Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants, and Rebels: A Selection of Bengali Short Stories

By Kalpana Bardhan | Go to book overview

Through Death and Life

Hasan Azizul Huq

There was a sudden wind in the sky.

Karam Ali looked up and saw the gray clouds silently coming up the horizon, like a herd of buffaloes.

He called his son, “The rain is coming! Hurry up, bap jan!”

Then he walked quickly into the cowshed and stood for a minute watching the two animals. The white bullock’s tail twitched restlessly. The lame old cow lay on the layer of straw in the far corner, her huge dark eyes gazing into the darkness. The dog got up from the pile of cinder near the porch, shook its body, and raised its muzzle to sniff at the flow of damp air.

Karam Ali stepped out of the cowshed and stood on the porch outside looking across the flat landscape at the sad, brooding marsh, its still water turning shiny like polished silver that flashed at his dull yellow eyes. He narrowed his eyes, and the marsh at once appeared far removed, like a picture framed within the greenery of the distant villages. He turned his eyes back to the dim porch. Scanning about, he noticed his seventy-five-year-old mother engrossed in making a broom out of a bunch of dry stalks.

Within this short time, the ranks of dark clouds had marched above the horizon and occupied the entire sky. He could now hear the deep rumble rolling across the sky, back and forth, like giant barrels across a cement floor. He saw the black clouds turn smoky as if boiling inside. As he watched the coming of rain, the vaults of his memory packed with the countless oncomings of monsoon with all their sensations spilled forth into his vision, his senses: The damp air whipping wildly; the powerful clouds darkly hanging low overhead; the marsh, ageless like the earth, its black plant-soaked water

“Amrityu Ajiban” appears in Hasan Azizul’s Atmaja 0 Ekti Karabi Gackk (1967; reprint, Dhaka:
Muktadbara, 1981), 68—90.

-304-

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Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants, and Rebels: A Selection of Bengali Short Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • The Living and the Dead 51
  • The Punishment 62
  • The Girl in between 72
  • Haimanti 84
  • Letter from a Wife 96
  • The Witch 110
  • Variation on "The Witch"- An Excerpt 124
  • The Unlucky Woman 128
  • A Tale of These Days 135
  • The Old Woman 148
  • A Female Problem at a Low Level 152
  • Paddy Seeds 158
  • Dhowli 185
  • The Funeral Wailer 206
  • Strange Children 229
  • The Witch-Hunt 242
  • Giribala 272
  • The Daughter and the Oleander 290
  • In Search of Happiness 299
  • Through Death and Life 304
  • A Day in Bhushan’s Life 322
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