Brihospoti’s Clock

In the year 1582 AD the Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, and polymath, from Pisa, Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei discovered that time could be calculated using a pendulum. He inked the blueprint of a wound-up device, which could measure time and changed the history of Christendom. Using his designs, seventy-four years later in 1656, Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and inventor, invented the first mechanical clock in human history.

The next year, in 1657, Huygens patented the design and engaged Salomon Coster, a Dutch clockmaker from Hague to build the first pendulum clock in the seventeenth century. Twenty-three years later in 1680, William Clement discovered that by increasing the length of the pendulum the clock’s accuracy could be increased.

It meant that the casing for the pendulum had to be elongated, this gave them the name of ‘Long Case Clocks,’ which later came to be known as the six-feet three-inch ‘Grandfather Clocks.’ Shorter variants of the same would come to be referred to as the ‘Grandmother Clock’. For the next three hundred years, these mechanical wonders would remain as the most accurate and trusted timekeepers of humanity.

Finally, in 1721, George Graham, an English clockmaker, inventor, and geophysicist, and a Fellow of the Royal Society, perfected the clock to the precision of a second. Two centuries later in 1912, Joseph Kieninger established the Kieninger Clock Company, the oldest and perhaps the finest manufacturer of clocks still in existence.

Now in the year 1990, one of the very original clocks built by Joseph Kieninger himself; stood at a corner of a damp and dingy room on the 1st floor of a two-storey dilapidated building housed in a tiny lane of the Hatibangan area in the city of Kolkata in India’s West Bengal state.

Brihospoti Mookerjee was the sole resident of this house, the ‘Mookerjee Villa’ and the last surviving member of his family. The fifty-one-year-old bachelor was comfortable with his whimsical and solitary life, living in this crumbling ancestral adobe along with some bygone furniture and fading antiques.

Of all the things Brihospoti owned, the Kieninger Grandfather Clock was his most precious thing. Every day he would dedicate hours to the antique clock’s upkeep. He would wind it, wipe it, clean it, admire it, and even talk to it.

The middle-aged man was as unsocial as a person could be. At a younger age, he had desired to start a family, settle down, and marry, however, as time passed, he was unable to find someone to tie the knot with. A lot of his hostility and crankiness was perhaps a result of this.

As a booking clerk of the Indian Railways, Brihospoti had spent the last twenty years of his life permanently posted at the Sealdah Railway Station selling train tickets. Like his uneventful life, his job too was as monotonous as it could be.

Apart from the nine to five railway duty, the man hardly ventured out of the house. At home, Brihospoti would spend much of his time brooding and lamenting over his solitary life. He would sadly regret his bland and lonely existence without a wife. During these empty evening hours, his only comfort was in taking care and talking to the old Kieninger timekeeping device.

Now the lane, on which Mookerjee Villa was situated was barely ten feet wide. Well, this was considered to a be good gap between houses in North Kolkata’s cramped and unplanned lanes and alleyways. For there were some passages betwixt buildings that were as narrow as two feet in breadth.

The Mookerjee Villa, a facade nearly two hundred years of age, a small house though, was built in a splendid gothic architectural style. Though today it looked like an abandoned house covered in banyan trees sprouting from its cracked outer walls, was certainly a beautiful looking home when it was built.

Presently in the year 1990, the city of Kolkata as any other developing metropolis in the world was fighting to create spaces for people to live. The answer to this space problem had come as the modern-day apartment or flat building.

These cooperative housing societies sprouted like mushrooms all over the metropolis. Closely packed and stacked against each other they were gradually replacing the old houses in the streets and bylanes of the city. Many of them were built by goonish promoters with dubious ties profiteering from illegal activities.

Chelu Panda was such a man, a black marketeer with two stores of imported goods in Khidderpore’s shady Fancy Market and an antique shop in Mirza Ghalib Street. The man had started as a roadside ruffian, who had done a few murders in his time, and now through the blessings of powerful businessmen and politicians had become a promoter acquiring old houses and building apartments dotting the city’s skyline.

Now bang opposite to Brihospoti’s house, Chelu Panda had raised his newest four-storey sixteen-flat residence. There were a lot of questions about how he acquired the old house and built this new apartment place, however, no one dared to raise a red flag or say anything. New owners were gradually starting to come, take possession and live in the building.

Chelu Panda for many years now had been after Brihospoti, trying to acquire the Mookerjee Vila from him. The goon, however, to date had been unsuccessful in convincing the lonely and melancholy Bengali to sell him the property.

