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(4)Fiction>Jyotindra Nath Nandi - ĎSummer Vacationí
Are you eating? 
Yes,
I come to know, the elderly women said and laughed in her toothless mouth sounding hihi  from her room.
A sound of crunching is reaching my ears, Bap, She said.
Sitting on the veranda Shaibnath looked at the hut.Then he made a rude snubbing and said, How do you come to 
know it? Day by day the power of hearing is increasing, Beti.
Thatís right, Youíre angry, the elderly woman stopped laughter and heaved a deep sigh.
Now only one man makes sound here. For this I try to listen to the sound of walking, eating and talking of 
him. I feel better to hear the sound from him.
Shibnath thought for a while deeply and then said, Itís not wrong. Once there was hue and cry in the house. 
Now all are silent. The house was full of births. The whole areas were full of their songs, dances and 
chirps. Alas! All fled away in the afternoon. They flew away before the sunset. Al present the house in 
gaping empty whereas every corner of the yard in the house was full of fruits and flowers. Now there is no 
sign of fruit and flower bearing trees. The yard looks deserted all around. 
The Buri, elderly woman muttered, yes, how much sound there was! The sound of Ulu blow of the conch, beating 
of the drum, the cry of the newly born child, amusement of the Annaprashan of the newly born child, frequent 
visits of the relatives and guests were  common in the house. The whole year were full of ceremonies like 
Annaprashan, wedding. The entire house was defended in the sound of flute, beating of drum above all hue and 
cries in the days of the ceremonies--
Then! Why do you stop? Please narrate, Shibnath urged the elderly lady listening her muttering. 
Blow of conch means widding ceremony. As soon as nine months passed the cry of newly born child was heard 
from the Aturghar. Annaprashan of the child, the frequent visits of the relatives and guets were common in 
the house, Shibnath made face at her saying this. 
Whatís then? asked he. 
The Buri was fully silent. But Shibnath did not keep silent. He loudly said, You have heard the sound of the 
flute, the sound of the ulu, blow of the conch, beating of the drum and the sound of crying of the newly 
born child from the Atrughar. But you have not heard the great sound Bolo Hori Horibol (utterance of the 
term of Hori at the time the dead body of the Hindu community carried to the crematory). 
How much times did you hear the sound of Bolo Hori Horibol in this yard of the house.? Shibnath asked the 
old women, How many times were you annoyed to hear the horrible sound? Please say, Beti. 

The Buri looked gloomy hearing the utterances of Shibnath. Shibnath laughed uselessly realizing Buriís 
appearance. 
He tried to observe her face forwarding his throat in the room Why are you not talking more,Beti? Shibnath 
asked her. 
Bap, what will I say about it?  Can a man help to live others? The old woman asked him gravely.
No, how possible it is! If it is possible Iím able to hold my father and younger brother, you must keep the 
wife of your younger brother and also two grandsons. You must help to live  your daughter Ganga and her 
child. They all left us before their maturity....
Shibnathís hair stood on end after he had expressed his experiences. Then he did not laugh at all. The old 
woman became silent. Her silence was unbearable to Shibnath. Shibnath asked her, Whatís happened? 
Then the sound of snuffing came from the nose of her. It seemed that she was snuffing. Shibnath snubbed her. 
Why are you sobbing? We discuss only. Whereas you are starting to snuff, oh mother!
Please tell me, what do I say? The old woman asked sadly, they had gone to heaven and had taken  room on the 
lap of the God. 
For making jokes with her Shibnath laughed loudly and said, Itís right that you said. He added, Yes, all had 
gone to take room on the lap of the God and they kept you to watch deserted yard, didnít they? 
Being silent for a moment Shibnath said, the yard has not yet been lonely as one enemy of your womb is still 
now. You are always busy to look after him. You keep alert your ears and eyes for him. Do I say wrong? 
Yes, eyes! My eyes are always for you , the old lady replied emotionally.  I see nothing due to trouble of 
my eyes. Only I look at you for knowing what you eat and do all day long. She again started snuffing. 
I see! Shibnath snubbed and said, let us go to the hospital for the treatment of your eyes. Then you take 
spectaclesó
Do you make jokes with me? The old woman stopped her snuffing and said, Iíll take new spectacles as if I 
were a tender girls. Youíre  charming me with your charming words I see! Where do you see the words of 
charming? Who said that you have passed the time of taking spectacles? 
Shibnath smiled in his mind, I see! your youth returns again. Youíre only twelve or thirteen years old girl, 
saying this, he made jokes with her. 
The old woman was completely silent for a while. Shibnath appreciated that Beti grew not only emotional but 
also angry. He stood up and went to her. Oh, Ma, he called her with affection. Will you take Jamrul? Youíve 
heard the sound of crunching it. Iím eating Jamrul. Oh, Jamrul! In a moment her emotion and anger 
disappeared. She danced in glad like a girl of five years. Shibnath also desired so.
