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Bindu’s Son: Sarat Chandra’s ‘Bindur Chhele’ (Chapter – 3)

May 22, 2024 | By

LnC brings you Bindu’s Son, Lopamudra Banerjee’s translation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novella Bindur Chhele — a beautiful story of a mother’s unwavering affection for her son. Enjoy Chapter – 3 of this unusually moving, emotional saga of love, sacrifice and pure human bonding, published every Wednesday as a Special Series 📖💕

Continued from Bindu’s Son: Chapter 2

Chapter 3

The days passed by. Just as two sons born of the same mother grow up, sheltered, nurtured by their mother, the two mothers spent six more years, sheltered by their only offspring. Amulya had grown up quite a bit. He was studying in Standard II in the entrance school of the city. His home tutor was gone after teaching him in the morning, and he was out to play with his friends. It was a Sunday; hence he didn’t have to go to school.

Annapurna came to Bindu’s room and asked: “Chhoto Bou, tell me, what do I do?”

She noticed the huge pile of clothes of Amulya that Bindu took out from the almirah and stacked on the floor, trying to select a suitable one for him. Amulya was supposed to attend an invitation with his uncle at the home of one of his clients. Too occupied with the task, Bindu said, without lifting her face: “What is the matter, Didi?”

The glum face of Bindu indicated that she was not in her best mood. With rapt attention and a sense of amazement, Annapurna looked at the sheer opulence of the child’s clothes, which explained why she didn’t look at Bindu’s facial expressions. After a few moments of gazing in silence, she asked: “Do all these clothes belong to Amulya?”

“Yes.” Bindu replied curtly.

“Ah, how much money you squander for these expensive clothes! You know, the price of just one of these is enough for the yearly supply of clothes for a poor man’s son!” Annapurna retorted.

Though Bindu was annoyed, she replied with a straight face: “It might be…But there is an obvious difference between the rich and the poor, Didi, why lament for that?”

“I agree about the wealth of the rich, but let me tell you, you take everything overboard, always!” Annapurna replied.

Bindu lifted her face now, and said: “Tell me what you are here for, Didi, I don’t have time now!”

“When do you have time at all, Chhoto Bou? Never!” Annapurna remarked angrily, and stepped out of the room.

Bhairav, the servant had gone to call Amulya from his play, and he came back with the boy after an hour of searching for him.

“Where were you for all this time?” Bindu asked him.

Amulya remained silent.

Bhairav asked him: “You were playing danguli* with the farmers of the area, weren’t you?”

Bindu was very scared of this sport that Amulya played of late, hence she had forbidden him to play it. “Didn’t I tell you not to play that game?” She asked.

Amulya’s face turned blue in fear of admonishment. “What do I do? I was standing silently, they forced me to…”

“They forced you? Okay, you may go now. We’ll see to it later!” She said, and started to change Amulya’s clothes.

Amulya had his sacred thread ceremony two months back, and his head was shaved as a result. With all his might, he resisted wearing the hat embellished with golden zari work. But Bindu wasn’t the one to relent, she forcefully made him wear it.  Amulya stood up and started crying, wearing a weird looking fancy hat over his bald head.

Madhav, his uncle entered the room and enquired: “How long will he take to get ready?”

Just then, he noticed Amulya and remarked, laughing: “Wow, look at our king Krishna Chandra of Mathura!”

Ashamed and embarrassed, Amulya threw away the hat instantly and lay down on the bed, prostate.

Enraged, Bindu looked at her husband with her fierce eyes and said: “Ah, look at the poor little boy crying already, and you started teasing him!”

Madhav replied in a stern voice: “Amulya, dear, don’t cry, please lift your body from the bed and come with me…If anybody is mad here, I’m the one, I admit!”

Madhav, her husband had uttered the same words a few days back, and Bindu was immensely annoyed to hear it then. She was seething in anger as the words came back in Madhav’s tongue, and remarked: “No, it is rather me who is a crazy woman, doing crazy things all the time!” Within an instant, she got up and lifted Amulya from the bed with all her might. Beating him up with the handle of a hand fan, she started pulling off his fancy satin attire from his body.

Madhav went out, witnessing the terrorizing scene and gave the news to Annapurna. “Bouthan, madness has overpowered her again, go and see for once!”

When Annapurna went to Bindu’s room, she saw that Bindu had removed the fancy attire from Amulya’s body and made him wear plain, ordinary clothes. Little Amulya stood transfixed, with a pale, fearful face.

“He looked fine, Chhoto Bou! Why did you have to remove his fancy attire?” Annapurna asked.

Bindu let go of the boy and wrapped the aanchal of her sari around her neck. Then she folded her palms and pleaded: “I beg of you, Boro Ginni (elder mistress), please go away from my sight! Or else the tender life of the child will be damaged by the mindless intervention of you all!”

Annapurna stood speechless in shock.

Furious and agitated, Bindu dragged Amulya by his ear and made him stand at a corner of the room. “Stand here, I say…A wicked boy like you deserves a punishment like this. Stay cooped up in this room for the entire day!” She ordered.