Then one Sunday, in the flat right opposite to Brihospoti’s first-floor damp and dingy room housing the Kieninger Grandfather Clock, a single lady in her mid-forties came and took residence.

At first, Brihospoti had not looked at her properly given his shy and unsocial demeanour, however, after a few days while cleaning his clock he observed the lady would be constantly looking at him. She looked at him in between most of the things she did, in between nearly every of her household chores, before going out of the house for her day-job, and right after coming back from it. It was like an infatuation with her to look at him it seemed.

Initially, he felt a bit intruded, however, on looking at her properly a few times, Brihospoti could not take his eyes off this middle-aged Bengali beauty. In time he came to know from the local grocery store, that she was Mrs Halder, a widow who had lost her husband a year back and was now trying to get over her grief and start a new life.

Gradually it became an obsession with Brihospoti to sneak a glance from the corner of his eyes to look at Mrs Halder looking at him cleaning and spending time with his beloved grandfather clock, the Kieninger timekeeping device.

He realised that the lady must have found him very charming and surely had developed a massive interest or even an attraction towards him. Otherwise, why would a middle-aged lonely widow look at a man through the window all the time?

Then on a few occasions, Brihospoti saw Chelu Panda along with some of his goons speaking with Mrs Halder. Every time, his voice would become gradually louder confronting the lady, and when the ruffian left, Mrs Halder would be in tears, sobbing all alone for hours. Brihospoti could see all this through his window peering into Mrs Halder’s drawing room and thought that the hoodlum in some big way must have entrapped his secret admirer.

Brihospoti wanted to do something for the lady he had come to silently love but did not know what to do until one-day Chelu Panda and his goons knocked on his door to speak a few words.

“Chelu you can come up to speak with me, but your goons are not welcome in my house,” said the middle-aged Bengali with some newfound love-fuelled courage and assertiveness.

Chelu was surprised with this, Brihospoti had never invited him into his house previously. All their conversations were outside in the alley. Not beating around the bush and of course fuelled with the newfound courage of love Brihospoti bluntly asked Chelu, that why was he troubling Mrs Halder and he should just let her be.

Sitting in Brihospoti’s drawing room, Chelu was hardly listening to what this suddenly courageous Bengali man was saying. His eyes were fixated on the old Kieninger timekeeping device. Being a dealer in antique the ruffian had realised the worth of the clock and could not look at or think about anything else other than the priceless grandfather clock in front of his eyes.

Regaining his composure and better listening to what Brihospoti was saying, maybe for the fourth time, Chelu recognised a middle-aged man madly in love with a widow, ready to do anything to end her troubles and better her life.

“Brihospoti babu, working very hard and saving money all her life Mrs Halder had bought this flat from me. Her late husband who was an addicted gambler lost the deed of the house to me over a card game of Teenpatti. I can throw Mrs Halder out of her house any day unless she gives me, what her late husband owes me, four lakh rupees,” said the gangster to the flabbergasted Bengali.

“I see a solution, however, if you give me your old clock, I will give back the deed of the flat to Mrs Halder and never disturb her again. Hell! I will never even bother you to sell me your house,” said Chelu to Brihospoti in a really sincere and honest way.

Thinking for a bit, Brihospoti agreed with Chelu and struck the deal with him. That day Chelu and his gang took away the clock from Mukherjee Villa to his antique shop in Mirza Ghalib Street.

Right from the day after Chelu took away the clock, for some reason Mrs Halder stopped looking at Brihospoti. She seemed to be leading a happier life but showed no interest to look at him, and this was killing the middle-aged love-sick Bengali.

Then finally one-day Brihospoti made up his mind to confront Mrs Halder. He was determined to speak with the lady, tell her that he loved her and that he wanted to marry her. He was all courageous because it was she who had started all this by constantly looking at him. With a great preparation on that day, Mr Mookerjee decked himself up and caught up with the lady on her usual route back from work.

The nervous love-sick Bengali introduced himself as Mr Brihospoti Mookerjee, her neighbour from right across the street. Mrs Halder reciprocated by saying that she knew him, and a casual conversation started between them as the two walked towards their homes looking all hopeful and happy.

Then the moment of truth finally came and Brihospoti was about to ask Mrs Halder about her interest in him as she always used to look at him. Just before Brihospoti was about to stutter this, Mrs Halder said a very unexpected thing.

