The End of My Longest Long Distance Relationship
"Hey, why did you miss school for 3 days? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I am fine. I was at my aunt's. She lives too far away."
This is an actual conversation I had with a friend in seventh grade. Then she went on to say that she was not going to make the long, exhausting trip from Mirpur to Farmgate just for school. Having lived out the last 13, painful, years of my life in the seventh layer of hell i.e. Mirpur, this conversation wore me out. While my privileged Tejkunipara-peers, living in the vicinity of our renowned missionary school at Farmgate, woke up like Disney princesses, I had already been stuck in traffic for 45 minutes inside the car (I am grateful for the car privileges, many had it way worse). Due to my procrastination skills, I would be late 3 out of 5 days a week for class and the Headmistress was tired of reprimanding me. To avoid the traffic in front of Khamar Bari, I would start walking with my heavy heart and my 11.5 kg backpack, deeply regretting the decision from the foot over-bridge as the traffic signal would turn green in a minute.
As I lived far away, at the edge of the galaxy, admirably referred to as gram by my friends, I had no access to the popular and sought-after private tutors. This led me to miss out on a plethora of inside jokes and a chance of becoming more (in)famous in the eyes of my teachers. I had to settle for the lesser known teachers around the gram area, one solitary strange creature among 49 others from a different school. Too many times the car would be stuck in traffic on its way to pick me up from school. Not only did I have to deal with the anxiety of merely existing in Tejgaon Commercial Area after dark, but also had to hide my face in embarrassment from the school staff who were staying back for me. I would get in the car and fall asleep. When I woke up, I would see that I had reached Bijoy Sharani. After 1.5 hours of falling asleep and waking up, I would finally crossed Mirpur 10 circle. When I'd reach home, I'd be too tired to study or socialise with my family. The cycle would continue the next day.
I thought Farmgate was bad enough before I finally enrolled at a university in Dhanmondi and our family decided to shift further inside the village of Mirpur - the new DOHS where there is literally no cell reception in my room. The distance increased but my willpower to live surprisingly did not. Now I am finally out of the long distance relationship with various educational institutions after having wasted an enormous amount of time, which I probably would not have invested in learning a new skill although I would have loved to keep that option open. But am I really free from Dhanmondi? Is Dhanmondi free of me? No, because iftar parties and life in general happen in the city, far from where I reside. You have a class at 1 PM and an iftar invitation in the same day? Go hang out in a mall by yourself for 4 hours because it's impossible to take a trip back home in that time. At least I have Mirpur Link 36 and working earphones.
Despite this wordy rant, I did gain something well worth my wasted time. For years I have carpooled with my classmates from around the neighbourhood. If there are two things being locked inside a metal box for 15 hours a week would lead to, it would be those dumb inside jokes and friendships. I would pick those over anything Tejkunipara or the gazillion school-infested Dhanmondi has to offer. However, the fact that our chauffeurs know our deepest darkest secrets, crushes and probably where I keep all of my savings is something which still keeps me up at night.
Anupoma Joyeeta Joyee is a perpetually sleepy Law student who emotionally identifies with ducks and occasionally sets out on writing sprees. Feel free to rant to her at [email protected]