Monday, June 19, 2006

Perhaps, it is someone else

Just finished watching the episode The Watchman of Malgudi Days. The title of this post is the last dialogue in this episode about a watchman who guards an old temple tank. The old watchman is reprimanded by the local judge after a spate of suicides. Later that night a girl wants to commit suicide after not getting a college scholarship which was her ticket to freedom from marriage and children. A prospective groom is coming to see her the next day. She says that she doesn't want to be a burden to her step mother, wants to become a doctor.

The watchman asks her to go home and live a happy life and bear kids for her husband. She rebuffs him as to what he knows about her misery or misery per se. He tells her of his losing almost his entire family, his wife and 7 daughters, save for the youngest daughter, to plague and says that she is too young to even understand misery.

He leaves her near the temple tank and goes to sleep. The next day morning, he notices only the letter near the steps. His friend tells him probably that girl left for home. He says that sometimes the body takes months to come up and feels that he couldn't save that particular girl from committing suicide.

Many years later a husband and wife and their three kids come to the temple and the old watchman, much older now, looks through his broken glass and identifies the woman as the same girl whom he had persuaded to go home that night. Even after knowing that it was the same watchman who had saved her, she fails to recognize him, prompting him to say "Perhaps, it is someone else".

A very poignant story that I have read/seen in recent times.

1 comment:

tilotamma said...

In the novella The Dark Room too the woman refuses to recognize the person who saved her from suicide.

I have not read the Watchman though