4:53 pm - Monday May 24, 7351

A Valentine to Bangladesh

On a frigid and windy Friday afternoon after listening to a Philharmonic concert at Lincoln Center, my husband and I snatched a cab on Columbus Avenue to race down to meet our daughter for drinks. As we settled into the cab, the driver asked me, “When is Valentine’s Day?”

I replied, “It’s tomorrow.” Then I suggested that he send either flowers or bring candies to his girlfriend.

texting-eHe replied, “What about my wife?”

“Absolutely,” I exclaimed. “Is she here?” I asked.

“No”, he replied, “she’s in Bangladesh.” Then he passed back his cellphone with some prewritten messages pertaining to New Year’s greetings. My husband and I explained that Valentine messages were different.

“Could you write me a message to send to my wife?” he asked.

“Certainly.” I set to work framing an appropriate thought:

“To my wife on Valentine’s Day. I will love you forever. You are always on my mind when I am not with you.” I pressed send and returned the cellphone to him.

After looking it over, he said slowly: “Could you write more and sign my name? I want to read it before sending it.”

I started a another message: “My wonderful wife. I dream of you when I am not with you. You are everything to me. I can’t wait until we are together again soon. I love you now and forever.”

Then I asked him for his name. He passed me back his cab license. Then I passed back both his cellphone and license through the opening. He pondered the wording. “Is wonderful as good as beautiful?” he asked.

I replied, “Definitely.”

“Do you think this is enough?” he challenged. Then he pressed the send button. Shanmukh’s Valentine message flew across cyberspace from our taxi to his beloved wife in Bangladesh.

– By Sandra Y. Rueb, New York Times Blog