AUTHORS: Rabindranath Tagore (Writer), A. Datta (Translator)
PRIMARY CATEGORY: FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
SECONDARY CATEGORY: FICTION / Classics
Amazon ASIN: B009VO9YI0
This short life-drama originally penned by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali begins in an idyllic setting. While the clouds and the sunshine are the two prominent players in the firmament, on the earthly stage below the main players are a little girl named Giribala and the young law graduate, Shasibhusan. 19th century Bengali culture is biased against education of girls and favors child marriage. Giribala's brothers, who go to school refuse to teach her to read and to write. Files of strange tiny black glyphs guard the entrance to a mysterious world, carrying on their shoulders dependent vowel signs and the like pointed all the way up. They never care to answer the questions which Giribala asks. The Garland of Tales refuses to betray its tales of tigers, foxes, horses and donkeys to the curious little girl and The Rachis of Narratives gazes at her in silence with its store of narratives, narrating nothing. But soon the weak-sighted Shasibhusan becomes Giribala's preceptor. It is his labor of love. In two years Giribala learns the English and Bengali alphabets and finishes reading a few elementary books. Then Shasi is kept busy by some legal proceedings and his doleful pupil distances herself from him gradually. Around this time, Giri's family marries her off at the age of ten. Left with practically nothing to do, Shasi decides to leave his village for Calcutta city but gets into trouble en route twice in a row and gives us a fine example of Murphy. Friendless and penniless, a surprise awaits him in the end. This long short story is a faithful translation of arguably the best work in prose by the gray-haired bloke who took the Literature Nobel outside Europe 100 years ago.