Sunday, November 06, 2005


Ratiyaan, kaari, kaari raatiyan.
Ratiyaan, kaari, kaari raatiyan.

I could have named this post more dramatically. In fact, I usually think of the title after having written the post. However, whatever I think of, can never out think the master storyteller himself.

Raat hamari to chand ki saheli hai,
Kitne dino ke baad, aayi wo akeli hai,
Chuppi ki birah hai, Jhingur ka baaje saaz.

The past week was exhausting. I went back to work on Wednesday. After three 20-hour workdays, I had to turn down S's offer of a Saturday morning movie. I just wanted to get back home and sleep. Sunday morning plans were also cancelled at the last moment and I was all set towards having another lousy weekend. I even wandered into the nearby mall to catch the matinee show alone and guess what - it was house full! I was doing aimless rounds of the mall, when I decided to buy myself a VCD. When my eyes fell on the lovely Vidya Balan, looking towards me with those intensely questioning eyes, I couldn't help but buy Parineeta. I remembered having decided that I would not watch the movie before I had read the original story. I had finished reading it long back. But I had not managed to see the movie. So I came back home, popped the VCD into the player and...

...I was there. I do not know how the City of Joy looked like in times of the novel, but in the movie, it seemed enough 1962'ish to me. But then appeared Shekhar, and then Lolita. And I might as well have been a character penned by Sarat Chandra himself, for I was right there, beside those two.

Raat hamari to chand ki saheli hai,
Kitne dino ke baad, aayi wo akeli hai,
Sanjha ki baati bhi koi bujhade aaj,
Andhere se ji bharke karni hai baaten aaj.

What had struck me when I had read the novel was, that how subtle and yet how powerful it was. My prowess in Bangla leaves a lot to be desired but even I could feel the story in my heart. Yet I had to re-read portions of it to figure out what did Shekhar actually do to her - the briefest of the intimate - that sealed the strongest of bonds. It was then that I realized what the writer intended to say. What he meant by Parineeta. How overwhelmingly strong he had painted his protagonist.

Andhera rootha hai,
Andhera aentha hai,
Gumsum sa, kone main baitha hai.

The movie is not so subtle. It could not have been. It would not have worked. But as I saw the movie, I realized something. I realized the genius of Sarat Chandra. His acute understanding of human nature - of men and women. Man hasn't changed much since his times. He is still given to his flights of fancy, his fits of jealous rage, his overwhelming desire to possess his loved one - I don't know about others, I know I am. In other words, he still acts like an idiot mostly and gets away with it mostly (though not as often as before). The woman, however, I wonder. I wonder if what Lolita portrays as a female protagonist makes sense to a modern day feminist crusader.

Andhera pagal hai, kinta ghanera hai,
Chubhta hai, dasta hai, phir bhi woh mera hai,
Uski hi godi main sar rakh ke sona hai,
Uski hi bahon me chupke se rona hai.

Before my blog is summarily torched by all my female readers, I beg that my question be considered without bias. I am curious to know. I am not talking about the later part of the story/movie when Lolita would have surely walked away, and not uttered a word, if Shekhar would not have owned up to their union. I know that idea may not (and perhaps should not?) make sense to a woman of today. What I am asking is that, in times when even the idea of marriage has mutated into something totally new, whether that one act in the movie - a garland thrown around a beloved's neck (or the golden chain in the movie), that too in innocent play - is enough to evoke even an idea of life long trust. I know that the love story is about so much more - it is about what has transpires between the two protagonists over years and years of knowing each other very closely. I submit that they both loved each other, but I also suspect their story would have treaded a different path had it not been for that one night of intimate confession - all sparked by that garland. I want to know if a woman can, in times like these, gift her trust so totally, so unconditionally, so innocently to... merely a man.

Aankhon se kajal ban, behta andhera.

Or would she rather trust the pre-nup?


  1. the movie makes perfect sense. it's a VERY good movie. and there are women like that too. but they do that just once.the trust bit. once that trust is broken, i doubt they'll ever trust anyone again.

  2. Yeah agree with you Sonia. But all this doesn't really happen in real life does it?

    I have the book on me in Bengali but I haven't got around to read it. After every three lines, I would ask my flatmate the meaning of a particular word. But I intend to start on it soon.

