Innocent laughter is rarely seen these days. From very early age, children today are made to carry heavily loaded bags to school. At times, those bags weigh more than their own body weights. Their lives principally rotate round the many C's, Career, Computer, and Competition, to name a few. The number of hours and minutes available to them are strictly divided for each pursuit, lest even a second is wasted! There is just no time for them to read a book, unless it is a textbook. Just no time to look out of the window, just like that, doing nothing!
Being non-critical about the existing system, where is the scope, space or time, for that matter, for moulding the young intellect with the care it deserves? That is a critical question. We may face it, or may ignore it. The choice is ours.
Tagore (1861-1941) always believed in development of superior intellect in complete harmony with time, system and context. Hasya Kautuk (1907), particularly written with this objective, is one of the masterpieces among his numerous brilliant creations. Comprised of short plays, this book is a discovery of adolescent intellect through humour.
About the Author(s)
About the Translator
Inspired by her mother, Nilanjana has always been extremely fond of Tagore in all his literary forms – songs, prose, poems, dance, drama – just anything. That was and still is her favourite pursuit.
Born in Calcutta, she holds a Post Graduate degree in International Relations from Jadavpur University and is a UGC certified instructor-translator-interpreter in Russian language for quite a long time now. Permanently settled in Delhi, Nilanjana has till date visited Russia and Egypt for various academic purposes, and has also translated important academic material in Russian language.
She is deeply associated with the Ramakrishna Math & Ramakrishna Mission.
Exam Time for Student
Pain & Gain
Essence & Absence
Friend of the Patient
Trouble in Fame
Aryan & Non-Aryan
Hazards of Living in Mess
(Following is an extract of the content from the book)
AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Essence & Absence
(Scene: Kunjabehari Babu, a great poet and Vashamvada Babu meet for a chat.) Kunjabehari
: (to Vashamvada) So, what’s the latest at your end? Vashamvada : Really in hard days, sir. Actually it’s been long time since you told me about some job. Kunjabehari : (in flurry) Job?! What job! Such an imposing autumn and you’re worried about a job? Vashamvada : No, actually sir, hard time is forcing me to worry, that’s why... Kunjabehari : Hard times? Don’t talk such crap anymore. Vashamvada : It’s okay sir, but you know, it’s always in my mind. Kunjabehari : Is it!! Even in this calm and soothing evening time? Vashamvada : Yes, even more now... hard labour whole day... not a moment for a bite. Kunjabehari : Oh! You didn’t have anything... never mind, it happens. (Vashamvada babu silently scratches his head.) Kunjabehari : (continues to convince) Don’t you think that only mankind can appreciate this overwhelming aura of the moon in a cool autumn evening... much different from beasts which are only after food...? Don’t you think that the subtleties of nature are the master-key to our survival? Vashamvada : (frightened, softly says) Sure sir... those things enrich our being, but I’m afraid, they may not be enough for physical survival. Kunjabehari : (dissenting) You better do that only... eat, drink, get fat... this is a wrong place for you! Vashamvada : Exactly sir. But where can I get those, that’s what I came to know from you in fact. (Vashamvada tries to douse the fury of Kunjabehari) Vashamvada : (pleads) See Kunja-babu, you are totally right. Your wonderful garden is so nourishing that no food is required for mortal nourishment. Kunjabehari : That’s the thing. I appreciate, you noted this truly like an intellectual being. Let’s go over there and enjoy the wonders of nature outside. Vashamvada : Yes, yes. (To himself in controlled tone) It’s getting cold. A shawl would have helped me. Kunjabehari : See the grandeur of autumn. Vashamvada : Yes, autumn is wonderful... but rather chilly in the open. Kunjabehari : (sits cozy with a shawl) Chilly? Not at all! Vashamvada : As you say.(The air sends a chill through Vashamvada’s spine.) Kunjabehari : (lost in the beauty of the sky) So beautiful! Have a look. Sparkling blue sky interspersed with broken clouds floating around like a swan... the moon at the centre reminds me of... (Vashamvada starts coughing) Kunjabehari : The moon in the middle... Vashamvada : Just a second... (coughing) Kunjabehari : (loses patience) See, looks like you are not a sport! Only coughing away!! You better retire with a blanket inside the room... Vashamvada : (trying hard not to cough) Sir, I have none. (to himself) I mean neither a shawl, nor a blanket. Kunjabehari : This magic in the nature reminds me of a song... “Plants in all grandeur, the wonderful grove... gorgeous autu...” (Vashamvada feeling cold, sneezes loudly) Kunjabehari : Gorgeous autu... (Vashamvada sneezes again.) Kunjabehari : Can you hear me? Gorgeous autu... (Vashamvada sneezes.) Kunjabehari : Get lost from here... Vashamvada : One sec, excuse me... (sneezes) Kunjabehari : Just out, I say... Vashamvada : Yes, right now... and I must... the autumn glory is not for me at least.... I am so drained. (gasping) My God! This coughing and sneezing is taking my life out. Still Kunja-babu, if you could give me a lead on the job, you had talked about before.... (leaves) (Kunja-babu is sitting draped in his shawl, grumpy, watching the sky. Enters servant.) Servant : Food is ready. Kunjabehari : Can’t believe, you took two hours to prepare the food ? (Walks off fast)