Jibanananda Das wrote in the poem ‘Hai Chill’,
‘Like the colored princesses of the earth she who has gone away with form;
Why did you call him again?
Who loves to dig up the heart and cause pain!’
But sometimes the human mind bleeds itself by digging into the heart. And that’s what happened to Neela and Ayan. Telling the story of those two bleeding hearts, Shaheed Khondkar presents a psychological analysis of two human-human beings against the backdrop of the city of Toronto in a high social context. In the novel ‘Bhul Satya’, he eloquently tells how an innocent mistake turns into a hero and makes people helpless against destiny.
The central character of the novel is Neela. Neela got married to Mukul, son of father’s friend. Neela-Mukul’s only daughter Bubli comes to study in Toronto and falls in love with father’s age architect Ayan. Mother Neela does not want to accept this love relationship of only daughter. His past comes to the fore. He was a truth that Neela had kept to herself for so long. The truth that Neela’s husband Mukul, Bubli, the rest of the family have known for so long, was the wrong truth. At the end of the novel Neela may reveal the truth with all the responsibilities of keeping the secret. But by then it was too late. Neela has to pay for this delay.
In the novel, the main character controls the flow of events in the novel, and the main character mixed with human flaws earns the reader’s love and sympathy. If we consider it from that side, Neela’s character can be said to be worthwhile. Neela is a responsible wife, loving mother. Yet, like Oedipus the king, he is a victim of fate’s cruel irony.
In Neela’s womb, not Mukul’s, but Ayan’s child has grown. Neela should have told Mukul this fact but she couldn’t. He didn’t have the courage. Neela wanted to save the innocent seed growing inside her. Although his crime is not socially acceptable, the reader can be forgiven by the punishment of humanity. In Neela’s words, ‘I was transparent to him.… Can I make this claim? Never.…I wanted to save the fetus inside me.’ (p. 130)
On the other hand, Mukul was so happy to have Bubli as a daughter that Neela could not hurt a girl-at-heart father like Mukul by telling the hard truth. Neela has suffered by keeping this inability in her chest. In the writer’s words, ‘Mukul also cheated. Extremely cheated. But again this is also right, Neela didn’t want to cheat. The flow of events forced him to cheat’ (p. 122). While reading, the reader will think ‘Man proposes God disposes’.
Like a tragic hero Neela has flaws (tragic fl) but the reader can still forgive Neela. Hence Neela’s innocent confession at the end of the novel, ‘I had a past, wanted to tell you, you didn’t want to hear. I lived together for so many years. You never once questioned that past, … It seems so late, you didn’t want to hear, but perhaps I should have’ (p. 138). After reading this part, the reader’s heart will become moist with compassion for Neela.
Shaheed Khondkar, like a master of words, brings the climax to the novel, which will excite the interest of the reader. The novel begins with the story of a family as happy as a picture. Mukul is a very established businessman. A very happy man with wife Neela and Bubli. Nothing is incomplete in his life. And Neela is like a fairy tale princess. Husband’s love, money, respect are all in hand. The climax of such a happy family story begins when Bubli informs her parents about Ayan. After hearing Ayan’s name and description, Neela realizes that this Ayan is her teenage love. He wants to tell everyone the wrong truth for so long, but he doesn’t have the courage to say it face to face. So he writes in the frank language of the letter, ‘How can I stand in front of everyone today? I stand on the top of the mountain with the burden of so many mistakes’ (p. 134). At this climax, the reader will quickly want to read the last part of the book, just to know what happened next.
Neela has loved two men in one life. One is Ayan, another is Mukul. Ayan is the first love of his youth, there is infatuation and fascination. Adolescent love is like the tide of a river, there is no question of good or bad, that love is turbulent. Even if that love is not fulfilled, it remains as a watercolor wrapped in naphthalene in the chest, sometimes giving fragrance in silence, sometimes causing pain. So throughout the entire novel, Neela’s face is in the window of Ayan’s mind, no other eyes caught his mind, Satpak had no relationship with anyone else. And Nila sighs secretly at the end of the day with the smell of naphthalene deep in her chest when she is done with the responsibility of her husband and children. Adolescent love lights the lamp of pain in two hearts.
