At the Maacher Bazaar, Fish For Life

“The daughters are to stay at home. The wife, more so. The dead are never accompanied to the cremation grounds by women. We aren’t allowed. Not in our custom.

And so, we went to the cremation grounds — Ma and her daughters, to cremate our father, her husband. I took Ma’s hand and guided her from our house. The priest shook his head in disapproval. The cousins, the men, looked on, grief-stricken, but now in shock that their aunt and their cousins, women all, were headed to the shamshan ghat, to give mukhagni, lighting the fire to the mouth of the deceased.”

-Madhushree Ghosh, “At the Maacher Bazaar, Fish For Life.” Longreads.com. April 2019

There was a lot I recognized in this story. The elder daughter who would not eat fish because her parents ate so much of it in her childhood. Daughters breaking tradition and performing funeral rites. The love of Bengalis for bargaining.

I would have liked to have seen her use the Bengali script for the song, আমি চেনি গো চেনি তোমারে ওগো বিদেশিনী, which has a famous version of in Satyajit Ray‘s film Charulata that you can watch below:

But, otherwise, a piece that was বাংলা জীবন সত্য, true to Bengali life.

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