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Some Unforgettable Hindi Stories
|by G. Venkatesh|
In this article, I would like to share with all of you the Hindi stories that have inspired me and have remained in my memory till day. Some of the stories were part of the Hindi language syllabus in school and college. I do not recall the names of some of the writers though.
‘Dilli Mein Ek Mauth’ by Kamleshwar subtly hints at the ennui of the urban middle class. The narrator is mulling over the consequences of his absence from a funeral procession in the neighbourhood in Delhi. There is also a sarcastic comment about how people in the cities dress up for the occasion like a funeral. Another story titled – “Lift” talks about the narrator’s unsuccessful attempt to get a lift from vehicles briskly moving on a Delhi road on a hot summer afternoon. The narrator laments about the changing face of humanity and selfish nature of people. In the end, a man who is carrying a water bag on his cycle offers lift to the narrator and also quenches his thirst. This makes the narrator conclude that all is not lost in this world.
Another story that I read was in a book that was gifted to me in school (I had stood first in the Bombay district in the Prathamik examinations conducted by Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti in 1978). Here, a Rajput wife is stunned to see her husband run back home from a battle without fighting the enemy. Without taunting him or calling him a coward, the feisty lady informs her husband that she will cook –“halwa” for him so that he can eat it comfortably. Through subtle ways, she makes her husband realise his folly and he returns to the battlefield all charged up. Well-known writer Jayshankar Prasad’s “Madhua” about a drunkard and an orphan boy still makes me emotional. This story was part of my class X Hindi language syllabus. The drunkard who was once upon a time involved in sharpening of knives in streets has lost interest in life but this tyke – Madhua reforms him. Full of emotion, the story really moves you. Great stuff !
Well, it is impossible to pick the best from Premchand’s contributions to the literary world. Every story is a gem. Godan, Biraj Bahu, Panch Parameshwar... the list is endless. For those of who you are clued in to Bollywood will remember that Biraj Bahu was made into a Hindi movie in the 50’s. Bimal Roy insisted that Kamini Kaushal (the veteran actress) play this role and he waited for her comeback after her child birth to act in this movie. Kamini of course brought the Biraj Bahu– (a sharp tongued woman who cannot stand injustice ) - in front of our eyes. A splendid performance that won rave reviews and many awards too !
Mahadevi Varma’s vivid description of her pet squirrel – Gillu was another delectable read that has stayed with me till date. Then there is – Saabun (soap) that tells the love-hate relationship between a woman and her brother-in-law. Married to Sukhdeo and mother of two kids, the dusky Shyama is almost a surrogate mother to her brother-in-law. Both of them fight like cats and dogs when her brother-in-law shouts at her for using his soap. But Shyama’s maternal instincts are always alive even when her brother-in-law is about to get married to Priyamvada. Shyama cannot understand the strange behaviour of her brother-in-law but she doesn’t let it affect their relationship. The characters come alive even as you read this feel-good story.
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