Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rabindranath Tagore's 150th Birth Anniversary - 11: Short Stories, Second Selection



KumKum, Soma, and  Padmanabha continue their reading of Tagore's short stories with a second tranche consisting of the following selection by KumKum: Taraprasannar Kirti, Denapawna, The Postmaster, Ginni and Muktir Upaye. In what follows you can read their reflections upon a fresh reading of the stories by clicking below.


KumKum
1. Taraprasannar Kirti:
I am sure, this story will not be selected as one of Tagore's best. Yet, it carries the distinct mark of a genius.

It is a queer story of a husband and wife. Tagore lets us experience the dynamic between this very odd couple, who does actually come together, as a "perceived author" and as his ardent admirer. Yes, the husband Taraprasanna is the author, who writes plenty of stuff, but his writings cannot not find any reader. There is a complete lack of interest in his work among the reading populace, and no publisher comes forward to publish them. But the wife is an unquestioning admirer of her husband and his work.

The neighbours consider Taraprasanna an author, because they see him occupied fully in writing. His wife,Dakshayani, on the other hand, never read his work. Occasionally though, she makes the husband read his writings to her. She does not understand anything that she hears; yet,she is convinced, her husband is a great author.


Dakshayani considers herself unworthy of the genius of her husband. She even blames herself for bearing four daughters for him, and the fifth one is on the way.

There is plenty of humour in this otherwise ordinary story. Here are a few examples:
"বাগ্‌যুদ্ধে স্ত্রীকে আত্মমুখে পরাজয় স্বীকার করাইতে পারে, এমন ক্ষমতা এবং এমন সৌভাগ্য কয়জন স্বামীর আছে।"

"অনুরোধ করিয়া দাক্ষায়ণী মাঝে মাঝে স্বামীর লেখা শুনিতেন, যতই না বুঝিতেন ততই আশ্চর্য হইয়া যাইতেন। তিনি কৃত্তিবাসের রামায়ণ, কাশীদাসের মহাভারত, কবিকঙ্কণ-চণ্ডী পড়িয়াছেন এবং কথকতাও শুনিয়াছেন। সে-সমস্তই জলের মতো বুঝা যায়, এমন-কি, নিরক্ষর লোকও অনায়াসে বুঝিতে পারে, কিন্তু তাঁহার স্বামীর মতো এমন সম্পুর্ণ দুর্বোধ হইবার আশ্চর্য ক্ষমতা তিনি ইতিপূর্বে কোথাও দেখেন নাই।"

"এখন, কলিকাতায় যাইবার সময় ভারি গোল পড়িয়া গেল। দাক্ষায়ণী তাঁহার নিরুপায় নিঃসহায় সযত্নপালিত স্বামীটিকে কিছুতেই একলা ছাড়িয়া দিতে পারেন নাতাঁহাকে খাওয়াইয়া পরাইয়া নিত্যনৈমিত্তিক কর্তব্য স্মরণ করাইয়া সংসারের বিবিধ উপদ্রব হইতে কে রক্ষা করিবে।
কিন্তু অনভিজ্ঞ স্বামীও অপরিচিত বিদেশে স্ত্রীকন্যা সঙ্গে করিয়া লইয়া যাইতে অত্যন্ত ভীত ও অসম্মত। অবশেষে দাক্ষায়ণী পাড়ার একটি চতুর লোককে স্বামীর নিত্য-অভ্যাস সম্বন্ধে সহস্র উপদেশ দিয়া আপনার পদে নিযুক্ত করিয়া দিলেন। এবং স্বামীকে অনেক মাথার দিব্য ও অনেক মাদুলিতগায় আচ্ছন্ন রিয়া বিদেশে রনা করিয়া দিলেনএবং ঘরে আছাড় খাইয়া কাঁদিতে লাগিলেন।"
"একে একে কাগজে সমালোচনা বাহির হইতে লাগিল। গৃহিণী যাহা ঠাহরাইয়াছিলেন, তাহা অনেকটা সত্য হইয়া দাঁড়াইল। গ্রন্থের এক অক্ষর বুঝিতেনা পারিয়া দেশসদ্ধ সমালোচকএকেবারে বিহ্ল হইয়া উঠিলসকলেই একবাক্যে কহিল, "এমন সারবান গ্রন্থ ইতিপূর্বে প্রকাশিত হয় নাই।""

