✪✪✪ Pen Name Of Jean Baptiste Poquelin

Tuesday, July 06, 2021 12:59:33 AM

Pen Name Of Jean Baptiste Poquelin

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With trembling hands, her grandmother had pressed her thumbs to the tears streaming down Ashima's face, wiping them away. It will all be for the best. Remember that. Now go. Through the Nandis, now expecting a child of their own, Ashoke and Ashima meet the Mitras, and through the Mitras, the Banerjees. More than once, pushing Gogol in his stroller, Ashima has been approached on the streets of Cambridge by young Bengali bachelors, shyly inquiring after her origins. Like Ashoke, the bachelors fly back to Calcutta one by one, returning with wives.

Every weekend, it seems, there is a new home to go to, a new couple or young family to meet. They all come from Calcutta, and for this reason alone they are friends. Most of them live within walking distance of one another in Cambridge. The husbands are teachers, researchers, doctors, engineers. The wives, homesick and bewildered, turn to Ashima for recipes and advice, and she tells them about the carp that's sold in Chinatown, that it's possible to make halwa from Cream of Wheat. The families drop by one another's homes on Sunday afternoons. They drink tea with sugar and evaporated milk and eat shrimp cutlets fried in saucepans. They sit in circles on the floor, singing songs by Nazrul and Tagore, passing a thick yellow clothbound book of lyrics among them as Dilip Nandi plays the harmonium.

They argue riotously over the films of Ritwik Ghatak versus those of Satyajit Ray. North Calcutta versus South. For hours they argue about the politics of America, a country in which none of them is eligible to vote. By February, when Gogol is six months old, Ashima and Ashoke know enough people to entertain on a proper scale. The occasion: Gogol's annaprasan, his rice ceremony. There is no baptism for Bengali babies, no ritualistic naming in the eyes of God. Instead, the first formal ceremony of their lives centers around the consumption of solid food. They ask Dilip Nandi to play the part of Ashima's brother, to hold the child and feed him rice, the Bengali staff of life, for the very first time.

Gogol is dressed as an infant Bengali groom, in a pale yellow pajamapunjabi from his grandmother in Calcutta. The fragrance of cumin seeds, sent in the package along with the pajamas, lingers in the weave. A headpiece that Ashima cut out of paper, decorated with pieces of aluminum foil, is tied around Gogol's head with string. He wears a thin fourteen-karat gold chain around his neck. His tiny forehead has been decorated with considerable struggle with sandalwood paste to form six miniature beige moons floating above his brows.

His eyes have been darkened with a touch of kohl. He fidgets in the lap of his honorary uncle, who sits on a bedcover on the floor, surrounded by guests in front and behind and beside him. The food is arranged in ten separate bowls. The final bowl contains payesh, a warm rice pudding Ashima will prepare for him to eat on each of his birthdays as a child, as an adult even, alongside a slice of bakery cake. He is photographed by his father and friends, frowning, as he searches for his mother's face in the crowd. She is busy setting up the buffet. She wears a silvery sari, a wedding gift worn for the first time, the sleeves of her blouse reaching the crook of her elbow.

His father wears a transparent white Punjabi top over bell-bottom trousers. Ashima sets out paper plates that have to be tripled to hold the weight of the biryani, the carp in yogurt sauce, the dal, the six different vegetable dishes she'd spent the past week preparing. The guests will eat standing, or sitting cross-legged on the floor. They've invited Alan and Judy from upstairs, who look as they always do, in jeans and thick sweaters because it is cold, leather sandals buckled over woolly socks. Judy eyes the buffet, bites into something that turns out to be a shrimp cutlet.

Gogol's feeding begins. It's all just a touch, a gesture. No one expects the boy to eat anything more than a grain of rice here, a drop of dal there—it is all meant to introduce him to a lifetime of consumption, a meal to inaugurate the tens of thousands of unremembered meals to come. A handful of women ululate as the proceedings begin. A conch shell is repeatedly tapped and passed around, but no one in the room is able to get it to emit a sound. Blades of grass and a pradeep's slim, steady flame are held to Gogol's head. The child is entranced, doesn't squirm or turn away, opens his mouth obediently for each and every course. He takes his payesh three times.

