I am a firm believer in humanity and love. Every living-being on this Earth deserves to be loved by someone if he / she / it believes in love and loves at least one individual. If a person who loves somebody does not get love from anybody, it’s against the law of natural justice in my opinion and I will term it as a poetic injustice to that person. I pity that in this ‘great’ country, everybody seems to have got a license to hate and spread hatred but loving someone becomes a crime in the eyes of many groups, agencies and institutions who are ready to pounce upon the innocent lovers whenever they get an opportunity.
Obesity is a personal problem which is spreading fast in the world due to the modern life-style. Certain people might be facing this problem due to thyroid problem or stress in life or hereditary reason also. However, like the persons of normal physic, an obese person (male or female) also needs and deserves love of opposite sex. An obese male needs a wife and an obese female needs a husband as much as those who are not obese. But it becomes difficult for them due to obesity. It needs some genuine effort to understand and feel the pain of such lonely ones.Hindi novelist Surendra Mohan Pathak is better known for writing mysteries and thrillers. He has written a small novel – Teen Din (three days) whose story contains a crime and its investigation but more it is a story of an obese person and his heartache of losing his sweetheart. This touching novel is titled as such because its story covers the chain of events taking place in a span of three days only.
The obese hero of this novel is Rahul Ramchandani who is the son of the owner of a large shipping company and due to a heartbreak, works as a purser on a ship of that company only (without knowledge of his father) and keeps on roaming throughout the world with that ship. He was in love with a girl who left him due to his obesity. That heartbreak has turned him into an alcoholic and whenever the ship reaches a new destination to halt there for a few days, Rahul does not do anything accept drinking during that period (he never drinks while on duty, i.e., on the high seas with the ship). He tries to drown his heartache into the alcohol being consumed by him and comes to his senses only when the time to leave with the ship for another destination arrives.
The story of Teen Din starts with the ship’s pulling down its anchor at Mumbai for a halt of three days. Rahul as usual enters the city and does nothing but drinking. He takes a room in a hotel for these three days only to drink and try to heal the wound in his heart through intoxication. When in a completely drunken state, he is passing through a ground which contains nothing but the condemned cars to be sold as scrap, he happens to come across a dead body whom he considers a fellow drunkard who has lost his senses completely. Since he himself was not in his senses in the true sense, he leaves the body and moves back to the hotel to take a sleep and wake up after a few hours to resume his drinking.
The dead body is of a petty drug paddler and Matka (illegal lottery) collector who has been killed by two habitual criminals to loot him. Since Rahul has a kind heart, next day he remembers that he had come across some drunkard person but he is not able to recall everything properly. However he feels that the concerned person was wounded and might be needing help. He decides to locate him and help him if required.
In his mission of finding out that so-called fellow drinker (to help him if required), Rahul comes across a young girl and her fiance. To his great surprise, the face of that young girl is quite similar to his separated sweetheart. To his even greater surprise, she does not look upon him with discard due to his obesity and not even due to his drinking habit and wholeheartedly helps him (with her fiance) in his endeavours to find out that ‘fellow night wanderer’ of Rahul. During their togetherness due to this exercise, Rahul tells her everything about his sweetheart and his heartbreak. He does not come to know immediately but learns later that this new girl (despite being engaged to someone) has started liking him very much. He too gets emotional about her. The criminals have also come across him and they realize that this obese man is in search of the real identity of the murder-victim and in all likelihood, may reach them too. The climax provides Rahul an opportunity to save the life of his new sweetheart whose face is similar to his ex-flame but the heart is quite different and filled with sincere love for him. And he does not need anything else. He sacrifices his own life in his bid to save her life from the criminals and secures a place in her heart forever.
I don’t know whether this story idea is Surendra Mohan Pathak’s own or he has borrowed it from somewhere. However this novel is nothing short of a tear-jerker. It’s neither a mystery nor a thriller. It’s a different love story which clarifies how proximity of like-minded people naturally results in infatuation and how when a tender-hearted person who is aggrieved within him, gets sympathy or warmth from someone, he effortlessly falls in love with that person. And such persons are just like innocent children. Rahul does not win the heart of just that girl who becomes his companion for a period of less than three days but also the readers of this novel. This emotional novel has been written quite emotionally by the author as though he himself were Rahul.
In the climax, when in his dying moment, Rahul sees love for himself in the girl’s eyes, he forgets everything about his ex and the resultant heartache he has been suffering from for all these years. He feels as if a soothing balm has been applied to his wounded spot whose effect has taken away all his pain in the fraction of a moment. And when the girl’s fiance drags her away from the place and the dead body of Rahul, she is weeping like anything, feeling within herself that she will never be able to remove this man from her heart. At least I believe in such type of phenomena and hence I liked the novel very much with the character of the hero as well as the ‘heroine‘.
In my view, this small novel written in simple yet impressive Hindi, is simply excellent. It’s a masterpiece by default which the author himself might not be knowing while writing it. I have read it many times and shed tears on every such occasion. In the last scene of the novel, the author has shown the ship leaving the shore without Rahul with the captain of the ship cursing him. Though it has created a dramatic effect on the reader who closes the book with that but I feel, it’s not logical that the purser of the ship is dead with the police investigation going on for the big incident and nobody is able to link the dead person (who is in uniform because he had to head towards the ship only to resume his duty) to the ship lying in the harbour and the complete crew of the ship is totally unaware of what has happened to him. Anyway, this flaw does not affect the overall quality of the novel. I wish, the author is able to get it translated to English so that it can reach a wider range of readers.
And the obese are also entitled for the love of opposite sex. Aren’t they ?
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