By Sunil Gangopadhyay
This novel is decided in nineteenth centruy Bengal opposed to the backdrop of the Bengal Renaissance and the 1857 rebellion. This translation from Bengali weaves heritage and fiction right into a hugely readable cloth.
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How was I to talk to her, and what was I to say? The coaching could not carry me far. But no coaching is really necessary in such matters. The impressions of the former birth are potent enough to make all coaching superfluous. We gradually began to know each other, and to speak freely together. We were the same age. But I took no time in assuming the authority of a husband. 4 Playing the Husband About the time of my marriage, little pamphlets costing a pice, or a pie (I now forget how much), used to be issued, in which conjugal love, thrift, child marriages, and other such subjects were discussed.
It is my painful duty to have to record here my marriage at the age of thirteen. As I see the youngsters of the same age about me who are under my care, and think of my own marriage, I am inclined to pity myself and to congratulate them on having escaped my lot. I can see no moral argument in support of such a preposterously early marriage. Let the reader make no mistake. I was married, not betrothed. For in Kathiawad there are two distinct rites – betrothal and marriage. Betrothal is a preliminary promise on the part of the parents of the boy and the girl to join them in marriage, and it is not inviolable.
Let hundreds like me perish, but let truth prevail. Let us not reduce the standard of truth even by a hair’s breadth for judging erring mortals like myself. I hope and pray that no one will regard the advice interspersed in the following chapters as authoritative. The experiments narrated should be regarded as illustrations, in the light of which every one may carry on his own experiments according to his own inclination and capacity. I trust that to this limited extent the illustrations will be really helpful; because I am not going either to conceal or understate any ugly things that must be told.
Those days by Sunil Gangopadhyay