Purabi Basu (Translated by Jyotiprakash Dutta)
I did not come from nowhere, nor was I swept ashore by a tidal wave.
I did cross an ocean by a boat though. I too had a home, a house, rooms with doors, grilled windows. My aging parents were in that house. Dulal was there too. Nobody is there today. Nothing. Yet, that’s where I am going back.
The tall, handsome young man sitting next to me has been listening intently to me. I have been talking for some time now. Tamal, too came to this country looking for a better life riding the fortune of a DV lottery. He is going home just for three weeks to get married. That’s all he’s told me about himself. I know nothing more of him.
Translated by Shafi Ahmed
Kalyani alias Palani narrated her strange dream to me. In all its detail. I looked at her in surprise.
It was early September. The departing monsoon was still making its presence felt. After an earlier shower, it had become warm and sunny. We sat side by side on the stairs of the ground floor veranda. In front, there was a wide, redbrick road. Across the road was a kitchen garden of vegetables and carrots. A clean garden absolutely without any weeds. The shower had washed the greenery and made it look livelier
Many, many years ago, there was a land called Tutki. The king of Tutki was as cruel as he was evil and false. As a result, the sufferings of the people knew no bounds. There were two groups of people who lived in Tutki: the Tutki and the Toytoy. The relationship between the two groups was very cordial. Their features, their food habits, their clothes, their language, their manners were very similar. The only way one could tell them apart was through their names. The name of every Toytoy ended with “y”
“Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart”
Coldplay, The Scientist
Purabi Basu has been a prolific writer for over 30 years now, a scientist by profession and creative writer by choice. Writing in Bangla she has been one of the foremost exponents of the short story and her themes of choice are anything but ordinary. Dealing with almost every topic under the sun, her writing could not be more different from her profession; she uses the limited canvas of the short
Morning hovers on the edge of night. A cool breeze swirls gently in the dawn.
Reclining in bed, Radha breathes in the fragrance of the white and orange shefali blossoms.
Last night was unusually calm, free from the frequent quarrels with husband, mother-in-law, sister-in-law.
Her body temperature is quite normal – she has no fever. There is nothing physically wrong with her, she is not even tired.
It is not raining outside. The sky is clear. A beautiful blue.
It is neither too cold nor too warm. Radha’s only child, Sadhan, is perfectly healthy.
Husband and son are still sleeping soundly beside her.
Nevertheless, Radha suddenly decides that she will not cook today.
Radha will not cook today.
Purabi Basu is a pharmacologist by profession. Apart from several articles in her own field, Dr Basu is also an exceptionally fine short story writer, receiving the Anannya Sahitya Purashkar for 2005. Among her collections of short stories are Purabi Basur Galpa (1989), Ajanma Parabasi (1992), Se Nahi Nahi (1995), Anitya Ananda (2000) and Josna Karechhe Ari (2005). Recently Niaz Zaman and Robab Rosan from New Age talked to Purabi Basu about her writing.