On the other hand, Neela’s husband is Mukul. Neela loves Mukul as her husband. Mukul is confident, established, responsible. His love for Mukul stems from duty. In Neela’s words, ‘It is a fortune for any woman to have a good husband like Mukul’ (p. 130). So it can be believed that Neela Mukul also really loved him as a wife. Neela’s sleeplessness, depression and other psychological complications of the novel progress along the path of the tension between these two loves.
When the story of a novel reveals the country, time, social norms and customs and the overall atmosphere of life, then the novel becomes real to the reader. A description of the city of London at that time can be found in the writings of Charles Dickens. In the short stories of Akhtaruzzaman Ilyas, pictures of old Dhaka come up. Likewise, the reader will find the description of the city of Toronto in Shahid Khondkar’s novel ‘Bhul Satya’. Contemporary events are also included in his novels. For the past few years, readers have read news about the construction of Begumpara in Toronto with money brought from Bangladesh through legal and illegal means in various newspapers. Shahid Khondkar mentions this in his novel and says, ‘Of course, those who come on business visas have a different story. Bringing money from Bangladesh through legal and illegal means, they invest here in real estate if nothing else.…Thus several ‘Begumparas’ have sprung up in the city and suburbs of Toronto (p. 100).
Shaheed Khondkar very skillfully talks about the deep life philosophy of Neela, Bubli and Ayan while psychologically analyzing them. In Ayan’s words, ‘It is not important who has achieved success in life or how successful. Because it is relative. What matters is how satisfied he is with his life (p. 70)’. James Joyce, one of the authors of the modern novel, believed that psychological novels should primarily contain psychological portrayals of characters as well as deep causal analysis of the human psyche. In his famous novel ‘Ulysses’, Joyce uses technique of consciousness to explore the complex psychological states of his characters, which reveal the modern sense of life. In the novel ‘Bhul Satya’, the reader can understand the profound philosophy of life along with getting the story of life at the same time.
The book ‘Bhul Satya’ is published by Academy Press and Publishers Library. Release date December 2022. Dhruv Esh painted the cover of the book. On the cover is a green-brown face with two big eyes. Depression, fatigue, helplessness and confusion are visible. Like the complexity of the human mind, these eyes speak a lot, to know that, I want to have those eyes. Dhruva Esh’s cover is as always aesthetic, impeccable.
Psychological novels are gradually becoming popular in Bengali literature in this modern turbulent time. In this type of novel, the image of the husband and wife’s mind, complications, conflict, instability, tension etc. become important and the story revolves around their mental state. In this regard, the novel ‘Bhul Satya’ is quite successful. The reader will be able to see and understand the mind picture of Neela, Ayan and Bubli very easily.
Shaheed Khondkar, like a great fiction writer, has managed to create interest in reading more in the mind of the reader. That is why it is written in the preface of the book, ‘The unsatisfied reader cannot help but ask, then what happened to Bubli? What will the poet Shahid Khondkar say about that?’ Since at the end of the novel, the reader will feel that it is not the end, so we hope that the author will tell us the story of Bubli.
Shahid Khondkar is known as ‘Tuku’ in the social and cultural world. Studied Pharmacy and Business Administration. He is working as an entrepreneur in Canada and Bangladesh. Associated with many charities. This former Chaynat has also gained fame as a musician. Good luck to the author.
Samina Chowdhury joined the teaching profession after obtaining a master’s degree in English literature from Jahangirnagar University. He also served in the Bangladesh UNESCO Commission while teaching in a government college. Joined Brac University in 2005. A total of nine peer reviews of Samina have been published at home and abroad. Samina, an immigrant to Canada since 2013, has been working in TD Bank’s customer care department for five years.