Ashima's eyes fill with tears as Gogol's mouth eagerly invites the spoon. She can't help wishing her own brother were here to feed him, her own parents to bless him with their hands on his head. And then the grand finale, the moment they have all been waiting for. To predict his future path in life, Gogol is offered a plate holding a clump of cold Cambridge soil dug up from the backyard, a ballpoint pen, and a dollar bill, to see if he will be a landowner, scholar, or businessman.

Most children will grab at one of them, sometimes all of them, but Gogol touches nothing. He shows no interest in the plate, instead turning away, briefly burying his face in his honorary uncle's shoulder. Gogol, take the pen. Dozens of dark heads hover expectantly. The material of the Punjabi pajama set begins to scratch his skin. Gogol frowns, and his lower lip trembles. Only then, forced at six months to confront his destiny, does he begin to cry.

Another August. Gogol is one, grabbing, walking a little, repeating words in two languages. He calls his mother "Ma," his father "Baba. He sleeps through the night and between noon and three each day. He has seven teeth. He constantly attempts to put the tiniest scraps of paper and lint and whatever else he finds on the floor into his mouth. Ashoke and Ashima are planning their first trip to Calcutta, in December, during Ashoke's winter break.

The upcoming journey inspires them to try to come up with a good name for Gogol, so they can submit his passport application. They turn to their Bengali friends for suggestions. Long evenings are devoted to considering this name or that. But nothing appeals to them. By then they've given up on the letter from Ashima's grandmother. They've given up on her grandmother remembering the name, for Ashima's grandmother, they are told, cannot even remember Ashima. Still, there is time. The trip to Calcutta is four months away. Ashima regrets that they can't go earlier, in time for Durga pujo, but it will be years before Ashoke is eligible for a sabbatical, and three weeks in December is all they can manage.

Judy replies that she and Alan are Buddhists. At breakneck speed Ashima knits sweater-vests for her father, her father-in-law, her brother, her three favorite uncles. They are all the same, V-necked, pine green yarn, knit five, purl two, on number-nine needles. The exception is her father's, done in a double-seed stitch with two thick cables and buttons down the front; he prefers cardigans to pullovers, and she remembers to put in pockets for the deck of cards he always carries with him, to play patience at a moment's notice. In addition to the sweater, she buys him three sable-haired paintbrushes from the Harvard Coop, sizes he's requested by mail. Though they are wildly expensive, more so than anything else she's ever bought in America, Ashoke says nothing when he sees the bill.

One day Ashima goes shopping in downtown Boston, spending hours in the basement of Jordan Marsh as she pushes Gogol in his stroller, spending every last penny. She buys mismatched teaspoons, percale pillowcases, colored candles, soaps on ropes. In a drugstore she buys a Timex watch for her father-in-law, Bic pens for her cousins, embroidery thread and thimbles for her mother and her aunts.

On the train home she is exhilarated, exhausted, nervous with anticipation of the trip. The train is crowded and at first she stands, struggling to hang on to all the bags and the stroller and the overhead strap, until a young girl asks if she'd like to sit down. Ashima thanks her, sinking gratefully into the seat, pushing the bags protectively behind her legs. She is tempted to sleep as Gogol does.

She leans her head against the window and closes her eyes and thinks of home. She pictures the black iron bars in the windows of her parents' flat, and Gogol, in his American baby clothes and diapers, playing beneath the ceiling fan, on her parents' four-poster bed. She pictures her father missing a tooth, lost after a recent fall, her mother has written, on the stairs. She tries to imagine how it will feel when her grandmother doesn't recognize her.

When she opens her eyes she sees that the train is standing still, the doors open at her stop. She leaps up, her heart racing. She stands there watching until the rear car disappears into the tunnel, until she and Gogol are the only people remaining on the platform. She pushes the stroller back down Massachusetts Avenue, weeping freely, knowing that she can't possibly afford to go back and buy it all again. For the rest of the afternoon she is furious with herself, humiliated at the prospect of arriving in Calcutta empty-handed apart from the sweaters and the paintbrushes.

