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The Fanatic

Updated on April 15, 2018
ARUN KANTI profile image

Hi,welcome to my Hubpages profile. I am Arun Kanti Chatterjee and live in Kolkata. My mission is to share experiences etched on my memory.

While hiring a rickshaw one day in Dacca as we were negotiating with a few of the rickshaw pullers demanding unusually higher fare one lanky young man in tattered clothes suddenly emerged from the stand and without going for any bargain told us ‘’ Please take your seats. I shall carry you soon to your destination. You may give me any fare you like, which I shall accept. Otherwise, God will not spare me”. We were struck dumb by his generosity and the total surrender to his almighty. Our repeated efforts to negotiate fully least anything unsavoury should result later proved futile as he continued to mutter to himself unintelligibly in different styles and rapid succession. He seemed to be totally immersed in a different world of his own and oblivious of our presence. We made repeated attempts at distracting him for a final settlement of the fare and averting any chances of accident on a busy street. But to no avail.

Visiting Dacca

We, two brothers, were recently visiting Dacca for a short period and our itinerary consisted of important places including an industrial agro based exhibition while meeting people of different sections of the society in and around the Bangladesh capital. Staying in a posh hotel at Gulshan we preferred to visit other restaurants at Banani to savour the culinary delights of Dacca.

There, unlike Kolkata, rickshaws are easily available. While the roads remain mostly jammed the hand pulled rickshaws bring further distress. However, for a short journey rickshaws are obviously the only option and bring some respite from the suffocating heat.


But as the man was adamant mumbling incomprehensibly and not listening to us, we were afraid but tried once again to please him by offering to come back with him. He immediately accepted our proposal by giving only a nod of approval but again kept himself engaged in unintelligible prayer or his contemplation. Or was he grumbling or ventilating his deep grievances-we could not make out. He was riding speeding up steadily but we did not disturb him anymore. He reached the destination in time and before we could advise him he said “I am waiting for you. Have your lunch and I shall take you back to your hotel’’. This was unusual as no other person would have liked to waste time unnecessarily as rickshaws are very much in demand.


Lunch to our fill

We had lunch to our fill with delicious specially cut big hilsa pieces and mouth watering kababs. “Bangladesh is infact a paradise for any traveller looking to indulge their taste buds. With distinct flavours and many ingenious techniques adopted from each region of the country there is no better place to get a taste of it all than in the nation’s capital”. Our friends in Kolkata had kept on messaging us.

As we were from Kolkata the manager took a keen interest in us particularly when he came to know that I was a freelance journalist. He offered us extra pieces of hilsha inviting us to his restaurant whenever we tour Dacca again. We became very late in leaving the place.

Bidding goodbye to the manager and the staff we found the man waiting on the pavement in a corner muttering to himself. A dog was seen by his side dozing. We offered the man some sweets which he politely declined.


Having lunch amidst discussions

Return to hotel

As soon as we had boarded the vehicle he started to ride and the rickshaw gathered speed and we began to listen to his soft one sided prattle once again. We did not interrupt and allowed him to have his pleasure in whatever way he felt the best. Neither did we try to intrude into his privacy. But moving fast as he tried to negotiate a passing car he was soon nabbed by a mobile police van for flouting traffic rules and speeding. The vigilant official ordered to impound his vehicle. He did not try to justify his action. Neither any word of pleading guilty elicited from his mouth. Standing aside he remained an innocent bystander and only we could hear him speaking to himself. The awkward situation forced us this time to intervene and request the cop for mercy on his behalf. Our entreaty was granted and he soon returned to his seat and took us back to our lodging place rather slowly but still uttering words. To our surprise he did not demand anything in keeping with his words and he accepted gladly the fare we paid. He seemed to be repentant with apologetic gesture for not listening to us. Getting a scope we advised him to pray to his almighty only in a quiet ambience which he accepted but only uttering a sigh.