What comes as a startling surprise is the sudden introduction of poignancy to the story at the end
"তার পরে মহাদেবের মতো তাঁহার বিশ্বাসপ্রবণ ভোলানাথ স্বামীটিকে পৃথিবীর নির্মম কুটিলবুদ্ধি চক্রান্তকারীদের সম্বন্ধে বার বার সতর্ক করিয়া দিলেন। অবশেষে চুপি চুপি বলিলেন, "দেখো, আমার যে মেয়েটি হইবে, সে যদি বাঁচে তাহার নাম রাখিয়ো "বেদান্তপ্রভা", তার পরে তাহাকে শুধু প্রভা বলিয়া ডাকিলেই চলিবে।"এই বলিয়া স্বামীর পায়ের ধুলা মাথায় লইলেন। মনে মনে কহিলেন, "কেবল কন্যা জন্ম দিবার জন্যই স্বামীর ঘরে আসিয়াছিলাম। এবার বোধ হয় সে আপদ ঘুচিল।"
ধাত্রী যখন বলিল, "মা, একবার দেখো, মেয়েটি কী সুন্দর হয়েছে"-- মা একবার চাহিয়া নেত্র নিমীলন করিলেন, মৃদুস্বরে বলিলেন "বেদান্তপ্রভা"। তার পরে ইহসংসারে আর-একটি কথা বলিবারও অবসর পাইলেন না।"

2 Denapawna:
This is a short piece, a sad one too, of "dowry-death" – a scourge that still plagues the lives of young women in India.

Technically, this is a perfect short-story. A reader will not miss how wonderfully Tagore had adhered to the classic short story requirements. While telling the story he did not go into elaborate details, but high-lighted, just enough, all the relevant events in the life of Nirupama, daughter of Ramsunder Mitra and his wife.

Almost from the beginning, a reader is aware of the impending tragedy, as she is led through various events, big and small, rapidly.

Three events of Nirupama's short life shine bright through this otherwise drab story – all happened to be celebrations: her birth, marriage and her death. Yet, it is a tragedy arising from the evil custom of our society: DOWRY.

A daughter, after five sons! Obviously, she was precious to her parents. The ecstatic parents chose an unusual name, "Nirupama" to call her.

Nirupama grew up sustained by the unfailing love of her family. Then, it was time for her marriage. Ramsunder wanted the best for their only daughter. In the process he got carried away. After a lot of rejections, he finally narrowed down to a match: a Deputy Magistrate and a only son of a Rai Bahadur.

But, Rai Bahadur demanded a huge dowry. Poor Ramsundar couldn't be deterred by that, as, he perceived this was the only match worthy of his Nirupama. He agreed to meet the demand.
He sold whatever he could and even arranged to borrow the rest at a very high interest. Unfortunately, this later part fell through just before the wedding. Ramsundar begged that the marriage be allowed to take place as scheduled, and he would somehow come up with the remaining amount of money later.

Rai Bahadur was furious, he refused to let the marriage take place without getting the full amount of the dowry ahead of the event.
Fortunately, the groom stood up against the father and the marriage took place. Thus, in a highly charged scenario, Nirupama was married off to the man her father reckoned to be suitable for her.

But the demand for the dowry did not cease there, nor was it forgotten. What was an up-front demand, now turned behind the scenes into a nasty game of torture.

Soon after the wedding Nirupama's husband had to go away from home for his work while she stayed back with his parents. This was an ideal time for the in-laws to take their revenge. Nirupama was never allowed to forget that her father defaulted, hence, she had no legitimacy in her in-law's house. Nor could her father live through the shame of defaulting. Nirupama was not allowed to visit her parents, even once. Her life at the "Shashural" was hell, with mental and physical tortures.
Suddenly, Nirupama died of a complicated illness. A doctor was called only the day she died. The parents-in-law celebrated the event of the passing away of Nirupama, their eldest daughter-in-law, in a big way.

About the same time, the Deputy Magistrate's letter arrived with the message that he was now settled in his position. He also requested his parents to send his wife immediately to join him. The climax of the story was brought out subtly in his mother's heartless and triumphant reply to this letter:
রায়বাহাদুরের মহিষী লিখিলেন, "বাবা তোমার জন্যে আর-একটি মেয়ের সম্বন্ধ করিয়াছি, অতএব অবিলম্বে ছুটি লইয়া এখানে আসিবে।এবারে বিশ হজার টাকা পণ এবং হাতে হাতে আদায়।"

3. The Postmaster
This is a beautiful story. Wonderfully written, that often resonates like a poem.

The story is about a young, educated, city-bread postmaster, and Ratan, an orphan, poor, village girl of twelve or thirteen years of age. No, it is not at all a romantic story, but it is a love-story, sure.

