It was a seemingly normal day in Dhaka and after getting free from work, I decided to grab a quick bite in a nearby restaurant Yellow Submarine. I had heard a lot about this place but this was my first time there. Upon entering it, I realized how expensive it is but since I was thirsty, I decided to have a Oreo Milkshake nonetheless. The cost of the milkshake was 230 taka with additional taxes that I can’t recall now.
Post having the milkshake, as I left the shop, I happened to glance at this roadside stall selling fried delicacies opposite to it. Hungry as I was and the foodie that I am, I decided to have a samosa or two. I bought the samosa’s and was standing there peacefully engrossed in eating till this old guy comes and starts asking the man in the shop for the prices of the different things. He specifically asked him the price of Poha twice. When the men replied 15 taka, this old guy stepped back and from the fold of his lungi, took out a 10 taka note and started staring at the note. I was wondering what this guy is doing staring at his note till I saw him again asking the shopkeeper if he can give a little bit less Poha for 10 taka; Apparently that 10 taka note was all that he had.
The shopkeeper vehemently refused, stating that you either buy it for 15 or not at all. The old guy again started staring at his 10 taka note and after a while started slowly moving away from the stall. The look I saw on his face while he was staring at his note is something I can never forget. Its an emotion I am not capable of articulation, for I have never truly felt it myself. I wanted to call him and buy that poha for him but I kept standing there, nonplussed; I couldn’t eat the samosa anymore, it was simply refusing to go down my throat. My mind immediately went back to the 230 taka I had spent 10 minutes back on a horribly overpriced milkshake and here a man couldn’t buy food for he had 5 taka less. The look on the man’s face kept playing again and again in my head, like a song on repeat mode.
Now, is there a point behind my writing this and sharing it with you all? Am I trying to make a point against eating in expensive places or am I trying to bring out how apathetic and hypocritical the world we live in really is? No, not at all. This time around, I have no agenda whatsoever. Writing about it is simply a way for me to bring out all that troubles me about the incident. I can then hopefully make my peace with it, for there is little else I can and want to do. There is a beautiful saying in my mother-tongue Hindi that states: Now that you have been born into the world, there is no option but to live. So, living I am and while doing it am trying my best to embrace it as it is, filled with both the positives and the negative, the beautiful and the ugly, the black, the white and the gray.