Friday, September 4, 2009


Ten long years have passed since Devdas Mukherjee left the shores of his motherland for England, and today he is returning home after a brief stint at Oxford University. His childhood playmate Parvati is thrilled to hear of his return; finally he will see how she has grown into a beautiful flower since he last saw her. Her mother, Shumitra, with her long hair shining in excitement, eagerly looks out the window. Says she, “Methinks I will get Paro and Deva married pronto! Shotti!”

Paro, hearing this, lowers her eyes in shyness, her lashes flickering with pleasure.

At Zamindar Narayan Mukherjee’s house, Devdas’s mother Kaushalya is waiting with her puja thali for her beloved son to arrive. But no! He has gone to Paro’s place to take a look at the stained-glass windows that adorn her house. “Sacrilege!” she screams, and flings the puja thali in despair.

Devdas meanwhile has reached Paro’s house. With all the passion of a young lover, he seeks to embrace Paro, but how can he, when a fly is infesting the air with its pestilential presence, and trying to sit on her skin? He takes Paro to task.
“Paro, I like not those other living things that try to touch you”, says he ardently.

“Ish! Go then, for I will show my face only when the moon comes!” says Paro.

Shumitra hears this exchange, and vows, “tonight I will ask Kaushalya and seal this love between Devdas and Paro. Ish! But before that I must do the dance of death, so that Kaushalya will just not be able to refuse!”

That night, after performing the dance of death, when only Kaushalya is alive and standing, Shumitra proposes the marriage of Devdas and Paro. Kaushalya, for the second time, flings the puja thali, and says “Never! Never will my Deva be married off in a household that has less stained-glass than us!”

Shumitra is stupefied, her great teeth are quivering in anger, but gathering her senses, she retorts, “Catastrophe! Cataclysm! Kaushalya, you know not what you say. But I vow to you, that in seven days from now, I will get Paro married into a much richer household, that has not stained-glass, no, but Saint Gobain Glass. Ha!”