I would definitely consider this story one of Tagore's very best ones. I appreciated the restraint he observed to steer away from making the story into a sappy,tear-jerking emotional one. Also, the way he relied on his mastery in the descriptive prose to bring out the subtle, evanescent beauty of a fragile relationship.

Village Ulapur, is a far away remote place. There is absolutely no need of a Post Office there. But, the village has an indigo processing factory, and the white boss justified the need of a tiny post office in Ulapur.

Our protagonist, a young man from Calcutta, was deputed to this post office as a Postmaster, his first assignment. Being a city-bred, he felt very out of place in this remote village. Let me insert a quote from the story for better appreciation:

"আমাদের পোস্টমাস্টার কলিকাতার ছেলে। জলের মাছকে ডাঙায় তুলিলে যে-রকম হয়, এই গণ্ডগ্রামের মধ্যে আসিয়া পোস্টমাস্টারেরও সেই দশা উপস্থিত হইয়াছে। একখানি অন্ধকার আটচালার মধ্যে তাঁহার আপিস; অদূরে একটি পানাপুকুর এবং তাহার চারি পাড়ে জঙ্গল। কুঠির গোমস্তা প্রভৃতি যে-সকল কর্মচারী আছে তাহাদের ফুরসত প্রায় নাই এবং তাহার ভদ্রলোকের সহিত মিশিবার উপযুক্ত নহে।"

Since his work-load was very little, he had lots of time on his hands. He tried to enjoy the natural beauty of the village, and even attempted to write a few poems. There was nothing else to keep him occupied and entertained during his waking hours. His salary was not much, hence he had to prepare his own food. But there was Ratan, an orphan village girl, who helped him with the other chores, even as a watchful nurse would. She was always around, not further than a call away.

At times, the Postmaster would ask Ratan about her parents, and about her early life. Ratan had only bleary, fragmented memories of those early years. On the other hand, Postmaster was happy to tell Ratan about his mother, brother, sister – people whom he missed so much in this remote, far away village. No one in the Neelkuthi (the indigo factory) had the patience to listen to the Postmaster's reminiscences. Slowly, Ratan grew familiar with the members of his family, she also had distinct mental pictures of each of them. An inexplicable friendship blossomed between the two, as both were starved for human interaction and warmth.

The Postmaster was desperate to get out of the village. One day he just resigned and decided to return to Calcutta. He told Ratan about it rather casually. Surprised Ratan wanted to know when he was going, where he was going and when he was to return.

The Postmaster's answers made Ratan pensive. She even requested the Postmaster to take her to his home. Of course, that was an impossible proposition. And then the most tragic farewell. One was talking, reassuring the other was she lost in thoughts, not listening at all.

Presently the ex-Post master took the boat that would carry him away from the village and from his trusted, caring servant girl Ratan. How beautifully Tagore described the scene and the thoughts that crossed the minds of the two individuals, who shared some intimate moments in this accidental world:

যখন নৌকায় উঠিলেন এবং নৌকা ছাড়িয়া দিল, বর্ষাবিস্ফারিত নদী ধরণীর উচ্ছলিত অশ্রুরাশির মতো চারি দিকে ছলছল করিতে লাগিল, তখন হৃদয়ের মধ্যে অত্যন্ত একটা বেদনা অনুভব করিতে লাগিলেন-- একটি সামান্য গ্রাম্য বালিকার করুণ মুখচ্বি যেন এক বিশ্ব্যাপী বৃহ অব্যক্ত মর্মব্যথা প্রকাশ করিতে লাগিল। একবার নিতান্ত ইচ্ছা হইল, "ফিরিয়া যাই, জগতের ক্রোড়বিচ্যুত সেই অনাথিনীকে সঙ্গে করিয়া লইয়া আসি"- কিন্তু তখন পালে বাতাস পাইয়াছে, বর্ষার স্রোত খরতর বেগে বহিতেছে, গ্রাম অতিক্রম করিয়া নদীকূলের শ্মশান দেখা দিয়াছে- এবং নদীপ্রবাহে ভাসমান পথিকের উদাস হৃদয়ে এই তত্ত্বের উদয় হইল, জীবনে এমন কত বিচ্ছেদ, কত মৃত্যু আছে, ফিরিয়া ফল কী। পৃথবীতে কে কাহারকিন্তু রতনের মনে কোনো তত্ত্বের উদয় হইল নাসে সেই পোস্টআপিস গৃহের চারি দিকে কেবল অশ্রুজলে ভাসিয়া ঘুরিয়া ঘুরিয়া বেড়াইতেছিলবোধ করিতাহার মনে ক্ষীণ আশা জাগিতেছিল, দাদাবাবু যদি ফিরিয়া আসে-- সেই বন্ধনে পড়িয়া কিছুতেই দূরে যাইতে পারিতেছিল না। হায় বুদ্ধিহীন মানবহৃদয়! ভ্রান্তি কিছুতেই ঘোচে না, যুক্তিশাস্ত্রের বিধান বহুবিলম্বে মাথায় প্রবেশ করে, প্রবল প্রমাণকেও অবিশ্বাস করিয়া মিথ্যা আশাকে দুই বাহুপাশে বাঁধিয়া বুকের ভিতরে প্রাণপণে জড়াইয়া ধরা যায়, অবশেষে একদিন সমস্ত নাড়ী কাটিয়া হৃদয়ের রক্ত শুষিয়া সে পলায়ন করে, তখন চেতনা হয় এবং দ্বিতীয় ভ্রান্তিপাশে পড়িবার জন্য চিত্ত ব্যাকুল হইয়া উঠে।


