Kal Tumi Aleya – Characters

Kal Tumi Aleya” literally means “Tomorrow, you are Aleya”.

Aleya is will of the wisp. Though it doesn’t have that much place in the English literature, which deals this aspect by mirages but in Bengali, Aleya is the usual allegory. May be since the rain drenched zone isn’t that familiar with the mirage concept, and in the marshes it is more probable that one comes across Aleya. I will use this short sweet term, Aleya, rather than the long English not so sweet one. Aleya of course, like mirage, are used to signify hopes for things non-existent, but things that the humans will chase to get. In most of folk myths these signify fairies, may be due to these being associated with light. In many of the myths due to their secondary nature they show evil. These are usually associated with marsh lands, the only light source in complete darkness. The strangers might try to reach them with the fatal consequence, of being drowned in the water body.

In this story however the negative part isn’t taken in. It talks of Aleya as the hope. The human runs after it in complete darkness (despair), but as it reaches near (success), it eludes him. And like the goal, it continually changes its color, shape, brightness… to entice the follower and ensure that they don’t try to escape from it.

It also signifies “maya” which translates to the same concept, the attachment to success and goal and trying to achieve that. This is the thing only a few can avoid (the attachment) and then could attain the inner being and be one who is not worried of the future, since for them the future, what they bring, are non-existent, myths not to be worried about like Aleya. Here there is only one person in the whole story who was almost like the one, but in the end proves even she isn’t really totally.

The story is a complex interplay of the main central Protagonist (Dhirupada Chakraborty) with the people he comes in contact with. Each with various facets of human, none perfect, nor any one devil either.

Dhirupada Chakraborty, Dhiru(or Dhirubabu), is his name for his dear ones, Dhirapadababu by not so near and Mr Chakraborty in official communication, shows where he stands with the other person. He is a person with an MA degree behind him (subject unknown), unemployed and practically on roads. His source of livelihood is by writing advertisement, the preface and back cover of those cheap books printed and published by the low-cost publishers, or similar things for the local ayurvedic pharmaceutical company. In addition he takes a few tuitions too, in the evening. This is in the beginning, after that of course he rises meteorically, not due to his capability however, but he is made a pawn and it was in chess player’s interest that the pawn advances, till it does get the queen, which was not as the plan of the players.

When the story starts he is in his mid-thirties and without any attachment, at least romantic, with any one of feminine gender. In fact the story doesn’t signify that he had had one ever, of any serious nature. He had a habit of ogling at women, but it stopped there. AT least a couple of times he had gone into the areas of disrepute and at least one of the protagonists (street-walker) had approached him quite a few times, but he could never muster his guts to further and every time escaped. He stays alone in a dilapidated house, Sultan Kuthi, at outskirts of Calcutta, may be quite a bit far at the time of the happening, since at that time it was still with the village atmosphere. He is of course not an owner, he has taken a portion (a single room) on rent. The other occupants of the villa too obviously play quite important role in the movie.

Mr Sikdar (nicknamed as Ekadashi Sikdar) is one of the inmates. His family consists of a bedridden wife and a widow daughter, in fifties. He does have a son, who stays somewhere outside and once in a while sends money, on which the family survives. But expectedly the money that is sent is neither sufficient nor regular.

He had one interesting habit, in the morning, unless he gets a newspaper, he felt very uncomfortable. But as people would expect that he would sit with that reading and ruminate, he would finish the paper in a few minutes, may be reading the headlines only and then fold it and keep aside. The second strange thing happened when there as a theft. The thief was caught and was subjected to mob treatment. Fortunately not the full, since he was alive in the police station. That time Ekadashi’s condition was opposite of the mob. He was hysteric at the violence and wanted them to stop the violence and hand over the thief, alive, to the cops.

Mr Bhattacharya (nicknamed Shakuni – Vulture- Bhatchaj) stays there with a couple of sons, daughter in laws and grand-children and (his) wife. He is like Mr Sikdar a very old and unlike him a sickly person. The description from beginning shows that he wasn’t to survive till end and hedoesn’t either. The heroine calls him aptly “Ghater Mara” we can equate as one ready any moment to turn himself into a corpse. He too isn’t too well off, but just a bit better than others. He has moved there after the partition. His sons were working earlier and probably they were not in such a bad shape. But after moving in the conditions expectedly weren’t too good. Fortunately the sons, now past middle age, could manage to get a job, as teachers in primary schools. Unlike Mr Sikdar, his sons, both of them, though stayed with their parents in that small accommodation, and there were never any clash trying to scatter the family. He did all the local puja etc of the area, which of course didn’t fetch much, but still.

These nick-names, Ekadashi and Shakuni were coined and popularised by the local naughty boys, but the two always had a fixed belief that Dhiru, the patron of those boys, was the brain, and even may be the coiner, behind them, and hence never really threw a friendly glance at him.

Ramani Pandit– he is one of those astrologers that one finds around. With very low business, so he prefers to study the palms and the star-charts of the fellow inmates, free of course. He has a wife and a few children, of which the eldest is a daughter Kumu. She is just teen in the beginning, pretty looking despite being slim, due to starvation, and quite predictably was going to be one of the lead female characters.

Ramani Pandit used to live in the neighboring portion of Dhiru. He has analysed the stars of his daughter and has predicted that she was going to be a scholar. Unfortunately she tried her best to make his prediction come untrue and as a last resort he started sending his teenage daughter to Dhiru for tuition. After some times, the tongues of Shakuni and Ekadashi started wagging. The two old men, who always sat in the bench in the compound, would obviously watch and gossip, which they did. Dhiru too didn’t help the matter, by calling his student even at night for classes. As a result (he did feel bad for all this, knowing that it was the girl who was going to suffer) he lost his student, and also Ramani Pandit changed his place of residence, and moved to another, a bit far off, portion of the building.

That exactly was Dhiru’s plan, of getting the portion vacated, and he immediately moved a new family, of Ganuda, there. The family head was Ganuda, the elder brother of Dheeru’s very close, and by then deceased, friend Ranu. Ganuda (may be Gynendra?) was a proof reader in a newspaper and somehow managed his family which, with a head Ranu now less, was still quite substantive, with a wife and three kids, an eight year daughter Uma, and two sons, the youngest being a few months old. His wife, Swarnamayi, called Sona-boudi. Sona-Sister in law is the translation but the SonaBoudi word gives a feeling of tender love which unfortunately the translation can’t.

Sona, could be a derivative from Swranamayi, her actual name, or gold, or even for some one very dear. In this case for Dhiru, being the heroine of the story, she was all the three.

With the household activity completed, now let me look at outside, including the past.

First of the female characters to put a mark of course is Dhiru’s mother. Dhiru’s father was a lawyer, not a great one, but not a starving one either. They were not rich, but did have a comfortable life. She was illiterate to the order, she had to take help from others even in reading long letters. She wasn’t a good accountant either (which is a bit strange since even illiterate women are good in running family finances). For this of course she would be butt of jokes, even in open before children, of his father.

