NOSTALGIA is one story from the short story collection DARKNESS.
DARKNESS by Bharati Mukherjee (hier online bestellen)
'Nostalgia' deals with an Indian who has made his fortune in America. Dr Patel is married, has a son who studies at
a prestigious college and he works in a hospital for mentally ill people.
One day he falls in love with an Indian girl and has an affair with her which results in disappointment after he learns
that she takes advantage of him.
Excerpt from NOSTALGIA
On a cold, snowless evening in December, Dr Manny Patel, a psychiatric resident at a state hospital in
Queens, New York, looked through the storefront window of the "New Taj Mahal" and for the first time in
thirteen years felt the papercut-sharp pain of desire. The woman behind the counter was about twenty,
twenty-one, with the buttery-gold skin and the round voluptuous bosom of a Bombay film star.
Dr Patel had driven into Manhattan on an impulse. He had put in one of those afternoons at the hospital
that made him realize it was only the mysteries of metabolism that kept him from unprofessional outbursts.
Mr Horowitz, a 319-pound readmitted schizophrenic, had convinced himself that he was Noel Coward and
demanded respect from the staff. In less than half an hour, Mr Horowlitz had sung twenty songs,
battered a therapy aide's head against a wall, unbuttoned another patient's blouse in order to bite
off her nipples, struck a Jamaican nurse across the face and
lunged at Dr Patel, calling him in exquisite English, "Paki
scum. " The nurse asked that Mr Horowitz be placed in the
seclusion room, and Dr Patel had agreed. The seclusion
order had to be reviewed by a doctor every two hours, and
Mr Horowitz's order was renewed by Dr Chuong who had
come in two hours late for work.
Dr Patel did not like to lock grown men and women in a seven-by-nine room, especially one without padding
on its walls. Mr Horowitz had screamed and sung for almost six hours. Dr Patel had increased his dosage
of Haldol. Mr Horowitz was at war with himself and there was no truce except through psychopharmacology
and Dr Patel was suspicious of the side effects of such cures. The Haldol had calmed the prisoner.
Perhaps it was unrealistic to want more.
He was grateful that that there were so many helpless, mentally disabled people (crazies, his wife called
them) in New York state, and that they afforded him and Dr Chuong and even the Jamaican nurse a nice
living. But he resented being called a " Paki scum. " Not even a sick man like Mr Horowitz had the right
to do that.
He had chosen to settle in the U.S. He was not one for nostalgia; he was not an expatriate but a patriot.
His wife, Camille, who had grown up in Camden, New Jersey, did not share his enthusiasm for America,
and had made fun of him when he voted for President Reagan. Camille was not a hypocrite; she was a
predictable paradox. She could cut him down for wanting to move to a three-hundred-thousand-dollar
house with an atrium in the dining hall, and for blowing sixty-two thousand on a red Porsche, while
she boycotted South African wines and non-union lettuce. She spent guiltless money at Balducci's and
on fitness equipment. So he enjoyed his house, his car, so what? He wanted
things. He wanted things for Camille and for their son. He loved his family, and his acquisitiveness was
entwined with love.
His son was at Andover, costing nearly twelve thousand dollars a year. When Manny converted the twelve
thousand from dollars to rupees, which he often did as he sat in his small, dreary office listening for
screams in the hall, the staggering rupee figure reassured him that he had done well in the New World.
His son had recently taken to wearing a safety pin through his left earlobe, but nothing the boy could
do would diminish his father love.
He had come to America because of the boy. Well, not exactly come, but stayed when his student visa
expired. He had met Camille, a nurse, at a teaching hospital and the boy had come along, all eight
pounds and ten ounces of him, one balmy summer midnight. He could always go back to Delhi if he wanted
to. He had made enough money to retire to India (the conversion into rupees had made him a millionaire
several times over). He had bought a condo minium in one of the better development "colonies" of New
Delhi, just in case.
America had been very good to him, no question; but there were things that he had given up. There were
some boyhood emotions, for instance, that he could no longer retrieve. He lived with the fear that his
father would die before he could free himself from the crazies of New York and go home. He missed his
parents, especially his father, but he couldn't explain this loss to Camille. She hated her mother who
had worked long hours at Korvette's and brought her up alone.
From DARKNESS, Penguin Books, pp. 97-99
About the author:zurück zur Übersicht
Of Bengali origin, Mukherjee was born in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. She later traveled with her parents
to Europe after Independence, only returning to Calcutta in the early 1950s. There she attended the Loreto
School, Kolkata. She received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1959 and her M.A. from the
University of Baroda in 1961. She next traveled to the United States to study at the University of Iowa.
She received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1963 and her Ph.D. in 1969 from the department
of Comparative Literature.
Mukherjee married writer Clark Blaise in 1963. Together they have written two works of non-fiction,
Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977) and The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India
Tragedy (1987). After more than a decade living in Canada (Montreal and Toronto), Mukherjee, Blaise,
and their children returned to the United States. Mukherjee wrote of the decision in "An Invisible Woman",
published in a 1981 issue of Saturday Night.
Mukherjee has taught at McGill University, Skidmore College, Queens College, and City University
of New York.
DARKNESS by Bharati Mukherjee
Taschenbuch: 208 Seiten
Verlag: Penguin Books Ltd (31. Oktober 1985)
Erscheinungsdatum: 26. Juni 1997
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