“Didi, come outside. I will lock the door now.” She instructed Annapurna, as she herself came out of the room and bolted it.

At almost 1 o’clock in the afternoon, Annapurna couldn’t control her emotions and blurted out: “Chhoto Bou, wouldn’t you really let Amulya eat for the entire day? Would all of us starve for him today?”

“That’s your wish, if that’s what all of you really want!” She replied.

“What are you saying, Chhoto Bou? He is the only darling little boy of our house; if he starves for the whole day, how would the servants and maids of the house put a morsel of rice in their mouth, even if you leave us both?”

Bindu replied in a stubborn voice: “I don’t know that!”

Annapurna understood very well that this was not the time for argument of any kind. She changed her stance and begged to Bindu: “I plead in front of you, please honour the words of your elder sister! Please forgive him today! Besides, if he falls sick due to starving, you will be the one to suffer.”

Bindu herself was getting softer and tender-hearted as the day was progressing gradually. She called out for Kadam, the servant and instructed: “Go and bring him right now! But let me tell you all loud and clear, Didi, in future if you interfere in whatever I say, or in the actions I take, the consequences won’t be good!”

For the time being, the matter was resolved that day.

—-xxx—

Ever since his younger brother started working as a successful lawyer with a steady flow of clients, Jadav retired from his job and started looking after his own property. The ten thousand rupees he received when Chhoto Bou, Bindu entered their household as a new bride had now doubled with interest. Using a part of that money and also depending on his brother Madhav’s earnings, he had built quite a large house last year at a distance from their old house. The construction of the new house had just been complete a few days back. It had been decided that they would shift to that new house on any auspicious day, following the Durga puja that year.

One day while having his meal, Jadav addressed Bindu: “Ma, your house is ready now, go and see it some day soon, and let me know if anything is yet to be done!”

Bindu, on her part, had this regular habit of tending to her revered elder brother-in-law when he had his daily meals. She would leave all her household chores during those times and sit silently at a corner, hiding herself behind the door. He was like a God to her, as he was to anybody else in the household.

“Nothing is incomplete, everything is done.” She replied.

Jadav smiled and said: “Well, you gave me your verdict even before seeing it with your own eyes, Ma! Okay, let it be then. But I have something else to say. It’s my earnest wish to call all my relatives and settle in the new house on an auspicious day, and then we can do the rituals of a puja there, worshipping the grihadevata (house god). What do you say, Ma?”

“Let me ask Didi, we will follow whatever she says!” Bindu uttered slowly.

Jadav replied: “Yes, go ahead and ask her surely, but you are the Goddess Lakshmi of my family! We will do everything according to your wish.”

Annapurna was seated close to her sister-in-law. She laughed and remarked: “Well, if only your ‘Ma Lakshmi’ would be a bit quiet and docile!”

Jadav replied: “What do you mean, Boro Bou? My Ma is the reincarnation of Goddess Jagatdhatri! On one hand, she offers boons to her devotees, while on the other hand, she uses her fierce weapons when necessary. And that is what I needed all along! There hasn’t been any misery in our family ever since we brought her in our house.”

Annapurna agreed to her husband’s remarks. “What you said is so true! I shudder in fear to even think of the days before she stepped foot in our house!”

Bindu felt embarrassed, and tried to divert their attention. “Send news to all your relatives and ask them to come. The new house is big enough, so it can fit everyone; hence no question of inconvenience for anybody. They can stay on for a couple of months, if they wish to.”

“As you wish, Ma, as you wish.” Jadav assured Bindu, and added: “Let me do the needful tomorrow only!”

—-xxx—

*gilli danda, an ancient sport with two sticks

To be continued….

Bindu’s Son Special Series is published every Wednesday.

Click here to read the chapters

Sarat Chandra Bindur-Chhele (Bindu's Son) english translation

 

More Must Read in LnC Translations

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation

English Translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Short Story ‘Subha’ (A Short Excerpt)

Sakhi Bhaabona Kaahare Bole — English Translation of Tagore’s Song

Rabindranath Tagore and India’s First Electrical Recording

Lopamudra (Lopa) Banerjee is an author, editor, poet and writing instructor staying in Dallas, Texas with her family, but originally from Kolkata, India. She has a Masters in English with thesis in Creative Nonfiction from University of Nebraska and also Masters in English from University of Calcutta, India. Apart from writing and editing some critically acclaimed books and being awarded with the Reuel International Prize for Poetry (2017) and for Translation (2016), she has dabbled in all genres of writing, from journalism and content writing to academic essays and fiction/poetry. She has been interviewed in various e-zines, literary blogs and also at TV (Kolkata) and at radio stations in Dallas, Texas. Very recently, she has been part of the upcoming short film 'Kolkata Cocktail', a docu-feature based on poetry, but her love for writing feature stories go back to her journalism days when she interviewed people from all walks of life and wrote essays and articles based on them. She loves performing poetry as spoken words art and has performed in various forums in India and USA.
All Posts of Lopamudra Banerjee

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