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Poshan Pande (b. 1932) A surprise ending and a carefully constructed plot are the characteristic features of Pande's stories. Many relate minor incidents from daily life or adopt everyday items as symbols of conflict, jealousy, or anger. Although "A Sweater for Brother-in-law" (Bhindjyuko Svelar) is generally recognized as his greatest story, it has a great deal in common with other, equally subtle tales such as "Krishna Das's Wall Clock" (Krishnaddsko Bhittd-Ghadi), "Fingers" (Aumld), and "Radheshyam's Bicycle" (Rddheshydmko Sdikal). The popularity of Pande's stories isevident from the recent publication of a fourth edition of his first collection. Pande's stories are published in three volumes: Anklujhydl (Lattice Window, 1964), Manas (The Mind, 1968), and Iliummd fade/id Dobaharu (Marks in the Snow, 1975). A SWEATER 1^'OR BROTHER-IN-LAW (HHINAJYUKO SVETAR) Sabita came gamboling over to Shant.T and said, "Sister! Brother-in-law says we're going to the cinema!" "Tell him I'm not going," Shant.T spoke quietly,but.her tone was severe. Sabita stood there for a moment, nonplussed. Her sister was so dull, she thought, she was indifferent to fun. How much older was she, after all? There was only five years between them. Sabita left, silently scorning her sister's foolishness, but before she had gone very far ShantJ called her back. "Did you offer to come and tell me?" she asked. "Or did he send you to me himsell?" She put. on a more cheerful expression. 266 Sabita was puzzled. She knelt down and toyed with her sister's plait. "I was sitting out in the garden enjoying the sunshine," she began, in a voice as timid as her nature, "and brother-in-law came and asked me if I'd like to go to the cinema. So I said I'd come and ask you." The cheerfulness fell from Shanti's face, like a drop of shining dew falling from a blade of grass in a light morning breeze. But this time she had nothing cross to say. "Alright," she said, "I'll come." "Good, sister!" Sabita's gladness burst from her like a cascading stream. Her feelings were easily read in her face. Still, a doubt lingered on deep inside Shanti. Time and again she tried to dispel it, but it went on confronting and nagging her. Sabita had come to stay with her elder sister some months before. They had been great friends since childhood. Shanti still felt like kissing her sometimes for her childish ways and liveliness: Sabita still played hide-and-seek and blindman's buff. Her behavior and manner remained unchanged, but although she did not realize it, she was gradually maturing . Shanti no longer enjoyed such games; sometimes her nostalgia prompted her to play, but she was too hesitant, too self-conscious. Indeed , she was very different from her sister. Shanti wasplagued byworry because she had never made her husband happy. Whenever Sabita praised him, or told her how wonderful he was, she would feel strangely wounded, strangely envious. But she never said anything to Sabita about how she was becoming tangled up inside, asif some spider was weaving its web in the darkness of her mind. One day, Shanti was sitting on the verandah combing her hair, with a small mirror before her. As she looked into it she suddenly thought she looked old. Strands of her hair fell out as she combed, arid her face was flecked with dandruff. Hurriedly, she powdered her cheeks, and her face turned as white as snow. Then Sabita arrived, wearing mascara around her big eyes, in soft white cotton trousers and a pajama top of embroidered silk. Roses were blooming in her cheeks, and her body was young and healthy. "Why sister, these hairs are gray!" Sabita picked one up and placed it in Shanti's hand. Shanti looked at her sister's hair. She inspected her from head to toe, but she couldn't find anything to put into Sabita's hand in return. So she just sat there, fingering the gray hair. "Oh," she said. "Brother-in-law is here!" said Sabita, overjoyed. As Goplnath approached them, she said flirtatiously, "Brother-in-law, sister's hair's going gray. Get her some oil to turn it black, won't you?" POSHAN PANDE 267 Shanti did not like her sister's sympathyone little bit. She wasfurious. She saw her husband looking oddly at Sabita. "I'll buy her some at...


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