17th International Mathematical Conference (Bangladesh) and the first date!


Both the authors in the blog i.e, me and Mitul had attended the 17th International Mathematical Conference held at Jahangir Nagar University (Savar, Dhaka), organised in collaboration with Bangladesh Mathematical society from 22 -24 December, 2011, Bangladesh. It was a welcome short trip of 5 days and also first international travel experience for us without accompanying guardians. Dhaka was exceptionally cold on those 3 days, and Savar all the more as it is approx 30 km’s to the outskirts of Dhaka proper. We had to miss the inagural pompous ceremony because of un avoidable circumstances and we reached by air on the night of 22nd and  were put up at Hotel Midway International near the heart of the city. First glances of Dhaka was a massive jam while entering the city at the closing office hours, but it gave us some time to absorb the local radio stations playing local programs which were fun to listen. As is the fact Dhaka local time is 30 mins ahead of IST, and we were to get up at 6o’clock Dhaka local time to catch a bus leaving for conference at 7.15 am. Place this with the fact that I never especially wake up before 8.30 am back home at Kolkata without non-stop nagging from my mom. Rigging up 2 mobiles with interleaved blaring alarms we managed to jerk out of sleep at 6 am, and we reached the hotel portico before the bus or anyone else showed up! Stinging slaps of extra-cold morning Dhaka air started our day of 23rd. I slept for the greater part of the never ending bust trip with it’s occasional stops for picking up the dignitaries, oh wait… we too were dignitaries of some sort. It was mighty cold. And while I was sleeping, the window had slipped open a little, and I was thinking in my dream how it was getting so much colder. Anyway we reached the campus of Jahangir Nagar, it was sprawling green and never ending! We got off at the intersection of the statistics and mathematics unit.

A short walk upto to the venue. We had a contact person, a professor of mathematics from Khulna University (Dr. M. S. Uddin), he got us familiarized with the arrived dignitaries that he knew. Then there were the plenary sessions. I had my Dell with me, and I was not much worried about the talk and same with Mitul. After the lunch break we had our talk  of about some 15 mins and then some routine Q/A’s. Well I am ashamed to say I slept of during the rest of the session where some important things were being said. We got familiar with the student fraternity some from the Bachelors final years, few from the M.Techs and few from the Ph.Ds and it was wonderful to met them. More so because in a foreign land I am interacting in my mother tongue! In between the plenary sessions while on the break I called my ‘special someone’ (local calls at last, to plan our first meet/date on 25th Dec, 2011). At the end of the day we boarded the conference bus to Dhaka and were dropped right in front of the international. The mib all-purpose dinner (rice-omlete-dal) and some friendly chat with a buddhist monk from Chittagong (where we were heading on 25th) we retired with clear plans to bunk the final day! At night finally i was able to chat for a long time with her on local call(bliss!). But Sharif sir called and he thought we should attend, so we prepped for same routine repeatation. Anyway next day we went back to JNU at Savar. We got the opportunity to go around the campus in a car and also see the Savar war memorial. There’s also a fine war memorial within the JNU campus. Me and my brother bunked a plenary session and walked miles, yeah … we carry our camera always!

We skipped the closing dinner and cultural performance to see around Dhaka and local markets. Return ride was fine, we prched on the top floor of a double Decker bus, memories… these no longer ply in Kolkata! An unusual development over travel itenary had occurred & was jeopardizing our first date, so she was quite angry with me. On my request she was reaching Chittagong one day ahead. She had been ill few days back. And in her hurry she had also forgotten packing enough jackets and blankets for her stay in her study-hostel in Ctg. Poor girl, she had to bear the biting cold for the next two nights she stayed at Ctg in the hostel she occupied. She too was bidding her good byes to Ctg for her studies were taking her elsewhere. Naturally she was a little angry on me and I was panicking about plans of 7 months getting ruined to the extent that Mitul was almost very angry with me, but I was really down and sad, only if one saw my face all through that day! By the evening things turned out in my favour, and all tensions subsided.

By 9 morning next day we boarded our bus to Ctg, and we reached there by 4 Afternoon. Long journey huh? There was a stop at a Comilla stand. There we drank local versions of Redbull called Tiger. We also had some fast food just to kill the hunger. Generally mib goes into a minimal eating habit while on the move, but they need some energy to move too! She called me on and off to know where I was and clearly each time I had no clue, I only read roadside signs and told her confusing locations. I stood her there for may be more than an hour each time she asked I said 15 mins, what could i do? I was telling her what people told me! According to her instructions we were to get down at a certain stop after Gec. I was confused in an alien city, but not for long… as I spotted her from the running bus, from afar… I could do no mistake, as if I knew where she would be standing! For the first time I saw her in real life… she was standing there waiting to receive me as we had wished for so long. I got down crossed the road, there she was… she was about to call me again when I waved at her. She was smiling… but suddenly she turned silent! She was nervous.. very much! Not talking much.. being shy! I decided to dump the mib baggage in our Ctg temporary shelter the Asian Sr near the Railway station before touring the city! Who would be the best guide on the city that she knows as well as the back of her hand? We dumped the baggage, completed formalities and got out for the Ctg roll! She smiled for the first time when she asked me to get in the CNG autorickshaw… She was the guide so she would need the side seats! And form then on… the impish smile never left her. We talked off almost 3-4 hours over Burger and coffee. There was a doubt if we would meet the next day, another stick up. Meeting two days was our plan but again that was being tampered with. But things sorted out next day and the Ctg Univ professor who was to show us around had some work, so She was to be our guide again! Our travel started in 10 am morning… and we roamed the city beaches .. nature parks.. malls all day! We went to Patenga beach, naval beach, Foy’s lake. We even had a race at the Foy’s lake who was to climb the hill first. She started it actually! We sat there for 2-3 hours in the sprawling green by the lake… I showed her several matchstick tricks, we listened to several songs over a shared headphone, Dangled our feet sitting side by side on a concrete bench, joked and talked until it was afternoon. We left from there to another mall. We sat there … still having fun but a bit somber about our impending long bye bye! Her face said it but she won’t admit… suddenly she vanished and again reappeared with a ‘little package’ … I was to open it. It contained a ‘little grey tom’… (she said Tom is not grey.. it’s a mistake, anyway the Tom is sitting here now right by my laptop while I write!). It was cuter than what I had thought of for her. Then we left for this… I could not look at her eyes.. and she mine. We boarded a CNG auto rickshaw & I dropped her off in front of her hostel before going on to where I was staying (dropping her off at her place was something she wanted me to do when I was calling from Dhaka but I was afraid and I suggested she should drop me off as I had more chance to get lost, but I got the courage from where I don’t know). She let got of my hand, got down, said bye to my brother, then to me, quickly turned and walked fast into the darkness as the auto turned away …my glasses fogged. Another year of waiting had begun… 

P.S- I had my Ctg-Kolkata flight next day, and she caught her bus to her home around the same time as I left the city by air. I am to go back to her again… We could not meet on 27th( day of departure morning…) …but we kept calling untill my Airplane commander finally asked for switching off of all electronic devices. Another year of waiting had begun… 

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