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10 article(s) translated from Bengali

Rasha

Red welts had appeared on Rasha’s palm from Razzak Sir's caning, which meant she had to be very careful for the next few days to keep her grandmother from seeing them. Of course, her grandmother didn't take anything very seriously, so it’s possible she would not have asked about it even if it had caught her eye. Still, Rasha wasn't taking any chances. If her grandmother asked, Rasha would have to disclose everything, which she simply did not want to do. All her...

Me and Mycobacterium tuberculosis

When I was given the news, I was quite overcome. I was told I was going to England. I was supposed to work with a company in London for a couple of years as part of my job. I was instructed to apply for my visa. Such unexpected good fortune flabbergasted me. No one in my family had ever traveled to England, or anywhere abroad. I remember when I was a child my grandfather would recite this ditty to me: Th-a-a-a-m-e-s river has a bridge, beautiful, and then, Ships ply overhead, while...

An Indian Citizen in Our Town

An Indian citizen has arrived in our town. This isn’t really news. The Indian border is very close to our town and many people cross over every day. They are ours, they belong to this land. Most are smugglers. Though bona fide businessmen and those who are visiting relatives are not small in number either. This coming and going takes place every day. Although not many from that country come to ours, we don’t have the same interest in them that we have for people of other...

Hands

The workshop measured three and a half yards by one and a half. A narrow, confined room, where everything happened. Curtained with coarse sacking, about half of it remained out of sight. Motiur from the ganj peeked in there once. Since then he had gone funny in the head. When asked, “What did you see, Motiur?” he chuckled and scratched his head. Finally he said, “What’d I see? Tell you the truth, what I’d seen, heavens, what I saw, I can’t...

Waiting

1 Everyone was waiting for a miracle. This time they would see how powerful the Padma really was. Year after year they have witnessed the erosion by the river. Nothing had been spared; the Padma took houses, schools, bazaars, mosques, temples, police stations, telephone offices, farmland, and playgrounds. Everything surrendered to the Padma, even Ministers, MPs, and Presidents. So many came and went shouting loud pledges to halt the erosion, but they were playthings confronted by the...

Snakes, Husbands, Ashalota, and Us

Ashalota’s arrival in our lives occurred when, trying to rescue ourselves from our fear of snakes, we were stifling in the clutches of our husbands. Who isn’t afraid of snakes? Our husbands assure us. They say, “Why are you afraid of snakes? We’re here!” Their words make us laugh. “What brave men!” we say. Excited, they rear up and spread their hoods, display forked tongues as they coil around us. Husbands are snakes, not human. Human, not snakes....

Once Again Love

"Cops on our tail, cops on our tail!" "Cut and run, cut and run!" The picnic party microbus is stuck in a traffic jam. Before anyone can react, a hijra— separated from her band which is receiving a drubbing from the police—jumps on board. She finds herself stuck between a crocodile in the water and a tiger on the bank. If she gets tossed out of the vehicle, the police are sure to grab and beat her. Seeing no other choice, the tiger on the bank—the head of the picnic...

from The Ascetic and The Courtesan

A Play in Four Acts *** Author's Note: Tapasvi o Tarangini (The Ascetic and The Courtesan) was published in five consecutive issues of the magazine Desh in 1966, after which it was published as a book with minor changes and additions. On its publication, a number of readers of Desh had written to me objecting to the dating of the legend. According to them, the myth of Rishyasringa was of the 'tretayuga' (the Third Age1), while that of Satyavati, Kunti, and Draupadi...

Parul’s Motherhood

Parul calculated that it had been around six months since the man had disappeared. Some said he had drowned at sea, some that he had gone to Dhaka for work. Parul didn't care where the hell he went, but why did he leave without telling her? Would she have stopped him if he had told her? Would she have started crying? No, she would have done neither. She would have allowed whoever wanted to leave, leave. If there was any pain in her heart, it would have been her own. Why did the man...

from Sparks

Spring, it is time to tell The flowers to open. The leaves are whispering now With expectation. The spirit of life is oblivious Of where earth is, or the sky. That is why Flowers seek it in the stars, Stars seek it in the flowers. He who knows the truth Stores it in a treasure-chest proudly. He who loves the truth Keeps it inside himself humbly. Keep, and the load presses down On your shoulder. Give, and the whole wide world Is its porter. Translator's Note:...

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