Around this time, his uncle (father’s younger brother) lost his job and landed up at their home. With the new family with children of course finances became tight. Dhiru’s father became serious, but most affected was his aunt. She always felt that their family was a burden on them and there would be fights for his not being able to get a job. It continued for a few months till the Uncle got some livelihood and started contributing, though meagre, but that satisfied aunt, and the family life was restored.

This source of income was his mother. She would give some money to the uncle, who would pass on to the aunt to complete the circle. She was not smart enough of course to keep things hidden from a lawyer’s eyes. But he never brought out his knowledge till long afterwards, and the mother never knew that she was so transparent. It came out only after she was no more,  and the episodes, even in jest by the father, immediately followed by averted faces and tears from the all, including narrator.

When this story had begun, by then other two, his father and sister, Shail, too have followed her. But his mother had left a memory on his face. Once in a fight with his cousin (uncle’s son), he had hurled a stone at his head, bringing out a blood. The mother was cooking and she came out and started hitting him with the hot iron cooking spoon, branding his forehead with it, and was saved from something drastic by his neighbour, snatching him away from his mother, another main character in this novel, Charu-di.

Charudi is the second major character in the story. She was the village- elder sister. Though she was around nine years older than Dhiru, but she was his sweet-heart from the time he was eight and she was eighteen and he has declared in public, “Since I have to marry someone, let it be Charudi”. A year later, in her wedding he had gone with a stick, to get rid of the groom, and a couple of year later, when she became widow, he was probably the only person relieved.

Charudi was another complex character in the novel. She had married a foreign educated and rich doctor. This husband of her, wanted to start a pharmaceutical business, along with one of his friends, Himanshu Mitra. When the husband died, the concept didn’t. After few years, along with his property, she moved in with Himanshu, not at his home (he had his wife and son there). Himanshu used her money and also of his deceased sister’s and with the rest as loan from market he started the factory. He didn’t cheat the widow and the orphan (nephew) and the business had one quarter share in the name of the widow (Charu) and around a fifth in the name of the orphan nephew (Amitabha Ghosh – Amit). The rest, more than half, was the sweat share held by him and his son (Sitanshu). By the time the story started she was in mid-forties, and still together with the by then widower Himanshu, almost in sixties. She didn’t bother her brain with the business and left it to Himanshu to handle, but she wasn’t a disinterested person and knew of every happening there.

The nephew Amitabha was very close to Charu, and called her Masi (aunt, but not uncles’s wife, but mother’s sister). For Charu he was the son she never had, and for him too, she too was very dear and confidante.

Amitabha Ghosh, the nephew was again a foreign trained scientist. His total life was dedicated to research. On his return, he was made the Chief Chemist of the factory, where the first person of course was Himanshu and the Operations were handled by the son, Sitanshu. Despite the number three in hierarchy, he has never cared for the bosses, and as the head of technical activities, it was his job to make or break, which he would do in once in a while, to keep the bosses, though his own close relatives, in check and know who the actual boss was.

He had some grudges too, he was a bit older than Sitanshu. Though the nephew was also very dear to Himanshu, but the nephew didn’t think that way. Once when he had been very sick, Himanshu had gone on a foreign business trip, but Charu stayed back and nursed him “Had it been Sitanshu instead of me, had he gone then too?” From then his close and confidante was unrelated Charu and not the actual relative, uncle. From this time, may be a bit of brain fever too, he had a bout of almost craziness, when he would act completely unpredictably, once in a while. However if he was kept in unstressed and jolly mood, these bouts would disappear.

He has been uncaring of other’s feeling, he didn’t ever care for any, even when he must be aware of their devoted love to him. In fact in many cases his uncaring attitude could be termed as brutal, especially towards Parbati. And in exactly opposite manner, he was very caring for the practically strangers. The labors in factory treated him as one who thinks for them. He did a big act of kindness by bringing an unknown street-walker, Kanchan, to nursing home.

Labanya Sarkar, the lady doctor with no holding on the company, by rank or shares, but having a major say in its running, was his discovery. She was the brother of one of those weekly magazines, whose job is to sell by bringing out hot news. During one of those, against the company, Amitabha, the technical in-charge, also handling the publicity went for confrontation. After the clarifications were over amicably, the editor made a request for a job for his recently graduated sister. It was not only accepted, but Amitabha also took it on himself to be her mentor.

Labanya’s college finances however were not borne by his brother but by her brother in law. Like Amitabh he too had a soft corner towards Labanya, and probably, being a widower, wanted her to be a bit more than his sister-in law. He was not stinking rich like the Mitra and Ghosh’s, but was well off and wanted his sister in law to get some additional foreign qualification, which was snuffed off by the new job, but not his hopes, which he nurtured till almost the end.

Next in her list was Sitanshu, who too fell very soon madly for her. His father of course was totally against this match “She is a gem, but if Sitanshu marries her, he would forever remain a puppet in her hands” and he preferred that her first suitor Amitabh does it, which was not to the liking of Charu, may be for the exactly same reason.

Though Dhiru suspected that she had designs on the Big Boss, Himanshu too, but that at least was never the case and she continued to sail on three boats mainly Sitanshu now, but occasionally she would be a bit favorable to her brother in law and Amitabha too.

She was a woman who had used her charms for her success. Though she didn’t have any stake in the company, but she had opened a nursing home, with Sitanshu being the other, and equal, partner. This nursing home was opened in the house rented by the company, and most often the medicines too would be from the companies account. Not officially stolen, the companies keep medicines for free distribution to doctors, which might help the business. One of the doctors could be a company doctors too, there is no law that it shouldn’t be. And no system says all doctors should get equal quantity, or all the medicines.

Even at a later stage when Sitanshu got married, her contacts, after some cool off period, started as it was before. During this cool off period of course her favours went back to Amitabh.

The only person she couldn’t stand was of course Dhiru, Mr Chakraborty for her. He did nothing for helping her to change that opinion. His first introduction itself was bad, when as a novice he was placed in front of her and did quite some mistakes. Then when his position in the organisation was declared, almost equal, or even may be more, in official standing, then there were quite a few power clashes. His character, with women, was bared in front of her with evidences, not by manipulations, but by circumstances. Though he did keep distance from her, but probably she didn’t miss that his eyes were on her. Then there was a prostitute brought to her nursing home, who was said to be quiet familiar with her, and to end it all, he had a visible affair with his neighbor’s wife. When this affair led to the husband becoming a drunkard and being jailed and then the suicide of the wife, which decent women can stand that, especially towards the end, when it was getting clear that probably despite the official clashes, there was a probability of something developing at the corner of her heart?

However to be very fair on her, she has used her femininity to her full advantage by seducing all these suitors and getting her ways, but she probably didn’t cross a limit. At a later stage, before Sitanshu married the other girl, he had probably proposed her, the situations seem to indicate, and almost certainly she had refused. Later Himanshu had proposed her alliance with Amitabh, which too was politely refused. The brother in law of course doesn’t stand any chance in these circumstances.

