Rakhi, Gift and Premchand

13 Aug

This is going to be my first rakhi (raksha bandhan) without my sister. In retrospect this was inevitable but nevertheless I am surely entitled to feel bad about it and also missing my sister. Gifts are integral part of rakhi, and therefore I will have to buy something for my sister prior to going back to India. Meanwhile I will also buy some stuff for my mother and father as well.

– – –

What does one do after waking up on the morning of rakhi?

I dont know, what others do but I started looking for gifts. After spending some 30 minutes I realize that for almost 25 minutes I am only looking at knives, sharpest, best, meanest knives, that my mom or sister can use. Though knives are not considered as good gift, still, german and japanese knives are exciting enough to break the taboo associated with knives as gifts.

– – –

My search of knives (some costing fortune) reminded me of Idgah (hindi/english summary) written by Munshi Premchand. Premchand is without any doubt one of the best writers ever born on the face of this planet, and Idgah happens to be one of the stories that I like very much (but almost forgot the name). Overall I find myself inept to truly appreciate Premchand, because of his stories’ intensity and societal reflection that they carry.

Idgah (often in abridged form) is part of Hindi courses nationwide in India. So that was the first time I read this, and from then on it stuck with me. Its a story of a boy living with his grandmother in tough economical conditions. Grandmother out of her love, somehow arranges some money for her grandson to spend in village fair. Boys despite of buying a toy or spending money on food buys a fire tong for his grandmother. What follows next in the story, which cannot be captured in a summary is conversation between this boy and his friend, where after being mocked by his friends on buying fire tong he retorts and establish the superiority of his fire tong over other toys.

Story further ends emotionally where grandmother is bemused by the choice of her grandson and reproach him for same. Boys then rationalizes his odd decision in all honesty that he bought the gift because he saw her getting her hands burnt while cooking.

The contrast in rationale is something that underlines the beauty of this story for me. Boys reasoning during the bickering among his friends and the honest admission at the end is what makes this story wonderful, pleasing, and lachrymal.

– – –

I dont feel that my desire to buy knives is as honest as that of the boy in story as my desire is also rooted in my geeky nature and love for exciting and fine tools (materials and design included), but then I can also not deny the impact of this story on me, one that will always be there.

If you happen to be a person knowing hindi and havent read this story then I will advise you to do so and for english (any other language) speaking individuals – try to find an english translation, I will do same and post the link whenever I find one.


One Response to “Rakhi, Gift and Premchand”

  1. IIDM Bhopal August 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    The depiction made by Munshi Ji in Idgah as real as any one can think off. I rember my childhood I found my self resembling the child hood emotions as the boy. I too use to go village fair at Lilhar Fair in district Pilibhit. Used to go in ” tolies of Ham Umra Children”. Kabhi dod ke aage nikal jate & used to sit on roadside culvert (pulia) & used to recount my chiller (change) as many times as many stoppages used to make. Munshi ji wrote the same in the story about baccha party. We used to find me in that boy. How great was munshi ji living in the blood of aam admi & difinetly not like aam aadmi of UPA Govt of India.

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