Musing on the events


He left us soon mumbling his voices. I kept standing near the hotel main gate in a dazed condition as if I had drank myself into a stupor. In Such a bizarre situation I began to think about the person who perhaps had his peace only in complete surrender to his God. He did not show any sign of his greed for money or food but I kept wondering what he would do with the income he was having every day. He might have squandered his hard earned money. He might have had innumerable problems that forced him to look up to his spiritual guide or God forgetting everything. How were his off springs and wife? Had he renounced his former friends and relations and taken to this path after much deprivation and extreme poverty? What would he do if in the cause of modernization his hand pulled rickshaw was prohibited and he was unable to shift to any occupation other than his traditional one? These thoughts occupied my minds.

Suddenly I received a soft nudge on my back from a security guard who was ushering a VIP in his expensive Toyota into the hotel. I soon came back to my normal senses. I returned to my room hurriedly and prepared for the next day’s tour.

A VIP in his expensive Toyota

© 2018 ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE

Comments

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    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Sanjib Talukder- Thank you very much for reading my story leaving such wise comments.

    • profile image

      Sanjib Talukder 

      18 months ago

      Written in a dedcriptive way of a honest Rickshawpuller who never compromises his honesty despite having poverty. A good writing indeed & keep it up.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      William F Torpey- Thank you very much for going through my story.Your comments are very encouraging.Wish you all the best.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      18 months ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Enjoyed reading your story, Arun. I like your style -- honest and straight to the point. Keep writing.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Malay Chandan Pal- Thank you very much for reading my story leaving such wise comments which only give me the necessary impetus to write more stories.Wish you all the best

    • profile image

      Malay Chandan Pal 

      18 months ago

      The write-up on Rickshaw puller is genuinely very very praiseworthy.

      To me, it's an admixture of loving the profession with humour AND genuine intension to discharge his duty.

      May the Almighty bless him.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Devika- Thank you very much.I always love to hear from you after a hub is published. Wish you all the best in your life and literary pursuit.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      18 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Just a mysterious man! An interesting place to visit.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Annart- Next time I visit Dacca I shall definitely look for the poor man.As I have mentioned he was no doubt very honest and humble.Thank you very much for reading my story leaving such comments.Wish you all the best.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      18 months ago from SW England

      What a strange, interesting tale. I was intrigued by this man. Did you ever find out any more about him?

      Ann

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Mr.Sampad Bose- Thanks for reading my story leaving such positive comments.Wish you all the best.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      John- Thanks for reading the story leaving such wise comments.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Brian- Thank you for reading my story.In fact I could not make out if the poor rickshaw puller was reciting from a sacred text or contemplating. He was devoid of any greed for money.

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Doris- Thanks for reading my hub. Wish you

      all the best

    • ARUN KANTI profile imageAUTHOR

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      18 months ago from KOLKATA

      Alan- Thank you very much for going through my hub leaving such positive comments.Infact the peddler was booked mainly for rash driving.

    • Sampad Bose profile image

      Sampad Bose 

      18 months ago from Kolkata, West Bengal, India

      Very descriptive. Feeling like I'm in the country.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      18 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I found this story enthralling, Arun. I have always wanted to experience riding in a rickshaw but have never had the opportunity. I too am amazed at him being pulled over for speeding... :) Good job, thanks for sharing.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      18 months ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Did you pay the rickshaw driver more than, less than, or about the same as the price you originally anticipated he and you would negotiate? Maybe he learned from experience—or from divine inspiration or a sacred text—that he'd make more money on average by letting the customer decide what would be a fair price rather than by haggling.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      18 months ago from Beautiful South

      What a mystery man! This is a very enjoyable read, Arun. Maybe he was just a brick shy of a load as we say here.

    • profile image

      jonnycomelately 

      18 months ago

      Well done Arun. Thank you. I could easily recall such a ride from my memories of New Delhi. Especially going as close as 6 inches to a bus or a truck yet totally at ease in care of the rickshaw peddler, who was so very expert at his job.

      But I have never before heard of a rickshaw being pulled over for speeding! What was he doing? 15 mph? Sounds like Harry Potter on a broomstick!

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