She, I consider, the second lead, some may say the main, since she eventually united with the hero, Dhiru. Unlike the normal stories that didn’t take place the moment misunderstandings were cleared, and it came out that the hero may not be an angel, but at least all those stains that she thought on his character were not on his. At least it took another four or five pages before she finally capitulated.

To give it more of a twist, it all goes against common logic, since just a few pages (and on calendar may be a week) back she had been raped, by the hero. In the story of course there was no reason for her to have a change of heart, but the way it is spelt out, she had a change of heart, and she did realise the conditions under which he did the barbaric act, and forgave him. But his attitude didn’t allow her to become soft, since he still nursed a grievance, almost hatred, towards her, for her riding still multiple boats, and that too with two of her suitors (brother in law and now Sitanshu) married.

Sitanshu was a typical young boss. He was and knew that he was, born with the silver spoon and was the prince regent of the empire. His attitude towards staff or workers was dictatorial, often with ill effects. However that ill he won’t handle, and would leave for others to address. Earlier it was his father and later it came to Dheeru to manage his wrongs. He was weak in character and probably would have led to the demise, of the organisation, once the father as gone.

He was in love with Labanya, but probably was rejected. Then he got married too. But his attempts at Labanya didn’t seem to have waned, despite being aware that even his brand new wife had guessed the things.

Arati, the bride, had a very small role to play in the narrative, and is skipped in the movie. She wasn’t such too simpleton. In Dheeru’s observation, she was extremely beautiful and soft, but she was the daughter of a minister and she had a mind of her own. She wasn’t going to lie down and let Sitanshu do whatever he wants. She made a few surprise visits to the factory, with the servant, seemingly to understand how the factory works, “and since it is our factory, why I have to announce in advance when I am coming?” Though she didn’t get irrefutable proof, by catching, she saw both were together, though on official business. Labanya was of course professional, but Sitanshu wasn’t that comfortable in having both his women together in the same room. For this unannounced arrival, Sitanshu dismissed the servant and got a slap on his face from the seemingly soft bride who instructed the servant “Go to my father, he would give you a job at our home”.

Kanchan was a motherless girl from slums, just crossed the teen-age. Her father had become blind, due to cataract and she had two young siblings. She had to fend for the bread and did only thing she, an uneducated and quite pretty girl could do. Dhiru of course didn’t find her pretty, rather repulsive, with those gaudy clothes, colours and manners. But later he didn’t mention of her looks, and rather found her to be quite decent looking.

Since he was fond of looking at girls, he had seen her, obviously at her trade, on the street quite a few times, at the bench where he would sit to while away his time. She too had observed him looking at her, but after initial interest, when she looked at his dress and condition, obviously she didn’t have any interest in him. Things started changing when one day she walked, with him watching, with one of her customers, and after some time came back weeping, clearly having been not paid for her services. Interestingly despite being in the business, she wanted Dheeru to accompany her till the dark park edge, to the lighted street, scared and aware of more non-paying customers and hordes of them, around. Dheeru not only did that, but took her to a restaurant, gave her a full meal, then dropped her to the lane of her home and then gave her some money, for absolutely no services.

Next meeting, became the turning point for her. It was when Dheeru was driving with Amit. When Amit went for some purchases, Kanchan saw him as a potential customer, not recognizing her previous benefactor, now well groomed and dressed in a shining car. She was still asking him the crucial question in gestures, when Amit came back and saw her.

When at a later stage, Amit saw her unconscious, lying beside a lamppost, he recognized and picking her up deposited straight at Labanya’s nursing home, mentioning that not his but she was Dheeru’s acquaintance. The girl was found to be anemic and starved, not surprising, and Labanya guessed other things about her too. And that automatically formed a good opinion about Dheeru and his character.

With the knowledge that Amit doesn’t know a thing about her, only that she was pointed to him by Dheeru, no one could say that Labanya made mistake in plain arithmatics. Furious she called Dheeru to take her immediately off from the nursing home, which wasn’t for this type of people. Dheeru quite bluntly refused “The Nursing home is in company’s leased house, the medicines are from its chest, and I am the Administration In-charge, you are only a doctor here, who are you to decide on who is to be kept or thrown away? The payment for the expenses on the treatment will be decided later, for that too you have nothing to say

Probably once the girl was somewhat stable, Labanya had interrogated and found how the things stood, since within a couple of days, not only Labanya’s behavior towards Dheeru changed but she even arranged a job for Kanchan in the medical shop of the company, as the dish washer.

However there one of the protégés of Dheeru, Ramen Sikdar, a staff in the medical shop, fell in love with this girl. He was aware of all the facts, he said so during an interrogation by his well-wisher Dheeru, she had never tried to hide anything from him. However due to this, setting up of a home in future, he did certain fast-buck activities and for that he was dismissed.

Again one more of the complex personalities of women came up, when Kanchan came at Dheeru’s home and begged him, literally on his feet, to spare Ramen and punish her, since she was at the root of it all. We must remember that she was a street-walker a few days back, and then think over about them, whether the circumstantially forced humans has or not a chance to live the life or get branded forever. In addition we must compare her with the persons, in her profession, but not forced by circumstances, like Labanya, who was doing the same, not for survival, but for gain. She most probably wasn’t going into the extent of physical relationship, but what she was doing for gain, flirting with married men, was that better or worse than Kanchan, who was ready to throw off her life of comfort, and probably aware that she would have to go back to the street again?

The book doesn’t analyse these facts, but the way it brings them out, one has to pause and think. Of course nothing could be done in this case, and she was rudely shooed off by Dheeru. She too did lose her job, being at the moment the soft target of Labanya. Dheeru was the main target at that time, and in fact he, being the chief administrator, had, rather had been made to, sign both the dismissal letters. Though Dheeru threw her out, but he did some amends and that amends probably had led to the life Kanchan deserved. Though her case wasn’t really dragged to the end of “and they happily..” but the indications are that they did. From co-partner of a shop, to life was a small step, especially with both more than willing, and now the sustenance too being in their own hands.

Kumu was the eldest daughter of Ramani Pandit. She was the girl, whom her father predicted to be a great scholar, without mapping her brain. While still in teens she used to come to Dheeru for guidance, and Dheeru then had to stop it for the scandal that rose between them. There was nothing really wrong, none were in love with other, and she wasn’t a flirt. They did maintain all the decorum between the teacher and student, but the study was not going nowhere, not due to usual movie thing, but because her brain was unable to absorb. Dheeru deliberately created the scene that gave rise to the scandal, and banned her from his home, to his relief, and the shifting of Ramani, to keep him away from his daughter, vacated the portion that Dheeru wanted for his Ganu-da and more importantly the actual heroine of the story, Sona-boudi.

