Lalsalu is a novel by Syed Waliullah published in 1948 by Comrade publishers. It is a classic of modern Bengali literature. Waliullah was conferred Bangla Academy Award for this debut novel in 1961. By 1981 the book’s 10th edition was published. Lalsalu, was inspired by a shrine covered with red cloth that he would often pass when he lived in Mymensingh. Waliullah is often considered the pioneer of existential analysis of the characters psyche in the literature of Bangladesh. This is part 1 of a two part translation covering roughly the act 1 of the novel.
(I wrote this for Rochelle Wisoff’s FridayFictioneers as a 100 word story. But the premise and the themes demanded expansion.)
The old man first sees the boy on the front stairs. Later that day he was seen wandering the halls of the old Zamindar Bari by Piku…
When I got out on the road the sky was already in the process of hiding behind the veil. The wind hadn’t started yet. A premature twilight was falling. I walked hard and tried not to fall in any open manhole or drain in the gloom. This alley I was in was one of the …
I used to watch the empty old house from my window; two stories tall and moss-covered. My nanny said it was an old palace of a Hindu Jamindar. My friends said a witch lived in it. My parents never answered.
I dreamed of it in the bewitching hours. In my dream I flew, underneath everything small like toys. Then I was hovering over the ancient house. Three smiling girls clad in white robes rose from its dark green womb to meet me.
When they demolished it they found long hairs and bones. Adults spoke words like war, army and torture.