samedi 5 septembre 2015

VIKAS THE KABULIWALLA OF FORT COCHIN ELITE RESTAURANT

Vikas is a Nepali whose family lives in Darjeeling in Northern India at the foot of the Himalayas. He works long hours as a waiter at Elite Restaurant at Princess Street, the tourist hang out in Fort Cochin in Kerala India. He gets to go home once a year to visit his family. The train journey alone takes three days.
He told me about his daughter, and showed me her pictures, born in september 2009.
When I was in school, I remember reading and being touched by a short story by Rabindranath Tagore called Kabuliwala, about a trader from faraway Kabul in Afghanistan, each year, bringing goods and going home with the money he had saved . He had a daughter waiting for him at home. He befriends a Bengali family who has a daughter of same age.
It always saddens me to think of the story.
(During my stay at Fort Cochin, at Niyati Boutique Home Stay just around the corner, I drop by to say hello to the two people above. Vikas is on the left)
I was leaving Fort Cochin to go to Brussels to see LBGS who was born just one month after Vikas' daughter. I went into the resto, he was resting but soon appeared to greet me.
I pressed a note on to his palm and said to him, this is from LBGS to your daughter, and please tell your daughter that she has a sister in Brussels.
Both of us could hardly hold back our tears..
We are both the New Kabuliwallas!
A Hindu girl in Darjeeling and a Jewish girl in Bruxelles.