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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mrs Unknown Indian

"What function do the better halves of writers perform?" asks Ashok Patnaik in The Pioneer, going on to discuss the relationship between Nirad and Amiya Chaudhuri: "They tied the knot on April 21, 1932 when he was 34 years and five months old, she 12 years younger."

Interestingly enough: “Nirad Babu never saw his sweetheart before marriage, and when asked by his elder brother to accompany the ‘inspection’ team, the eligible bachelor had this moral lesson to offer: ‘What I considered brutal and utterly without justification was for a young man to go and look at a girl for the purpose of marriage, and then choose or reject her for her looks. What should I feel, I asked, if a girl comes to have a look at me in the same way and refused to marry me for not being handsome enough? I would feel compelled to marry the first girl I saw. So it did not matter if I saw anyone or did not.’ ”

Years later, “the writer observed that his wife could have easily escaped from a husband who by ‘normal worldly standards was as impossible as I showed myself to be. But she did not. I cannot say whether that was due to her acceptance of the Hindu doctrine that marriage was a sacrament. But with me my marriage has certainly been something like that. It conferred regeneracy on me, and gave me a sense of purpose’.”

A book on traditional Indian cooking apart, Amiya Chaudhuri’s “Didimar Jug O Jiban (A Grandmother's Life and Times) was published in 1992 and Probashini Didima (Grandmother outside Bengal) in 1994 are the two autobiographical volumes which evoked immense interest in Bengal.”


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