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টং দোকান (Tong Dokan)

Since I moved here in Canada, I have been missing so many things... My family, my friends, that easy life where my parents used to take care of everything, those endless hangouts and so many other things... I even miss those things which I used to hate back in my country... like load shedding, traffic jams and so on... But I am not gonna write about these things... Today I will babble a bit about 'Tong Dokan'. I know those who don't know Bengali, don't have any idea what I am talking about... But don't worry... I will write a whole post about it now.. I am gonna tell about how this is related to my life, how this is related to every person in Bangladesh..

A busy highway. There is a lot of noise. Loud horns from different type of vehicles. Apart from cars and buses, a lot of Rickshaws are moving slowly in the road. Some passers-by are anxiously looking left and right to cross the road. There are some banks and departmental stores beside the highway. A lot of people are going in and out. On the other side of the road there are some Taxis (CNG) waiting for customers. Just beside them two boys are sitting on a bench. They are taking tea and talking about something. One boy is taking raw tea and another one is taking milk tea. They seem like so lazy. It seems that they don't have anything to worry about in this world. One of them are now making phone calls. Well, a couple of phone calls. After sometime, three more boys join them. There is not enough space on the bench. So, one of those three boys came running and took the only place left on the bench. Another two boys are standing beside them now and probably saying something rude to the boy just sat. But that boy is laughing. Beside the bench, there is a little stall. A man is sitting inside it. It has a shade over it to protect him from the rain or extreme sunlight. There are some cups around him and a stove where he is making tea. He is serving tea restlessly. Some people are waiting for tea as there is a shortage of cups. The guy is handling everything by himself. He seems to know these boys very well. He is laughing with them for something. People are coming and leaving after taking tea but those boys are not moving their ass from that place. I think at least one of them is ordering for tea in every ten minutes. One of the two boys who has been standing, now trying to get a place in the bench by pushing other three boys. Obviously he is the guy with big body here. Eventually, one of the three boys who were sitting until now, stood up unwillingly. He was in the corner, so he had no choice. The guy who is making tea is laughing at them. Then he served them another round of tea.
This is a normal scenario of a tea stall in Bangladesh and these roadside tea stalls are called 'Tong Dokan'. No matter where you go inside Bangladesh, you will see this type of tea stalls everywhere. This is a place where every young people stops for a cup of tea. Most of the time they come in group. They chat with their friends almost about everything holding a cup of hot tea. This is the place where you will see the 'life' of young people. This is the place which witnesses the everyday life of Bangladeshi people, specially, the life of youth. No matter it's a University, a shopping mall, a corporate office or a train station, Tong Dokan is everywhere. It's nothing very uncommon that a group of friends are chatting in a tea stall by even avoiding an important work. Specially, you will see these incidents a lot in the tea stalls beside Universities. Students are chatting there hour after hour even they have classes to attend. It's about the fun that young people enjoy in Bangladesh. It's not like they are missing all the classes for chatting in Tong Dokan. But sometimes, they seem to do it. I used to do it a lot while I was doing my Bachelors. 

