• Srinjay Chakravarti


Parashuram’s short story ‘Striptease’, titled ‘Nirmok Nritya’ in Bengali (Bangla), is rather popular for its novel treatment of the female body vis-à-vis the male gaze. In this story, Parashuram (alias Rajshekhar Basu) spotlights the objectification of the female body, but with a wicked twist. However, the dynamics of gender and the binaries of female/male sexuality are expressed in a matrix of Hindu mythology, which initially make the story, especially some of its referents, somewhat inaccessible to not just Western readers but anyone unfamiliar with the Indian milieu. Yet, given Basu’s genius, his treatment of the theme is such that the appeal of the short story is universal, irrespective of the culture the reader belongs to. The gentleness of his satire—without being titillating or obscene—is especially alluring. The Bengali title can be literally translated as ‘The Dance of the Shedding of Shells’, or ‘The Dance in which Skins are Sloughed Off’. This is typical of Parashuram’s understated, elliptical, implicit sense of humour. The Bengali title does contribute to the overall impact of the original story, but it would not be an appropriate one in an English translation. Ergo, the title that naturally suggested itself was ‘Striptease’.


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