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On Friendship Day, explore the friendship of Kabuliwala and Minnie

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Rabindranath Tagore has always been supreme in the thoughts portrayed in his short stories. Even a century back when he wrote about the friendship of a Kabuliwala who had come from Afghanistan to Kolkata and a little girl Minnie, probably he knew such friendships will last the test of time, beyond borders and age difference. The voice of his short story Kabuliwala, is lent by Minnie’s father, who is touched by the gesture of Rahamat, the Kabuliwala from Kabul who frequents his house to sell dry fruits and shawls. The man dressed in ethnic Kabul attire with a huge turban and a bag on his back had fascinated the little girl Minnie.

Minnie’s father introduces his daughter to him, breaking all shackles of social hindrances and an odd friendship strikes between the two. Rahmat starts calling the little one Khuki (a child). As their friendship blossoms, they meet everyday, with Rahmat narrating stories of his homeland to make the girl happy. Soon, Minnie’s mother grows suspicious of this flourishing friendship and fears Rahmat might even kidnap and sell her daughter. The father is forced to ask the Kabuliwala not to come to his house anymore.

On the other hand, Rahamat also gets arrested for stabbing someone during a scuffle. After a 10-year imprisonment, he returns, again to his ‘little friend’ who is a grown up girl now about to be married. Rahmat’s pain of leaving his own daughter back in Kabul comes to light and he realises his daughter must have grown up too. Minnie’s father gives him money to return to Kabul. This is where Tagore brings out the ultimate of friendship --- love, longing and spirit of sacrifice. The odd friendship between a Kabuliwala and a little girl becomes immortal in the process.