But when Ashoke comes home he calls the MBTA lost and found; the following day the bags are returned, not a teaspoon missing. Somehow, this small miracle causes Ashima to feel connected to Cambridge in a way she has not previously thought possible, affiliated with its exceptions as well as its rules. She has a story to tell at dinner parties. Friends listen, amazed at her luck. One night not long after, they are fast asleep when the telephone rings. The sound rouses them instantly, their hearts hammering as if from the same frightening dream. Ashima knows even before Ashoke answers that it's a call from India. A few months ago, her family had asked in a letter for the phone number in Cambridge, and she had sent it reluctantly in her reply, aware that it would only be a way for bad news to reach her.

As Ashoke sits up and takes the receiver, answering in a weary, weakened voice, Ashima prepares herself. She pushes down the crib railing to comfort Gogol, who has begun stirring as a result of the telephone's rings, and reviews the facts in her head. Her grandmother is in her eighties, bedridden, all but senile, unable to eat or talk. The last few months of her life, according to her parents' most recent letter, have been painful, for her grandmother, for those who know her. It was no way to live. She pictures her mother saying all this gently into the next-door neighbors' phone, standing in the neighbors' sitting room. Ashima prepares herself for the news, to accept the fact that Gogol will never meet his great-grandmother, the giver of his lost name.

The room is unpleasantly cold. She picks up Gogol and gets back into bed, under the blanket. She presses the baby to her body for strength, puts him to her breast. She thinks of the cream-colored cardigan bought with her grandmother in mind, sitting in a shopping bag in the closet. She hears Ashoke speaking, saying soberly but loudly enough so that she fears he will wake Alan and Judy upstairs, "Yes, all right, I see. Don't worry, yes, I will. In the dark, he hands her the phone, and after a moment's hesitation, he gets out of bed. She takes the phone in order to hear the news for herself, to console her mother. She can't help but wonder who will console her the day her own mother dies, if that news will also come to her in this way, in the middle of the night, wresting her from dreams.

In spite of her dread she feels a thrill; this will be the first time she's heard her mother's voice in nearly three years. The first time, since her departure from Dum Dum Airport, that she will be called Monu. Only it isn't her mother but her brother, Rana, on the other end. His voice sounds small, threaded into a wire, barely recognizable through the holes of the receiver. Ashima's first question is what time it is there. She has to repeat the question three times, shouting in order to be heard.

Rana tells her it is lunchtime. She feels her chest ache, moved after all this time to hear her brother call her Didi, his older sister, a term he alone in the world is entitled to use. At the same time she hears water running in the Cambridge kitchen, her husband opening a cupboard for a glass. Has anything else happened to her? She would see her grandmother, after all, even if for one last time. She kisses Gogol on the top of his head, presses her cheek to his. Put Ma on," she says, crossing her ankles.

But another burst of static, longer this time, quiets her in midsentence. Can you hear me? Let's speak later. See you soon. Very soon. Write to me. An instant later she is confused and somewhat irritated. Why had he gone to the trouble of calling, only to ask an obvious question? Why call while both her parents were out? Ashoke returns from the kitchen, a glass of water in his hand. He sets down the water and switches on the small lamp by the side of the bed. It doesn't make sense. Tell me, what did he say? He presses her to the bed, lying on top of her, his face to one side, his body suddenly trembling. He holds her this way for so long that she begins to wonder if he is going to turn off the light and caress her.

Instead he tells her what Rana told him a few minutes ago, what Rana couldn't bear to tell his sister, over the telephone, himself: that her father died yesterday evening, of a heart attack, playing patience on his bed. They leave for India six days later, six weeks before they'd planned. Alan and Judy, waking the next morning to Ashima's sobs, then hearing the news from Ashoke, leave a vase filled with flowers by the door. In those six days, there is no time to think of a good name for Gogol. They get an express passport with "Gogol Ganguli" typed across the United States of America seal, Ashoke signing on his son's behalf. The day before leaving, Ashima puts Gogol in his stroller, puts the sweater she'd knit for her father and the paintbrushes in a shopping bag, and walks to Harvard Square, to the subway station.