  3. yes a woman can, again we cannot generalize here,
    but there are some women(sometimes even the most feministic crusaders)
    who believe in giving their all whole-heartedly to someone they love
    perhaps it is also a question of if one believes in the rituals of marriage.

    (btw i simply love that song 'raat hamari to...')

  4. Well, she always does, said or unsaid...she does give everything she has up.
    Can she or SHOULD SHE? hahaha is indeed the question unanswered...

  5. Hi First Rain, since you have read the novel, you know that Lolita was 13 and Shekhar was about 22 when the incident took place. Its easy to convince a 13 year old, be it in the 19th century or now even now, especially if she trusts the person who is convincing her. Then again, my interpretation of the novel is that the two of them did not understand that they were in love until Girish appeared. They were like two inseparable companions. And to answer your question, i suppose all women are fools, because when we fall in love, we lose possession of all other voices of reason. Whatsay?

  6. well its not so easy to trust these days.. i wouldnt do the whole tennikoit marriage thingy like she did.. lol.. as sweet and innocent and idealistic as it seemed in the movie.. its not how the world works.. and SHOULD work..... i guess somethings about marriage shouldnt be taken lightly..

    i loved the movie.... but...somehow.. something was lacking.. dont know what it just might ne my picky nature.. but.. it wasnt a lack on the part of the actors... but.. just something.. dont know what.

  7. Parineeta was a beautiful story... but only a story. Far from reality...

  8. @sonia: Yes the movie is good and the music is divine. I think the trust bit - that once broken, its harder to trust again - is true, irrespective of gender. No?

    @ab: Ah .. now the `in real life' question was what I was asking! I usually do not worry about each and every word if I can get the meaning of the sentence as a whole (mmm... does that sound weird?) - 'cause that way I'll never finish reading anything! The book is a fine read, and the story develops so subtly - it's delightful - like fine chocolate. :o)

    @swathi: Belief in rituals can make one do that? Maybe it can - strong belief can make one do a lot of things. Though I believe it comes from something rooted deeper inside.

    @naina: Welcome to da blog! I think I'll believe you when you say she can - though I must contend that she does always. The choice is her's to make isn't it? But then I am not a woman, so I may be wrong. Should she? Don't drag me onto that path... though I'd say it depends on who she is doing it for - whether he is doing the same for her or not. Now, do not say that `he' never does give it all up!

    @anwesha: Hi. Yes, she was 13 in the novel and I agree with your `realize being in love until...' line of thought. Their relationship develops quite subtly in the story and I find that rather fascinating. As for your answer, I'd say the folly of love knows no gender!

    If I could love you,
    With my reason intact,
    How do you fill my every view,
    How do you fuel my every act?

    @grafx: Oh I assure you she (as in the character in the story) took her marriage very seriously - in fact that is the driving point of the story. The whole `once yours, always yours' concept is quite strong in the story and that is where trust plays a major part.

    @mirage: Far from reality you say...hmmm... any reason for being so vociferously against the idea of it being true?

  9. oops lol.. ithink i shall just keep quiet from now on.. ithink im starting to say all the wrong things!


  10. @grafx: :o) Well! In whatever you say I get something new - in this case it was `tennikoit.' So don't keep mum n just say the things you want to.

  11. yes FR, i agree. But u were asking if a woman (of today) is capable of loving and trusting as completely as in the movie. My answer was for that.

  12. Why the hell are you Bongs stuck in a man woman relationship...there is much more to life than just that, your thoughts have become so narrow, that you are unable to look outside at the larger issues of this world...each man and woman relationship is unique and its better left to those people to sort it out rather than performning surgery on it..come'on get out of it

  13. @sonia: Ah! I get it now. :o)

    @doc: Hi Doc! Firstly welcome to the blog. And secondly in your comment I see a fine example of that malady called `generalization' - I wouldn't categorize what I see here, as how `all Bongs' think or write. This is just where narrow-minded me writes whatever catches my fancy and for now, it is the man and the woman. How true when you say every relationship is unique! It's not as if I am sticking my nose into their business (God forbid!) - it's just that I choose not to write about the `larger issues' of the world and ignore the people who live in it.