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    Download Saratchandra Chattopadhyay Bangla Books in PDF and Read Devdas by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay. Other books of the writer is. Book Description Devdas (দেবদাস) is a Bengali Romance novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. It is the story of Devdas and Paro, childhood sweethearts who. Free Download Bangla Books, Magazine! Devdas by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay · DOWNLOAD THE BOOK Related Books you might like to see .

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    It was not that the babu believed the charge, but rather that he failed to understand its ideological thrust. In assiduously and earnestly refuting the charge, the babu inadvertently internalized it--a classic example of Fanon's proposition that colonialism creates a culture wherein the ruled are tempted to fight the ruler within the terms set by the latter.

    If Devdas gets caught in the conundrum of having to withhold his sexuality in order to prove his psychological and political coming of age, audiences sympathized with Devdas rather than condemned him for his lack of agency. Elaborating on Jessica Benjamin's essay, "Bonds of Love," in which she explains the role of erotic domination and sadomasochism in the development of gender identity and gender domination in Western culture, I will extend Benjamin's thesis on the child's "yearning for mutual recognition" from the domain of individual psychology to that of group psychology under colonial rule.

    The Devdas narrative resolves the contradictions inherent in the condition of the colonized subject; namely, that he must attain independence from, and yet seek the recognition of, the colonizing master through the pacifying economy of melodrama. In this context it is interesting to note how the discourses of fictional melodrama and Gandhian civil disobedience fed into each other at this historical juncture.

    Erik Erikson, in his psychoanalytic biography of the mahatma -- Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence --discusses how the political leader transformed his "sexual self-disarmament" into a tool of active political resistance and "prided himself in being half man and half woman. I do not mean to imply that Devdas and Gandhi are comparable in any overt fashion, or that Erikson's interpretation of the mahatma is definitive.

    Rather, I want to suggest that the discursive confluence of sexual abstinence and political resistance was very much a part of the Indian nationalist ideology of the time.

    Redefining the If Barua's direction of the Bengali version of Devdas in which he also acted the role of the protagonist was so successful at the box office, why did he not act the role of Devdas in the Hindi version as well?

    Why did Barua instead choose the minor role of Parvati's step-son in the Hindi version, which was expected to appeal to a pan-Indian audience? I will offer two reasons for this textual variation: the first, more obvious and meant to serve a didactic function diegetically; the second, more conjectural, perhaps, but one that gets to the very heart of the arsenal of complexes that, I believe, the film addresses.

    When audiences saw Barua first as Parvati's lover and subsequently as her step-son in two successive versions of the story, released less than a year apart from each other, there was a very definite suggestion that something was not quite right. This inter-textual referencing had the impact of de-naturalizing the otherwise socially acceptable practice of men marrying women young enough to be their daughters.

    The sequence wherein the newly married Parvati welcomes her daughter-in-law to the household as her step-son played by Barua admires Parvati's selflessness, while she endures her own sex-less marriage with her aging husband, must have made audiences re-think the social practice of child marriages if not condemn its injustice to young women outright. This theme was dealt with in other films of the period, such as Duniya na Mane The Unexpected , , was the centerpiece of the social reform movement of the time and was championed by the progressive urban elite of Bengal.

    The second reason why Barua did not play Devdas in the Hindi version of and instead chose a very different actor to play the role has to do with dissociating the Bengali feudal male subject from the dominant colonialist discourse of effeminacy, while foregrounding the babu 's traits of nobility, urbanity, and most importantly, chastity.

    He lives in a constant vapour bath. His pursuits are sedentary, his limbs delicate, his movements languid. During many ages he has been trampled upon by men of bolder and more hardy breeds quoted in Strachey, These "men of bolder and more hardy breeds" of India were the Manichean opposite of the Bengali babu.

    Kundan Lal Saigal, the actor-singer, who was chosen by Barua to play the part of Devdas in the Hindi remake, was just such a figure.