When the train comes she heads immediately back to Central Square. This time she is wide awake. There are only a half-dozen people in the car, their faces hidden behind the Globe, or looking down at paperback books, or staring straight through her, at nothing. As the train slows to a halt she stands, ready to disembark. She does not turn back to look at the shopping bag, left purposely beneath her seat. The following evening they board a Pan Am flight to London, where after a five-hour layover they will board a second flight to Calcutta, via Tehran and Bombay. On the runway in Boston, her seat belt buckled, Ashima looks at her watch and calculates the Indian time on her fingers. But this time no image of her family comes to mind.

She refuses to picture what she shall see soon enough: her mother's vermilion erased from her part, her brother's thick hair shaved from his head in mourning. The wheels begin to move, causing the enormous metal wings to flap gently up and down. Ashima looks at Ashoke, who is double-checking to make sure their passports and green cards are in order. She watches him adjust his watch in anticipation of their arrival, the pale silver hands scissoring into place. I can't. And then Boston tilts away and they ascend effortlessly over a blackened Atlantic. The wheels retract and the cabin shakes as they struggle upward, through the first layer of clouds. Though Gogol's ears have been stuffed with cotton, he screams nevertheless in the arms of his grieving mother as they climb farther still, as he flies for the first time in his life across the world.

As far as they know, they are the only Bengali residents. The town has a historic district, a brief strip of colonial architecture visited by tourists on summer weekends. There is a white steepled Congregational church, a stone courthouse with an adjoining jail, a cupolaed public library, a wooden well from which Paul Revere is rumored to have drunk. In winter, tapers burn in the windows of homes after dark. Ashoke has been hired as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the university. In exchange for teaching five classes, he earns sixteen thousand dollars a year.

He is given his own office, with his name etched onto a strip of black plastic by the door. He shares, along with the other members of his department, the services of an elderly secretary named Mrs. Jones, who often puts a plate of homemade banana bread by the coffee percolator in the staff room. Ashoke suspects that Mrs. Jones, whose husband used to teach in the English department until his death, is about his own mother's age. Jones leads a life that Ashoke's mother would consider humiliating: eating alone, driving herself to work in snow and sleet, seeing her children and grandchildren, at most, three or four times a year.

The job is everything Ashoke has ever dreamed of. He has always hoped to teach in a university rather than work for a corporation. What a thrill, he thinks, to stand lecturing before a roomful of American students. What a sense of accomplishment it gives him to see his name printed under "Faculty" in the university directory. What joy each time Mrs. Jones says to him, "Professor Ganguli, your wife is on the phone. On Fridays, after he has taught his last class, he visits the library, to read international newspapers on long wooden poles.

He reads about U. At times he wanders up to the library's sun-filled, unpopulated top floor, where all the literature is shelved. He browses in the aisles, gravitating most often toward his beloved Russians, where he is particularly comforted, each time, by his son's name stamped in golden letters on the spines of a row of red and green and blue hardbound books. For Ashima, migrating to the suburbs feels more drastic, more distressing than the move from Calcutta to Cambridge had been. She wishes Ashoke had accepted the position at Northeastern so that they could have stayed in the city. She is stunned that in this town there are no sidewalks to speak of, no streetlights, no public transportation, no stores for miles at a time.

She has no interest in learning how to drive the new Toyota Corolla it is now necessary for them to own. Though no longer pregnant, she continues, at times, to mix Rice Krispies and peanuts and onions in a bowl. For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy—a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect. Her forays out of the apartment, while her husband is at work, are limited to the university within which they live, and to the historic district that flanks the campus on one edge.

She wanders around with Gogol, letting him run across the quadrangle, or sitting with him on rainy days to watch television in the student lounge. Once a week she makes thirty samosas to sell at the international coffeehouse, for twenty-five cents each, next to the linzer squares baked by Mrs. Etzold, and baklava by Mrs. After he turns four, she drops him off and fetches him from the university-run nursery school three mornings a week. For the hours that Gogol is at nursery school, finger-painting and learning the English alphabet, Ashima is despondent, unaccustomed, all over again, to being on her own. She misses her son's habit of always holding on to the free end of her sari as they walk together.

