A Friend From Bangladesh

Sun was at his or her naughtiest and I was feeling thirsty. As I was wishing for some energy drink, there came this young man as a messiah. At first sight, he looked like an oasis in the desert but later I realized he’s just a coconut water vendor.

But, he served nothing less than a God who came to help me in distress. I ordered a big-fat coconut full of water. And, as a habit, I started talking with him. I asked him where he came to Mumbai because obviously, he didn’t look like a native. Usually, the coconut vendors are from South India, mostly Kerala; and they have a typical look, diction, and a very loving heart.

He told me that his name is Manan Shaikh and he came from east India, from a place called Rajmahal. He talked like a Bengali-babu and so I also started talking to him in my broken Bengali. He’d different and typical ascent and I immediately asked him whether he is from Bangladesh.


He became uncomfortable suddenly and started to move. I stopped him and asked not to worry about the fact and tell me his story. He tried to convince me that he is from Bihar and speaks like this only. Then, I asked him about some places but he didn’t recognize the places and said that he has to leave to serve others.

Whatever his nationality or way of life is, he’s a hard worker. He sells his coconuts in the sun and may hardly earn a couple of rupees on one coconut.

This is a difficult profession and requires lots of stamina, determination, and guts. I may never even be able to step in shoes and see what’s it like because I’ve never moved out of m city for work and this dude has come all the way long from across the border to earn a living. He looked happy for my concern but disturbed because of it.

I’ll meet him again I guess and dig for more facts to find out that if this new friend is really from our dear neighbor Bangladesh or no — although, I still don’t believe him because Rajmahal is famous for hosting Bangladeshi refugees — and I’ll love him more if he’s one.

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