HJBRL - A Nonsense Story by Sukumar Ray

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9781411639836: HJBRL - A Nonsense Story by Sukumar Ray
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It's on a bright hot summer's day when the hero of our story is transported into a world of hysterically funny characters and bizarre happenings. A cat materializes out of a handkerchief and old men stumble out of a tree- but that is just the beginning! As his new friends get stranger and stranger, the eccentric tension culminates into one of the strangest trials in all of literature. Sukumar Ray's delightful nonsense story was originally called Ha Ja Ba Ra La, a random combination of letters from the Bengali alphabet. It is now adapted into English for the enjoyment of the Western world with adaptations of names and phrases which are just as zany as the Bengali originals.

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From the Author:

One of my earliest memories involves sitting in my grandmother’s living room in Calcutta and reading from a red and black bound book. (Do not imagine that I have a terrible long-term memory; children in India are taught to read at a precociously early age.) The book was Sukumar Rachanabali, an anthology of Sukumar Ray’s works. It contained everything from rhymes to mini-dramas to short stories. Almost every page was graced with a clever accompanying illustration, drawn by the author himself. My favorite piece in the collection was Ha Ja Ba Ra La, hands down. I used to sit next to the barred windows and giggle to myself. Weeping goats and porcupines will do that to a four-year old.

Fast forward about twelve years and I somehow find the tattered book in my sunny Californian bedroom. I hadn’t seen it in literally twelve years. After revisiting my favorite story, I had to share the passage with the sniggering and winking cat with my friends. It was too funny not to share. That statement in itself sums up the entire purpose of translating this story.

About the Author:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sukumar Ray (1887 – 1923) was born in the illustrious Raychaudhuri family of Calcutta. His father Upendrakisor was an author of children's literature, a musician, artist, and a pioneer of printing technology, the founder of the U. Ray and Sons, a printing press. Sukumar graduated with double honors in Physics and Chemistry from the Presidency College in 1906. In many ways his interests followed his father's. In 1913 Upendrakisor started Sandesh, a children's magazine, which proved to be seminal in the development of children's literature in Bengal. After Upendrakisor's death in 1915 Sukumar took over as Editor of Sandesh. If Sukumar Ray had not written anything other than the 45 rhymes of Abol Tabol, he would still be as popular an author as any in the history of Bengali literature. Besides Abol Tabol, his other popular works are Ha-Ja-Ba-Ra-La, Pagla Dashu, Jhalapala, Lakshamaner Shaktishel and others.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Jayinee Basu is one of the translation editors of the first and only online literary Bengali magazine Parabaas. She has translated numerous songs and poems by Rabindranath Tagore. She is also a songwriter, musician, painter, and a voracious watermelon-in-the-summer-eater.

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