Matchbox project is a captivating exploration of the ordinary made extraordinary. It invites us into a world where the seemingly unassuming matchbox becomes a symbol of connection, memory, and culture. Matchbox Summary Pdf a collection of stories, anecdotes, and insights, the Matchbox project unveils the hidden narratives and personal histories that lie within this everyday object. Read More Class 12 English Summaries.
Matchbox About The Author :
– Ashapurna Debi
Ashapurna Debi (1909-1995) is a prominent Bengali novelist and poet. She has received many awards including Jnanpith and Padma Shri.
Matchbox Summary in English
Page 1: I always compare women to matchboxes. Matchboxes contain enough gun powder to make a hundred Lankas burn. But they sit around meek and innocent in the kitchen, in the pantry, in the bedroom, in fact in any place. Women are the same. Here is an example.
Look at that enormous 3-story house in front. It is Sunday morning. The washer-man has come to collect the soiled clothes. Nomita is the wife and Ajit is the husband. Before handing over Ajit’s dirty clothes, Nomita checks his pockets. She discovers a letter. It was a twisted, crumpled and torn envelope with Nomita’s name on it. Suddenly Nomita is tensed up. She drops the clothes and sits on the bed to read the letter. It had come at least 3 days earlier, as is evident from the postmark.
Ajit had opened and read it. Then he crumpled and twisted it and dropped’if into his pocket. He did not even think it necessary to speak about it to Nomita. She is angry. This is not a casual oversight, but a deliberate action on Ajit’s part.
Page 18: Ajit’s nature is like that. Ajit and Nomita live in a joint family. There are 26 people there. Ajit somehow got the key to the letter box. Whenever he finds a letter addressed to Nomita, he opens it and reads it first. Sometimes he gives the letter to her but sometimes he does not. That is what Nomita thinks. So far Ajit has not discovered any letter that is even slightly suspicious. But his ugly habit will not go. She tried many things to make him stop reading her letter. She showed anger, took offense, tried to shame him and used sarcasm. Nothing worked. He just laughs it away. Sometimes he scolds her.
Nomita now reads the letter. It is from her mother. She goes on complaining about things – the ceiling of her room is cracked and the rainwater falls in. If this is not remedied she may die as the roof comes crashing down. She does not mind death. Her daughter is a queen and her son-in-law is high minded and large-hearted, etc. etc.
Nomita’s mother is a widow. She has no son. She was successful in getting Nomita married into a wealthy family because of Nomita’s looks. The old lady always boasts of her achievement. She always requests for help from Nomita. Whenever Ajit sees a new letter he knows it is for requesting money and so he says, “Why read the letter? I’ll go and fill out a money-order form.”
Nomita feels ashamed. Out of anger and grief, Nomita wrote to her mother not to write on postcards because then everybody would read it. She would send her some money in secret whenever she could manage.
Suddenly Nomita gets angry at her mother. Why does she go on begging like this? Why doesn’t she allow Nomita to keep her self-respect and dignity? She decides to write a letter to her mother telling her that she won’t help her any more:
Ajit comes into the room after having his leisurely Sunday bath. Nomita, terribly angry, asks him when the letter had come. Ajit knows he has made a mistake. He had planned to send some money to Nomita’s mother and throw away the letter. He made a mistake in leaving it in his pocket. As though trying to remember hard, Ajit asks, “Letter? What letter?” Then as if remembering suddenly he says that he was planning to give it to her. But he had forgotten.
Nomita calls him a liar and hisses like a snake. She wanted to know why he had opened her letter. Ajit says he has a right to open his wife’s letter. She says she had repeatedly told him not to open her letters. Ajit tries to laugh the matter away. Jokingly he says, “Shouldn’t I make sure that no one is passing you love letters in secret?”
Nomita explodes in anger. “Stop it! What a common, vulgar man you are!” Ajit can’t continue with his fake smile. He too is enraged.
Page 20: He asks her how could her mother go on begging for money from him and still think they are high-class people. How can a dung-picker’s daughter be a queen? Nomita asks him to shut up. She spoke so loudly that everybody nearby would hear her if she was speaking from the ground floor. But they were on the 3rd floor. Ajit says he won’t shut up and will do what he wants. What can she do about it? She says she can do something. She now does something quite astonishing. She picks up a matchbox lying near and lights a matchstick and touches it to her sari. The sari flares up. Asking if she has gone mad, Ajit comes rushing and puts out the fire using his hands. Now he is a little afraid. He looks at her and he sees fire burning, blazing on her face. He can’t easily put out that fire. He tells her that she loses all common sense when she is angry. How could a woman be so angry!
Nomita was about to say something. But her niece Rini steps into the room. Rini asks her how long the washer-man should wait. If Nomita does not want to give him any clothes, tell him. Fora moment Nomita does not say anything. Then she picks up the dirty clothes and sorts them. She asks Rini to go down and tell the washer¬man to wait for her.
Nomita speaks her mind. No one attacks her outright. But they pinch her with sharp words. Her second sister- in-law is tired with work this morning. When she sees Nomita, she puts a twisted smile and says sarcastically that.it was good that finally she decided to come down. She accuses her of always running to Ajit for her comfort whether there is work at home or not. She asks her if their love-talk will never end.
Nomita looks around. She sees many there. She does not want her voice to tremble. She also puts on a smile and tells the sister-in-law to come to their room and peek. It is not always love-talk, there is also angry talk.
The sister-in-law laughs and says that she should not try to pretend that they are not always talking love. She says she is not foolish. There is no need to peek. Even without peeking, they all know what is happening in the room. Nomita laughs at her and says she is fond of saying naughty things.
The eldest sister-in-law suddenly comes running and asks if she has finished cutting the vegetables. She asks them if they are spending time chitchatting. Suddenly she notices the burned sari of Nomita and asks her how it happened. Nomita is silent for a moment. Then she says she used that part of the sari to lift a hot pot from the stove and that is how it got burned.
Nomita starts peeling potatoes. Secretly she is thinking how she could send some money to her mother. She can’t write and tell her mother that she can’t do anything. The entire village knows Nomita is a queen, and Ajit is large-hearted.
This is why I compare women with matchboxes. Even when they have material within themselves to burn many things, they never flare up to burn away the mask of men’s high-mindedness and their large-heartedness. They don’t burn even their own colourful shells. The men know that. That is why they leave them scattered carelessly in the kitchen, in the pantry, in the bedroom, here, there and everywhere. Without fear, they also put them in their pockets.
The Matchbox Summary Essay project offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective on the intricate connections between seemingly ordinary objects and the rich tapestry of human life. Matchbox Summary Pdf its exploration of the matchbox’s significance across different cultures, historical contexts, and personal stories, we are reminded that the most mundane items can hold profound meaning.