Author: Joy Goswami
Translator(s): Rani Ray
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8188575437
Shanjhbati, so named because she is born in twilight time and appears enveloped in a luminous halo in her father Saikat's eyes, grows up listening to his stories, inhabiting the world of his imagination and making mental forays into the mysteries of nature. Actual life, however, turns out to be very different. Shanjhbati, endearingly called Tukun, is shattered to discover that reality is in sharp contradiction to her life of dreams; that lust, greed and faithlessness are some of its basic ingredients. Faced with such incongruities, she fears total annihilation of her self and her imagined world. It is only when she is able to reconcile her traumas with the greater design of the universe that she is able to regain faith in herself and is restored to a loving relationship with her father. By recognizing love as supreme motivation she is able to carve out for herself a role in the larger creative process.
In its sheer lyricism Shanjbatir Rupkathara, Shanjhbati's Dreams' stands out as a unique experiment in contemporary Bengali fiction and has been widely acclaimed as one of its kind. It has inspired Anjan Das, the film maker, to transform it into a movie which has received many awards and has been screened in film festivals all over the world.
It is the same window by which I am sitting now, looking at the rain; the same window through which sheets of water are entering, wetting my clothes, my face, my forehead and my hair let loose, moist, and my cheeks clammy. But no tears mingle with splashes of rain water today. It did then-that night of many years ago. Tears had merged with rain at the evening's end when was borne away by the rain window from a big railway platform, crowded with people, to somewhere dark-far, far past the shadowy fields, past railway stations that become visible in the dim light of lamp-posts and faded out. The train had made a clamorous run on the bridge hat went over a river shrunk in darkness. I had placed my face against the rain-lashed window and had sole-heartedly allowed the water to splash on my face, my clothes, on my hair loose and scattered. My eyes were buried in the rain; my tears mingled with the water streaming in. I had wanted it to, so that it dissolved into the rainy evening and got lost in the darkness that stretched out to the world's end and no trace of it remained; so that no one knew about its make-up or its origin. All my tears merging with rain became a mighty, multi-coloured moth which winged its way out of the window carrying fire on its wings.