4. Ginni
This is another lovely story! Quite a different one, altogether. It isthe story of a tormentor in the guise of a "Panditmoshai", a teacher, and how he bullies and torments his captive pupils is the theme of the story.


Here is a quote from the story to describe the Panditmoshai:
প্রাণীদের মধ্যে দেখা যায়, যাহাদের হুল আছে তাহাদের দাঁত নাই। আমাদের ণ্ডিতমহাশয়ের দই একত্রে ছিলএ দিকে কিল চড় চাপড় চারাগাছের বাগানের উপর শিলাবৃষ্টির মতো অজস্র বর্ষিত হইত, ও দিকে তীব্র বাক্যজ্বালায় প্রাণ বাহির হইয়া যাইত।

He had also mastered the art of extreme psychological torment, which could easily lacerate a young boy's mind for life. Here is what Tagore had to say about this weapon of Panditmoshai:
বালকদের পীড়ন করিবার জন্য আমাদের শিবনাথপণ্ডিতের একটি অস্ত্র ছিল, সেটি শুনিসামান্য কিন্তু প্রকৃতপক্ষে অত্যন্ত নিদারুণ। তিনি ছেলেদের নূতন নামকরণ করিতেননাম জিনিসটা যদিচ শব্দ বৈ আর কিছুই নয় কিন্তু সাধারণত লোকে আপনার চেয়ে আপনার নামটা বেশি ভালোবাসে; নিজের নাম রাষ্ট্র করিবার জন্য লোকে কী কষ্টই- না স্বীকার করে, এমন-কি, নামটিকে বাঁচাইবার জন্য লোকে আপনি মরিতে কুন্ঠিত হয় না।

The Pandit decided to give a nickname to Ashu, an innocent, rather reclusive boy of the class, 'Ginni' – which means a seasoned housewife. Now, Ashu was not lacking in anything as a student.

The reason how the name 'Ginni' came about was this. One rainy day, the Pandit while passing by Ashu's home, happened to notice him playing 'Doll's House' with his younger sister. For the Pandit this was an incredible piece of knowledge, ideal information for a cruel jest. He could not let it pass.

Next day, in front of the whole school, the Pandit shamed Ashu for his sissy behavior and called him a 'Ginni'. Tthe whole school joined the Pandit shouting: Ginni! Ginni! at Ashu.
The Pandit had his satisfaction of tormenting an innocent boy, and the rest of the school had some cheap humour at Ashu's expense, but Ashu would never forget the pain of this psychological torment.


The tragedy was that the Pandit totally missed the brighter side of this innocuous incident. On a rainy day, when imprisoned at home, Ashu felt no qualm in joining in a make-believe game of Doll's House with his younger sister; yes, like a girl. He was not only entertaining his sister, he too was having fun in the game.

5. Muktir Upaye
It is a hilarious story of mistaken identity and fun. It is written in a light vein, and the author does not let go of the mood of the story at all. No hidden messages lie here, no philosophical point is made. That is the beauty of this lighthearted story.

Fakir Chand and Makhanlal are the two protagonists. Both decide to leave home in search of 'Mukti' and the fun starts.