    On the other hand, Saigal's understated and eventually trendsetting acting style, the sonorous voice in which he delivered the film's rather sparse and deliberate dialogue, and the low crooning voice in which he sang the songs, all contributed to the hero's quiet dignity and strength, without compromising the pathos and romantic nihilism of the role. It is this tenuous balance of dignity and pathos that made Devdas so appealing to the women in his life and to Indian audiences at large.

    Redefining Devdas So powerful was the appeal of the Devdas persona for successive generations of actors and audiences that while the former became inextricably linked with the role, the latter passionately debated the relative strengths of each actor's interpretation of Devdas. Writing four decades after Barua's rendition of Devdas, film journalist Rinki Bhattacharya has claimed: "Devdas has been to the Indian actor what Hamlet is to his western counterpart" Bhattacharya has also located the supreme irony of the cult of Devdas in Indian film culture when she writes: "The hero of Indian cinema was ushered in by, perhaps, the best known anti-hero of all times--Devdas" The fact that from the late s to well into the s audiences have persisted in empathizing with Devdas, the antihero, and actors have become inextricably linked with the persona, belies a social and psychological reality that merits understanding.

    For Bengali audiences in the s Barua the prince and Devdas the character were virtually interchangeable. As the dying Barua, in , himself commented: Devdas was in me even before I was born, I created it every moment of my life much before I put it on the screen and yet, once it was on the screen, it was more than a mirage, a play of light and shade and sadder still, it ceased to exist after two hours quoted in Ramachandran, When in , K.

    Saigal, not unlike the fictional Devdas, serendipitously died of alcoholism at the young age of forty-two, his fans throughout the subcontinent regarded the actor and the persona as merging together perfectly. Upon his death, radio stations throughout India obsessively played the tragic and soulful songs that Saigal had sung in Devdas and many other comparable melodramatic films, for many days on end, in what came to be recognized as an unofficial mourning for a "national" hero.

    For two decades Saigal's interpretation of Devdas reigned supreme--setting the standard both for an understated acting style and a particular tonal quality of playback singing that was emulated by many other singers of the Indian film industry. The Bengali and the Hindi versions of and were virtually identical, with the exception of Saigal playing Devdas.

    However, a comparison of the and Hindi versions reveals some interesting differences. The highly regulated film industry of colonial India was transformed after Independence in Many new studios were established; the infusion of private investment resulted in considerable technological progress; the highly restrictive British Cinematograph Act of was amended; the entertainment tax on films was raised considerably by state governments, thereby changing the demographics of film audiences.

    Resulting from these transformed modes of production, the old anti-imperialist values of the film industry needed to be revised. Bimal Roy--the cameraman for Barua--attempted another remake of Devdas , this time played by an already established star of the Indian film industry--Dilip Kumar.

    Dilip Kumar born Yusuf Khan was a Pathan--a sturdy mountain people from the Northwest Frontier Province of India--and in this respect he was, not unlike Saigal, associated with the "martial races. So perfectly did Dilip Kumar embody the contradicted persona of Devdas that the post-Independence generation of filmgoers "swore Dilip was born to play Devdas" Bhattacharya, What is more, so entrenched was Dilip Kumar in the mythology of Devdas and so detrimental was this to his self- image, that shortly after he played the role, Dilip Kumar "decided to change to a more swashbuckling image.

    A debate ensued in the popular press wherein film critics and buffs alike passionately argued the relative merits of Barua's, Saigal's and Dilip Kumar's rendition of Devdas. Bhattacharya writes that the "release of the remake made nearly everyone wickedly nostalgic, comparing sly notes on all three Devdases" No consensus was possible; the generation that came of age in the pre-Independence days preferred either Barua or Saigal whereas the post-Independence generation overwhelmingly preferred Dilip Kumar.

    While Chakravarty has claimed that in "the Devdas character no longer captivated the popular imagination," Rajadhyaksha and Willemen have stipulated that "the new approach provide[d] a more resonant historical background to a story usually focused almost exclusively on Devdas's psychological obsessions" This shift from the psychoanalytic underpinnings of the narrative to the pressing socio-political implications of the Roy production are reinforced by the lyrics of Sahir Ludhianvi--the legendary love poet of the film industry and a Devdas type in his own right.

