• Monika Satote

Dopehri by Pankaj Kapur : A short and powerful story of self-realisation

If you directly translate Dopehri to English, it means something that happens in the afternoon or a tale of the afternoon. And that is what this story is related to! Something that happens every afternoon leads to a string of events and ends beautifully. It is a sketch of loneliness, hope and a perfect example of self-realization needs no age.

Originally written in Hindustani by Pankaj Kapur and translated in English by Rahul Soni, Dopehari takes us on a journey of a 65-year-old widow Amma Bi becoming Mumtaz Siddique. Amma Bi has an aura, wealth and a magnanimous house called Lal Haveli in Lucknow. But that Haveli hears no sound of kids running, or the noise of utensils or humans chattering. That Haveli only echoes the sound of footsteps every afternoon at 3 PM. And in that time Amma Bi forgets her grand aura, and her faint heart makes her fear about this sound to the death. This fear makes her restless. But how does she ask someone to live with her, even as a tenant? She is an Amma Bi of Lal Haveli, Afterall. The only person that Haveli sees other than Amma Bi is Jumman, Bi’s servant with whom she shares a very on and off relationship.


When this keeps happening, Amma Bi finally decides to keep a lodger through Saxena ji, a dear friend of the dead husband. When she meets Sahiba, a lodger, Amma Bi's world fills with new hope and sunshine. Sahiba unintentionally helps Amma Bi to realise her identity, and the forgotten self-worth. How? That’s the beauty book. This book ends so beautifully that you feel fulfilled just as Amma Bi.

This book is written in a very simple and plain language and anyone can read this, I would say, feel this. As this book is just 70 pages long, I loved the way the story is winded up in short yet beautifully. The ending of this book couldn’t have been any better. I loved it so so much. This is not only a strong story but also humorous in some parts. If you are planning to read this, what are you waiting for?




15 views