Friendship can mean that sweet smell of childhood memories which turns into sighs in adulthood; that excitement to eat something outside together as soon as the school bell rings, that long wait for one phone call, or even a lot of hidden grudges because of unmet expectations. Even books, pets or trees can become friends with the comfort and serenity they convey. In some stages of life, we even find our best friends in our parents, siblings and cousins.
In this age of social media friend requests and follows, many may question if 'real friendship' is going extinct. Often, it is imposed that friendship probably has become more of a smile in a picture or fixated in Friendship Day celebrations. Friendship Day (July 30) this year went by a couple of days ago. This brings us to find out how youths in Bangladesh think of friendship these days and if actually quality bonding in friendship has started to fade.
Since many people generally struggle to keep the friendship intact with the friends they interacted regularly, maintaining a long-distance friendship is beyond challenging. Yet, here are two amazing friends whose bonding began at class seven and is on a roll to date, in their university lives -- Fahim Abrar Chowdhury and Purna Pratiti Saha.
Fahim, who is a student of IBA, University of Dhaka, agrees that long-distance is definitely challenging for time adjustment. However, more than this adjustment, he feels a lack of sense of proximity. "If we had been in the same city, hangouts during the pandemic would be an inconvenience. But now, we just have calls. We never really celebrated Friendship Day but this day reminds me of how much she means in my life as a friend."
Purna is currently living in the USA and is a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She puts it this way, "This friendship is not only a cushion for our mental health, but it is also a shaper for our personas as well."
They became better communicators and their emotional intelligence, and tolerance grew over the years of friendship because they valued meaningful discourse, even if it got difficult and held opposing ideas, explains Purna. Conflicts arise in friendship but the assurance that they can be addressed and resolved is what matters and keeps the friendship going. Purna and Fahim prove the actual beauty of friendship above locations, genders, religions, and ideologies.
Nowadays, it is perceived that the bigger the friend circle, the shorter its longevity. Is this always true? This group of boys from St Gregory's High School and College now spread out in different places to pursue their goals in various fields like medical, engineering, business, sciences. A friend circle of almost around 30 people kept their friendship intact from school life to their adult life in universities.
As they shared, the school was always the best place to meet the most interesting individuals. It all started with a frizzy-haired boy rambling on about how he would build his own television because his parents wouldn't buy him one. Or maybe it began with the kid with whom one would share a copy of 'Rohoshho Potrika' under the desk away from prying eyes. Countless tea-stall addas, study sessions and class-bunk hangouts later, the memories are a bit hazy, yet these are the nostalgic elements that shaped their bond of care, support, and understanding in their adulthoods.
Reaz Hassan Joarder, studying at Islamic University of Technology (IUT) and belonging to this friend circle, adds some words about their friendship.
"What started as a sea of unfamiliar faces eventually transformed into this large but tight-knit band of vibrant personalities. Even after all its hitches and bumps, this group has lasted more than a decade, and this Friendship Day serves as a reminder that I wish to see it last many more."
Ever wondered what happens if you are lucky enough to get to study in the same school, college, and university, with your best friend? It does not stay behind the screen like Chandler and Joey from Friends, Harry and Ron from the Harry Potter series, Janice and Damian from Mean Girls; it becomes true in real life. This author is lucky to have had such a friendship with her best friend Irtifa Raiyan since school days up till today; even their families got closer through this friendship.
This friendship has seen so many fights over trivial issues, as frequently as twice a month-- yet, sharing every little thing with each other made it stronger every day. About this Friendship Day, Irtifa shared, "It was not like any other Friendship Day when we usually meet. But it was just a long phone call this time-- my same old best friend blabbering which really cheered both of our minds amid the pandemic."
To close the box of stories, the Friendship Day signifies all the friendships like this one, the friendships that can be a little ray of hope on the bad days and the ones that grow stronger bonding every day.