    Nor is Dilip Kumar alone in reinterpreting the Devdas myth in a post-Independence culture. Other stars of the Indian film industry such as Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor and Bharat Bhushan displaced Devdas's psychological neuroses onto a profound disillusionment with the Indian nation-state.

    In Guru Dutt directed India's first cinemascope film-- Kaagaz ke Phool Paper Flowers --in which an idealistic film director fails to realize his ambition to make yet another version of the Devdas story. In drawing attention to the marginality of the Indian artist in the project of nation-building, Kaagaz ke Phool reinterpreted Devdas, once the prototype of the noble but ineffectual colonial subject, as an atavistic icon of a failed idealism in a neocolonial culture, and Parvati not as the legendary beloved, but rather as an opportunist star of the Indian film industry.

    Sex, Age and Ideology In British India I am arguing that Indian cinema has immortalized Devdas and Parvati not so much for their devotion to each other as for their mutual chastity, and to a lesser degree for their defiance of societal codes.

    Even though throughout the second half of the nineteenth century the British had claimed that they were committed to a policy of non-interference in the social and religious life of Indians, by the s the purview of this "uncolonized space" had been steadily shrinking. In the Age of Consent Act according to which sexual intercourse with unmarried or married girls below twelve years of age, with or without their consent, was to be treated as rape had been passed, despite overwhelming protest by Indian nationalists.

    However, fearing social unrest the Viceroy had issued a subsequent executive order "that made it virtually impossible to bring cases of premature consummation of child marriage for trial under the Consent Act" Sinha , In spite of this corrective measure, the psychological impact of the Consent Act on the Bengali babu was far reaching indeed! For between the legal binding of the Consent Act and the impossibility of its implementation, there opened up a chasm of vulnerability.

    While maintaining the facade of "non-interference," this legislation permitted the British to champion the cause of Indian women's welfare while at the same time insulting Indian men by insinuating that the latter were promiscuous, dishonorable, and most damaging of all, unmanly.

    Even though the Consent Bill controversy had far-reaching and complex ramifications for the British, Indian nationalists, Victorian feminists and the orthodox Hindu and Muslim leadership in India, my concern with the controversy in this essay is limited to its impact on the bhadralok feudal and urban upper classes of Bengal. The babu , though not held strictly culpable for his sexuality, nevertheless felt himself to be under the intense scrutiny of the bhadramahila upper-class Bengali women who had supported the Bill and the colonialists who had challenged the babu 's masculinity one more time.

    It is this anxiety that is at the core of the melodrama of Devdas ; and the narrative's ability to relieve this anxiety, I believe, explains its persistent appeal for Indian audiences. Because audiences' critical attention to the Devdas films has focused almost exclusively on the male protagonist, the shifts in the representation of the female protagonist have gone largely unnoticed both by film theorists and by audiences. Jamuna, who played Parvati in both the Bengali and in the Hindi versions, was a girl of delicate frame and constitution.

    In her quick and effortless transition from the bold, impetuous and adolescent Parvati who dares Devdas to take her sexually, to the asexual and mature house-holder, Jamuna's rendition of Parvati came dangerously close to the British understanding of Bengal's child brides that presumably had prompted the Age of Consent Act of However, we must remember that it was not the injustices of child marriage per se that were the target of British reformist zeal, but rather the "barbaric" practices of the "unmanly and effeminate Hindu male" who consummated marriages with girls as young as ten or twelve years old.

    While the reformist agendas of these pre-Independence films condemned the practice of old widowers such as Parvati's husband marrying young girls and valorized "manly self-control" as exemplified by Devdas , scant attention was paid to the fate of the child-bride herself.

    Thus, even though the choice of Saigal as Devdas is revisionist in intent, no comparable revision in the image of Parvati was deemed necessary in the Hindi version of the film. It was not until the post-Independence version of the narrative that a distinction was made between Devdas and Parvati as children played by child actors and later in the film as played by Dilip Kumar and Suchitra Sen.

    The buxom figure of Suchitra Sen, then in her mid-twenties, was clearly a departure from the earlier pubescent Jamuna as Parvati.

