Paper Type: Book print paper | Size: 178 mm x 128 mm
Black and white; 100 pages; Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-93-89136-09-8


The story of the Buddha is well-known, yet the original Bengali story of Nalak by Abanindranath Tagore remains unforgettable because of the sheer lyricism of the storytelling and the way in which the journeys of the Buddha and the young village boy Nalak are traced parallely throughout. They are like Rumi’s lovers, seeking each other but in each other all along. The author, literally painting pictures with words, takes us through the story of Nalak’s coming of-age—his quest to find the Buddha, the joys and sacrifices along this path. As in unfulfilled love, Buddha and Nalak never actually cross paths, missing each other by a hairbreadth. But the relationship is still complete. And the bittersweet end describes Nalak’s homecoming, bac to his mother.

Nalak is often treated as a book for children but it far transcends that label. It is deeply moving and profoundly philosophical. Nalak in its English translation has no chapters and the narrative flows like a meditation with subtle pauses. The lyrical quality of the text and the intrinsic visual appeal in Abanindranath Tagore’s descriptions, though hard to portray in translation, have been brilliantly captured and nothing has been lost in translation.


Abanindranath  Tagore
Abanindranath Tagore

Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951) was an artist and writer from the illustrious Tagore family, and a nephew of Rabindranath Tagore. The principal innovator of the Bengal school of art, he created a distinctive Swadeshi style of art at a time when only western models were being imitated and practised in contemporary India. He revitalised Rajput and Mughal art into ethereal water colours, and his later works incorporated Chinese and Japanese influences as well. He was appointed by Calcutta University as the Bageswari Professor of Oriental Art, and his writings and lectures on art remain relevant and important to art theory and practice to this day. His literary works, of delight to children and adults alike – Buro Angla, Khirer Putul, Bhoot-Potrir Deshe, Nalak and Raj Kahini – are marked by the delightful whimsy of his imagination and brought alive by his singular ability to paint pictures with words.

Urbi  Bhaduri
Urbi Bhaduri

Bewitched by the magic of words for as long as she can remember, Urbi Bhaduri is forever sniffing out stories in bookshops and libraries and greedily scanning random bookshelves. She is the mother of four cocker spaniels with formal, unpronounceable Bengali names and a little girl who reminds her of Totto Chan. Much of her work, which she calls Maps for Lost Writers, is about having conversations with people who are into making things like books, films or performance art, and helping them through the stickiness of the creative process. She is still into her childhood pastime of interpreting cloud shapes as they form, travel and slow-dissolve across the sky. The sight of red and yellow krishnachura and radhachura flowers flaming against dark monsoon skies is one of her favourite sights in the world. She thinks that many things in the world are a poem. Her first book, a translation of Abanindranath Tagore’s Nalak, is the story of the Buddha seen through the eyes of a little boy.