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“I used to feed fish to my widowed grandmother” by Buddhadeb Dasgupta: Soumashree Sarkar

This is an English translation by SOUMASHREE SARKAR of a column by Buddhadeb Dasgupta which appeared in the Sunday special supplement, Rabibashoriyo, of the Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika on March 20, 2016 and can be found in the original Bengali here.

It was probably the month of November. Winter had set in firmly in a city that neighboured Kolkata. The quilts had come out even before that. Morning had not even broken and there was still a lot of sleep left to be slept when Ma yanked the quilt away from me and woke me up, “Don’t you remember who’s coming today? Get up and hurry, I’ve been calling you for the longest time, Khrushchev and Bulganin are coming, they might have reached already. My cooking’s almost done.” The words were pouring out of my mother’s mouth with frightening speed and excitement, all in the Dhaka’s native Bengali tongue.

Bathed in cold water, shivering through chattering teeth, and sufficiently clothes, we siblings went and stood in front of our mother. With a comb in hand, Ma sat on a chair, and neatly parted all our heads of hair.

I asked, “What does Khrushchev look like? What does Bulganin look like? The same rice-dal-fish curry that we eat – do they also eat that?”

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