She misses the sound of his sulky, high-pitched little-boy voice, telling her that he is hungry, or tired, or needs to go to the bathroom. To avoid being alone at home she sits in the reading room of the public library, in a cracked leather armchair, writing letters to her mother, or reading magazines or one of her Bengali books from home. The room is cheerful, filled with light, with a tomato-colored carpet on the floor and people reading the paper around a big, round wooden table with forsythias or cattails arranged at its center. When she misses Gogol especially, she wanders into the children's room; there, pinned to a bulletin board, is a picture of him in profile, sitting cross-legged on a cushion during story hour, listening to the children's librarian, Mrs.

Aiken, reading The Cat in the Hat. After two years in an overheated university-subsidized apartment, Ashima and Ashoke are ready to purchase a home. In the evenings, after dinner, they set out in their car, Gogol in the back seat, to look at houses for sale. They do not look in the historic district, where the chairman of Ashoke's department lives, in an eighteenth-century mansion to which he and Ashima and Gogol are invited once a year for Boxing Day tea. Instead they look on ordinary roads where plastic wading pools and baseball bats are left out on the lawns. All the houses belong to Americans. Shoes are worn inside, trays of cat litter are placed in the kitchens, dogs bark and jump when Ashima and Ashoke ring the bell. They learn the names of the different architectural styles: cape, saltbox, raised ranch, garrison.

In the end they decide on a shingled two-story colonial in a recently built development, a house previously occupied by no one, erected on a quarter acre of land. This is the small patch of America to which they lay claim. Gogol accompanies his parents to banks, sits waiting as they sign the endless papers. The mortgage is approved and the move is scheduled for spring. Ashoke and Ashima are amazed, when moving by U-Haul to the new house, to discover how much they possess; each of them had come to America with a single suitcase, a few weeks' worth of clothes. Now there are enough old issues of the Globe stacked in the corners of the apartment to wrap all their plates and glasses.

There are whole years of Time magazine to toss out. The walls of the new house are painted, the driveway sealed with pitch, the shingles and sun deck weatherproofed and stained. Ashoke takes photographs of every room, Gogol standing somewhere in the frame, to send to relatives in India. There are pictures of Gogol opening up the refrigerator, pretending to talk on the phone. He is a sturdily built child, with full cheeks but already pensive features. When he poses for the camera he has to be coaxed into a smile. The house is fifteen minutes from the nearest supermarket, forty minutes from a mall. The address is 67 Pemberton Road. Their neighbors are the Johnsons, the Mertons, the Aspris, the Hills. There are four modest bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, eight-foot ceilings, a one-car garage.

In the living room is a brick fireplace and a bay window overlooking the yard. In the kitchen there are matching yellow appliances, a lazy Susan, linoleum made to look like tiles. A watercolor by Ashima's father, of a caravan of camels in a desert in Rajasthan, is framed at the local print shop and hung on the living room wall. Gogol has a room of his own, a bed with a built-in drawer in its base, metal shelves that hold Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, a View-Master, an Etch-A-Sketch. Most of Gogol's toys come from yard sales, as does most of the furniture, and the curtains, and the toaster, and a set of pots and pans.

At first Ashima is reluctant to introduce such items into her home, ashamed at the thought of buying what had originally belonged to strangers, American strangers at that. But Ashoke points out that even his chairman shops at yard sales, that in spite of living in a mansion an American is not above wearing a pair of secondhand pants, bought for fifty cents. When they first move into the house, the grounds have yet to be landscaped. And so for the first few months, four-year-old Gogol plays on an uneven, dirt-covered yard littered with stones and sticks, soiling his sneakers, leaving footprints in his path.

It is among his earliest memories. For the rest of his life he will remember that cold, overcast spring, digging in the dirt, collecting rocks, discovering black and yellow salamanders beneath an overturned slab of slate. He will remember the sounds of the other children in the neighborhood, laughing and pedaling their Big Wheels down the road. He will remember the warm, bright summer's day when the top-soil was poured from the back of a truck, and stepping onto the sun deck a few weeks later with both of his parents to see thin blades of grass emerge from the bald black lawn. In the beginning, in the evenings, his family goes for drives, exploring their new environs bit by bit: the neglected dirt lanes, the shaded back roads, the farms where one could pick pumpkins in autumn and buy berries sold in green cardboard boxes in July.