Fakir is a serious man who sternly avoided all transient attractions of the world in search of permanent gain. His wife, Haimavati, was quite the opposite. She was young, she loved the joys of living. She enjoyed reading Bankimchandra, not the Bhagavad Gita, which Fakir recommended. A few years later, Fakir and Haimavati have a son and a daughter. Fakir felt entrapped in the 'maya' of the world. His father chased him constantly to find a job. Failing to get a job, Fakir, like Lord Buddha, one night decided to go away, leaving his home.

In a nearby village lived Makhanlal. Makhanlal was a fun loving man. He enjoyed all good things that came his way and craved for more. He was married, but there was no issue for a while. His father advised him to marry a second time, and he fell for the attraction of a new wife. Immediately thereafter, both his wives in quick succession bore him seven daughters and a son. Now he was entrapped in a life of constant strife, fight, chaos, want, and with that, his carefree days disappeared. He decided to leave home too.


For years, there was no news of him. Only a rumour floated that while in Kashi, he married again, just to experience how it felt to live with one woman only.

Eventually, both Fakir and Makhanlal decided to return to their homes, but in a very convoluted way, they arrived at the wrong doors to face the wrong wife or wives. The comedy only gets more ridiculous as the wives busy themselves in unraveling the disguises, and lies of their husbands. And, of course, they didn't forgive Fakir and Makhanlal for abandoning them for so many years.

Here are a few quotes from the story:
যেমনি মাখনলালের দুই স্ত্রী প্রবেশ করিল ফকির অমনি নতশিরে তাহাদিগকে প্রণাম করিয়া কহিল, 'মা, আমি তোমাদের সন্তান।'অমনি ফকিরের নাকের সম্মুখে একটা বালা-পরা হাত খড়্‌গের মতো খেলিয়া গেল এবং একটি কাংস্যবিনিন্দিত কণ্ঠে বাজিয়া উঠিল, 'ওরে ও পোড়াকপালে মিন্‌সে, তুই মা বললি কাকে!'
অমনি আর-একটি কণ্ঠ আরো দুই সুর উচ্চে পাড়া কাঁপাইয়া ঝংকার দিয়া উঠিল, 'চোখের মাথা খেয়েছিস! তোর মরণ হয় না!'
নিজের স্ত্রীর নিকট হইতে এরূপ চলিত বাংলা শোনা অভ্যাস ছিল না, সুতরাং একান্ত কাতর হইয়া ফকির জোড়হস্তে কহিল, 'আপনারা ভুল বুঝছেন। আমি এই আলোতে দাঁড়াচ্ছি, আমাকে একটু ঠাউরে দেখুন!'
প্রথমা ও দ্বিতীয়া পরে পরে কহিল, 'ঢের দেখেছি। দেখে দেখেচোখ ক্ষয়ে গেছেতুমি কচি খোকা নও, আজ নতুন জন্মাও নি। তোমার দুধের দাঁত অনেক দিন ভেঙেছে তোমার কি বয়সের গাছ-পাথর আছে। তোমায় যম ভুলেছে বলে কি আমরা ভুলব।'
"তখন আর-একটি রমণীমূর্তি গৃহে প্রবেশ করিয়া ফকিরকে প্রণাম করিল। ফকির প্রথমে অবাক, তাহার পরে আনন্দে উফুল্ল হইয়া উঠিয়া বলিল, 'এ যে হৈমবতী!'
নিজের অথবা পরের স্ত্রীকে দেখিয়া এত প্রেম তাহার চক্ষে ইতিপূর্বে কখনো প্রকাশ পায় নাই। মনে হইল, মূর্তিমতী মুক্তি স্বয়ং আসিয়া উপস্থিত।"
"আর-একটি লোক মুখের উপর শাল মুড়ি দিয়া অন্তরাল হইতে দেখিতেছিল। তাহার নাম মাখনলালএকটি অপরিচিত নিরীহ ব্যক্তিকে নিজপদে অভিষিক্ত দেখিয়া সে এতক্ষণ পরম সুখানুভব করিতেছিল; অবশেষে হৈমবতীকে উপস্থিত দেখিয়া বুঝিতে পারিল উক্ত নিরপরাধ ব্যক্তি তাহার নিজের ভগ্নীপতি; তখন দয়াপরতন্ত্র হইয়া ঘরে ঢুকিয়া বলিল, 'না, আপনার লোককে এমন বিপদে ফেলা মহাপাতক।'দুই স্ত্রীর প্রতি অঙ্গুলি নির্দেশ করিয়া কহিল, 'এ আমারই দড়ি, আমারই কলসী।'মাখনলালের এই অসাধারণ মহত্ত্ব ও বীরত্বে পাড়ার লোক আশ্চর্য হইয়া গেল।"


Soma
1. Taraprasannar Kirti:
This is the story of an odd couple. It is about a worthless husband, Taraproshonno, who wrote incomprehensible books which were failures when published. Dakshayani was the quintessential brainless wife, an ideal better half for Taraproshonno. Her 'guilt' in producing numerous daughters, gave an uncalled for importance to her husband’s pathetic literary efforts.