The girl, now declared a failure in studies, soon went into bad companies. Partially Dheeru should be responsible for this, though the novel doesn’t bring that out. But in the end he does make several amend for that and finally due to his catalytic effort, the girl, no longer easy to marry off, along with her father Ramani Pandit could live a life of comfort.

She slowly, as the non-studying students do, fell into undesirable company, probably it started with joining the gang of one of her undesirable cousins. Fortunately Dheeru while street walking saw her in one of the restaurants with the gang and promptly reported to her father. For some days it remained in control. Later Ganuda became her father’s bosom friend and took her responsibility onto himself. Whether Ramani planned to wait and get her hitched later to Ganuda or not is not known.

Still everything was alright, Ganuda only took her to one of those self-help handicraft centres where the poor girls weave things and earn some money. But when Ganuda moved into bad companies, he sold the girl to flesh-traders, for money. Fortunately Dheeru came into picture and could get the girl rescued. Not in movie method, but in a easier way. The man (the pimp) was the man who had ditched Kanchan (non-paying customer), and a few times earlier too Dheeru had seen him with suspicious ways. Just a day before Kumu’s disappearance, he saw him talking with Ganuda and immediately on watching him, watching them, they halted their conversation and dispersed. That made Ganuda prime suspect, and when he was accosted and threatened with mob violence and then police, he broke down. The girl was rescued on his tip off and also the man was arrested. This man was the son of our Shakuni Sikdar and that explained his daily quick glance on papers, every morning scared that this day had arrived, which finally did, and also his hysterics at mob violence.

This is a girl, who need not have gone that way. She wasn’t a starving like Kanchan, though may be underfed. In fact she had been an earning member too at that time. She tried for a better time, first through the company and then through this pimp. The pimp had given her the well-known bait, a chance in the movies. We could put a lot of blame on her for her fate. Her method was not much different from Labanya Sarkar, but she was stupid and not world-wise which Labanya was.

Parbati was a live-in maid (or bait?) of Charu. She was found by her when she was a child and then taken under her umbrella. Though a servant, her bearing was almost like a secretary. Charu, lightly, used to call her as her body-guard. She of course was not that per se, since she stayed at home and was more of a maid cum care-taker, though she was more than that, in Charu’s beahoviour to her, her own manners. She had been brought up almost as a daughter. However she knew her place.

Her behavior was impassive, and as brought out, almost robotic, sans any feeling. Though she was originally brought up as a companion, almost a daughter, but later Charu’s priorities changed. Charu’s only priority became Amit. That Parbati could be her daughter, much more easily than making a son of Amit, never crossed Charu’s mind, till it was forced into her by Dheeru. Then there was a change, although not visibly in her behavior with Parbati, but she took the papers and bequeathed her property, at least partially in Parbati’s name, if not all. Of course this step was hotly contested by Parbati, with Dheeru. She might not have dared to, or may be had, clashed with Charu on this.

Dheeru had guessed that the blessings showered on him by Charu was not due to old time’s sake, there was something else behind it. What he couldn’t really guess till Parbati, either more intelligent or more in the know told that.

The equation was simple. Himangshu didn’t want Labanya as Sitangshu’s wife, since he was afraid, and he was right in that, Sitanshu would be under her thumb. His choice was having Amit hitched to Labanya. If one reflects he was right. Amit too, like Sitangshu, was enamoured by her. The failure in love could be borne by Sitangshu, but in his condition, with a fixed feeling that he is the unwanted member of the family, Amit wouldn’t have been able to. Also the type of personality that had been shown, brilliant but unpredictable and weak, he needed a strong woman like Labanya. But Charu was not ready to let Amit go, which he would have, had he been wedded to Labanya. To avoid this, she played this master game.

The young and handsome Dheeru was sent to befriend Amit, who was friendless there, though of his own making. May be Sitanshu was hostile, but Himanshu really cared for him. The second purpose was to win over Labanya, thereby hitting two birds with one stone. It would solve both Himanshu’s and Charu’s problem. The second bait, equally or more strong was the pretty Parbati. She was to give company to the heart broken Amit, till some final plan was made. Charu had a lot of confidence on Parbati, that she wouldn’t let Amit cross the limit. She had narrated cases when the boys around had tried and were taught a lesson. But there was one simple miscalculation. She forgot that within that impassive body, there is a human being and she too could fall in love. When she is in love, even if it was one sided, she won’t be able to rudely chase her sweetheart way with a sickle, as she did with the boys, and would succumb to slight pressure. She knew of her weakness, and avoided being alone with Amit, but unfortunately Dheeru himself brought it unto her, by making way for them to be alone, several times, despite her clear non-verbal pleading not to.

The unloved girl to dismay of Charu, became pregnant with the child of her beloved. But whether he loved or not, least mattered to her, and her ownership on him was full, especially when he was down with stroke, and on bed. Since doctor said he should be allowed to rest and no visitor should disturb him, she ensured that none, including his own uncle and even Charu could even peep in her room, where she had put Amit. Her behavior was grudged but she wasn’t thrown out, as any servant would be, shows that the family, though shocked, didn’t mind the state. Unlike the movie, where she had been shown to guard the door, in the novel she wasn’t.

When Dheeru arrived Charu was saying to Himanshu with unmasked irritation “Now what? Whatever you wanted to know, are told. Now sit down. From the first moment she is guarding the door, entry prohibited. As if we are going to harm him! We are all his enemies and she is the only one who is his own

However Dheeru saw that Parbati wasn’t guarding any door, she was in fact standing besides Charu. This uncalled for outburst of her mistress didn’t change her expressions. There was no anger, hate or anything the only thing there was the firm expression that she would do what she must.

This statement of Charu, obviously was of irritation but was it of losing Amit to Parbati? It seemed to me like what any mother-in law would grumble about her Daughter in law, who has a good probability, under the circumstances shown, to behave like that.

What can we make of Parbati? In the novel once Dheeru muses “God has given everyone the means of defence. Some are armed with shrp teeth, some with claws, the men with physical power, but he had given the strongest to women, a weak exterior masking an interior of steel” And when it reverses and we have a woman, with a visibly strong exterior with feather soft interior? That was Parbati, when her steel was dissolved with the heart-juice, but that feather touch was reserved for only one, for all others, she was the quintessential tigress, ready to protect her cub with her life.

Ganuda was the one of the main villain of the piece. He was villain not because he was bad, but he was weak, and easily tempted, a male version of Kumu. He was a proof reader in a daily, and would have remained there. But a chance arrival of Amit at Dheeru’s home changed it all. He recognised him as a bosom friend of the owner, and being a close person of Dheeru, Amit couldn’t say no. With Amit’s recommendation, Ganu got a promotion and became a sub-editor.

That should have been a blessing but it wasn’t. The root being Ramani Pandit. Most probably he had realized the trick Dheeru played on him, to vacate the prime location and place Ganuda’s family there. He was thirsting for revenge on Ganuda and more on Dheeru. He knew where it would hurt him the most, Sonaboudi.

