By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Dhaka : A Bangladeshi taxi driver's exemplary honesty helped me to get back my passport and laptop computer that I had left in a cab and which I thought were gone for good.
Driver Nabir Hossain, humble and sincere to the core, saved me the hassle of getting a fresh passport and spending money on a new laptop. He also re-ignited my interest in the India-Bangladesh cricket matches that I had come to cover.
I was a distressed man when I reached the Indian High Commission here to seek a new passport. It was then my mobile phone rang with the most pleasing SMS I have ever received: "Call me urgently. Your bag has been found."
It was from a fellow Indian journalist who informed me that my lost passport, laptop and air ticket had been found.
In no time, I was inundated with congratulatory messages from Bangladeshi as well as Indian scribes.
I had left behind my bag in a taxi on my arrival from Chittagong. Indian High Commission officials warned me that it would be near impossible to recover the lost passport, more so if it had been lost in a taxi.
Even if the taxi driver was honest, there was no guarantee he would have seen the bag. The next passenger might quietly take it away.
I lost all interest in the second and final India-Bangladesh Test match starting here Friday.
Hossain was to tell me later that I and two other Indian journalists were the last passengers of the day. We had hired his taxi from the Arambag bus station to hotel Grand Prince.
While washing the car, Hossain noticed the bag. On opening it he found, among other things, the accreditation card issued by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
Not knowing what to do, he took them to a neighbour, Jahangir Hossian, an electrician who knew a BCB umpire, Humayun Kabir Ahmed.
Ahmed passed on the news of the discovery to BCB joint secretary Raqfiqul Islam Babu, who got in touch with BCB's helpful media manager Rabeed Imam.
Rabeed informed me that my bag was safe with a ground curator at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Badiul Alam Khokon.
"You can collect it from him. The taxi driver is also waiting there. You should check your belongings before collecting them," Rabeed told me.
I hurried to the stadium and met all the men linked to the drama with a happy ending: driver Hossian, electrician Jahangir, umpire Ahmed and curator Khokon. I thanked them profusely.
Hossian only smiled and said little – perhaps language was a hindrance.
When I took out my wallet to reward him, he would have none of it. "No, no! It's okay! I don't want it!"
Some time later, I left the stadium thanking the Almighty and Hossain.