You say jamrul, isnít golapjam? Shibu, She was impatient and then called him to her.  I see! Shibnath cried 
from the outside, I say, youíre confused. Youíve lost not only eyes but also ears long days back. 
Shibnath was hopeless and said, If I say am but you hear anarash. Iím sating jamrul but youíre hearing 
golapjam. I canít realize you, Beti. 
Is it really? You doníst realize me, do you? Bap, the old woman overwhelmed with gladness. You feel great 
problem for your two and half years old daughter. She wants to eat am,jam, ,katal, kala at a time, doesnít 
she? the old lady laughed sounding hi,hi.    
How false it is! Shibnath said with smiling face. He also heaved deep sigh for her above mood. He thought 
that the time of departure is coming nearer. The bell of the farewell has been rung! So she wanted to eat 
many items at a time
Who gave you jamrul? Did you buy it? Buri asked Shibu after a while


No, I was sitting on the veranda, In the mean time two boys of our locality were going with some jamruls. 
They gave me these, Shibu replied. 
Did you want it? asked She. 
Why did I want it? They gave it willingly. They said, Shibu dadu, you have been older. You donís know how to 
climb the tree, please see we have plucked how many jamruls from Nandi Babuís orchard. Nandada, please take 
two jamruls. 
They are very good boys, the old lady uttered. 
Well, jamruls of Nandi Babuís orchard are very delicious, Shibnath joked. Eat, She said only one ward 
Shibnath realized that she was not able to say more than one ward in this situation. She was extremely eager 
to eat jamrul hearing the name of it. Shibnath surprised that she had been greedy day by day when she heard 
the name of delicious items of food. 
Whatís happened? Beti, Do you eat one? 
I donís take it, Bap. You should take its taste I have no teeth. How do I chew it?
Then two drops of Silva came out from her mouth rolling on her lips. Shibnath observed it peeping into the 
room He smiled and then joked with her. 
What has happened without tooth? Iíll cut in into chips with the knife. Do you take it sacking?
Shibu asked her. 
She answered in the negative posturing of her head and then she heaved a deep sigh. 
Forwarding the throat ahead Shibnath asked, Whatís the matter? Do you not take it after cutting into chips? 
Is there any taste of jamrul eating such way? The old lady replied like a tender girl. 
Hallo, Shibu, how many teeth have you been still now? Bap, She asked. 
Four, he replied. 
Is it in upper jaw or lower jaw? 
Please observer, is it possible to chew jamrul with one jaw? Shibnath scolded her. 
Youíve forgotten all, Beti, Did you not posses teeth in the past? Did you not chew akh and jamrul once? Iíve 
two teeth in the upper jaw and lower jaw each, Shibnath added.
The old woman said, oh, youíre right. You can eat akh, peyara chira, muri, chholavaja, adamvaja etc chewing 
normally. 
Shibnath realized that saliva had been coming from her mouth in a gushing stream .
She entered into the room and said, Keep silent, please. 
He scolded her, youíve not eaten chira, Muri, Chinabadam in the past. You feel grief still now to eat above 
items. Shibnath said, Yes, Iíve four teeth. For this Iím happy. 
The old lady looked pale and gloomy. She kept silent. She was squatting. 
All gray and white hair of the head fell off. As a result, her small skull looked like Kadbel. 
Her legs were thin like sticks and two small knees dried like crab fry. There was nothing except in her 
bones in her knees... She was sitting there keeping her chin in her two knees 
Iím glad that Iíve four teeth. Shibnath willingly said this as if he felt better to be offending her. 
I chew akh, peyara, and chira, muri.  So you grew jealous. Didnít you? Ma. Shibu asked 
Itís not correct, Bap. Donít say such rubbish ward. Youíre child of my womb. Iím glad if youíre well. 
Please do not give troubles in my mind. Iíve conceived you for ten months and ten days in my womb. The old 
lady said sadly. 


Shibnath completed the rest of the jamrul chewing and belched. He thrashed her room with broom and cleaned 
her bed. 
The old lady stopped her cry. She felt consolation for her sonís nursing. But she was sobbing still then. 
Thin and pale body had been trembling, Shibnath realized it. 
Shibnath gazed at her. The old lady wore a torn blouse. Her two breasts dried. 
So it looked like two sports as if a flat chest of eight years old girl. Shibnath did not believe that he 
grew old sucking her breasts when he was baby.
Whatís happened? Why are you trembling? Do you feel cold, Beti?
Shibnath went to her bedstead. 
Yes, Bap, is cold wave blowing out side? 
Where is cold wave? The day is sunny. Now it is afternoon, Shibu replied.  
I feel cold, Shibu, I feel cold in every afternoon. 
Do I wrap you with the wrapper? 
Yes, please do it. 
Shibnath wrapped her with wrapper that was folded near her legs. 
Is it correct? 
Yes, She felt comfort. Then she sat on the bed opening fold of her knees. 
Do you feel cold in the afternoon, Shibu? the old lady asked. 
Why do I feel cold? Shibu laughed. Do I grow older like you? Iím still  strong. Iíve strength and stamina. 