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    Even so, frequent flashbacks from Devdas and Parvati's childhood and the parallel editing of a song sequence connecting their childhood and their blighted affair in their adult lives do not let the viewer forget entirely that the relationship had its origins in Devdas and Parvati's shared childhood where they were playmates and siblings rather than lovers.

    If the charge of promiscuity and effeteness which compelled Devdas to abstain from having sex with the woman he desired originated from the British, this charge lingered on even after the British had departed. The neo-colonial state, after all, is known to perpetuate preexisting relations of power with a different cast of characters. There are other historical reasons for why the colonialists' indictment of the babu 's masculinity escalated to new heights in the s.

    Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, Bengali men who because of their college education had come to challenge the monopoly of the British over high-ranking Civil Service jobs were characterized by the British as, one, lacking in manly self control, and two, acutely intelligent but physically effete. According to this argument the babu was unfit to be the equal of the educated Englishman and was therefore deemed incapable of self-rule.

    What is more, as Sinha convincingly argues: [T]he contours of colonial masculinity were shaped in the context of an imperial social formation that included both Britain and India.

    The figures of the 'manly Englishman' and the 'effeminate Bengali' were thus constituted in relation to colonial Indian society as well as to. These complex social forces, however, could not be accommodated onto the canvas of Indian literary and filmic melodrama which was painted in rather broad brush-strokes.

    Despite the fact that the Bengali press and social reformers had challenged the dominant discourse of colonial masculinity, there is considerable evidence to prove that by the first quarter of the twentieth century, the Bengali educated middle class had not only internalized the stereotype of unmanliness but was engaged in consciously overcoming it through training in elaborate regimens of physical exercise, reforming the traditional Bengali diet, and emulating British social etiquette.

    All these efforts were directed at rehabilitating the image of the Bengali as manly, but even more urgently as civilized.

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    Under these circumstances it is easy to see why, despite other minor variations, every version of the Devdas narrative begins with the protagonist being sent away from his rural context to Calcutta: the cultural capital of the British empire in India. The more the adolescent Devdas resists the separation from his mother and his childhood playmate, the more adamant are his father and older brother that he be sent away.

    The family is afraid that the rural context may make Devdas an "undisciplined" and "soft" man. While the narrative makes no direct connection between his childhood pranks in which Parvati is his ally and the family's anxiety over his potential softness, there is an indirect suggestion that Devdas needs to be in the company of other young men. Indeed an important part of the educational project in Calcutta is the father's plan that Devdas join the company of other aristocratic young men.

    It is interesting that even though the family members are unanimous in their desire that Devdas acquire a taleem , an Arabic word meaning education in its broadest sense, none of the films shows Devdas attending any educational institution.

    Instead the emphasis is on Devdas acquiring the fripperies, social etiquette, and to some extent the values of the urban elite of Calcutta. In the , Hindi version of the film, Devdas is at first the object of derision in the city when he arrives there clad in dhoti-kurta --traditional male attire.

    The film represents Devdas's transformation through a change in his style of dress. When he returns to his village, Devdas is dressed in a well tailored western-style suit and bowler hat the essential signifier of colonial authority and sports a somewhat redundant walking stick in hand.

    Parvati remains singularly unimpressed by Devdas's urbanity and rebukes him for this transformation by commenting, "You have become like the rest of them!

    Thus even though in the film's narrative the opposition to Devdas marrying Parvati had ostensibly come from the orthodoxy of his own family, there is reason to believe that his guilt at his inability to act as a free agent stemmed from his own recently acquired Western-style education. Mannoni argues in his classic study of colonial relations, Prospero and Caliban , Western education for the colonial subject is the "road from psychological dependence to inferiority.

    It is no surprise that it was she who took the bold step of suggesting that the couple force the situation by making public their love for each other. Devdas, who was unwilling to take the cue, claimed that he could not defile the honor of his family. The fact of the matter is that as a colonized subject Devdas is compelled to choose between the social ideal of manly self-control and his desire for Parvati.

