That sweet silence. Tagore has this effect on you. Again, this is one of the stories I’ve read as part of my curriculum (NCERT has a great collection of these, I think). However, at the time I read the story for the first time, in spite of the efforts of my Hindi Literature teacher, I doubt I was mature enough to feel this way.
Cabulliwallah is a classic, and I’m sure my narrating the whole story here would still make you read it, just because of the feel of it. Tagore takes the first-person approach in this story. He has a little daughter who never tires of chattering.
One morning, while the narrator is working on the “seventeenth chapter of [his] novel”, a Cabulliwallah enters the street trying to sell nuts and dry fruits. The little girl calls for him, and when the man turns in response, hides behind her mother, because she’s scared of him—thinks that the man has two or three children of her age in his bag.
However, as days pass, Mini and the Rahmun—the Cabulliwallah—become great friends; he listens to Mini for hours, and they crack quaint jokes and all.
One day, the Cabulliwallah strikes someone with a knife and is imprisoned for the crime. He’s released after a few years, on the evening before Mini’s wedding. The next morning, as the wedding pipes sound in the golden autumn sun, the Cabulliwallah visits the narrator’s home and requests him that he be let meet Mini.
The story touches a few chords in the heart; it’s deep and full of emotions. I’m not an emotional kind of person, but this story had me lost in thought.
The story is part of the book called Our Favourite Indian Stories.
Are you reading along with us? You totally should! You could even suggest stories that you’d like us to review here on Meraki Post.
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