Instead of taking stock of their financial situation and correcting the situation, Taraproshonno took the advice of his empty-headed wife, and sold whatever assets they had to publish his books. This led to their utter bankruptcy. The consequent hardships and pathetic outcome evoke no sympathy, however.

2. Denapawna:
 The dowry system is indeed a scourge of the Indian social system, an evil tradition which cuts across all sections of our society, transcending caste, religion and class. The apparently refined and educated flaunt their anti-dowry sentiments, but they expect their daughters-in-law to arrive bedecked in ornaments, bringing a huge and expensive trousseau, in addition to a horde of cash and/or property, along with furniture, appliances, cookware etc.

Ramshunder loved his only daughter dearly but the weakness of his nature was exhibited by his desire to marry his daughter into a rich family. This only resulted in his paving a path to her total misery. He was well aware of the Rai Bahadur’s greed and hunger for money; even then he went ahead with the marriage proposal. What did he expect? Nirupama’s plight was tragic indeed, but Ramshunder does not deserve any sympathy. Who gave him the authority to jeopardize his daughter’s future and that of his sons and their dependents, to satisfy an absurd obsession?

Nirupama would have lived a happy and fulfilled life with someone who was her social and financial equal. She lived in hell and died in vain, since her in-laws did not change at all. They promptly arranged another match for their son with the assurance of a fat dowry, which would not be kept pending as happened in Nirupama’s case.

3. The Postmaster
The Postmaster is another case of weakness or rather callousness on the part of the male protagonist. Roton was a young orphan girl who wanted to be a part of a family with all her heart and soul. The Postmaster emotionally exploited her as an object to assuage his loneliness. We find innumerable instances where poor and orphaned children were taken into families and they lived on as a part of the family. Roton could have been one such; she would have been an asset to any household as she was a hard-working girl without ambition or greed. No one from her village would have objected if the the postmaster took her with him when he left the village to live with his family; she would have been deemed fortunate. The thought crossed through the postmaster's mind, but a callousness at the end stopped him from going back and to fetch Roton to accompany him.

4. Ginni
Shibnath Pondit was a bully and did not deserve the respect reserved for his position as teacher. His weakness lay in his own inferiority complex which prompted him to ridicule and scorn his young and impressionable students. The truly educated and enlightened would not pick on young children and make fun of their vulnerability, thus emotionally scarring them forever as a result.
This particular story may have been inspired by Tagore’s own unpleasant school experience (he was a school drop-out). Similar experiences have been recorded in Tagore's recollection of his boyhood days in Chhelebela.


5. Muktir Upaye
Tagore wrote a tongue-in-cheek tale, which tells us about two extremely selfish, self centered and spineless men, namely, Photikchand and Makhonlal.

Photikchand was a classic pseudo-intellectual. A true intellectual would not have smothered the laughter, happiness and youthful effervescence of his wife, Haimavati. This cruel act did not satisfy him, for he decided to go a step further and upgrade his status to a pseudo-ascetic and leave home.

Makhonlal represented the other extreme. He was a spineless pleasure-seeker. He agreed to a second marriage in pursuit of heirs and 'novelty.' The two wives and seven children created such an atmosphere of domestic cacophony that it drove Makhonlal to leave home. His final destination was the temple city of Varanasi where he married yet again to taste the fruits of a life with a single wife.

The rest of the story is a comedy of errors, where Photikchand is mistaken for Makhonlal. Ultimately Photikchand is rescued by his wife Haimavati.
 

2 comments:

work_in_progress said...

Hello Kochi Reads!

I am sorry this comment is not about the blog post. But a general query regarding whether you have been able to find magazines like "OPen", "Tehelka" and "caravan" in Ernakulam?

Tehelka is available at Paico on wednesdays, but sometimes they don't seem to have it and "Open" and "Caravan" are not available in Paico.

Being avid readers, I was wondering whether you have seen them around? I really do not want to subscribe since I have not had a good experience with that in the past.

thank you!

Joe said...

Sorry, I can't direct you to a shop for buying these magazines in Kochi.

Tehelka I know has a website where most of the stories are available online:
http://tehelka.com