The Love Letter by Buddhadeva Bose Tr by Arunava Sinha
The Love letter and other stories is a collection of 9 short stories and plays. It talks about the Love and Lust that exist more in our minds than elsewhere. Do we all not think about the person – real or imaginary whom we long for? The one with whom we play the ‘what if’ game? For whom we end up doing all sought of silly things, that we may ourselves find it difficult to believe. Sometimes this love can give us a reason to live for a lifetime. Most of the stories deal with unacknowledged love, unrequited love, and love that people cannot exchange.
Each story/play is different yet there is an unnerving symmetry between the stories. There is a central character whose mental monologue is what takes you through the narrative in most stories. You go through the nervousness with the character as he longs to meet the beloved. Or does some silly things in that nervousness. Or when he does things that he decides not to do but eventually ends up doing. In the plays, it is always the changing emotion that is depicted – a relationship that changes with time and circumstances but stays with each partner in a very different way – depending upon how much they were involved or how much they continue to cling on to.
In The Love letter and other stories, the stories are crisp, short and focused. There is no clutter whatsoever. You get into the psyche of the character that is talking to you. Go around with him and come out feeling like him. It is also a good insight into the various roles that women play in hearts and minds of Bengali men. Especially as a Muse as they keep living their ‘oh so normal’ looking lives with their wives and children.
The first story that shares the title of the book has a haunting quality. And you almost want the author to dig out the secret for you. As you want to know what is it that the protagonist spent his life discovering and could never find. The story of a man who is confused between his wife and a Muse. And is not very sure if two different women are intriguing or just one is.
The changing relationship of a young girl and boy infatuated with each other. Just at different points in time tells you how the emotions need not be equal and reciprocating in most relationships. Then there are relationships that happen only in the mind. Even when both heart and mind know that anything more than mere imagination is impossible.
Overall the stories present us an array of imagined relationships that will make you think of the ones you may have lived through in your imagination.
I loved the stories and I am sure you would love them too.