Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Breaking Point" - A Short Story by Usha Mahajan (Translated from Hindi)

A Very Interesting Article on Usha Mahajan - from The Hindu Times

Information on Women in Translation Month - August, 2017

Short stories I have read so far for Women In Translation Month - August, 2017

  1. "Happy New Year" by Ajaat Cour - Translated from Punjabi
  2. "The Floating Forest" by Natsuo Kirino- Translated from Japanese
  3. " A Home Near the Sea" by Kamala Das - Translated from Malayalam
  4. "Maria" by Dacia Maraini- Translated from Italian
  5. "Zletka" by Maja Hrgovic - Translated from Croatian
  6. "Arshingar" by Jharna Raham - Translated from Bengali
  7. "Tsipke" by Salomea Perl - Translated from Yiddish
  8. "Mother" by Urmilaw Pawar - Translated from Marathi
  9. "My Creator, My Creation" by Tiina Raevaara - Translated from Finnish
  10. "Cast Offs" by Wajida Tabassum - Translated from Urdu
  11. It's All Up to You" by Slywia Chutnik - Translated from Polish
  12. "Covert Joy" by Clarice Lispector- Translated from Portuguese 
  13. "The Daughter, The Wife, and the Mother" by Arupa Kilita - Translated from Assam
  14. "Red Glow of the New Moon" by Kundanika Kapadia - translated from Gujarati
  15. "Breaking Point" by Usha Mahajan- translated from Hindu

"Breaking Point" by Usha Mahajan stands as a poignant warning to women all over the world who are mistresses of wealthy married men, living from gifts and bribes, trying to hide from themselves what their place really is in the man's life.  The woman in this story, set in Calcutta, is at a fancy restaurant with the man.  He is a wealthy doctor, they met when he was taking care of her very ill husband.  She demands to know if he loves her, his response is to say, "Sorry I have emergency appointment and must go".  She asks her self why cannot I just accept many kindnesses, including a condo, and be content.  Her husband knows of the affair and has had his own self respect greatly diminished by living from the gifts to his wife.  One day he tells her to leave him and marry the man, not understanding the man does not love her enough to leave his wife, he wants no fuss.  These powerful lines go deep into things:

"'Neera, will you agree to do what I ask of you?' Before she could reply he said, 'Get Anjul to come back home. Let him stay with you.' Then after a pause he said in a flat monotone, 'Neera, why don't you marry Madhukar? He loves you. You can forget all about me.' She felt the earth slip away from under her feet. She did not dare to raise her eyes to meet his. 'I'll get your paper,' she said and went to the kitchen. Marry? What on earth for? Is marriage the ultimate of all man-women relationships? Is marriage all that holds them together? If there is more to it, what is it? Despite being married, Madhukar had come to her to steal a few moments of happiness. Was the bright vermilion she wore in the parting of her hair just a symbol of her belonging to her disabled husband? What was it that Madhukar had not done for her? He came to see her because he preferred her company to that of his wife. Would not asking for more amount to asking for too much? An admission of pettiness and greed? Of wanting to displace his wife and children to make room for herself? Shame on her! How could she ever think of doing such a thing! Admittedly she had often dreamt of appearing openly in society with Madhukar's hand in hers; but dreaming it was and no more. Wasn't she paying the price for being 'the other woman'? Another name for love is sacrifice."

The remainder of the story deals with Nedra's emotional unraveling and the disastrous consequences when she call the man's house and speaks with his wife, who knows what she is to her husband.

This story was originally written in Hindi, spoken by about 400,000,000 million.
I read this work in an anthology of Indian Short Stories, Our Favorite Indian Short Stories.

USHA MAHAJAN Usha Mahajan (1948—) represents the New Short story style in Hindi. A prolific writer, she is also a freelance journalist. Important among her works are Savitri Ne Kaha (story collection); Samay Ke Sakshi (interviews with journalists); Chatur Charvaha (childrens' stories); Utho Annapurna Saath Chalen (research) as well as translations of several books by Khushwant Singh.

Mel u

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