September 14, 2011
Lost and Found Love
They say it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. But, what about a love that one must hide and keep secret? Or what about a love that you didn’t even know was there? In “Hell-Heaven” by Jhumpa Lahiri, Boudi, a Bengali-American woman is trapped in a loveless marriage. She discovers the loyalty, comfort, and fondness that goes with growing old with another person. Through great friendship and bond, heartbreak and lost love, Boudi discovers that there is more than handholding and giddiness in a marriage.
According to Usha, Boudi’s daughter and the narrarator of the story, there was not a lot of love between her parents. Their marriage was an arrangement made in order to keep their parents happy. They had nothing in common, no emotional bond, and were complete strangers before they were married. The only thing that Boudi was grateful for in their marriage was that she did not have to live in the country with her in-laws and their rules. While walking around the streets in Cambridge one afternoon Boudi is approached by a fellow Bengali, who was new to America. He was invited back home with Boudi and Usha to have a proper Bengali meal, and from then on he was a member of the family. Adopted into the family as an older brother-like to Boudi and an uncle to Usha, Pranab Kaku offers an emotional bond that is not seen nor felt from Boudi’s husband. Boudi and Pranab Kaku had many things in common, came from the same neighborhood in Calcutta, and had even shopped in the same local stores. Boudi began to look forward to his visits and would even change clothes, brush her hair, and make extra special meals. Often Pranab Kaku would take Usha and Boudi for rides and they would pack a picnic. They formed an emotional bond in which Boudi had never shared with another man before. These outings would be deemed inappropriate had Usha not been with,...