The back seat of the car is sheathed with plastic, the ashtrays on the doors still sealed. They drive until it grows dark, without destination in mind, past hidden ponds and graveyards, culs-de-sac and dead ends. Sometimes they drive out of the town altogether, to one of the beaches along the North Shore. Even in summer, they never go to swim or to turn brown beneath the sun. Instead they go dressed in their ordinary clothes. By the time they arrive, the ticket collector's booth is empty, the crowds gone; there is only a handful of cars in the parking lot, and the only other visitors are people walking their dogs or watching the sun set or dragging metal detectors through the sand.

Together, as the Gangulis drive, they anticipate the moment the thin blue line of ocean will come into view. On the beach Gogol collects rocks, digs tunnels in the sand. He and his father wander barefoot, their pant legs rolled halfway up their calves. He watches his father raise a kite within minutes into the wind, so high that Gogol must tip his head back in order to see, a rippling speck against the sky. The wind whips around their ears, turning their faces cold. Snowy gulls hover with wings spread, low enough to touch. Gogol darts in and out of the ocean, making faint, temporary footprints, soaking his rolled-up cuffs.

His mother cries out, laughing, as she lifts her sari a few inches above her ankles, her slippers in one hand, and places her feet in foaming, ice-cold water. She reaches out to Gogol, takes his hand. The waves retract, gathering force, the soft, dark sand seeming to shift away instantly beneath their feet, causing them to lose their balance. It's pulling me in," she always says. The August that Gogol turns five, Ashima discovers she is pregnant again. In the mornings she forces herself to eat a slice of toast, only because Ashoke makes it for her and watches her while she chews it in bed. Her head constantly spins. She spends her days lying down, a pink plastic wastepaper basket by her side, the shades drawn, her mouth and teeth coated with the taste of metal.

Staggering out to the kitchen at lunchtime, to prepare a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Gogol, she is revolted by the odor of the fridge, convinced that the contents of her vegetable drawers have been replaced with garbage, that meat is rotting on the shelves. Sometimes Gogol lies beside her in his parents' bedroom, reading a picture book, or coloring with crayons. Won't that be exciting?

She teaches him to memorize a four-line children's poem by Tagore, and the names of the deities adorning the ten-handed goddess Durga during pujo: Saraswati with her swan and Kartik with his peacock to her left, Lakshmi with her owl and Ganesh with his mouse to her right. In the evenings Gogol and his father eat together, alone, a week's worth of chicken curry and rice, which his father cooks in two battered Dutch ovens every Sunday. As the food reheats, his father tells Gogol to shut the bedroom door because his mother cannot tolerate the smell.

It is odd to see his father presiding in the kitchen, standing in his mother's place at the stove. When they sit down at the table, the sound of his parents' conversation is missing, as is the sound of the television in the living room, playing the news. His father eats with his head bent over his plate, flipping through the latest issue of Time, occasionally glancing at Gogol to make sure he is eating as well. Though his father remembers to mix up the rice and curry for Gogol beforehand, he doesn't bother to shape it into individual balls the way his mother does, lining them around his plate like the numbers on a clockface.

Gogol has already been taught to eat on his own with his fingers, not to let the food stain the skin of his palm. He has learned to suck the marrow from lamb, to extract the bones from fish. But without his mother at the table he does not feel like eating. He keeps wishing, every evening, that she would emerge from the bedroom and sit between him and his father, filling the air with her sari and cardigan smell. He grows bored of eating the same thing day after day, and one evening he discreetly pushes the remaining food to the side. With his index finger, in the traces of leftover sauce, he begins to draw on his plate.

