Mar 25, 2010

The Japanese Wife


I just finished reading Kunal Basu’s Japanese wife.  It’s a short story that revolves around a shy Snehamoy Chatterjee, a methematics teacher at a secondary school & his Japanese pen pal Miyage. With the progressing number of letters and increased frequency in the exchange of gifts between them, they eventually fall in love with each other. What unfolds is an unreal love story. I just couldn’t bring myself to accept that it is possible that a Sneha (as the Bengali BabuMoshai  is referred to) in reality could maintain a long-distance relationship over a decade. Especially that he goes to the extent of even considering Miyage his betrothed wife and vice versa when they’ve never met each other in person.
When in real life, we are seeing, scores of real husbands and wives can’t resist from cheating on their spouse when he/she is away, this piece of fiction is about Sneha & Miyage who preserve a chaste relationship despite the distance and passage of time. Their love, lives, flourishes and bonds over written words, only through letters.
 The commitment they show over a decade despite no wedding ritual or ceremony, ( neither Indian nor Japanese) having taken place between the two, is unbelievable!
Then Snehamoy’s aunt intervenes and brings along Sandhya, a widow and her 8 year old son to stay with them.
The arithmetic teacher and the little boys bond slowly strengthens and a warm understanding developes between Sandhya and Snehamoy too. That’s when he starts suffering guilt pangs and decides to write a confession to his remote wife!
At Snehamoy’s untimely death, its amazing to read that the Japanese wife arrives at his village Shonai, with a shaven head & in whites like a devout Hindu widow!
This story, though unbelievable, does build my hope in love and commitment through its beautiful style of narration, that is the upside!

The Japanese Wife is a forthcoming Bollywood movied by Bengali film director Aparna Sen, starring Raima Sen, Rahul Bose & The Japanese actress Chigusa Takaku, slotted for a release in April 2010.
I feel the original Kunal Basu story has been tweaked a bit to bring it on the reel and to make it more believable.
Waiting to watch it and see which one turns out to be the better half, the one on paper or the one on screen? 



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