Journy through Bangldesh
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
Today I will introduce you to a fellow with a fighting spirit, a man who would not accept defeat in life. Although he lost his eyesight from typhoid in his boyhood, he didn't choose begging alms as a profession or sit idle as a burden on others. When I went to him and introduced myself, he told me that he was an artist. He makes mats from a particular kind of bamboo known as 'Tala' bamboo that grows in abundance in the region. These mats are called 'Talai' or 'Dhari' locally and are commonly used on house-roofs just below the uppermost tin roofs. The mats protect the rooms from heat and help keep them cool in summer. The 'Dharis' are also used for burying the dead in the graves. The person I am talking of is Binoy Mondal. He lives at Ranigram in Sirajganj. Following is the conversation I had with Mr. Mondol.
Sagar : Sir, may I talk to you?
Mondol : Yes, of course.
Sagar : May I know your name?
Mondol : Binoy Mondol.
Sagar : How many members are there in your family?
Mondol : We were six in the family but now we are four. Two daughters are married and live with their in-laws.
Sagar : What do you do?
Mondol : Business. But you can consider me an artist, too. I make 'Talai' and then sell them.
Sagar : Would you mind telling us how much you earn a month?
Mondol : About Tk. 200.
Sagar : Well,Sir, as you do business I guess you need to handle money. Do you feel any problem doing so?
Mondol : Yes, sometimes I do. But I manage. And also nobody has ever tried to cheat me.
Sagr : When did you get married?
Mondol : In 1980. My wife helps me a lot in my work.
Sagar : I hope you won't mind my asking this. Did you face any problem because of your blindness at the time of your marriage?
Mondol : No, I got married to one of my relations. So every one knew about my condition and this never became an issue.
Sagar : We know that your eyes are totally damaged. How do you work? Don't you find it very hard to make the mats and work out the patterns on them?
Mondol : Well, I guess you are familiar with the proverb 'Where there is a will, there is a way'. Besides, I've found out that when you loose one of your senses, the others become sharper. No, I don't find working with my fingers any more difficult than most others.
Sagar : I'd like to ask you something. I hope you wouldn't take offence.
Mondol : Ok. Go ahead.
Sagar : We know from experience that many poor people often use their disability as an excuse to beg but you never did that. Why?
Mondol : I couldn't ever imagine living by begging. To tell you frankly the idea never occurred to me. I thank God for the courage He gave me and my family to accept reality, no matter how cruel and difficult it seemed at first.
Sagar : Thank you, for giving me some time.
Mondol : Thank you, too.
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