Chokher Bali

Quick Data

Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Translation from Bengali by: Sreejata Guha

ISBN: 0-14-303035-3

Price: 250 INR

The literal meaning of ‘Chokher Bali’ is the sand particle that lodges itself in the eye and acts as an irritant. Here the novel’s protagonist Binodini, a beautiful young widow, is playing the role of the ‘grain of sand’ and lodges herself in the house of Mahendra and Asha, newly married couple and living in total conjugal bliss.Binodini playfully proposes to Asha that they be ‘chokher bali’ to each other,she infuses the added dimension of reciprocity into the function which of course means both the woman will rub each other in the wrong way.

The couple’s harmonious relationship takes an unexpected turn when Mahendra falls for Binodini. Mahendra’s closest friend and classmate at medical college, Behari, is also smitten with Binodini. Poor and illliterate Asha helplessly witnesses the changes taking place within the otherwise simple and smooth relationships. Her mother in-law,Rajlaksmi, initially accuses her of not being able to manage the household and her son but soon becomes her closest ally. Binodini, who claims to be Asha’s wellwisher and her friend and guide in relationships, slowly succumbs to Mahendra’s love. Binodini,the protagonist is a self willed, intelligent, beautiful and somewhat confused woman who wants everything at one go without losing anything. Despite of the illicit relationship with Mahendra, she realizes that her true love-her secret passion is for Behari, which she is never able to express.

The plot revolves round the complexities of the relationships, love, insecurity and jealousy. It takes the reader through a whirlpool of emotions. On one hand the novel is a sensational account of illicit relationships and on the other an emotional interplay between 5 strong characters of the story-Mahendra, Behari,Asha,Rajlaksmi and Binodini.

I picked this book because of the name attached to it-Rabindranath Tagore. This novel appears to be the one which you would want to sit in your arm chair and read along with sipping your cuppa coffee…but soon you realize that you were wrong! The book moves a bit slowly and also the reader would want to leave it unread in the middle of it.

My rating for this book is 3*

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13 comments on “Chokher Bali

  1. Sounds interesting. I am guessing the slowness has to do with the time in which the book was written…older writers focused a lot more on description than contemporary writers. I noticed that when I read Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’….drags on in some sections.

    I’ve never really ever read Tagore even though I have heard of this book…

  2. I love Tagore’s writing.. I have read all his short stories ….
    I love his poetry… and Novels as well….

    Chokher Bali, is one of his nice creations, But not among the bests to me! I love 5 other novels of him…..

    • Nu says:

      Though I haven’t been able to pick anything after this so can’t comment about his other works…but would like to read some other novel of his… 🙂 any suggestions ?

  3. aparna says:

    Try his short stories, though I must tell you that most of the depth is lost in translations. There is nothing like reading Tagore’s poetry in Bengali…his thoughts are timeless.

    • Nu says:

      you know I felt this somewhere in the middle of the reading that since it’s a translation it might have lost the integral gist..with due respect to the translator I still feel the original work remains different no matter what !

  4. bedazzled says:

    The book was beautiful ..but have heard the bengali version is myuch superior

  5. wishesgalore says:

    “The book moves a bit slowly and also the reader would want to leave it unread in the middle of it.”
    i agree with it and admit of doing it:( whats with me that i have never completed the books that have been presented to me as gifts(even those gifted on my insistence):(

    • Nu says:

      hey wishesgalore..it happens with the slow books I know…but tell yourself that you’ll finish the unreads anyhow before buying new ones 🙂 may be that’ll work !

  6. […] I will never be: Chokher Bali […]

  7. […] I will never be: Chokher Bali […]

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