Hand kerchief | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 02, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 02, 2019

Flash Fiction

Hand kerchief

A hawker was constantly nagging in front of me for buying a handkerchief. It was only 7.30 am in the morning and yet the sun was ready to burn the entire world with its rage. I had just managed to find my seat in the train soon about to leave for Dhaka from Chittagong. And the little boy with numerous handkerchiefs in his hand was trying to convince me into buying one. I told him “Please go, I don’t use handkerchiefs.” He went and then after some time came back. This time he touched my elbow and I shouted at him. The morning was unusually hot and I was irritated for many reasons, the main being that I could not manage a ticket for AC compartment. Secondly, I was travelling alone with lots of luggage. And thirdly, I did not get a window seat. The boy remained unmoved but gave me a look of compassion as if he had read my mind. For a second, I felt guilty and asked him to give me one handkerchief. He smiled and asked me to choose the color. I chose a white one and bought the first handkerchief of my life with ten taka.

The person occupying the window seat beside me was not more than 18 years. There was a book of general knowledge in his hand and I speculated that he was going to sit for the university admission tests. So, I found myself in a favorable position as I was undoubtedly senior to him. Although I was severely allergic to dust, I requested him with a commanding tone to open the window as the ceiling fans were not doing justice to their names. He did it, although hesitantly, and got back to his study within a moment. I put the handkerchief into my handbag and picked the packet of tissues from there. I wiped out the sweat from my forehead and neck. Then I tried to close my eyes and wished for the train to move on. The train moved and so did I, towards a new life in Dhaka leaving behind the thirty years of my life in Chittagong. As the train speeded up, I felt my anger converting into tears and rolling down silently.

All on a sudden, my co-passenger groaned in pain and leaned towards me. I opened my eyes and tried to understand what was happening. By this time, he fell on my lap. I looked at him and saw his face drenched with blood coming out of his head. I understood that he had been shot by a flying stone. I just managed to open my hand bag and found the handkerchief. I pressed the white piece of cloth tightly over his wound and screamed.


Tanni Saha completed her Masters from the Department of English, Chittagong University. Currently, she works at a private bank and writes at leisure.

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