cabuliwallah, penned by rabindranath tagore, explores the complexities of human relationships through the story of rahmun and the narrators daughter mini. Rahmun, the cabuliwalla does not belong to Calcutta and is always treated as an outsider . he is subjected to the mistrust , curiosity and suspicion of the locals. mini was initially frightened by the cabuliwallah, rumoured to be a child abductor ,who actually peddled dry fruits and went door to door in the hopes of earning a few bucks for his daughter at home who happens to be as old as mini . mini’s innocence helps break the walls of suspicion around rahmun and within no time she does not only befriend him but also takes to liking the afghan pathan. Rahmun too begins to have a soft spot for mini as she reminded him of his own daughter back home. Rahmun and mini spend a lot of time together talking but mostly laughing. Mini’s father, the narrator is initially wary of rahmun and mini’s budding bond but eventually seems to understand that their relationship seems to stem from something pure and innocent. However, that does not convince mini’s mother who is always on the fence about rahmun’s character. In a bitter turn of events, rahmun ends up going to prison for 10 years leaving mini heartbroken for a while. But 10 years is a long time and the little girl grows up and forgets all about her best friend from Afghanistan. On rahmun’s return things aren’t the same as they were 10 years ago. Mini is getting married and she no longer recognizes the cabuliwallah. Reality strikes hard and rahmun realises that his own daughter too must have grown up as much as mini has and that he has responsibilities waiting for him at home. Empathizing with the cabuliwallah, the narrator hands rahmun some money and tells him to go home and take care of his own family, sacrificing some of the celebrations in his own daughter’s wedding. Tagore has beautifully brought forth the sense of displacement that the Afghan...
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