Even before promotion, Ramani Pandit was throwing subtle hints about Sonaboudi and Dheeru. In addition as an astrologer he had made two great predictions. First that Ganu had tremendous potential of advancement, but it was his wife that was the road-block. Second Ganu was going to outlive his hag of a wife, by a long margin. The first was immediately proved, since he wanted to his wife to talk to Dheeru for his advancement, the moment he became aware of his big post but she steadfast kept on refusing to even talk to Dheeru.

Finally Ganu had to take the matter in his hand and talked, but Dheeru at that time has shown his helplessness. later when the Amit came in scene, still Dheeru didn’t really try for Ganu’s career, forcing him to take the matter in his own hands and the very next day he got his due (promotion).  I am not sure had Sonaboudi requested Dheeru for this, he would have been so passive, but what I could say is Sonaboudi would never had. She had been a giver, not a taker. 

Once Ganu he wanted some money to bet on a horse, but his wife didn’t give it, and that same horse ended up winner, at least as per his version. With the first prediction, the road-block, undeniably proved, there was now no reason to disbelieve the second prediction. He immediately made a joint insurance in the name of both. In the end the second too came true, though under tragic circumstances, and he couldn’t become the beneficiary of the insurance .

This attitude and immoral behavior of his wife, a mother of three kids, having an affair with neighbour, Dheeru, made him disenchanted with the family life. He took the path which any one in that level of disenchantment would take. He completely immersed himself in self advancement. He would be now rarely at home, and would be either with Ramani Pandit, for advice, or at gambling dens, wine houses and even brothels. Despite all the positives of Sonaboudi, this is one matter where she had been a completely helpless woman. The result was not long in coming. The expenses overshot the income. It was met by taking small loans from all in office, and when that avenue too dried up, he went into misappropriation of funds and lost his job.

Dheeru at the time was on a temporary stay at Himanshu’s home, for certain urgent work, and didn’t know till quite some time. From Sonaboudi of course there was no hint or talk on this matter.

With no job, and hence finance, but still with the habits, he indulged in another business, not far away from his hobbies. He arranged to get Kumu sold to flesh traders and finally landed up where he deserved, in the jail.

His character was said by the one who knew him best “He isn’t that inhuman that you all think him to be, at least he wasn’t in past. The greed had poisoned his mind. I couldn’t save him, but God did” and obviously for whatever he was, his wife did still care for him.

Sonaboudi, Swarnamayii, the best ingredient of the recipe I have kept to the end. She is the last and the most important character of the story, may be matching the main protagonist Dheeru step by step, since it was she, who had put her mark in the whole novel, even when she wasn’t there, or even alive.

“I know you are standing behind my chair, and smiling at me with pursed lips. laugh however much you want to. You left your children with me. Now go and look in the other room, how comfortably and peacefully they are all sleeping with their face pressed on some one else’s bosom. I will make them to forget you. Still I have to tell you that what you have done to me, I will never be able to forgive. You would never understand this pain, but Ranu will. When you meet him, ask about it. You will come to know what a great injustice you have done to me.” It was anyway difficult for him to forget her, since Uma, by then in pre-teens had been reminding him of her mother, by her behaviour.   

Complex? In one way she was in other way she wasn’t. She was the mother, and like the children, she was loved as well as hated, not really hated but quite near to it, mortally scared of. Even Ganuda, her husband would shut up, at her one glance, and would only be vocal when she was out of audible range.

She was the daughter of a Sanskrit scholar. As scholars go, they were poor, and she wasn’t the only daughter. That’s the only reason of her being married at a station she hardly deserved, and that is the statement given by her own brother in law, Ranu, at hospital. She was misunderstood by all, probably only one who really understood was Ranu. Dheeru had done it again and again, and then when he understood, had spent sleepless nights. he never misbehaved with her, even his opinions with her in these cases were never expressed to her. It was only what he had thought of her made him lose his inner peace. 

She had never visited Ranu in hospital, and when he was brought home, for a last attempt to send to a big hospital elsewhere, she was clearly unhappy at his being brought back and scolded her husband, “You could have waited for a couple of days and sent him where he had to be, instead of unnecessarily bringing him here” obviously anyone would put only one meaning to this, which Dheeru did, and got antagonized towards her (clarified later by Ranu, this was to get some money out of his brother, who wanted to save it, by early discharge from hospital, and this type of behavior would force him to be sent as quickly as possible for his treatment).

The next day it was worse, instead of her husband, she had to get hold of practically a stranger, whom she had only met the day before, Dheeru, to accompany her to a jewellery shop, for selling some jewelry. She should have done that logically with her husband. Before going she locked her small children in the room, one of them an infant, alone, making Dheeru have even worse feeling about her, What type of a mother is she? At the shop she did a hard and long bargaining till she got the maximum, and all this while the small children were locked inside, may be awake by then. On the way back she requested him “Don’t tell anyone, though this was Ranu’s property, but still he would get hurt if he comes to know that it was sold” putting the last nail in the coffin of his opinion on her. Instead of selling her own, she had sold Ranu’s property, since it was his sickness.

But the moment he came back, and sat with the patient, all the hate he had collected was washed. The first question, Ranu had guessed “So you had helped her to successfully sell the necklace finally?” at Dheeru’s remonstrance Ranu added “I knew that it was going to go, sooner or later” and with a pause to a stunned Dheeru, “It was the last thing she had” .Dheeru could only stammer “But she said it was your?” Ranu laughed even in that condition “She said that did she? She didn’t lie. It was her grandmother’s wedding gift. Last time she tried to sell it for my treatment, I stopped her. Then she had agreed but told that from then onwards it is mine. So what she said was technically true, but…” That shows the reason of her taking help of Dheeru, and why not husband, we know by Ganu’s character, which Dheeru didn’t.

This was the first time but not the last time he had misunderstood and blamed her, even for her eventual suicide. But every time he was forced to fall more in love and respect with the shock of reality. Their relation whatever others though was clear to them the son, “Alas could I been able to call her Sonaboudi like Ranu did” This was why he wanted her to be near him and made him to displace Ramani Pandit to the corner portion, and place her in his neighbouring and the prime portion.

Her attitude towards him was as clear as crystal, in the end of her suicide note “Don’t indulge in any madness, I forbid you. I am not worried about the children. My only worry is you. Whenever you do anything, just remember that Sonaboudi is watching you from above. Even in death, I wouldn’t be able to bear you harming yourself. I only pray to Him, that may Labanya really understand you” who other than one who loved him more than any one or anything else, not a lover, since she wanted Labanya to take care of him rather a mother, could say it?

With this mutual feeling between them, and having read the suicide note and again knowing that the suicide of Sonaboudi was not an escape, but that was the supreme sacrifice she made, by assuming that it was only way to make a man of Ganu again when he comes out, the insinuation of Labanya, who did the cardinal sin by saying “Because of you, a man has gone to this level that he is in jail now, and a wife had to commit suicide” made Dheeru blind with hatred towards her and he brutally assaulted her, the male tendency for ultimate revenge, from prehistoric times.