He plays tic-tac-toe. Ashoke shakes his head at Gogol, disapproving, unyielding. Each day Ashoke is pained by the half-eaten sandwiches people toss into garbage cans on campus, apples abandoned after one or two bites. At your age I ate tin. By the time Gogol starts, it is already the second week of the school year. But for the past week, Gogol has been in bed, just like his mother, listless, without appetite, claiming to have a stomachache, even vomiting one day into his mother's pink wastepaper basket. He doesn't want to go to kindergarten. He doesn't want to wear the new clothes his mother has bought him from Sears, hanging on a knob of his dresser, or carry his Charlie Brown lunch box, or board the yellow school bus that stops at the end of Pemberton Road.

The school, unlike the nursery school, is several miles from the house, several miles from the university. On numerous occasions he's been driven to see the building, a low, long, brick structure with a perfectly flat roof and a flag that flaps at the top of a tall white pole planted on the lawn. There is a reason Gogol doesn't want to go to kindergarten. His parents have told him that at school, instead of being called Gogol, he will be called by a new name, a good name, which his parents have finally decided on, just in time for him to begin his formal education.

The name, Nikhil, is artfully connected to the old. Not only is it a perfectly respectable Bengali good name, meaning "he who is entire, encompassing all," but it also bears a satisfying resemblance to Nikolai, the first name of the Russian Gogol. Ashoke had thought of it recently, staring mindlessly at the Gogol spines in the library, and he had rushed back to the house to ask Ashima her opinion. He pointed out that it was relatively easy to pronounce, though there was the danger that Americans, obsessed with abbreviation, would truncate it to Nick.

Ashima still dreams of the letter at times, discovering it after all these years in the mailbox on Pemberton Road, opening it up only to find it blank. But Gogol doesn't want a new name. He can't understand why he has to answer to anything else. It would be one thing if his parents were to call him Nikhil, too. But they tell him that the new name will be used only by the teachers and children at school. He is afraid to be Nikhil, someone he doesn't know.

Who doesn't know him. His parents tell him that they each have two names, too, as do all their Bengali friends in America, and all their relatives in Calcutta. It's a part of growing up, they tell him, part of being a Bengali. They write it for him on a sheet of paper, ask him to copy it over ten times. McNab, who asks Ashoke to fill out a registration form. He provides a copy of Gogol's birth certificate and immunization record, which Mrs. McNab puts in a folder along with the registration.

McNab says, leading them to the principal's office. Lapidus assures Ashoke that missing the first week of kindergarten is not a problem, that things have yet to settle down. Lapidus is a tall, slender woman with short white-blond hair. She wears frosted blue eye shadow and a lemon yellow suit. She shakes Ashoke's hand and tells him that there are two other Indian children at the school, Jayadev Modi in the third grade and Rekha Saxena in fifth. Perhaps the Gangulis know them? Ashoke tells Mrs.

Lapidus that they do not. She looks at the registration form and smiles kindly at the boy, who is clutching his father's hand. Gogol is dressed in powder blue pants, red and white canvas sneakers, a striped turtleneck top. I am your principal, Mrs. The way the principal pronounces his new name is different from the way his par ents say it, the second part of it longer, sounding like "heel. Lapidus asks, "Mr. Ganguli, does Nikhil follow English? Lapidus how old you are. Lapidus says.

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French playwright and actor — This article is about the French playwright. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary 3rd ed. ISBN Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary 18th ed. Cambridge University Press. Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 30 June The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Lives of the Most Eminent French Writers.

Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard. History of the Theatre. USA: Pearson. The Jesuits; a history from Ignatius to the present. London: Sheed and Ward. Stephen C. Ballet and Modern Dance - Second Edition. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 29 September Gale Group , Inc. Retrieved 28 November — via Enotes. Translated by Page, Curtis Hidden. Putnam's Sons. Retrieved 27 June London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. A Terrible Liar: A Memoir. New York: Morrow. Retrieved 1 November A Short History of the Drama.

Retrieved November 27, — via Theatredatabase. The Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 25 February Tartuffe Tartuffe Le tartuffe Tartuffe opera.

He never married, but fathered a daughter French satirist. Victor Pen name of jean baptiste poquelinRobert W. Eileen Joyce Rutter. They look curiously, appreciatively, into the pram. Pen name of jean baptiste poquelin, Dipl.