“Do you know Mr Mookerjee when I was shifting, in a great hurry I misplaced some of my things? When I unpacked everything I realised that I had lost my wall clock, which was very important to me. You see I am a stickler with time and need to do everything by the clock. Unfortunately, I am allergic to a wristwatch, so I decided that the next day I would go to the market and buy me a wall hanging or pedestal timepiece,” said Mrs Halder to Mr Mookerjee, who was bubbling inside like a child to tell her that she was the heroine of his love story.

“That day in the evening when I looked out of my window across the lane through yours, I saw you cleaning the most beautiful grandfather clock I had ever see. It, being clearly visible from my window I became dependent on looking at it to get the correct time for everything I did. I started looking at it to do all my chores, for cooking, and every other thing,” said Mrs Halder to Mr Mookerjee with a tone of apology.

“I must ask for your forgiveness for looking at your house all the time. I actually had no other interest other than knowing the time. For this, you must excuse me,” said the apologetic lady to the Bengali babu, who suddenly looked all pale, blank and lost in time.

“A month back, one fine day I saw that your clock was not there anymore, and with my obsessive nature that very evening I went to the market and got myself a wall clock very fine. Since then, fortunately, I did not have to peep into your window all the time,” said Mrs Halder with a deep and relieving sigh.

The lady then enquired, “well now that we know each other, can I ask what happened to your beautiful grandfather clock?” An embarrassed Brihospoti who a moment ago was about to express his deep love, barely managing his composure took a moment and big gulp to say, “You see Mrs Halder I had to sell the timepiece to save my love. Now if you excuse me, I shall be on my way! Goodbye! It seems I too need to buy myself a clock.”

Brihospotis Clock


Copyright © 2021 TRISHIKH DASGUPTA

This work of fiction, written by Trishikh Dasgupta is the author’s sole intellectual property. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, send an email to the author at trishikh@gmail.com or get in touch with Trishikh on the CONTACT page of this website.

67 Comments Add yours

  1. A touching love story. I think he should have told her how he felt about her. I’m not convinced it was all about the clock. Was he standing in front of the clock every time she came to visit? I doubt it, then if not…she was looking at him but too bashful to tell him.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      All these brilliant and beautiful analysis I leave to the imagination of my readers. Maybe you are right, perhaps she had an interest too and was too shy to admit. Well to find out what happens next is another story I guess.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks, an intriguing story for Valentine’s Day.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        Oh! Yes you are right. I did not remember it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Lucky I guess the story came out this way.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, it’s two more days here. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Trishikh says:

        In India it’s tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It’s still Friday night in America.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Trishikh says:

        It’s Saturday morning in India.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. We have a couple of hours left in Friday. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you mind if I reblog it?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      I would love to have you reblog my story. It would be my honour. You may reblog any of them anytime.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. rulookingforjesus says:

    like your work

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. It always means a lot when someone appreciates.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rulookingforjesus says:

        You are very welcome

        Liked by 1 person

  4. elvira797mx says:

    Trishikh, very interesting and beautiful history.
    Thank you for share.
    Take care.
    Elvira

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are very welcome Elvira. As you already know by now, that I will always put atleast a little bit of history in my stories. Always look forward to your likes.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. elvira797mx says:

        Trishikh, thank you for your kimdness, and your beautiful words. I know that you put your heart on your post.
        So do I.
        Take care a lot.
        Elvira

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        You are most welcome Elvira, take care too.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. elvira797mx says:

        Thank you so much.
        Best wishes.
        Elvira

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Trishikh says:

        You are most welcome, many best wishes to you too.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. elvira797mx says:

        Thank you Trishikh, take care.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Arpita Banerjee says:

    A perfect story at the perfect time!! ❤️❤️🌟

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thanks Arpita, however, I did not think about that while writing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anamika says:

    Amazing love story! Loved it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. Always treasure your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Klausbernd says:

    Thank you very much for your history of clocks. That’s a very well done summary. A couple of years ago we read several books about the development of the clock from Huygens until today (in Dutch and German). Your article is a great to remember what we read.
    All the best.
    Keep healthy and happy
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are most welcome. It makes my day when someone appreciates my writing. So glad that you like the history about clocks. A big portion of my stories goes into the history of things.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Do you plan a book about the history of things? We find that very interesting. Do you the book “History of Things” by Stephen Lubar et al.?
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        I will certainly read the book “History of Things” by Stephen Lunar, under your recommendation. I myself have not thought about publishing my work yet. After I finish 50 stories, I might try to publish a collection of it. Let’s see how that goes. For now I am just concentrating on writing. It’s a pleasure talking with you. Take care, have a lovely day.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. HoBo Movie says:

