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     Volume 6 Issue 26 | July 6, 2007 |

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View from the Bottom

Reschid Cowdrey hates

Shahnoor Wahid

The tycoon of the country, Reschid Cowdrey, alias The Prince among the Paupers, gave this writer an interview last week in the prestigious private club known as Rinkhelafi Club. Our conversation at one point veered towards Bengal's succulent fruits and from there it stopped at jackfruit. The very mention of the name made his face turn bloodless. He quickly looked around and made sure no one was eves-dropping. Then he told me that he hates the name, sight, odour, even mention of jackfruit. He thinks it is a fruit for the lesser humans, the crude class, the proletariat, and for lowly animals, and definitely not for men like him who wear diamond-studded shoes and cufflinks. He feels intensely affronted when someone eats jackfruit in his presence. He would not touch it with a ten-foot pole because if anyone found out then he would lose his position in society (!). He had to sacrifice a lot to get to where he has gone today. It costs plenty to 'acquire' aristocracy, so Reschid Cowdrey was not ready to lose it.

Therefore, to keep his position in society he has forbidden entry of jackfruit in his house. Even his servants are not allowed to eat it. He also told me he had divorced his first wife who ate plenty of jackfruit in front of his friends. He thinks all jackfruit trees should be chopped down to allow cultivation of strawberry and peach. He finds such fruits glamorous.

Family history of Reschid Cowdrey
I became curious about this tycoon who wears a ten thousand dollar tie and yet is a member of the Rinkhelafi Club. I did my own investigation. Born Roisuddin Mondol, he was known as Roishsha in his school in a remote village far away from the capital. His father's name was Boshiruddin Mondol. He was a farmer. After passing S.S.C. Roisuddin went to a nearby college and changed his name to Rashid Mondol through an affidavit. He passed H.S.C. and changed his name to Rashed Chowdhury. With that name he passed his university years. Then he got the opportunity to go to London with a rich man. After ten years of stay there he returned with the name Reschid Cowdrey. Since coming back to his 'native' land he avoided his old friends since they addressed him either as Roshid or Roishsha in public, thereby deflating his prestige. He had picked up an accent while in London, which none in this country understood, and he dressed like the English Barons looking ever ready to join a dinner party.

Reschid Cowdrey soon found new friends in Bangladesh having similar tastes and need for money. They took millions of takas and dollars from the banks as loan against false factories or business and spent them in merry abundance on world's costliest whiskey, rum and vodka. At his daughter's marriage he only served champagne in place of water. As a result, by ten at night, everyone had gotten dead drunk. Reschid also became famous for his lavish parties where high government officials, retired generals, police top brasses, political touts, university professors, ambassadors, editors and business leaders attended. They felt obliged when their young daughters danced with Reschid Cowdrey.

Reschid Cowdrey in his village
I also found out that Reschid Cowdrey kept his mother in that remotely located village in a moderately comfortable bungalow. He sent her money regularly but never took her to his mansion in Dhaka. After all, she was not educated and spoke with a village accent. One day I heard that Reschid Cowdrey was about to leave for his village for the day. I grabbed the opportunity and started on my motorcycle behind his car, keeping a safe distance. After reaching the village home I kept watch on Reschid from behind a huge tree. After having his meal I saw Reschid coming out and sitting on the porch. He ordered for something to one of the servants. Soon the servant came with a large jackfruit and broke it open for his master. Reschid began to eat like he never ate jackfruit before. Within fifteen minutes he finished the large fruit and stood up to wash his hand. I thought I had seen enough and left the place quietly.

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