Sunday, September 24, 2006

dhNeki shaak

The Puja special issues of Bengali magazines have appeared at the market. The quality has deteriorated substantially now-a-days. The obvious reason is that a writer produces ten to twelve, if not more, articles for a bunch of magazines within a couple of months. With this kind of attitude towards literature, I don't know where the Bengali Puja literature is heading!
I read a short story of Tarapado Roy in one such Puja issues. It was just like his usual style, a nostalgic story based on real charecters and incidents with an undercurrent of bleeding memories of our divided past - Deshbhaag, or the division of the country.
Author's uncle-of-village-relation, Abinash kaka is a permament resident of US for a couple of decades now with his daughter. Earlier he used to write long letters to the author, now with the advent of technology he sends occasional emails. Each of his mails bears a request to bring something exotic dug up from memories; like an old plate Abinash kaka got as a gift in his childhood, or a certain fruit that is only available in murshlands of Bengal. Tarapado Roy whenever possible carries those things overseas when he goes to visit his son settled in a town near to Abinash kaka's place.
This time Abinash kaka has requested to bring some DhNeki shaak. The author carries a bunch of it with him but the vegetable perishes on its way to Abinash kaka. But later during the trip when he meets Abinash kaka, he is surprised to have the same vegetable on his meal. Abinash kaka's daughter has found the dhNeki shaak in the market somewhere in US. This is a very insignificant issue. But considering the emotional connection of dhNeki shaak with someone who has left his motherland long ago and again the availablity of that exotic vegetabe in globalized-market produces a contrasting optimism with the underlying nostalgia.
Life is made up of small and insignificant things. Only the one who has an eye and appreciation for those insignificant things can enjoy the life to its fullest.

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