what I feel now is self-explanatory.
Nasser: People from Naur are adrenaline junkies. Naturally, the concept of performing art with constant risks attached to the deal is what drives us to do it even more. I have been burned a lot of times though; we incur injuries the most during practice or when we are experimenting for new moves. On stage, we are trained to avoid danger for the audience and ourselves. I did catch fire on stage, but the show had to go on. I think, we have better healing methods for burns, and frankly, I guess our skin is used to it now.
Nasser: My family didn’t know when I started taking lessons, but I had to break it to them someday. Well, they did explode like any normal parents would. However, the moment I performed in front of them in a family congregation, they were all pretty amazed. This works for us, you know – spellbinding people with our work motivates us.
Nasser: We are currently a 7 member team. There is Dipro, Surid, Hasnine, Sadita, Shanto, Risalat and myself. It is a great team formed with wonderful people, I would say. This year, I celebrated my birthday touring with these people and they got me a great surprise. The coziness in Naur, and the bonds we created, made me grow as a spinner. This actually holds true for all of us.
Nasser: You have to apply for the training class from our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Naurbd/). We were overwhelmed by the response we received when we first started, but couldn’t accommodate everyone due to resource constraints. However, we are improving every day to facilitate everyone with a burning passion.
Nasser ended with fresh optimism when he expressed his content about greater exposure Naur is receiving lately. He says, “Fire-spinning is an unconventional art form and it is still very new in Dhaka. People are not entirely open and accommodating to the idea but there are new and young organizers who call us for their events. Gestures as such for unconventional art forms are turning things around. Good days are coming!”