If you stopped in and something seemed missing at the restaurant this fall, you weren’t mistaken. For almost two months, from late September to mid-November, Ruhel was on the other side of the globe skipping continents and visiting family and friends.
His first stops in Melbourne and Sydney took him all the way from crisp autumn leaves back to flowering trees. Several extended family members have settled here in Australia, including Ruhel’s aunt and uncle, who joined him to travel back to Bangladesh. Also in the area is our former floor manager, who welcomed Ruhel into her home to visit. A dedicated and energetic part of the Gandhi Mahal team since we first opened, she moved to Sydney last year to join her husband and is loving life in her new city.
Next stop: Bangladesh. For Ruhel journeys back home are often business-related, but this visit was for family – and what a homecoming it was! “We were all so happy to see each other,” he beams. “My cousin celebrated my birthday for me. We all had such a wonderful time.” One highlight was his time spent at Dusai Resort, a beautiful travel destination owned and operated by his cousin. “He did a great job with the place. It’s like another world! When you stay there, you don’t need to go anywhere else. You’ll never be bored. You are surrounded by nature, and they serve wonderful food. If my uncle [Saifur Rahman] were alive, I think he would be very proud.” He adds, “…and if anyone travels to Bangladesh, they should tell me! I will connect them with my cousin, and they might get a good deal at Dusai Resort!”
Reflecting on this particular trip back home, Ruhel can’t help but notice that the dynamic with family and friends is changing – and for the better! “It was so wonderful to come back and feel respected for my accomplishments,” he remarks. “As a child, I was used to being teased. People would bully me for having darker skin, and they thought I was strange the way I was always playing in the dirt. I believed I was leaving that all behind when I came to the United States as a young man. Here, I had the freedom to pursue my passion without people laughing at me. Yet, now I return home and people are congratulating me! They are proud of what I have done with the restaurant and in the community.”