Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ties that Bind: There was No One at the Bus Stop


Love was one thing, sin was another – and although it was difficult to tell love from sin, Trina had learnt to identify some of the signs.

Ties that bind human beings together are difficult to unravel. What is that which holds a man with a woman? Love? Affection? Pity? Or simply a necessity, a need not to be lonely in the journey of life.

Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s 1974 Bengali novel Bus Stop – e Keu Nei -  translated into English as There was No One at the Bus Stop - explores one such bond between Trina and Deb. Trina, married to a rich business man and mother of two children, seeks something more than the mansion that her husband has provided for her and in which she flits like a ghost. Deb, a civil-engineer, filled with doubts after the suicide of his wife and aware of his own inadequacy as regards the upbringing of his son, feels that he can start anew with Trina. 

However is it that simple to let go off existing relationships? As the melancholy title suggests often life becomes an endless wait for an elusive something.

The novel’s sparse dialogues make an impression and there are some delightful passages involving Deb’s sister Phuli and her husband Sisir. Interesting also is that the writer doesn’t present the two protagonists as victims but rather as two relatively shallow people whose predicament doesn’t quite generate sympathy for them. Paradoxically, for me, this aspect is also the book’s weakest point as I simply didn’t feel any involvement with Deb and Trina.

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First Line:                    As he was about to leave his room, sleep still clinging to his eyes, Robi gingerly parted the curtains leading to the next room and saw his father.

Published by:              Penguin Books

Year(s) of Publication:    1974, 2010

Pages:                          121

Original Title:              Bus Stop – e –Keu Nei

Author:                        Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Translator:                   Arunava Sinha

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There was No One at the Bus Stop is easily available in bookshops and on the Net. My copy was borrowed from the College Library.

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Submitted for the A-Z Reading Challenge. Have now covered the letter T.

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