Sister of My Heart – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


“Pishi is an excellent pickle-maker and she knows it. Ever since she returned to her father’s house, she has told us proudly, the Chatterjees have never had to soil their lips with store-bought achar.”

“Men whose wife died could marry as soon as a year had passed. They didn’t stop their work or their schooling. No-one talked about their bad luck. We even have a saying, don’t we, ‘Abhagar goru more, Bhagya baner bau – the unlucky man’s cow dies, the lucky man’s wife dies!'”

“But that night, lying in a tangle of damp bedsheets in the hot, dark, my heart still aches as though someone has ripped it in two and then stiched the torn edges roughly together with one of those thick needles the streetside muchis use to repair our sandals.”

“All my bravado is gone by now. But at least I am glad I didn’t give in to tears. Otherwise she would have seen the traces, and the gossip would have travelled through the servant mahals of the old Calcutta houses faster than diarrhoea germs in the height of summer: wonder what terrible thing the Chatterjee girls have done this time to make Anju didi break down like that.”

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