I’ve been going to a new school for a couple months now. All my friends think I’m so lucky, going to this richbrat international school, as they wallow in self-pity about the lack of an auditorium or a proper football field in my previous school. Oh, and of course, the lack of quality teachers. I guess I do have it good.

I grew up in an entirely different atmosphere than the one I spend my days in now. I used to wake up at 6: 30 every morning and I would get dressed and head to school. The car ride felt like wading through shallow waters. I remember the thrill of driving at 50 kmph to cut past a red light, to get to school by 8 15. And the teachers who would chastise us if we arrived late. I remember glaring at the ground because I couldn’t glare at them as they kept us standing there in a queue though we entered the campus at 8: 12 and scolded us for being late until it was 8: 15 and then showing us how we had not made it in time, and we would never do anything right in life, and how people came to Dhanmondi all the way from Gulshan and We couldn’t make it in time LIVING in the same neighbourhood. So incompetent, so useless so “opodartho” we were. And then, the nails, the hairdo, the shoes, the belt…. *sigh*.

I remember sitting in class staring blankly at the white board, unable to focus because of my petty relationship problems that gnawed at my mind, that my friends so easily belittled. I remember scribbling lyrics from rock music on the edges of my exercise books. I remember my friends.

We would stick around for periods at a stretch in the library, and sing our latest favourite songs. It was our “thing”. Shaniz would whine that we sing “stitches”, and Nishat and I would acquiesce (only because we like the song fairly well too). And I’d be the percussionist (God, don’t you just love bragging!?) And Fia would cut in every once in a while with “Oops I did it again” or “We don’t talk anymore” or “So yesterday Abrar…” And damn, was she a horrible singer. The first time I heard her sing “We don’t talk anymore” I thought I would never listen to the song, because it was so awful. And months later, I did listen to it, and I did like it, and, well, yeah, I did curse her in my head for it.

I remember debating over religion. I remember bickering over celebrity crushes, and Fia’s boyfriend problems, and my boyfriend problems, Shaniz’s song choice problems, and of course, Nishat’s unending math problems (she wasn’t the one facing the problems, mind you. She was the one making us solve problems she knew the solution to just to see “the dumb” on our faces.)

Today, we had an Assembly at school, where the students were handed their grade 10 completion certificates (none for me, obviously). Then, they presented a little video of a trip they made last year to Ladakh. And everything I watched the students in the video do reminded me of the girls, and the trip we made to Gazipur last year. It was one hell of a trip, and I realise how no trip can be one hell of a trip depending on where you’re going. It’s about who’s riding shotgun with you. Though we were in a bus, you get the idea…

What I miss most are the warm hugs we would give each other whenever. I see how a lot of good friends hug each other virtually every 5 minutes, and how the hugs are so… distant, unfeeling. It just never was like that for us. Ever.

I am better off. I go to a better school. I have a higher chance of going to a foreign university. I really. Really. Should. Be happy…

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