A short story by Banaphul translated from the Bengali
On suddenly entering her room, I found numerous coloured ribbons in a soap case. Just beside it in another container with a plastic lid there were beads of various shapes and sizes. On the shelf were three fat exercise books. On opening them I found each was filled with pictures. In one there were pictures drawn by Walt Disney for True Life Adventures. On another there were colourful pictures of butterflies and birds. A few pictures of a dog. Beautiful pictures all. In the third there were postage stamps. … Date calendars hung from the wall on both sides. In one I could see the face of a plump baby about to cry, on the other there was a picture of the Tajmahal. On the left shelf the books were kept systematically. Most of those were books for studies in the college, but there were anthologies too like the Sanchayita and the Gitabitan. Right beside the shelf was the blue table and on it was the fancy table lamp. The lamp resembled the lampposts that were seen illuminating the roads in the suburban municipality towns. Another lamp was mounted on the wall. Nice flowers were etched on the lamp shade built of paper, like some colourful painting on the floor. The bed switch, brilliantly white, hung by the side of the bed. The small bed was still there covered with a luxurious bedcover. Beside it there was a small shelf. There was a timepiece on it, but the clock has stopped because there was nobody to wind it. So many tid-bits were there. A strange-shaped dwarfed bottle of Attar. Besides there were hairpins, fillets, a paperweight made of small oyster-shells that looked like a flower. Another egg-shaped paperweight was made of deep violet-coloured glass. There was an assembly of dolls in the cupboard. The images of Laxmi, Saraswati and Mahadev from Krishnanagar. There was an erect sculpture of Saraswati made in the manner of the Vedic art. There was a thin woman who carried a pitcher on her hip and the
statuette was perhaps made of bronze. The statues of a farmer couple that came from Santiniketan. The woman carried a basket on her head, the man had his infant son on his shoulders. On one side of it was a crane, on the other a bust of Rabindranath and behind these a dainty tray. A house lizard and a cockroach near the head of the tray. These looked like they had life in them, but they were made of clay. A scene of the Bodhgaya, a phallic symbol of the Shiva, a stand for incense sticks, photo frames, a pot-bellied, shaven-headed man grimacing to show his teeth, a wooden dragon and an owl beside it. Just above these the marvellous clay models of three milk-women, carrying on their heads urn-shaped utensils for milk, they moved haughtily. Innumerable flower vases. These were made of stone, clay, glass, brass or porcelain. Beside these lacquer work brought from Rangoon, flower vases, small containers, a tea-tray. On the other side of it a bust of the Buddha made in the Chinese style. There was also a stone-made statue of the Buddha made in Gaya. Next to it a ‘trophy’ which she got as a prize in a recitation competition. There were the photos of Sri Ramakrishna and his wife, the Mother. In front of them on tiny plates were rice made of stone and various types of pebbles. Many-coloured shells of oyster and snail. On a corner, wrapped in paper, was a coloured bird. So many other things — small cups, small birds, fruits made of clay, Nepali flower vases made of wood. Right behind it a statue of the Ganesha …
Bhutan and Jambu, the two dogs looked pale. They were lying with their chins on their paws. Where did she go?
The girl, newly-married, has left everything and has gone to her in-law’s place. She doesn’t need even a single thing now. In a new place she is creating a new home with new things.
It is painful to see her mementos all around. But let them be where they are. The pain is true, but it is sweet. It is the resource of this sweetness which is the only resource.