This immensely popular short story is a gem in Indian literature. the present era is witnessing a strife, a clash among cultures, castes, creed and countries. in this age innocence and genuineness have gone with wind. this is the time when the one does not trust another, such an immortal story like 'kabuliwala' ushers in an unbelievable freshness and fills our mind with empathy and magnanimity.
There is the affectionate attachment, the ageless bond of love between a father and a daughter. this perennial, tender relationship is depicted in the story. the master story-teller has penned a saga of a wonderful, incredible attachment between a middle-aged afghani man and a chirpy five year old bengali girl.
The setting is typically indian particularly bengali. There is an educated, middle class bengali author who, through his imaginary wings flies around the globe. he visualizes mountains, streams, caravans, deserts and a cottage at the foot of a mountain. Such a wandering mind comes across rahamat, a kabuliwala, who came to calcutta for trade. the author gets interested in this tall, robust man and learns about his country. rahamat opens a door, hitherto unknown to the bengali writer. the simple nature of the man also attracts mini's father towards him.
But this story is not about mini's father and his imagination. this is about the pure love between the mini and rahamat. they come from different backgrounds. they do not know each other's language. there's a vast age gap between them. But there is no common language when there is genuine love between a father and a daughter.
The kabuliwala finds his daughter in mini whom he has left behind in the afghanistan mountains. So, despite a busy schedule, he finds time to come to mini and bring gifts of dry fruits to her. Mini finds him an attentive listener. Since she loves to talk, she goes on chattering without realizing whether the man understands her or not.
the also share same jokes day in and day out and never fell bored. one of them is about the sack of the kabuliwala. mini, in all her innocence asks him what is there in the sack. to this rahamat replies 'khoki, hanthi' (an elephant). they burst out into peals of laughter... but as every coin has two sides so does this story.
rahamat kills a man for not paying back his debt to him and is consequently jailed for many years. it is natural for everyone to forget him and so do the author and his daughter. but does rahamat forget them? no. his release from the jail coincides with mini's wedding day. he appears to her house with his usual gifts dry fruits. with a heart, full of fatherly love he longs to see the girl. but as the time waits for no man... mini grows into a young lady and was going to get married that day.
Now the kabuliwala wants to meet mini but alas he was not able in his first attempt but then the how can a father stop another father from meeting a girl who's not only a daughter but something more. he was allowed to meet mini and in the end he imagines that his daughter would also have got married.
This sentimental ending,the goodness of all characters, the childish character, the natural suspicion of a mother makes this an unforgettable story.