Judge Saheb O Maharanir One-Third Dozen er Kahini: A Review
By Anurag Banerjee
Sri Aurobindo had once remarked that humour was the salt of existence and in a letter to Dilip Kumar Roy, he had written: ‘There is laughter in the Kingdom of Heaven though there may be no marriage there.’ And Yogi Krishnaprem too had remarked in one of his books: ‘Laughter was given by the Gods to man and it was one of their choicest gifts.’
Krishna Chakravarti’s latest book in Bengali, Judge Saheb O Maharanir One-Third Dozen er Kahini, echo the very words of Sri Aurobindo and Krishnaprem. In an age where we have forgotten to laugh aloud or whole-heartedly due to sundry reasons this book, which is a collection of twenty-four real life incidents, gifts us some very precious moments of genuine laughter and therefore it is instrumental in bringing the lost asset of laughter back to our lives.
The stories revolve around six characters— ‘Judge Saheb’ (Sanotsh Chakravarti, the late Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court), his wife whom he lovingly addressed as ‘Maharani’ (Queen) and their ‘one-third dozen’, that is, four children. On reading the stories, the reader is bound to feel: ‘I wish I had been a part of this one-third dozen.’ Such regret is justified because seldom in life do we have such experiences that remain as fresh as ever even after the lapse of several decades. Special thanks must be given to Krishna Charavarti not only for preserving these tales but also for sharing these anecdotes with us and giving us and posterity a reason to smile.
What is noteworthy about the author’s style of writing is that she does not merely write her words, she illustrates them. And as a result we could have a glimpse of the characters of the stories even with our eyes closed. Since the book is written in Bengali, only those who are Bengalis (by birth and choice) and who know the language would be able to relish this bouquet of sweet tales offered by the author. If only had this book been written in English it would have made a wider range of readers smile. Such tales are not meant for a particular period or age-group, these are tales of all times and for all ages. [Krishna Chakravarti « The Mother's Lasso]