A page from my diary that I wrote on 26 July 2005 after watching Pather Panchali for the first time. Continued from the Pather Panchali: Song of the Little Road – Part 1
…during one of these days, when it was not raining, Durgo and Apu were returning home after running along with the passing train on the outskirts of the village. They loved running with train as the train’s huge appearance was something that they could not match with anything else in the village. On their way back through the fields, Apu spotted his aunt sitting under a tree. Durgo called after the aunt but she did not speak to them. Durgo, thinking that aunt was sleeping, shook her a bit. But aunt’s lifeless body fell over one side.
Monsoon days kept passing by. Soon life came back to normal after aunt’s death. Apu and Durgo again started to enjoy their activities though they missed their aunt a lot. One day, Durgo caught severe cold when she and Apu were bathing in the rains. By the night Durgo’s fever was very high. Sarbojaya was sitting on her side changing wet clothe on Durgo’s forehead. Outside it was a great storm that seemed determined to tear apart the frail walls of Sarbojaya’s house. Durgo’s fever was only increasing and so was Sarbojaya’s fear. She was foreboding something very bad.
Finally the morning came and the rain stopped. Apu was shown running very purposefully towards a neighbor’s house. He went to a neighboring lady who was friendly with Sarbojaya and had helped her in whatever way possible. Apu brought the lady to his house’s doorstep. The lady watched. The frail house of Sarbojaya and Hori had given up last night. It could not bear the storm and its walls had fallen apart. As though for a signature of mercy, the storm had left one small room standing. The lady went to the room and found Sarbojaya sitting in there. Sarbojaya looked as though she had wept a lot and had spent all her tears. Her hair was all messed up and eyes were swollen. She was gazing in blank. Durgo was lying on the floor with her head in the lap of Sarbojaya. The neighborhood lady whispered to Apu and told him to go and bring her husband. The lady stepped inside the room and sat slowly beside Sarbojaya. Then she slowly grabbed the wrist of Durgo. There was no pulse. Durgo had died of high fever.
A few days later, Hori came. He did not know anything about what all had happened. He came to the doorstep of his house calling after Durgo and Apu merrily. But he found that the whole house had fallen apart. He was totally shocked and said just one thing “Couldn’t it wait a little longer?”
Hori went inside of what was left of the house. He called after Apu and Durgo but got no reply. Sarbojaya came out and found her husband standing. Without saying a word she went back inside and brought water and towel for Hori to wash his feet. Hori sat beside Sarbojaya. She was staring on the ground. Thinking that Sarbojaya was sad because of broken house, Hori started to console her. He said now that he had arrived –they will build the house again. He told Sarbojaya that he had earned good money in Benaras. He was trying to cheer Sarbojaya up. He picked up a sack that he had brought and took out a shawl from it.
Hari said “This is for aunt; her old shawl is having big holes!”
Then he took out a red sari and said “This is for Durgo, she will wear it for her wedding.”
As Hori said this, Sarbojaya lifted her gaze from ground and looked at Hori. Unable to bear the swelling grief inside her, she fell in Hori’s lap and began to weep inconsolably. Hari was shocked to see her crying so much and asked repeatedly why was she crying. Sarbojaya could not speak a word and kept crying. She hid her face in the red sari. This was enough for Hori to realize what had happened. His knees could no longer bear his weight. Clutching his forehead he sat down slowly. Then he lifted his head skyward and with outstretched arms he cried out “Durgo”.
The movie ended showing Hori packing up everything that was left with them. He had decided to move to Benaras. While packing up, Apu reached a coconut shell that was kept on a bracket. He and Durgo used to hid their things there. When he got the shell down; Apu found a necklace of beads in it. Apu realized that Durgo had indeed stolen it and she lied to everyone. Apu hid the necklace in his hand and ran out. Far away from his house, near a big pond, Apu tossed the necklace into the water. The water surface was covered with the dried leaves that fell from a canopy of trees. As the necklace went in the leaves made way for it. When the necklace had sunk in the depth of water –the dried leaves again covered the water surface. Durgo’s secret had been covered. By the leaves… and by Apu.
Pather Panchali is considered one of the greatest films ever made.