Romantic Stories

There is an age for reading love stories. The love stories that one reads in teenage life, particularly one that is read just after a heartbreak, leave an impression that stays for ages. At least this is true for me and for many of my friends with whom I have discussed this. The wonder and the romanticism remain even up to a comfortable middle age.
In my teenage days two love stories made an impression on me that still persists, I cannot re read the books even today, long after my (and for that matter my daughter’s) teenage is history without feeling a pang of romance, a whiff of the spring breeze and without hearing the sound of Rabindrasangeet playing very softly from far away. These novels still cause a shiver to pass down my aging spine and I can remember enchanted gardens and the music played by angels all of which never ever existed except in my imagination.
Whenever I think of a love story I think of two books in particular, One of them has enchanted romantics since the thirties, I refer of course to Tagore’s Sesher Kobita which has been the gateway to romance for Bengali teenagers and youth for the least century or so. Another is that old saccharine sweet story of Erich Segal’s, probably out of print today, appositely named Love Story. I don’t quite know why but it still evokes in me a sense of a lost love, a pain that is my own and can still draw tears to my eyes. It was turned into a hit movie of the seventies with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw which drew large crowds in Globe for months in those days. Somebody reading it now will probably be left cold, my daughter was totally unable to find much magic in it, but I cannot to this day read it without crying for the love that ended in death. I can even quote from it and the lines “Love means never having to say you are sorry” still has a meaning for me that is probably a lot more than the author ever gave to it.
Everybody must be having some such story that brings to them the lost romance of their youth. It will no doubt be different for you than it is for me, but if there is no such book in your life, you are the loser.
All these reflections came to my mind as I read a story that Buddhaddev Bose had written in the sixties, it has been recently reprinted by Ananda Publishers in an anthology of his novels. Halud Basanta is a love story that I wished I had read when I was a teenager. It would have, I felt then occupied a place in my heart that Sesher Kobita and Love Story do. It has been a long time that my atherosclerotic heart was so moved by a love story. It relates the story of a young man who loves the sister of one of his friends. He tries to make her see that he loves her, but never dares to say it out aloud. It is never clear whether she reciprocates his feelings; his love stays untold and unrequited. Or does it? I recommend it for everybody who can still remember their younger days and the thousand heartbreaks that seem so far away today. And of course to all younger people who can read Bengali.
(Please do not think that I am rating these novels as equally great literature, I am merely recording the impression they left on me)


Nipon said…
Yes that's very true. I have been moved by many books especially Fountainhead, Srikanta, Great Expectations. Great Expectations I read in class 9. I will not read it again probably. But it is one book that has left a lasting impression on me. Fountainhead I read in early 2008. It is tremendous! Also books like Srikanta by Sharatchandra, Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. Most of these I read when I was still in school when life was not so complicated and that is probably the reason they occupy my heart like no other book.

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