A Friend Indeed! [Short Story]

The Bangladeshi farmer Idris is so delighted that Lucy is coming from America to meet him at Gourobpur! They met on Facebook 2 years ago and a strong sense of friendship built between the two. Idris sent many photos of himself and the village to her. Lucy has been extremely impressed by Idris’ simplicity, the greenery of the countryside, the banyan tree, the women’s going to the pond to have a bath, the children’s flying colorful kites, the farmers’ going to the field with the cows and so on and on and on!

The entire village feels proud of Idris! This is for the first time that a foreigner is coming to Gourobpur village! A festive milieu prevails everywhere! It is time now for Lucy’s arrival at the station. Idris goes and returns with her. Almost all the children in the village are behind them while they are walking! Some are playing drums, some are whistling and what not! Idris feels like the King of the world! However, Lucy feels a little bit shy by seeing the procession-like situation! Her cheeks turn reddish like the watermelon! She smilingly asks,

- Idris, why are all the people following us like that?

- Don’t worry dear Lucy, it’s their way of expressing love, affection and respect for you.

Lucy notices a river. Idris feels that she is charmed by its beauty. He takes her near the bank. The fresh and gentle breeze touches her hair, cheeks, lips, her entire existence! She feels like she has been born just now, fresh, uncontaminated with a mind like that of a blank page! She has not seen such a beautiful river ever in her life. The name of the river is Momotamoyi which means ‘affectionate’ in English. Indeed, the river is touching everyone with affection exactly like a mother.

While returning, Idris takes Lucy to a roadside tea shop, which is locally called, ‘tong’! Once she saw a similar tea shop while visiting India. But, this one is different in some aspects; it is made of corrugated tins. Lucy feels rather excited. Idris invites her to have a cup of tea and she accepts. The taste of the tea is simply awesome! Hardly has she ever tasted such tea. Idris offers her another cup and she goes for it as well.

It is half past 11 at night. Lucy goes to her room after dinner. The meal was delicious. There were so many fragrant spices in the curry. She was served with all sorts of savory dishes including hilsha, barbel, catfish, lobster, prawn, pomfret, local salmon, beef, chicken, mutton, vegetables of several kinds, blah blah blah!

The room in which she is right now is a simple one as is usual in the countryside. Lucy looks at the corner of the room. A flower vase with fresh roses makes its presence felt. She is impressed more now since people nowadays do not normally keep fresh flowers in their rooms, offices etc. She picks a red rose up and breathes its celestial fragrance in. On the walls, there are posters of some men and women. She feels they might be the filmstars or other public figures from Bangladesh.   

It is almost twelve now. She thinks that the USA never sleeps but here in a remote Asian country, the villagers go to bed early. She can hear the crickets chirp. A cat is mewing somewhere nearby; maybe it is a pet. All of a sudden, Lucy trembles after hearing the piercing barking of a dog. She does not understand why the dog is barking in such a manner. She does not know why a sort of scary feeling runs through her body like electricity! She decides to close the window. While closing it, she sees someone eavesdropping!

After hearing Lucy’s scream, Idris and other family members rush to her room and knowing about the presence of an eavesdropper, Idris, along with others, starts searching. After a few minutes, he catches him and drags him towards the courtyard where all the curious people have been waiting including Lucy herself. All the eyes are on the eavesdropper now; he maybe a thief, maybe a conspirator and so on. Lucy notices that the captive person has a peculiar trait; he winks after every five seconds! Idris grabs his collar and slaps the eavesdropper so hard that Lucy’s face shakes by the sound of it. He asks,

- Who are you and what the hell are you doing here at midnight, huh?

- I am innocent, believe me! I haven’t done anything! Please leave me alone!

The eavesdropper keeps on winking and it is making Idris more irritated. He slaps him again. However, he manages t free himself somehow and disappears in the coal-like darkness like a thunderbolt! Idris and others run for catching him but it goes in vain. He returns and requests everyone to go to sleep. Idris decides not to sleep this night. Like a security guard, he passes the night with the pet cat so that none can harm them. 

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