CDS of IUT. This is where we used to hangout during our Bachelors. It's not only a Tong Dokan. But our purpose made it so
I have a tons of memory in tea stalls like this. I actually tried to picturize a tea stall which is 2 minutes walking distance from my home. I thought of my friends when I was talking about those magpie fun loving boys. The owner of that tea stall is 'Boro Miah'. He has been selling tea in our locality even before I started going out of my house on my own.
I was talking about this place. It was taken few days before I left Bangladesh. We were in a wedding ceremony that night and this was taken probably around 4AM! Do you see the man inside who is making tea for everyone?
I passed countless hours in this place. We call this place 'Court' as once upon a time we used to build our badminton court there during the winter. The men in white shirt with me in the last photo is the owner of this place: Yusuf bhai!
We even celebrated Birthdays in our court!
This was another place for hangout. This place is attached to my workplace (UITS) in Bangladesh. We used to call this 'Extension'. I think I passed more time here than inside the office. Needless to mention,  these are my colleagues.
Well, this was a famous tour. It's in Patiya, my village. In fact 3 of us have our village home in Patiya. We went there just to take tea! Believe me!
It's in 'Parkir Chor'. A famous beach of Chittagong. Well, I told you, there's a tea stall everywhere!
Taking tea in a beach side Tong Dokan of Kuakata. There was nothing on that beach except this tea stall
In a tea stall of Sylhet. My friend Emon lived there during his Bachelors. We visited him couple of times. And this was his place for taking Tea.
It's just a lot of memory to share. I can write a whole book if I start describing my memories around Tong Dokan of Bangladesh. So, I better stop here.
I almost forgot to mention that it's the 5th anniversary of my blog. I published my first post here on this day in 2008. I can remember exactly why I opened this blog, but I am not going to share it here. I would rather say, 'There is a positive side of almost everything in this world'. And this is my first post after moving to Canada!
I met some awesome people through blogging during this long journey. My special thanks to Aunt Lydia for always believing in me and keeping me inspired for the good things I do.
I want to dedicate this post to all those people who own Tong Dokan across Bangladesh and serving 'tea with life' endlessly and restlessly to the people of Bangladesh. We all owe you big!

Jumman, A Tong Dokan owner in Mogbazar, Dhaka. My friend Alvi and Tomal's favorite Tea stall in entire Dhaka!
Well, this photo reminds me of a great deal of memories. I used to go to EWU and I had to wait for someone there. And this was the place where I used to wait! And he was the man who used to serve me tea!
He is the Tea-guy for us in Sylhet!
Tim Hortons in Canada which slightly resembles Tong Dokan of Bangladesh

These are very small things while you have them. You don't even notice their existence while you live around them. But once you don't have them anymore you start realizing the value of those small things in your life.

Here's something in Canada I found which is actually the Tong Dokan of Canada. If any person who lived in Canada for at least one day, he/she already knows what I am talking about. It's Tim Hortons. By the way, this is the first place I went to after landing in Canada! Who knows! I may start missing it if I someday leave Canada...

Last but not the least, let's remember and show gratitude to the soldiers who bravely laid down their lives to protect their country, to save their citizens. It's the Remembrance Day, 2012.


  1. well ,too may things get to memorize through your blog .i can remember too why you exactly opened this blog back in 2008.;) 5 years pretty long tour!! keep going with same energy don't stop best of luck :)

  2. it's so nice & wordless work bro. it's remember my old days those i passed wid u guys. whn i read this i feel i'm in tht place & it also make me emotional. keep going & Happy Aniversary.

  3. OH, dear Riyadh, this is such a special anniversary post.....and for you to include thoughts of me in it--well, I am truly honored. Learning about your wonderful country and its amazing customs (such as tea stalls!) has been and will continue to be a rich experience for me, via your blog. Perhaps one day I will visit there and taste the tea myself. But, if that is not to be I do so hope to meet you in Canada and have tea at Tim Horton's.....we would talk and talk and sip and sip and talk! Congratulations on five years of your remarkable blog and on the continuing journey of your remarkable life. xo Aunt Lydia

  4. I know you remember that.... I remember 'Random Thoughts' too :P Thanks mate

  5. Old is always gold. Thanks deshi

  6. Thank you Aunt for your thoughtful remarks on my post and my blog. I would love to meet you here in Canada. Hope this happens very soon! Keep me inspired, as always!


  7. Lolz... I hope u will find TONG Dokan in Canada. I used to go to one TONG dokan in Australia... when I was in Sydney with Jony bhai for 2 weeks, we went there...thought it wasn't open top.... it was in Lakamba area in sydney

  8. Hi there,
    Wonderful blog! and I found at least one familiar face in one of your tea stall pics... In the 4AM shot, there is that guy wearing olive green punjabi and jeans having banana...

    I forgot his name though... He's actually my very close school friend's younger brother's friend... We are from almost the same locality...

    By the way, may I have your permission to use some of the tea-stall owners' pics for a presentation? For internal use only... no commercial purpose...

    Thanks a lot.

    Mohammad Aqil

  9. Thank you! Probably you are talking about Kawser.

    Yes, feel free to use the pictures.


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