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Book Excerpt: A Plate of White Marble by Bani Basu (Translated from Bengali by Nandini Guha)

A glimpse from A Plate of White Marble originally written by Bani Basu in Bengali as Swet Patharer Thala and translated by Nandia Guha (Published by Niyogi Books, 2020)

There was no consolation. Yet Bandana repeatedly read the  letter from one end to the other. She remembered everything— from holding Kaka’s hand and going to attend Gandhiji’s  lectures in Deshbandhu Park to putting coins in the trunks of  elephants and looking at giraffes at the zoo. She could easily  picture those cold Sunday mornings when they used to reach  Esplanade, peeling oranges all the way. Kaka smoked very  strong cigarettes. The fingers of his right hand were yellow with  nicotine stains. When Bandana was small, she was under the  impression that all Kakas would have coppery yellow fingertips. 

A Kaka surely meant someone in whom this feature was an  integral part, inseparable from his image. 

When her mother died young, Kaka immediately decided  not to marry and start a family. Baba had tried to persuade him  to change his decision. Kaka had the same argument every  time, ‘Dada, this child is so naughty, you will never be able to  manage her on your own. If this girl is to be brought up well, I  will have to join you in taking charge of her.’ 

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