Author: Vinod Kumar Shukla
Translator(s): Satti Khanna
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8126021721
Raghuvar Prasad teaches Mathematics at a local college. He lives in a one-room rental eight miles away from his place of work. He travels to work by jitney, cramming into whatever space is left by other passengers, milk cans, winter blankets and vegetable baskets. The mode of transportation is unreliable, jitneys won’t stop for him when they are full. A sadhu atop an elephant befriends him, offering him a ride to the college on his elephant. The Head of the Mathematics Department suggest that Raghuvar Prasad borrow the bicyle which seems to have been abandoned on the college verandah. Raghuvar Prasad attempts these variations and wonders whether he shouldn’t move closer to the college to save money on travel.
He has just been married. The day his wife Sonsi arrives in town to begin their domestic life together Raghuvar Prasad happens to come home mounted on an elephant. She imagines elephants are part of Raghuvar Prasad’s usual life style.
Vinod Kumar Shukla’s apparently slight novel reaches into the depth of feeling Raghuvar Prasad and Sonsi have for one another and for the world of lower middle class neighbours among whom they belong. Their possessions are meager-the single room barely accommodates their bed, the water pot, the kitchen utensils and the tin box in which Sonsi keeps her precious things. But there is a magical place beyond the window which sustains Raghuvar Prasad’s and Sonsi’s spirit. This window lived in a wall.