It was the most trivial matter, requiring only a few words for its narration.

Ashu has a younger sister. The girl has neither friends of her age nor any sisters, so Ashu is her only playmate.

An iron railing, with a driveway gate in the middle, surrounds the porch of Ashu's house. On that particular day, it was raining heavily. A few pedestrians, holding their shoes in their hands and with umbrellas over their heads, were hurrying along. They kept their eyes fixed on the path and did not have the leisure to look around anywhere else. Ashu spent the cloudy and dark holiday playing with his sister on the porch; the only sound to be heard was that of the falling rain.

It was the wedding day of their dolls. Ashu was busy planning for the wedding and advising his sister about the arrangements.

Now, the question arose as to who should officiate as the priest. The girl ran up to someone who had taken shelter on their porch and asked him, "Will you be the priest at the wedding of our dolls?"

Ashu turned around to see to whom his sister was talking. It was a half-wet Shibnath Pondit standing there with a folded and dripping umbrella; he was walking by when the rain forced him to take shelter on the porch. The little girl was requesting him to be the priest at the wedding of her dolls.

When he saw Ponditmoshai, Ashu left the play, his sister, and everything else and disappeared inside the house. His holiday had turned to dust.

Shibnath Pondit narrated this trivial incident to the boys the next day. He told the story mockingly, making a mountain out of a molehill, to explain why he had chosen to call Ashu by the new name of "Ginni", meaning housewife. At first, Ashu smiled gently as he always did and tried to join in the laughter that greeted the story from all sides. Just then the bell rang, announcing the recess. All the classes broke for lunch, and the maid from Ashu's home came and stood by the door, holding some sweets wrapped in sal leaves and water in a shiny jug.

While laughing at himself, Ashu's face and ears turned crimson, and the veins on his forehead bulged out. The tears, which he had held back till now, gushed out uncontrollably.

Shibnath Pondit had finished eating his food and was contentedly smoking a pipe in the staff room. The boys surrounded Ashu and gleefully shouted "Ginni, Ginni" into his ears. Ashu felt he had done the most shameful thing by playing with his little sister during the holiday. His mind refused to believe that the people on the earth would ever forget this incident.


Summary and Comments

In "Golpoguchcho", a collection of stories by Rabindranath Tagore, Gurudev has stated how he got ideas for some of his stories.

The story "Ginni" was born out of his memory of school days, Gurudev has stated. Among the teachers was one who used profane language. Tagore says he never answered to any of the teacher's questions out of disrespect for him.

"Ginni" is a story about a teacher who likes to humiliate his students. He mocks them and addresses them by derogatory names. He calls one of the students "Bhetki", alluding to the boy's resemblance to a fish. Ashu is a gentle and shy boy, good at his studies. His only fault is that he sometimes comes late to the class. The teacher has coined a new name for him, "Ginni".

"Ginni" is not derogatory; it means "housewife". But a boy, if called "Ginni" in front of others, would feel embarrassed, especially if the teacher calls him by this name to imply he is a sissy. The teacher calls him by this name because he has discovered that Ashu loves to play with his younger sister. The sister has no playmates of her age; Ashu is her only playmate. Ashu plays with dolls. So, the teacher calls him "Ginni". The other boys find this very amusing, and they tease Ashu.

The little boy feels very embarrassed. He thinks he has done the most shameful thing by playing with his sister. After telling about the thoughts troubling Ashu, the story ends. Perhaps, the author has left it to the readers to figure out what would happen next.

Quite a few things could happen. Ashu might feel bad for a few days, and then things would be as usual. If that happens, then no great harm is done. But a child's mind is sensitive. If Ashu becomes thoroughly convinced that he has done the most shameful thing, he might stop playing with his sister. He might even start hating her. That would be the end of a lovely brother-sister relationship, all because of an insensitive teacher. A boy who thinks it is shameful to play with his sister could grow into a man who looks down upon women.

The lives of children who are constantly teased, humiliated, or bullied can be permanently scarred.

Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu