Maya reviews a translation of Tagore’s love story, Nastanirh, into English by Lopa Banerjee. It is one of the most lyrical love story, which was made into a film, Charulata, by the renowned Satyajit Ray.
The Broken Home: English Translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nastanirh
Translator: Lopamudra Banerjee
Published by: Finaldraft Editing and Publishing Services
Number of pages: 92 pages
Price: Rs. 200/- (Amazon India), $2.99 (Amazon.com)
Publication year: May 2016
The Broken Home by Lopa Banerjee is a window to the world fabricated initially by one of the rarest gems in the skies of Indian literature Rabindranath Tagore.
This, to be open and above board, has been my first ever introduction to the world of Bengali writing.
Charulata entices the reader’s heart at once by her innocent charms and her intellectual bent of mind as she blooms from a balika vadhu (child bride) into a mature beautiful woman.
There’s no lack of abundance around her as tells the author but her heart longs for attention from her husband who is too engrossed in his professional pursuits to cast a glance of love at her.
She’s an altogether unique fabric not subjected to the hysterical fits, the quirky idiosyncrasies and family dramas women in a neglected state might often restore to. She however yearns to be able to penetrate the thin layers of papers, which wrapped her husband’s attention.
Charulata’s natural affinity for literature draws her close to Amal, Bhupati’s cousin. She acts as a catalyst to his creativity as a writer and ensures that the lovely labyrinths of mutual care and trust remain screened from the outside world.
They can’t name the feeling that connects the two so beautifully.
Charulata is in her element the most when she is with Amal. His childish demands, the feigned tussles, the pretended indifference, the mutual concern – all speak of a special kind of a feel, which surpasses the grab of words. It’s a sublime feel that secretively bonds two hearts. When together, the tedious ways of the world fail to tell upon their nerves. Otherwise without having Amal by her side, she is more or less a fish out of water.
The two behave like possessive lovers sweetly ignorant that they do!
Charulata starts pouring her soul into beautiful verses too which acts as another connective thread between the two.
The husband till at a later stage harbours no ill will against her but lovingly ensures her wellbeing and happiness. He absolutely has no inkling to this beautifully sensitive relationship blossoms between the two.
The feelings, however, remain unspoken, unwritten.
Charu begins withering away like a sickly plant as Amal leaves for London to get married. Lopa Banerjee beautifully conveys the feel – “After a massive injury, the nerves are so numbed that the feeling of pain does not seep into the being at once.”
The sharp pangs of separation tear her tender heart to shreds. She tries her best to get over this sheer feeling of wasting away into insignificance by indulging in domestic cares and the like but alas, she may name it or not, it’s love that would let her have no peace!
She would love to remain in the castle of his fond memories forever and ever and a day. This is not how life goes though.
How beautifully does the author present her agony, “Thus, Charu built a clandestine tunnel inside the deep, dark trenches hidden beneath her everyday world of domestic chores and responsibilities…She entered through its doors, getting rid of the mask she wore on her domestic life, laying bare her true, unblemished soul…”
Bhupati turns to his hitherto been neglected wife when emotionally and financially ravaged. Her arms are the ultimate refuge to his broken heart.
A broken heart however can’t be supposed to heal the other…
The Ocean of Silence between Charulata and Amal and between Bhupati and Charulata deepens and deepens, all suffering in isolation.
Bhupati eventually is startled by the discovery that his lawfully wedded wife has all this while been camouflaging her real feelings. He in despair, decides to move to Mysore on the pretext of work.
Charulata pleads to be taken along, denied however.
And a little later when he proposes the same, she denies.
Its innumerable disguises!
The yearning to attain the unattainable, the anxiety, the joy of mutual care, the unnamed longings, the restlessness, the despair, the pangs of guilt and separation…all so movingly portrayed.
Thanks Lopa Banerjee for my first introduction to this world.
I’m going to watch Charulata.
Pix sourced by author.
Maya, happily married to writing, is a published author of three books- My favourite Mistake Ever, Just Zindagi and A Beautiful Mistake. She’s also co-authored I Am a Woman, a tribute to Kamala Das. She’s been a regular contributor at blogs and e- magazines like Womanatics, Bonbology, Learning and Creativity etc. A passionate lover of nature, she can commune with it for hours. Nature, in its various guises, enthrals her.