MATCHBOX Ashapurna Debi
“Matchbox” written by Ashapurna Debi tells the story of a married couple. It unveils the unhealthy man-woman relationship existing in most Indian families. She compares women to matchboxes. Matchboxes have the potential to light up everything into fire. But in appearance, they are meek and harmless. It is the same with women in their outlook. They also appear to be meek and harmless, but they can set everything into fire within no time.
The central character of the story is Nomita. Her married life really reveals the above truth in a simple and touching manner. Her husband Ajit has the habit of opening his wife’s mail and reading it. He argues that it his right to screen her mail to confirm any case of lovers. He doesn’t pay any attention to Nomita’s protest. Whenever she protests him, she is treated badly. Besides her poor family background makes her suffer everything in silence.
The readers become very much empathetic with Nomita as they understand the poverty and other miserable conditions of her mother. Her mother has the habit of begging money from her daughter and son-in-law. The other members of the family too pinch her with sharp words. Really the letters she received were from her loving mother. Mother used to write about her misfortunes and the miserable conditions of their house. She asks for money to find a solution. She is afraid of dying under the weight of a collapsed roof.
When we come to the climax of the story we see a woman who gets angry and goes out of control. She even threatens him that she would teach him a lesson. But he is making humorous comments at her raging phrases. In the end she frightens him by setting fire the anchol of her own sari. This story really describes the consequences of her rage at the misbehavior of her husband. It is really interesting to see the husband’s efforts to make her calm and normal.
Prepared by Joy Peter
HSST English St.Joseph’s HSS Pavaratty, Thrissur