    Hi please subscribe My Channel 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

    Like

  9. Nice and engaging love story. Loved it. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are most welcome Chitrangada. Really glad that you liked it.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. MousumiSays says:

    Your story evoke a very strong essence of Bangla literature, an old world charm mixed in moden setting. The subtle humor is really engaging. Wish you luck for many more to come!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you very much, you are very kind with your appreciation. Yes you have correctly observed – a lot of my writing is influenced by Bengali literate of the past. Mixing the past with the present is also a favourite thing of mine. Am so glad that you find the subtle humor engaging. By the grace of God, and through the encouragement from from good friends like you, I am sure I would be able to write many more of such stories in the days to come.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MousumiSays says:

        I do look forward to them!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. nightlake says:

    Guessed she was looking at the grandfather clock. However, I thought the clock reminded her of her late husband or held some childhood memory, but did not anticipate her need for punctuality. Poor Brihospoti…but at least, he saved a woman’s honor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Yes the end indeed has an unexpected twist. Though she says she was looking at the time, we cannot rule out the possibility of her thinking about other things as well. I leave it to the imagination of my readers. Always look forward to your comments.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. tidalscribe says:

    A clever and poignant story, I thought maybe the widow was interested in antiques, I didn’t guess it was merely the time she needed to check!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Yes its has an unexpected ending. Am glad that the story came out good. Sometimes we imagine so much more that what a thing really is. Thanks for visiting and reading.

      Like

  13. Kit Troyer says:

    Amazing story! Thank you for sharing it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are most welcome. Thanks for liking.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. cheriewhite says:

    Interesting story! Thank you for posting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are most welcome Cherie, glad that you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Very intriguing love story…started with science n ended with emotions…nicely penned…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Wow, I did not think of it this way. Thanks for the lovely analysis. Really appreciate your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome…. absolutely amazing to come across your blog…how did I miss this..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        Oh! You are too kind with your words. My blog is pretty new, started from 2nd August 2020, just 7 months now. I write and publish one short Story every weekend. Till now I have managed to write 24 stories. Will keep on writing by the grace of God and through the best wishes of friends like you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, keep writing….keep going strong….would love to read your posts..

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Trishikh says:

        Will keep at it. Thanks for you best wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. chattykerry says:

    Such a great story! I enjoyed the little twist and the sadness of unrequited love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Kerry for liking the story. When I was writing it, was not that sure how it would end. Fortunately was able to think of a decent ending. Do visit my blog again and read some of the other stories, I am sure you would find a couple of them interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chattykerry says:

        I will visit again! Right now, I am a bit distracted with our crazy weather in Texas. Lots of tidying up…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        I look forward to your visit. Best of luck with the crazy weather, I have visited Texas and San Antonio once. Love the place. Best of luck with the weather and tidying up.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. chattykerry says:

        San Antonio is a beautiful city with that Mission feel. All the dead plants outside have been cleared so it looks better and is quite warm.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Trishikh says:

        Yes I was there on missionary work with the Diocese of Texas. It’s a lovely place.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. chattykerry says:

        Despite being a lapsed Catholic, I really enjoy visiting and praying in Texas churches. The Mission churches are lovely but so, too, are the German and Czech ones.

        Like

      6. Trishikh says:

        Oh yes you are absolutely right. The presence of God makes things, beings, and places beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Laleh Chini says:

    Awww, beautiful.❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Laleh. Means a lot coming from a writer like you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laleh Chini says:

        You’re so amazing yourself dear.🌷

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Trishikh says:

      Thank you Laleh, always love your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Laleh Chini says:

        My pleasure.🙏

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Halim says:

    This is such a charming story, Trishikh. The kind-hearted but unlucky Brihospoti reminds me a little bit of Marcovaldo, a character by Italian writer Italo Calvino I came across many years ago. He’s a harmless nice guy who’s just unlucky, in such hilarious situations. I hope Brihospoti and Mrs Halder gets together as a couple eventually! At least in my mind they do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Wow! That’s nice to hear. Many times similarities do come up in writing, and this is what which makes them so interesting. I also wish that Mrs.Halder and Brihospoti babu finally gets together.

      Liked by 1 person

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