Dec 12, 2004

Mistakes I can make

Yes, I too make mistakes. I did a very foolish thing today. I was walking home when a man wearing a shirt and lungi greeted me as if he knew me. He said he'd used to work for this video store that had closed down and that I had used to go there frequently (which was true, but that was a _long_ time ago, and he shouldn't have been able to have recognised me from from then). Although I didn't recognise him I shook his hand and he clasped my hand for a long time while he spoke of himself and asked me where I'd been recently. I answered him (Chittagong, Dhaka), wondering what he wanted (idiot me).

Then he started describing all the troubles he'd been having in Dhaka after losing the video store job -- looking for a job, supporting the family, and so on. And still I stood there like an idiot letting him talk on. I don't know what spell came over me -- was I uncertain as to whether he had really recognised me? Was it because he spoke some English as he told me about trying to get a job at a club in Gulshan? Was he going to ask me for a job?

Then I got a call from my mother, and I decided to get going. So I told him I had to go, implying that my mother had told me something I needed to do in a hurry. He kept on talking, finally getting to the point -- would I lend him some money, he would never ask me normally but he'd been having trouble recently and also suffering ill health -- he showed me his left arm, which had discoloured patches on it. That was when I started kicking myself (figuratively speaking) for staying to listen so long.

He was saying, maybe I could lend him a hundred taka? Maybe even fifty? I told him I didn't have anything, I would have given him something if I did have it, but I didn't. I lied, I did have some money on me, two hundred taka, but I would never give away money to anyone I met on the street.

He seemed very reluctant to let me go. I left him behind, feeling like a total idiot.

No comments: