Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

Do I have to answer it?

I’ve never really been much of a mobile phone person. And here in Bangladesh I’m not surgically attached to my phone, like most other people appear to be (to their own phones, not my phone). Sometimes I don’t know where my phone is, or it’s on silent, or the battery is dead. And sometimes I just don’t want to answer it. To most people here this is just inconceivable.

So what this means is if I miss someone’s call, they try again, and again and again and again. And again. Until I’m either beaten into submission to answer the damn thing, or I switch it off. I especially don’t like to answer work related calls on weekends (i.e Friday). I have enough difficulty ‘switching off’ from work sometimes as I live and work in the same place, so when I’m in Dhaka for example, I kinda want to totally forget about work and just get a break from it all. Not that the types of work calls are the same as say London work calls…but really sometimes I just want to forget the very existence of it. And there doesn’t appear to be a cut-off point for when people think it’s appropriate to call. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning to a missed call from midnight the night before. I mean, that’s just rude, right? Here it’s a case of ‘have mobile phone, will use it’. And sometimes there appears to be a network of people behind one missed call. On Friday I missed calls from one individual related to work about a meeting scheduled for today. After these missed calls, I then got a text from someone ELSE saying that X is trying to call me, so please accept their call. So a missed call results in calls to other people to complain about me missing their call?

It gets even worse in Rangamti sometimes. Especially with Memory. If I (god forbid) miss her calls, then she comes round and bangs on my door. If I still don’t answer the door (sometimes I really do just want to hide away from the world), she comes around to my bedroom windows, yanks open my shutters, pulls open my curtains (I don’t have glass in my ‘windows’) to determine my exact whereabouts. It’s just all to mysterious for her why I could possibly want to spend some time alone. This makes my ‘me’ time fraught with worries of a Memory-shaped-shadow appearing in my windows at any minute. Not ideal.

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