Humans logo

A fragile Teacher

by Nurun Nahar 4 months ago in humanity

Bright lesson

Start Rini visited Bangladesh after 12 long years. So much has changed and yet nothing. Beneath all the chaos there is a certain calmness; always a method to the madness.

Her car stopped at traffic light. Knock on her window. She turns, a little girl about eight or nine years old, either malnourished or naturally really skinny. A street flower seller, running from cars to cars, maneuvering her ways between heavy traffic and signal light without any fear and with great skill!

Oil shining in the sunlight from Her long hair in two ponytails. Was it her mother who soaked her hair in coconut oil? Wearing a pretty floral dress, the girl carried a smile on her face. There is a hole little below the right arm exposing her baby skin and her poverty. Still her bright genuine smile overshadowed the gaping hole, shining brighter than her oily hair and her innocent poverty.

Three different types of flowers in her hands. Without pointing to a specific kind, Rini asks, "how much?" An excuse to kill time with price and bargain, to not have to buy the flowers till the light turns. Without asking which one, the girl replies -"Afa (sister), only 200 taka (Bangladeshi currency) 

Without asking which one, the girl replies -"Afa (sister), only 200 taka (Bangladeshi currency) 

Besides bunch of credit cards in her purse Rini has 70,000 taka in cash. She went to Bangladesh to shop for her best friends wedding in USA. She is on her way to a posh shopping mall that caters to people living in abroad like her. Everything expensive and great quality with a price tag that probably has many garment workers blood attached to it. But that's none of Rinis concern today.

Her bag zipper open, as always. In USA she never feels the need to close the zip. But things are different here. The other day an unknown woman tapped on her shoulder as she was on her way to a coffee shop and said shockingly, "your bag is open! Close it!" Rini thanked her and pretended to close it. She doesn’t  need or want to. She has a que sera sera vibe to her living.

200 taka is nothing. But to carry the flowers right now is a hassle. She is to meet up with friends there, they will be shopping all day. A bunch of flowers is not what she needs now.

The flower girl staring at her. Ok! Fine! I will buy a piece. Rini takes out a note of 1000 taka and hands out the bill.

The girl smiled and said, "Its only 10 in the morning Afa, I dont have change."

Oh great, now what? Rini doesn't have  smaller bill. Her bag is to her left. Next to the locked car door and window.

The girl peeps in her open bag. "Afa, no other smaller bill? Take a look in your bag again. Look in that pocket."

That's the problem with this nation, lack of privacy. No one has taught this little girl that she cant peep in someone else's bag, she cant ask them to search here and there. If a customer says I have no other bills, she must accept that as a fact.

"I don't have smaller bills. Your flowers are nice, but I guess not today. Thanks, ok?"

The girl takes the liberty to suggest, "Asks the driver bhai (brother), if he has change."

Jeez! This little girl surely is a business woman at this age! Rini has no intention of asking him for change. Wishing the light would turn green soon, reluctantly and slowly, Rini bends forward to ask the driver whether he has change for a thousand.

Light turned green right then. Sigh of relief!

As she shuts the window she hears fading words..."Afa, you were my first customer...it's bad luck to...." Did Rini notice a smile even when she was uttering those words?

Rini feels bad. But not bad enough to turn the car around and give that girl 1000 taka. There is a lot to do today.

calmness; always a

Next morning Rini woke late. Last night she came home exhausted. They had to go to many different stores. Buying so many sharees and menswear in a day isn't easy.

As she drinks her tea, Rini decides to clean her purse. Must get all the receipts together. She sits with her bag and tea. Bag is full of receipts, lipsticks, chap sticks, her hair brush, two pads, a small notebook, many stores business cards etc.

As she put her hand in the furthest left pocket she felt something soft.

A small garland of marigold! The girl must have placed it in her open bag. When?! When she was asked to ask the driver for change?

Rini feels horrible. A nation that lacks in respecting privacy, doesn't lack in giving and sharing. The girl did say Rini was her first customer. She didnt want to turn Rini away empty handed. Money didnt matter. She wanted Rini to have the flower. She had three different flowers, so why marigold? Because it lasts long? Because it represents sun, brightness and positivity? Because its got medicinal properties? Did the girl know all that? Perhaps she chose marigold because that's who she was. Bright, sunny, giving and healing. Or was it because Rini wore a turmeric yellow kameez with matching shawl that had the same colour as a marigold? Is that why the little girl had said, "Afa, you look like a flower."

Rini sat holding onto the marigold garland in both her hands. As if she is holding onto the girls smile or a mirror perhaps. Rini is from a nation where love is measured by materials, and  life is measured by success. Rini couldn’t part with her 1000 taka, but the little girl with a ripped dress gave up her flowers.

Rini sat wondering, what is life? Buying commodities every week, filling up the house with costly show pieces, shopping and enjoying for a wedding that would cost almost 100 thousand USD or is life a marigold? Where only the smell (smile) and texture (character) lasts because being altruistic truly is the answer.

Rini sat wondering, what is life? Buying commodities every week, filling up the house with costly show pieces, shopping and enjoying for a wedding that would cost almost 100 thousand USD or is life a marigold? Where only the smell (smile) and texture (character) lasts because being altruistic truly is the answer.

Life is indeed that little girl and a marigold flower. Bright, giving, teaching, positive and healing.

A Fragile Teacher

- Nurun Nahar Zarin

humanity

Nurun Nahar

a

a Or 

h

Receive stories by Nurun Nahar in your feed
Nurun Nahar
Read next: The Lion King

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2021 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.