Interestingly, the language shows that for her it wasn’t that repugnant. “When he left the bed, in the darkness he couldn’t see her face, but he could feel that she was watching him intently” trying to understand him why he did that? Of course before that he had professed his love towards her, bordering on insanity. Before going he left the suicide note for her to read, and understand, may be else the story won’t have reached the end.

Sonaboudi was too complex for Dheeru to understand. On many occasions her words and actions would be directed towards one while she spoke and hurt the other. Before Dheeru became a big-shot, he was a virtual paying guest of Sonaboudi. Not at her home though, she would bring his food home at his room, even in midnight. This led to the insinuations, but she didn’t bother about it, in fact joked about it. This practical son-mother relation obviously due to the age (the mother was most likely younger than the son) was misunderstood by all. Not only Labanya, but Charu and even Himanshu had hinted that. Not very strange again when he replied like in Deewar, much before it, to the query of Himanshu, “why do you want to go back to Sultan Kuthi, what lacks here” with “Sonaboudi is there

Was she beautiful? The novel says “No one would call the mother of three, Sonaboudi, as beautiful. She was not fair. Her features were not ugly either. She was neither well proportioned, no fat. She was just a plain woman, but in that plainness there was something what, in his subconscious mind Dheerapada was always searching for”. However in the movie depiction it was Sabitri, and in that case it didn’t fit the bill. Sabitri can’t be called plain. But then maybe that is in male eyes, since she too had the motherly attitude, which makes any male forget of the physical beauty. A woman may well say that she was just an average look?

Today, in the morning, at her presence on his window, the Sultankuthi felt suddenly different. Dheeru wanted to look at her face and find what the difference was. But she was looking at him, and he dared not look back at her.” This difference was at her sudden appearance after a few days fight and hence separation, again a result of his failure to fathom her.

There was canard about them, which she had never bothered earlier, but most probably now Ganuda had, and the food, though paid, service was stopped. Though it was Ganuda’s act influenced by Ramani Pandit, but he had put the blame on Sonaboudi, and like most of the times, Dheeru believed it and obviously was angry on her. His understanding of her sudden botheration of the canard, that had been there for quite some time, was simple and logical. Ganuda had got a promotion and hence extra income. Now that they were better off, Sonaboudi didn’t want take the extra pain of cooking for an extra person.

It was also broken as usual soon. Sonaboudi gave a party, the so called feeding Brahmins, and in the group of the five (including themselves), only two were not formally invited, Ramani Pandit, deliberately since he was the spreader of the canard, and Dheeru, whom Sonaboudi assumed would not need formal invitation. But he was at that moment full of hurt, “abhiman” at that summarily divorce, and deliberately avoided to step even near home, till late in the night.

When he came back late in the night, the daughter, Uma, informed that since he wasn’t there, Sonaboudi also hasn’t eaten anything. All the doubts were clarified, some from Sonaboudi, rest by the joining points. It ended by maintaining the staus quo, still his food wouldn’t be cooked by Sonaboudi. With Ganuda suspicious really it couldn’t be afforded, but before going she gave him an envelope of money. “What you were giving as your mess bill was really much more than that was spent on you, and this is the balance. Buy a cooker and learn to cook your food. It is easy, I am sure with guidance you can start cooking in a couple of days” There was another till then uncleared misunderstanding. He had assumed one of the arguments between Ganuda and Sonaboudi was because the spending on his food was more than what he was paying them. He had then increased it by doing some additional works. Sonaboudi was surprised when he had increased his share but didn’t ask it. It meant that she was keeping his money into a separate home saving account, in his name. It all resulted with another sleepless night of self-remonstrance for his wrong doing.

It kept on happening till her end. In fact had he understood her, he could have avoided it, maybe it was only he who could have. But he, as always, failed to read her, or her resolve, which she had already made, even her statement “I will call you very soon” threatened it, or just before that, when she held him for first time in her arms, and to his statement which he always wanted but for the first time made “why do you worry while I am there” said holding his head on her bosom, “I know that, otherwise how could I do all this?”. He did get a premonition of something at that “I will call you very soon”, but not of this.

Every time he recalled that tight embrace, she rubbing her cheek on his forehead, his face tightly held on her bosom, he didn’t feel any excitement or warmth. Each time he felt he couldn’t breath. His throat choked with unspent tears. He waited dreadfully for the call she said she will make. He dared not to go there to find out, since he felt that she had forbidden to

Of course he understood of the premonition afterwards, when Ramani Pandit finally came to call him “Of course this was the call. This was the only reason for which Sonaboudi would call him. Why he didn’t understand it then? Is there any one more fool than him who wouldn’t guess it?” 

Her farewell letter was a classic, which was heavily diluted and even spoiled, in the movie version.
“Dhirubabu,

I told that I would call you. I did, didn’t I? You may be furious, but now you have no way you can go back on your words. I told you that I could get the resolve only because I know you are there. I am really not sad for what would happen tomorrow, nor am I scared of what is going to happen now, it is real truth. Only guilt weighing my mind is thinking of the problems that you would suffer tomorrow because of me. It is for a long time I had been gradually preparing myself for this end. It was from the day he has lost his job and came back home, just for once feeling remorseful, and had said that the only way he has left was to commit suicide so that I get the money from the joint life insurance.

Believe me, when I looked at his face on that day, I knew what I must do and then it had stunned me to paralysis. Slowly it became a concept that I could bear, and then it became quite easy to think of it. In fact now for some time it is so comfortable that I could even laugh within myself, thinking of it, and congratulating Ramani Pandit at his perfect prediction, that he would be soon rid of me. Today I am indebted to even Ramani Pandit for this.

You have always found me heartless at my treatment of my children. Alas could I really be heartless towards them, then I would have lived. It is only because of them, that I had found that only way out is this. This money would help them to survive, and that made me lose my fear of death. Getting money this way had put a burden on my conscience, since this is in fact swindling. But am not I paying dearly for it? Anyway there was nothing that I would have gained by unnecessarily carrying my body as a burden.

God will judge me and my action. You have to just see that the three poor children are taken care of. I needn’t request you for something that I know you will. But for that you should meet him in jail and do what is necessary. I am confident that he won’t say no when he knows that it is I who has given you this responsibility. He really isn’t as inhuman as you all think him to be, at least he wasn’t in past. The greed had poisoned his mind. I couldn’t save him, but God did. I have no doubt that he would realise that my this step would have been a complete waste, had he been outside. I don’t have any complain against him, and you too shouldn’t keep any bad feelings about him. Whatever years he had been instrumental in taking off mine, may God add it into his, and give him a long and healthy life.

Now it is time, and I will call your Ramani Pandit and ask him to call you tomorrow, early in the morning. If you can, bring your Labanya Sarkar with you. I don’t know why her name keeps on knocking my mind. I know that you would call all the big doctors and make a fuss here. There would probably things done on this body too, if that could be avoided.

