The Only Friend I had

Thursday, February 18, 2021

A few years ago, during a long 6-hour wait for my flight to Toronto, I befriended a person. He was an Indian businessman named Shankar Sharma.This is his story.

In 1996, he reached Kuwait with his family and joined other small Indian businessmen and workers to establish a stronghold in the construction industryand Kuwait was his best choice. However, Shankar had a mixed impression about Kuwaitiswhich is nothing more than a misconception. Due to this wrong belief,he chose not to engage with Kuwaiti businessmen and companies directly and assigned a few people to represent him.As years passed, his business empire grew rapidly but… so did his ego. One day, Shankar met a boy who is poor begging for a penny but out of his ego he publicly humiliated the boy. Some workers saw Shankar's harsh behaviour against Kuwaitis and informed his wife regarding this matter. When Shankar entered home with gifts for his family including his wife. He gave everyone the gifts he bought but when he went to give the gift to his wife, she asked about the incident at the construction site. He asked her to forget it but she insisted for an answer. Shankar,enraged at her, went out in his car. He was over-speeding to the construction site. When he reached there, he saw some government officials with policemen seizing his business and voiding his contracts because one of his most trusted employees, Kumar, betrayed him by forging documents, transferring the ownership to himself. He began to lose his wealth. Whenever he tried for a job, they got rid of him in harsh behaviour. Shankar was struck with grief. He started to have nightmares about his failure and the suffering of his parents due to it. He began to have suicidal tendencies, falling into a vicious path of self-destruction. He went to his incomplete project to commit suicide. Mustering up courage, He fell on the concrete base.

He was bleeding so much until a man saw him and rushed him to the hospital. He was saved in the nick of time. He went out after 3 months for a thorough rest where he happened to see that man again, the man with a broad moustache wearing his keffiyeh, the man who saved him, He thanked him for rescuing him and asked who he was. The man didn’t tell his name but from this general appearance, his thick middle-eastern accent and an ornament of the Kuwait flag proudly pinned to his vest, he realised that the man was a Kuwaiti.

A few months later, Shankar filed a case to recover his business empire. He began to gather all possible and credible evidences. Later, Kumar confronted Shankar but out of desperation asks for a compromise between them. Kumar started to keep conditions which didn’t sound like a compromise. Shankar rejected the negotiation and Kumar went out furiously. Since Shankar didn’t get a lawyer, he started to search for a lawyer. Despite his efforts, he found no one on time.He entered the court with a hopeless heart waiting to accept his defeat. That is when the same man who savedhim came in with files. It is revealed that the man was the venerable "people's lawyer" Adv. Qassim Ahmed. Due to Qassim’s proficiency of the law, the court was convinced of Shankar’s ownership and declared a verdict in his favour and he got his empire back. Shankar befriended him in court and invited him to his house. Shankar gained respect from Kuwaiti workers and he speaks with them as a family member.

Kumar was caught red-handed leeching another client and the Kuwait Court charged cases for fraud due to the other 11 signed petitions. Despite the loss he caused to Shankar, Shankar intervened and retracted his petition. He also decides to help Kumar’s family in Kumar’s absence whlie prepping his legal team, headed by Qassim himself, to relax the penalties charged and to possibly reduce the jail time.

6 years after his arrest, Kumar finally realised his errs. He realised that in his greed, he broke trust and it is this filthy avarice that fuels us to become the destroyers of trust between two friends; two families; two societies and even two nations. Reminding me of his 2 best friends, Qassim and Kumar, Shankar taught me that all of us must stick together at any cost for a peaceful life and an everlasting friendship just like theirs. It is this symbiosis which will lead people to happiness and prosperity, between two friends; two families and... two flags.






Alric Jacob Mohan, VIII-P, India International School



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Alric Jacob Mohan, VIII-P, India International School
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