    According to the cultural logic of colonized India, Devdas is a hero rather than a coward; he is successful in refuting the negative construction of him as a morally and physically effete man by maintaining his chastity.

    This makes Devdas a text of colonial resistance; it is a narrative which creates a discursive space wherein a colonial subject attempts his self-determination albeit in the terms dictated by a colonizing, imperial discourse. Two aspects of gender ideology run concurrently in the Devdas narrative. Parvati's marriage to an old man with children as old as herself to whom she must play the selfless mother, addresses an issue that was at the very heart of progressive reform among educated Indians throughout the latter half of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth century.

    The films condemn the practice and depict Parvati's husband as apologizing to her for his initial lustful designs on her. However, the appeal of the Devdas narrative cannot be ascribed exclusively to the narrative's moralism. Couched in the melodramatic narrative is the more sensitive aspect of gender ideology which was prevalent in colonial Bengal, namely the domestic sexual arrangements of couples who are compatable in age.

    Parvati's endurance of a sexless marriage which gains her the admiration of her husband, step-daughter and step-son also permits her to remain faithful to her true love--Devdas. There is no mistaking the fact that it is the chastity of Devdas and Parvati rather than the celibate nature of Parvati's marriage which is central to the narrative and which elevates the film to its epic status. The opening sequences of each of the Devdas films focuses on the friendship between Devdas and Parvati as children.

    These sequences are marked by the innocence of the children's pranks and their petty fights; all of them employ idyllic, rural settings. There is considerable ambiguity as to when exactly Devdas and Parvati ceased being playmates and fell in love with each other. In the version, when Devdas leaves for the city, Parvati is consoled by itinerant entertainers who sing of the divine lovers--Radha and Krishna--thereby suggesting that Parvati and Devdas were more than friends.

    On the other hand, in each film there is a conversation between Parvati and her girlfriend in which the latter specifically asks Parvati the age of her betrothed. The issue is further complicated by the fact that Parvati thinks she is being asked Devdas's age whereas the girlfriend is referring to the man to whom she eventually gets married.

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    This is important because according to the British it was precisely the early sexual maturation of the Bengali male which led to his effeteness, promiscuity, and degeneracy. Devdas, the colonial subject, must reject the woman he loves and who offers herself to him more than once; he must vehemently condemn the sexuality of those who frequent prostitutes, and despite his deep friendship with a prostitute, deny himself any sexual gratification with her.

    In doing so, Devdas establishes his manhood and his honor. In the films, chastity between two consenting adults becomes an overdetermined site for the constitution as well as the undermining of colonial ideology. The Fantasy of Erotic Domination Regardless of the minor differences between the various Devdas films, one climactic scene is central to all of them.

    Devdas meets Parvati a day before her wedding and attempts to make amends. Parvati, hurt from the rejection, tells Devdas she is glad her parents have arranged her marriage with a mature and responsible man.

    What is more, she knows her own worth now--she knows she is beautiful as well as wise. Devdas, by contrast, is narcissistic and lacking in moral stature. He is incensed by Parvati's comments, since the charge echoes the preexisting orientalist discourse on Bengali masculinity and Devdas's own inferiority complex.

    Accusing Parvati of supreme pride which must be tamed, and comparing her beauty to that of the perfection of a full moon which is marred by a scar on its face, Devdas hits Parvati on the forehead with a stick a distinctly phallic object in the film's mise-en-cadre.

    Parvati is instantly subdued. Devdas proceeds to break and throw away the stick and immediately to bandage Parvati's bleeding forehead.

    He tells Parvati that in the years to come this mark that he has left on her face will remind her of him. In later scenes Parvati does indeed caress the scar when thinking of Devdas.

    It is interesting that in a subsequent shot wherein Parvati receives a letter from a friend telling her that Devdas has returned to the village where he whiles away his time shooting birds, the sequence is inter-cut with a shot of Devdas re-visiting the bank of the river where he had inflicted the sexual wound on Parvati and idly sporting another stick. The original scene, wherein the erotic and the violent get conflated, is obliquely repeated throughout the narrative.

