Aratrika Das
Dispersed Narratives by Ramapada Chowdhury. Translated from the Bengali novella Je Jekhana Danriye by Swapna Dutta Niyogi Books, 2017, 118 pp., 295
September 2017, volume 41, No 9

Second Encounter, first published in Bengali in 1972 as Je Jekhane Danriye, traces the relationship between Anupam and Anjali, two individuals who love each other and yet continue to live their own separate fragmentary lives. The novella presents episodes that are stranded across time and geographical spaces and are a chaotic flux of emotions. Anupam and Anjali knew each other during their teenage years, and when the novel begins, meet after twenty years, quite accidentally, in the weekly market of Musabani. Their unrequited love of early years is rekindled, and this leads to a series of moments when the reader sees a romance tale being unfolded, a tale without an apt beginning or a just ending—simply as an ‘encounter’.

‘Encounter’ in Bangla is ‘shakat’, a meeting. This novella is about meetings—between Anupam and Anjali, their son and daughter (Bappa and Jhumjhum), their spouses (Anita and Ranen). Each of these meetings initiates affections and friendships that are not sustained after a while. Perhaps this impossibility of sustainable relationships is hinted at in the original Bengali title that literally translates as those who are standing thus. ‘Danriye’ or standing at their own spot, the characters in the novella do not pursue any orderly meta-language of love, marriage or romance.

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