Fritz -Satyajit Ray The story is based in the small town of Rajasthan called Bundi

-Satyajit Ray

The story is based in the small town of Rajasthan called Bundi. Two visitors, an author and school teacher named Shankar and a newspaper man called Jayanto visit Bundi and stay at the circuit house or government bungalow (a relic from colonial past).
One day while having some tea, Shankar observes that Jayanto is lost in some thoughts. He inquires about what was the cause of such deep thought. Jayanto informs him that he had previously visited Bundi. Those visages from the past was flooding Jayanto’s mind and he could not shake of the feelings of deep nostalgia. Jayanto’s father worked as an archaeologist and had many visits to Rajasthan, the graveyard of ancient tales and lavish architecture.
He remembered the tall buildings of Bundi and the circuit house. Even the furniture, strapping trees, vibrant birdlife, spacious rooms etc were all familiar to him. It brought a stamp of agelessness and eternal presence to the place. Like, he never left Bundi.
Both of them decide to go on an expedition to explore the treasures that Bundi had to offer. Their first stop was the renowned fort of Bundi. The dilapidated remains of the fort brought further memories for Jayanto.
He was arrested in a time capsule as he stood dazed by the sheer beauty and vastness of the fort. Every part of the place had so much history and stories buried within it.
Apart from new road side electricity poles everything else was antiquated. Certainly, it was a marriage of the olden and modern times. The hallowed workmanship and architecture of Rajput kingdoms of yore was stamped all over Bundi and with extension Rajasthan.
The craftsmanship and dexterity infuse in every gateway, balcony and wall was intricate and intimate. Jayanto was transfixed like a lost lover and the romance of the bytes and spectacles of Bundi was tugging at his heart strings.
But there was pain behind the fawning too and Shankar was quick to pick on it. Jayanto expressed a worry that everything felt grand in the past and now the things seem to have shrunken like the rooms and chairs in them. Shankar consoles him by ascertaining that it was Jayanto who has grown old and big since his days of childhood abandon.
Next, Jayanto is hit with the image of a Deodar tree, a tree of mystery and intrigue. He can still remember the tree and wanders around the place hunting for another glimpse of it. After few moments that felt like eternity he finds his tree. His eyes are hypnotized by its pristine beauty and strength. Jayanto recalls a unique encounter with a European here but could not remember the details
They return to their accommodation and are served by Dilawar, a scary looking cook who had magic in his fingers.
Gradually, Jayanto had remembers more about the mysterious ‘European’. It was doll named Fritz that his uncle had brought for him from Switzerland. The on-foot tall doll became Jayanto’s favorite toy and he became inseparable from it. Shankar was intrigued.
However, the doll had a terrible fate as it was mauled by two stray dogs and ripped to pieces. It was tattered and bruised irreparably. Like a true friend, Jayanto gave Fritz a deserved burial near the Deodar tree in the same Circuit house.
Anguished and tired both of them went back to sleep. After sometime, Shankar got up and saw a horrified Jayanto, awake and upright. When Shankar asked him about the reason he said some small animal had crawled over his chest during sleep. He showed footprints on his pillow as evidence. They looked for the any rodent or animal but did not find any success.
Shanker reassured Jayanto and exhorted him to rest after a difficult day.
The next day they returned to the fort and the scenes of previous day repeated themselves. Jayanto was still overwhelmed by the familiar sights of the statues, thrones and the memories.
Jayanto was still absorbed in some thought much to Shankar’s growing discontent. When Shankar hectored him for a response, Jayanto divulged his mind. He was worried that the night visitor was no one else but Fritz.
Growing restless with his friend’s fear, Shankar asked him to dig up the old grave of Fritz and allay any lingering doubts, once and for all. Unwillingly Jayanto relented and they asked the gardener to help exhume Fritz’s decaying remains. They hoped to find a rotting plastic body or at least its metal belt.
However, what they actually found left them shell-shocked to their core. In place of a corroded metal buckle, they found a 12-inch human skeleton. Horror seized the two friends who were left with some unnerving questions. Was Fritz human? Was he still alive? Was he still looking for Jayanto?

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Key Thoughts:
The story exploits the ideas of friendship, childhood memories, irrational fear and paranormal superstitions. There is a constant vibe of suspense and foreboding in the text.
The mystery and horror adds a unique taste to the story which culminates abruptly and without any closure. This allows the reader to imagine and creatively engage with the characters long after the story ends.


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