In our lives, we at times get confronted with intense and traumatic events which force us to question who we are, what really matters to us and what we believe in. In some ways these events alter our sense of reality.
“Her unadorned face with a parting free of sindoor and a simply worn white sari indicated her to be a young widow. Something in her appearance impacted Dipen.
Dipen could recall his aunt becoming a widow when he was a mere seven or eight, she had her hair cut short and seemed perpetually in a complaining and cantankerous mood. She was required to observe strict fast on certain days and Dipen still remembered how she would secretly beg him for moa or naru, homemade Bengali sweets. Considered inauspicious, Dipen’s aunt was barred from participating in joyous occasions; to everyone around she personified inconvenience and this showed up in the insensitive behaviour of family members towards her. Dipen was too young to understand the ramifications but as he grew older, he could sense the unforgiving and interminable despair that his aunt’s life had represented.”
Snippet: In the early twentieth century, the plight of widows in Bengal continued to be terrible, arising from customs and social ostracization.Even though remarriage of widows had been made legally permissible from mid-nineteenth century, largely due to the efforts of the Brahmin social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, society continued to frown on all such attempts.
Once the husband died , the torture of his wife began. It was as if Lord Yama of the netherworld was taking away her soul. Even when she had to endure the grief of her husband’s death, society somehow held her ‘responsible’ for the death and even her closest relatives could not come to console her. A woman whose husband had died was thus like a living corpse. She had no rights in the home and had to remain as a slave to other family members.
The above extract is from the story Pandemic, a part of my forthcoming book, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’.
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‘On the appointed day of the Pujo, Robert Clive drove in his carriage to Nabakrishna Deb’s residence in Shova Bazaar and participated in what was to become the biggest festival in the Bengali calendar. He was accompanied by a number of Englishmen. The pomp and grandeur of the pujo were such that it became a talking point and something to aspire for by the upcoming rich merchant class. The Company Pujo, as it became known as, was not the usual conservative ritual based Hindu puja. Instead, it became known for its dance parties, elaborate menu of meats from the Wilson Hotel and unlimited drinks!
It is also said that Raja Nabakrishna Deb’s guests were regaled with the performances of the best nautch girls of Calcutta, one of them being the sensational new courtesan Rajni Bai who also responded to the name Joba……..’
Shova Bazaar Rajbari and its Durga Puja features in the story ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly’, part of my forthcoming book of the same name. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and free copy of the book, do write to me @ email@example.com.
As Anjan put on the kettle switch, the power light came on. A few moments elapsed and then hearing a slight crackling sound Anjan turned. He saw a snake-like bluish flame moving from the electric point and spreading across the floor. As Anjan bent down to shut off the switch, he saw the blue serpent moving into the drain. For a moment time stood still and then, almost as if in slow motion, Anjan saw fault lines appear on the ceiling and the walls before they splintered. Then as he watched, the blue serpent coiled out accompanied by an earth-shaking explosion sound. Anjan was picked up and thrown against the debris like a ragged doll.
The above is from ‘Fault Lines’, part of my forthcoming book ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Admitted to the hospital with severe injuries from a gas explosion, Anjan keeps meeting Savio, a friend from his childhood. In the interactions, Savio holds up the moral mirror for Anjan to come face to face with the private demons from his past.
The explosion unearths a long lost letter which explodes his relationship with his wife Jaya.
“From Jaya’s diary: What do you say when all that which gave meaning to your life lie broken and anguished in the space-time continuum which was once your own?”
Fault Lines is part of my forthcoming book, ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’. Should you wish to receive exclusive previews and the chance of winning a free copy of the book, do write to me @ email@example.com