For Maharashtra Chief Secretary D K Jain, it was a routine official meeting, till a member of the visiting Bangladeshi delegation jogged his memory: They were classmates in a Rajasthan school in the early 1970s.
The chance meeting of the two school buddies, after over four decades, took place on Wednesday evening at Mantralaya, the state secretariat building in south Mumbai, an official said.
The meeting was part of efforts to strengthen mutual ties between the two countries, the official said.
Soon after the meeting began, Altamas Kabir, editor of Dainik Sangbad, who was a part of the delegation, went up to Jain and told him that they were classmates from class 6th to 11th during 1971-76 at the Mayo Secondary School at Ajmer.
Sangbad is a Bengali language daily newspaper, founded in 1951 and published from Dhaka.
“Hello friend, I am Altamas Kabir. We are childhood friends. We were not only in the same school but in the same class,” Kabir told Jain, a 1983-batch Indian Administrative Service officer, who last month took charge as the state’s top bureaucrat.
Jain was visibly pleased to meet his schoolmate after so many years.
“The official nature of the meeting turned personal and Jain interacted with Kabir, recalling old days and acquaintances. Other members of the delegation and the state government officials present at the meeting found the incident just like a scene from a Bollywood film,” the official said.
Members of the delegation spoke about the craze for Mumbai and Bollywood in Bangladesh, the official said. There was also a discussion on commercial relations and industrial investment between the two countries, he added.
Kabir also invited Jain to visit Bangladesh, the official said.