    Even though Devdas does not literally possess Parvati, he nevertheless "leaves a mark on her. It is no accident that this scene of "ritual violence" is enacted on the bank of a river, a space where women come to draw water, and where Devdas in a trespasser. The presence of the water pitcher on Parvati's waist, whose open mouth initially faces Devdas in a point-of-view shot, faces the camera and from which the water subsequently gushes out as Parvati falls to the ground, further reinforces the sexual undercurrents of the scene.

    When Parvati's mother notices that her daughter's face has been scarred on the day before her wedding, she exclaims in horror and panic. There is a suggestion, in the mother's response, that the scar is a signifier of her defilement or perhaps a violation of her chastity. I don't know if you can remember now, but I do, clearly—you had my attention from the day of your very first visit. I knew you were a rich man's son, but your wealth was not what attracted me to you.

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    Many others had been here before you, but in none of them did I see a spirit such as yours. And you hurt me as soon as you arrived—your behavior was undeserved, uncalled-for, and unsuitable.

    You kept your face averted in disgust, and farcically left some money for me at the end. Do you remember any of this? Devdas was silent. Chandramukhi continued, You have held my attention since then. Not out of love, and not out of revulsion. Just as one cannot forget something new, I too could not forget you.

    I was afraid, on my guard when you came, but I hated it when you did not come. And then I don't know what madness took hold of me—I began to look at everything differently. I changed so much that I no longer remained who I was. Then you started drinking.

    I hate it. But in your case I would be upset, not angry. Stopping, Chandramukhi put her hand on Devdas's feet. Tearfully, she said, I am a nobody, do not be angry with me. You used to be so harsh with your words, brush me aside with such revulsion, and the more you did that, the more I wanted to go to you. Then you would finally fall asleep. Devdas said nothing. These new revelations troubled him.

    Covertly wiping her eyes, Chandramukhi began to speak once again. Do you remember the day you spoke to me about how much we put up with? Humiliation, disgrace, torment, persecution—I was so upset when you said this that I stopped everything that very same day. But what will you live on?

    Devdas asked. I told you already. But what if he cheats you out of all your money. Chandramukhi showed no signs of worry. I will ask you for some money if I get in trouble. After some thought, Devdas replied, Very well. Now make your arrangements and get out of this place. After I've sold these bangles. I'll meet the moneylender. Taking five one hundred-rupee notes out of his pocket and putting them beneath the pillow, Devdas said, Don't sell the bangles, though you should meet the moneylender.

    But where will you go? To go to one of those holy places? No, Devdas. I have no faith in holy places. I don't want to live very far from Calcutta, I'll find a village nearby. Are you thinking of working as a maid for a decent family? Tears welled up in Chandramukhi's eyes again.

    Wiping them away, she said, I am not inclined to. I will live independently, in my own way. Why should I put myself through that? I have never had to endure physical suffering before, and I cannot face it now.

    Any more might tear me apart. Devdas smiled wanly. But if you remain near the city, he said, you might give in to temptation again. The human heart cannot be trusted. Chandramukhi's expression changed now. Had I given all this up on an impulse, perhaps a little more caution might be necessary, but I have not felt a moment's regret in all this time. Still Devdas shook his head, saying, Women are far too fickle, far too untrustworthy.

    Chandramukhi stepped close to him. Devdas, she said, taking his hand. Devdas looked at her. This time he could not tell her not to touch him. Her eyes brimming with affection, her voice trembling, Chandramukhi drew his hands into her own, saying, It's our last day together, don't be angry today. She gazed at him for a few moments before putting forth her question: Has Parvati hurt you deeply?

    Devdas frowned. Why this question? Chandramukhi was not discouraged. Quietly and firmly, she replied, I have a reason for asking. I will not lie, it hurts me when you suffer. On the contrary, I believe you have deceived yourself. I am older than you, Devdas, and I have seen a great many things in this world.

    Do you know what I think? I think it's you who are mistaken. I do not think women deserve this reputation for being fickle and inconstant. It is men like you who praise them, and men like you who criticize them too.

    You can say what you want to without any consequences, but they cannot.

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