Mundane 6

 

I get off the bus at Uttara and walk into the golden afternoon. Pedestrians splash through the mirage pools on the asphalt. I get on a rickshaw.

“Number 2 of 11.”

He starts paddling.

“Annyeong hashimnikka.”

“Sorry what?”

“That’s Korean evening greeting.”

In BD rickshaw pullers are poor day laborers. They are rarely literate.

He is about my age. He talks about a man of his village who went to Korea and now sends huge sums of money. He speaks in a polite voice. I awkwardly mumble something in reply. I remember those articles in newspaper about boys bearing their costs of study by menial work. Always made me uncomfortable.

When I get off he asks me to pray for him. He has his honors exams next week. I smile and pay him nearly double fare. I hurriedly leave, ashamed.

Many months later I find him again in a dark alley during a loadsheding. He talks and I listen silently. He seems to have an unending supply of small talk. He doesn’t remember me.

“Annyeong hashimnikka. It’s goodnight in Korean.” He tells me as I get off. “I have my Honors exam next week. Then I’ll go to Korea. Pray for me, won’t you?”

I pay him the usual fare. He seems a bit disappointed but doesn’t object.

“Jal ga.” I say before I leave him in the darkness. I feel a vicious satisfaction in my chest.

This is part of a series of Micro Fiction based on the mundane slices of my daily life here in Bangladesh. Other entries in the series..

1) Mundane

2)Mundane 2 (Small Town Night)

3)Mundane 3 (A Walk)

4)Mundane 4 (leaving home at dawn)

5)Mundane 5 (It’s Raining In Dhaka)

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