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Sati's Remains

Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Translated from the original Bangla novel
Satideha (সতীদেহ)

Chhanda Chattopadhyay Bewtra

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Our protagonist is a bachelor and professional goalkeeper. After a traumatic event in his past he tries to stay away from any serious relationship with the opposite sex and keeps himself busy protecting crows' nests and helping little girls find mouse holes for their lost teeth. But despite all his efforts he gets involved with someone who knows the exact cure of his malady.



Murchhana picked up the phone after only two rings.

   “What’s up?”

   I purposely kept silent.

   “What happened? Not talking? Or are you checking up on me?”

   “I bet you have a caller ID on your phone.”

   “No Sir. It is just an old fashioned simple phone.”

   “No way. I don’t believe you.”

   “Nobody is forcing you to believe. Come here one day, you can see it yourself. But why are you in a sulk?”

   “Sulking? Who said?”

   “I can see it clearly.”

   “Oh, you are impossible!”

   “Can’t you see me? Mind too has its own eyes.”

   I laughed out, “Yes, that is sort of seeing.”

   “Are you feeling blue?”

   “No. Why should I?”

   “Happens. Specially when you remember Sati.”

   Even a bolt of lightning from the clear sky couldn’t have surprised me more. “Unbelievable! How did you know about Sati?”

   “I do, because I had to.”

   “How, Murchhana?”

   “Nothing to be surprised about it. I am not a thought-reader. One of my classmates Surajit is from your town. He knows all about you. Simple as that.”

   “Ah, so that’s it. You really stunned me. So what did he say about me?”

   “Said that in Lamding everyone knows about the love story of Runu Bharadwaj  and Sati Lahiri. Runu loved Sati, Sati loved Runu, Nandan loved Sati but Sati didn’t love Nandan. A three-point love affair, had to end in a tragedy. Always happens, always will. Still, Sati and Runu’s story is a legend in Lamding.”

   “My God. Everyone talks about us? Why?”

   “How would I know why!”

   “It’s a legend? Or a scandal.”

   “Scandal often becomes legend in time.”

   “But scandal usually starts with an affair. Sati and I never had an affair.”

   “Surajit said very sadly, ‘Runuda was like a young God. But everything ended with Sati’s suicide. Runuda is changed now. God knows how many women he has seduced.’”

   I stayed silent.

   “Are you angry?”

   “No. He is right. What kind of a friend is this Surajit?”

   “Good friend. He is a really nice boy. His father is paying for his studies with great difficulty. His only ambition is to become a doctor and help his dad. Isn’t that noble?”

   “Yes. Noble.”

   “He is a good friend but not a boyfriend.”

   “I see.”

   You’ve become very quiet, suddenly. Why?”

   “Feeling sorry. Something is bothering me inside. Every person has something secret, hidden. Suddenly if that is bared to all, one feels very vulnerable.”

   “I am a bit outspoken. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned about your personal life.”

   “Not exactly. Actually I am not feeling that bad. Rather than hiding all the time, sometimes it is a relief to be caught out.”

   “Oh dear! You are really in the blue.”

   “It’s nothing. Now it is August. We had some rain a while ago. It is nice and cool outside. There is a large park right in front of our apartment complex. It is half past ten now, so there is hardly anybody in the park. I am thinking of going there and sitting alone on a bench. Then when the night deepens, all the spirits will come and sit by me. The rats will come out of their holes, the owls will hoot. Perhaps I will fall asleep there. That will cheer me up. What do you say?”

   “I would say, Sati’s remains were scattered all over after her death. Remember the story? Look around. Perhaps you may find parts of her in somebody else.”

   I was silent for a few moments, “In whom Murchhana?”

   “How would I know that? I only know that you mustn’t go to the park alone in the dark. I will be scared.”

   “Shouldn’t I go?”

   “No. Absolutely not. I am scared.”

   “Then what shall I do?”

   “You can talk to me whole night, if you want. But never in the park alone at night. Got it?”


   “Again hmm? What do you mean hmm?”

   “Hmm means hmm.”





The End

Published in Parabaas, Dec 2016

The original novel "Satideha" (সতীদেহ) by Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay was first pubished in 2015 by Ananda, Kolkata.

Translated by Chhanda Chattopadhyay Bewtra. Chhanda (Chatterjee) Bewtra was born in Purulia, West Bengal but... (more)

Illustrated by Nilanjana Basu. Curently based in California, Nilanjana has been regularly illustrating for Parabaas.

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