Don’t indulge in any madness, I forbid you. I am not worried about the children. My only worry is about you. Whenever you in any way neglect or harm yourself, you must bear in your mind that Sonaboudi is watching you from above. Even in death, I wouldn’t be in peace if you harm yourself in any manner. I only pray again and again to Him, that may Labanya really understand and realise you
                                                       Sonaboudi”

What is special about this? That comes out when we see the difference in relationship between Charu and Amit against Sonaboudi and Dheeru. Both were not related by blood and are only of heart (very common over in India, where we have hordes of uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters). Both of these are almost mother son relation, in one case even the age in support and in other case the mother may even be younger than the son (in the movie version she is) and most likely in the novel too. When Dheeru was 35, Sonaboudi’s eldest daughter was around 6 or so. That makes Sonaboudi to be probably not even in thirties. But the similarity ends in there and then onwards it is exactly opposite.

In one of them is highly unsecure of the relationship and wants to hang on to it at any cost. She uses Dheeru, Parbati and may be others too, including Himanshu to certain extent as a pawn to ensure it. Up to a certain extent for what she thinks is welfare of Amit, but actually it is to ensure that he remains a son to her. Probably she could have achieved her objective in a easier way had she tried on making a son in law of him than a son. The concept came too late, by when the daughter, Parbati, had become too suspicious of their, Charu as well as Himanshu’s, concepts of well being of Amit, and finally eloped with him, leaving her sans a son as well as daughter.

In the other case there is no dilemma. Sonaboudi exactly knows where she stands and is in fact worried of it. “Do you think I will always move to your wish and will?” furious Dheeru asks her, when she forbids him to drag Ganu’s case further and waste money. Of course the next moment he realizes what he has said and to whom, and wants to become invisible, but the response was unexpected to him “I know you do, and that’s exactly what worries me

When Labanya, while treating Dheeru asked why she didn’t keep her brother in law under control, since the fever was self inflicted due to careless life. Only one for whom the relationship was namesake could say casually “I am not a real sister-in-law, only an assumed one, I am scared that he would break the relation if I try to force”. Not one who wants to hang onto it, and would defend if anyone try to point it out, or the exact opposite, who knew that it is thicker than even blood.

Both of them know about their relation and where they exactly stand in that. Dheeru is more than happy to maintain the status and may be even go next step of maturity. After another episode of his by then regular misunderstanding of Sonaboudi, “He felt his head was on fire. He needed to dip his head in ice bucket. But he knew that it would cool instantly and he would feel better if he could put it for some time on the feet that just went away

In this story, as far as Dheeru was concerned there are two groups. A group has full faith on him. Parbati who stopped everyone else, didn’t even argue when he went to meet Amit on sick bed. The complete labours were on his beck and call. Once when Labanya has landed up in a mess and it was almost reaching a major strike, he came forward to argue on her behalf. There was a whisper “it seems he is sweet on her”, which he didn’t try to deny, and the whole storm settled down as if it never existed. There were reasons behind that of course, of his fighting with management for them, which couldn’t remain hidden, especially his personal initiative which saved the life of the union leader from certain death. Then Himanshu towards the end seemed to have more faith on him than anyone else. Towards the end, when he was on a long visit to foreign lands, and Sitanshu in his absence was again messing around with Labanya, Arati (the bride) told that she had been told by her father (in law) to depend on Dheeru (she called a simple dada, elder brother) for any advice. And of course he had his Sonaboudi behind him.

Of course there was a strong opposition team too, Sitanshu, Charu, for whom he was only a bait, and Labanya.

There is another interesting thought. Whether grown up sons look at their mother’s breasts, or of the woman’s who they consider mother? It happened only once in the novel.

One day when Amit, have gone to Charu’s home, having come to know Parbati was alone. After sometimes Dheeru came to know similar things were happening even nearby. Labanya and Sitanghu were in Sitanshu’s room, with only the dim light on. Dheeru peeped in to find a disturbing, for him, scene there. Labanya was sitting on sofa and Sitanshu’s face was on her lap. He wasn’t aware of actual, Sitanshu was pleading for her affection, which she was refusing. Disturbed by it, Dheeru walked out and as if in revenge went straight to the lane of disrepute. However he neither could muster the courage nor had the intentions of taking the final step, and finally walked to Sultankuthi. There in the winter, to calm himself down he poured a couple of buckets of cold well water on his head and walked over to his room, unaware that a pair of eyes was watching him.

Sonaboudi was awake and she had watched him taking bath and then coming back in wet cloth. She came out of her room, with the lamp in her hand. She was in bed attire, only the Sari wrapped around her body. Whether she had observed what he was watching or not, she never let him know.

It wasn’t the first or only time she had appeared in this state of undress. This dress of wrapping Sari around with nothing underneath is quite common in the rural area, and it really doesn’t look provocative, rather sweet. But that is when the mind is clean, and being aware of the fact doesn’t start imagining. In all earlier cases when she had been similarly attired, Dheeru had been looking at her face, but this was the only time, his psychological condition could be blamed, his glance had slipped down and stayed till he realized.

 KTA00

Interestingly, and it shows where they stood in each other’s esteems, she didn’t try rearrange the clothes which is a natural reaction when someone stares there.

This is beyond my capability. I never did so I can’t say. Nor can I ask my teenage son to do it at my wife and study what she does. 

In fact Dheeru wasn’t even sure that she had seen him staring there. That she had observed it is natural and there was almost no doubt, even to Dheeru. There were quite a few very subtle hints later. She by herself never ever gave it, unwilling to embarrass Dheeru, however in few cases the laughing and amused glance ditched her intentions and whispered the truth, making him feel like a worm.

Only once she was really angry and didn’t talk to him for few days. It was not even when Ganu had taken loan from him, with a lie, and used it for drink and gambling. She probably had resigned already to her fate. But obviously Dheeru for her was different from Ganu, her husband. It was when Dheeru has brought home fully drunk Ganuda from brothel. The reason of anger? “I can guess where he was and for what purpose, but what were YOU doing there?” Who would use this statement?

It was the second time ever he had visited the area, again courtesy Labanya. This time too he couldn’t dare to take the ultimate step, and was only walking on the lane aimlessly when he found the drunk Genuda. But his intention to go there was on a purpose, whether fulfilled or not. How could he say that to her? After the thunderstruck feel with the eyes still firing lightning on him, which he felt but not dared to meet, he escaped virtually running off in the darkness.

Relation with Labanya: when did it blossom? From Dheeru the attraction was there quite early, but from her side?

It is complicated to say, but it existed before anyone realised, not even the readers. Sonaboudi seemed to be only one who had guessed it. Most probably he was the reason she had refused Sitanshu. Amit of course was not in race. After she went out after a check-up, during his illness, Sonaboudi asked, showing him the prescription “Is it necessary anymore, or you are already cured?” and it wasn’t a guesswork, she had already observed what she had to, from both, the patient and the doctor, and the comment was with the smile of knowledge.