The blood of my body is still with me. 
The Buri kept speechless and breathed deep sigh. 
Whatís happened? Shibnath asked loudly. Do you feel sorry in your mind? 
Why do I feel sorry? Buri dazzled. 
Shibnath said, Hmm, I realize, your Shibu has strength and stamina still now. He is not confined to bed 
being useless like you. 
The old lady uttered, Misfortune, Why will you be confined to bed? Youíre my young son. Youíre a child of 
ten years, I suppose. 
Meanwhile, a house-lizard made sound inside of the room.
Shibnath laughed again loudly and expressed, You say  well, your son is a boy of ten years. 
Shibnath thought himself that fortunately your two eyes were cataracts otherwise you can see the hair of 
your sonís eyes brows and hair turned white like garlic. The waist grew curve. 
Twenty-eight teeth have been fallen off already. One eye of your son has been attacked by cataract. 
Suddenly the old lady asked her son, well, Shibu, please tell me. How are you old now? She added, Bap, 
Please tell me. 
The old lady started to count her palms of fingers for accounting her age. But he failed to count her exact 
age. 
Why do you say Iím your ten years old son, Shibu made grimace, Have you not said exact age of mine? 
The Buri was speechless again. Shibu bored for a while and then smiled. He remembered that when he asked his 
own age to his mother, She would start to count her own age every time. Whatís happened? Why do you not 
speak at all? Shibu forwarded his throats towards the Buri and asked, Do you want to know my age? Arenít 
you? 
Shibu added, Marvelous affairs as if Iím your father and youíre my daughter. Was I not born from you womb? 
If you forget your age, I must do so, mustnít I? What a Joke it is! Shibnath pretended that he grew angry. 
Then he was speechless for a while again. Oh! I stepped in the world before you were born. You have had huge 
quantity of fist, rice, milk, jam, kala, katal, chira,muri, naru of lakhsmi pooja and pitapuli of pause 
parbon, 
Shibnath continued, you became vegetarian after the death of my father. You gathered many experiences from 
your long life. Bu you canít remember it. The old lady became fully speechless. Shibnath smiled twinkling 
and thought himself for a while and said in the mind that the fun thick. 
Shibnath wanted to know the tale which satisfied every body who was born from the Womb. He stood up straight 
raising up the shoulder and said, oh, Buri, Iíll tell you actual age if you say when I was born, Is it 
morning or afternoon? Was I born at midday or dead night?Was it moonlit night or burning or sunny day? Was 
it winter season or Simmering summer season? Was there heavy pattering of rain.? 
The elderly lady looked bright and smiling mood. 
Yes, I can tell you exactly, Shibu. 
Shibu laughed challenging voice. 
I never forget the time and the picture of your birthday were fixed in my heart. The old thought a minute 
closing her eyes. Then She looked at the face of her own son raising her face and said, please listen, a 
dove was cooing. The day was bright and sunny. That was the time of harvesting fruits of am, The sweet smelt 
of ripen fruits was every where. The harvesting of lichi was ended. jam had been started too ripe just then 
The clusters of jam were hanging in the high branches, She stopped for a while and added, Yes, I remember 
the time.. It was the month of jaista. It was not rotten bhadra or foggy kartic.
Shibnath gladly said, Yes, itís correct. He count his palms in the finger at once and said, Iím seventy-
seven years old till today, Beti please tell you actual age now. 
Itís easy to calculate my age no, Bap. saying this the old lady laughed loudly and addedShe. Please add 
fifteen years. Then you can get my actual age. 
The old lady who grew thin and pale looked very glad as if the seven color of the rainbow flashed in her 
face. Then she laughed loudly sounding hi, hi, and expressed, you say summer vacation whereas he would say 
am kataler chuti. 
He came to the house of the village as soon as the college had been closed that year. But there was no 
amusement that time like the previous year. 
Shibu asked with curiosity why? 
Hmm, the lady moved her shoulder. 
There was a big orchard behind our house. There were about three jam trees. I also plucked jam climbing on 
the high branches girding up my loins with him. But I was unable to do so that year. I stood under the tree 
gaping up. 
Shibnath gulped and asked, Why? Did you not climb tree? 
The lady replied, How was it possible as my belly was like a big drum. I felt trouble to wrap the achal in 
the waist. I also felt troubles walking. 
He plucked a lot of jam from the tree alone. He didnít take a single. I realized that he fet worry for me. 
He looked at me though gaps of the leaves of the tree again and gain, the old lady narrated. 
Yes, then Shibnath was shrinking his eyebrows. 
Then, getting down from the tree he poured all jam in the folds of the achal. 
Shibnath gave hearty laugh and said, I suppose you took all mixing salt and gree chilly sitting comfortably. 
No, there was no opportunity of taking itas no sooner had the labor pain started by than the sun set. Then I 
entered into the AturgharYou cried sounding tya, tya from there after a while. 
Translated by Monijit Kumar Das from Jyotirindra Nath Nandiís ĎAm Kathaler Chhutií
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