Boori Ma is a year-old woman, frail from many years of manual work. She lives and works in a residential building in Calcutta, India. Each day, like the one that begins the story, she sweeps the steps and cleans around the building. As she cleans, she talks about the luxuries of her former life, one that existed before Partition the division of India and Pakistan into separate countries when she still lived in Bengal. She claims that she had a husband and four daughters, a two-story house complete with marble floors, and a yard brimming with fruit trees and hibiscus blossoms.
|Published (Last):||11 November 2015|
|PDF File Size:||19.22 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||8.72 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Boori Ma is a year-old woman, frail from many years of manual work. She lives and works in a residential building in Calcutta, India. Each day, like the one that begins the story, she sweeps the steps and cleans around the building. As she cleans, she talks about the luxuries of her former life, one that existed before Partition the division of India and Pakistan into separate countries when she still lived in Bengal.
She claims that she had a husband and four daughters, a two-story house complete with marble floors, and a yard brimming with fruit trees and hibiscus blossoms. She often changes the details in her stories, doubling the size of her estate each time she talks about it and alternating between different versions of how she crossed the border into Calcutta. One resident, Mr. Chatterjee has not left his balcony or even opened a newspaper since Independence, but all of the residents greatly respect his opinions.
After performing her morning duties, Boori Ma climbs to the roof to beat her quilts, which she thinks are infested with mites. She complains to a resident named Mrs.
Dalal promises to get the woman new quilts soon. Shortly after, Mr. Dalal , who works a low-level job for a wholesale manufacturer of toilet parts, returns home with news of a big promotion to management. In celebration, he has purchased two wash basins , one for his home and one for the apartment building to use communally. Though the residents profess some jealousy at the new acquisition, they all jump at the chance to use such a luxury.
When the Dalals leave for vacation, still celebrating their windfall, the other residents find themselves inspired to also make changes to building out of a spirit of competition. They pawn precious heirlooms to paint the building, paint the shutters, and exterminate any pests. With more free time on her hands than she knows what to do with—and aching limbs from sleeping on newspapers now that her quilts are ruined—Boori Ma finds that walks around the neighborhood are a balm for her sore body and a good way to pass the time.
One day, as she walks through the market, Boori Ma begins to spend some of her life savings on small treats, like cashews and sugarcane juice. As she wanders deeper and deeper into the market, she feels a tug on the end of her sari and finds that her skeleton keys to the building and lifesavings are gone. When Boori Ma returns home, the residents are gathered, angry that the community basin has been ripped out of the wall and stolen. They turn on Boori Ma, accusing her of being in cahoots with the thief.
She leaves the building, carrying only a broom in her hand. A Real Durwan. Plot Summary. All Characters Boori Ma Mr. Dalal Mrs. Dalal Mr. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. Sign Up. Already have an account?
A Real Durwan (Part 1)
Boori Ma, sweeper of the stairwell, had not slept in two nights. So the morning before the third night she shook the mites out of her bedding. She shook the quilts once underneath the letter boxes where she lived, then once again at the mouth of the alley, causing the crows who were feeding on vegetable peels to scatter in several directions. As she started up the four flights to the roof, Boori Ma kept one hand placed over the knee that swelled at the start of every rainy season. That meant that her bucket, quilts, and the bundle of reeds which served as her broom all had to be braced under one arm. Lately Boori Ma had been thinking that the stairs were getting steeper; climbing them felt more like climbing a ladder than a staircase. She was 64 years old, with hair in a knot no larger than a walnut, and she looked almost as narrow from the front as she did from the side.
Summary of A Real Durwan by Jhumpa Lahiri
Boori Ma is introduced as a refugee victim of the Partition, the event that led to the creation of Pakistan from India. The use of direct characterisation in this story tells the readers that Boori Ma does her job well as a gatekeeper in ensuring the stairwell is kept spotless and that unknown or suspicious people are kept out of the residential area. Boori Ma is indirectly characterised to be a victim of the harsh and underprivileged means of life. This was clearly shown how Boori Ma never really had the chance to live a better life after separation from her family. After getting a job as a durwan, the author made it seem that life would gradually improve for Boori Ma despite her hardships.