The trouble with them was he was a non-entity in her eyes till quite sometime after he had come to the head office. After the episode of the labour Union Chief’s lifesaving act, he had become an important person, dependable for handling crisis in view of all the three, at least two, of the bosses, Himanshu and Amitabha. It led to some rivalry between them for superiority for the top non-family officer portfolio. She had backing of Sitanshu whereas Dheeru had of two.

There was no doubt that Labanya was much more superior, in qualification, to Dheeru. But by being the administrative officer, right hand person of Himanshu, and his closeness to the labour due to the act, he became more powerful. The clashes continued but in most of the cases they were professional clashes. At the time of his illness, it was almost sure what she thought of him, and probably it was only Sonaboudi who had observed that.

None else could guess that, even those who wanted to keep her away from their respective protégés, Himanshu and Charu, could guess that there was no danger anymore. The other two men of course were blind, so the minor avoidance could have been overlooked by them. She was only an employee and can’t resort to harsh rebuffs. Her behavior of course wasn’t totally above the board and bordered on flirtation, giving the other suitors hope. Was it her vanity, of having a millionaire heir hovering around her? Most probably, and that she didn’t want to let go.

When Dheeru met them for the first time with Charu’s letter, the two were in a room talking. At the interruption, Sitanshu was irritated and seeing his irritation the girl was amused. Not what a lover would feel at being disturbed in sweet talks.

When Dheeru’s action saved the life of the victim, it was definitely not his behaviour, but may be his heart that softened her. Even after this there were regular and quite fierce clashes between them, including one of physical assault towards the end. These were much more bordering on personal and not official. This hence could be traced to jealousy. Labanya had at different times got jealous of Kanchan or Sonaboudi, even at a certain time she taunted him saving the life of the union leader, whom he had saved, just to get some credit from his wife. For Dheeru of course there were only two, Amit and Sitanshu, her brother in law, Sarbeshwar was not really on his radar as a threat. He was middle aged, fat with half a dozen children and nowhere as rich as the other two suitors.

Interestingly though she was using her sexuality for her own gain but there was a clash between her and Dheeru, when he tried to use it, for the organisation. While doing a publicity campaign for the company, though he was the boss in this matter, he used Labanya as a foreperson “They are habituated of all these talk from us, but if it is from a woman they would be more sympathetic” increase the count of clashes, already innumerable. 

Why did this happen? I wonder, what did the author try to show. That she was free to do it on her wish, but wasn’t going to let other exploit that? But earlier there was one episode when the big boss, Himanshu did exactly this, and in much more serious matter, to get the government approval for a new drug. She did it very willingly then, and it seemed she had done it quite often with Amit and Sitanshu earlier.

Was it that her lover was using this aspect was her objection? For others it was official relation, hence her act became a professional action, but here it was a personal? She was not only angry but furious the moment she understood his tactics. Of course he didn’t deny and explained with past references, but that if anything added fuel to fire.

After the assault of course understandably she was angry on him, but was it a hate? Not likely, it was a fury. He did what he did, but his behavior didn’t indicate that he was repenting that or even going to make amends. The last recorded fight explains that when she says furiously “I didn’t, why I should? Did you ever behave in a way that didn’t make my blood boil?”

It was when the secret documents were being transferred. Dheeru had brought Labanya with him to Sultankuthi, and gave her the files. These were which contained the information collected by Amit, which was enough to close down the company. Bringing her there, of course with the knowledge of all, from the war council room, to hand these over was a clear symbol, and he even spelled that in words that it was the last time she and they were going to see him.

It had happened once earlier too, he had then disappeared for more than a week, and was untraceable, having moved into a mess. But then Sonaboudi was alive and they knew he can’t keep away from her. All had met Sonaboudi, including Sitanshu’s wife, requesting his repatriation when he came to meet her. Some believed her when Sonaboudi said the truth that she didn’t know his whereabouts, some didn’t, but in the end he did come, as all knew he would have to, and then Sonaboudi was able to calm him down, put balm on his wound and sent him back.

This time there was no Sonaboudi and that means it was almost certain in their next visit, may be even in the morning, they would find the house empty, without him and his three newly acquired kids. There was only one who could stop that, in absence of Sonaboudi. But for that she had to shed her fury, which she had already done the moment she knew his intentions. “All right I am sorry, but the time to talk it all over isn’t finished yet” Not a question but a statement of intention.

Dheeru erred in having a premonition but really not understanding that Sonaboudi had really said goodbye to him. She had given enough symbols. Once she had even asked him how much he had spent in the case since she wanted to take a much bigger loan from him, (what he should have questioned himself) and wanted to repay this and at least reduce the burden by this amount.

Where she had any of that money left? Then how would she repay? Her last jewellery was, Ranu had mentioned, was sold in his treatment. The only thing a woman could sell she wasn’t going to, that she had once slapped him, verbally, when he had tried to give her the money, even though he had been wrongly accused of pilfering it. “No one gives this much money without a purpose, now what do you want me to do?” adding in an equally calm voice “in future if I ever go in that path, the first person I will go is you, you have lot of money” and then tearing the cheque off “But till I make up my mind and take this path, why don’t you spend it at your usual place?” the brothels, from where he had picked Ganu up.

This unfortunately Dheeru took a slap on his face, and moved permanently at Himanshu’s place, till again the circumstances, Ganuda’s arrest, threw him back in grieving Sonaboudi’s lap.

An intelligent Labanya didn’t do the mistake. Probably the files were sent back with the driver, or most probably not, being sensitive files, were given back later, personally. “Even when he had walked the long way back and reached the door, there was no sound of starting the car”.

Characters played in the Movie Version,

  • Dheerapada Chakraborty – Uttam Kumar
  • Labanya Sarkar – Supriya Choudhury – fell in love too early. In novel no one (except Sonaboudi) was sure of the fact that she was in love till last pages.
  • Sona boudi – Sabitri Chatterjee
  • Amitabha Ghosh – Tarun Kumar – looked older than Dheeru, which he shouldn’t have, actually too he is younger.
  • Charudi – Dipti Roy
  • Parbati – Sumita Sanyal – not exactly fit, the girl should have had a pahadi (mongoloid) face. The acting too didn’t fit exactly. Parbati should have had complete expressionless face except a few times, say when she pleads with eyes, not to leave her alone with Amit.
  • Himanshu Mitra – Kamal Mitra
  • Sitanshu Mitra – Ajay Ganguly
  • Ganuda – Sailen Mukherjee
  • Ramani Pandit – Bankim Ghosh
  • Ramen halder – Robi Ghosh – Another wrong selection. The boy was quite young, in early twenties. A leg puller, gossiper but not comic.
  • Kanchan – Mira Chatterjee ? or Shikha Bhattacharya