The Home Coming by Rabindranath Tagore: Rabindranath Tagore was a great poet of Bengal, nay of India. He was a great name in Indian Renaissance and was not only a poet but he was equally great as a storyteller, novelist, dramatist, and essayist. He was a philosopher who wrote books like ‘Sadhana’; ‘Religion of Man’ etc. Narrow Nationalism and Caste System were his aversions. Home Coming is one of his creations which is a short story in English, its Bengali version is also available as Chuti.
The Home Coming by Rabindranath Tagore is a story of a boy named Phatik Chakravorty. He was the chief of the boys of the village who always looking for mischief. One day Phatik asked his companions to move a log of wood from its place to another place. Makhan, the younger brother of Phatik sat on it to prevent the boys from moving it.
But the boys with the ringleader Phatik rolled the log with Makhan on it. The boys were delighted but Phatik was a little frightened at the prospect of Makhan’s fate. As sure enough Makhan fell on the Earth and was bruised. Makhan rushed Phatik, beated and kicked him. He went home perhaps to complain about the wickedness of his brother to his mother.
Bishamber, Phatiks uncle heard his sister (Phatik’s mother) about Phatik. He was lazy, disobedient and wild. She could not restrain the boy and make him read and attend school. The uncle of Phatik proposed to take him to Calcutta to look after his education and he did so.
In his uncle’s home, Phatik was coldly and roughly received by his aunt. She had three boys whom she found difficult to manage and another boy of fourteen was an unnecessary burden to her. She thought that her husband was unwise to bring this burden to the family. He grew up in the aunt’s house with scolding and chiding. It became torture for him to grow up in a strange house.
Phatiks condition in the city school was miserable. He did not learn his lesson and consequently could not answer the questions which his teacher asked him. He was regularly caned mercilessly. He lost the lesson book and made his life more modified. Phatik was distressed and depressed at school and home. The city life with the charming atmosphere and neglect and oppression everywhere disappointed and shifted him. He yearned for home- his real home his village.
In this story, there is an implicit contrast between country life and city life. Phatik was born and brought up in a village where nature is open and free. In the open and free atmosphere, the boy breathes freely and enjoys life. This is the root of the boy’s life. In the city, nature is shut out by the big houses, walls, congestion and crowd. Here he finds bitter feelings and rude behaviour. There was no sympathy here.
One day he had a bad headache with fit shivering, he had an attack of malarial fever at the end of the story Phatik’s mother came but Phatik’s condition became critical. Phatik began plumbing an unfathomable sea like the sailor on the river steamer culling out the mark on the plumb line.
Phatik’s mother came and flung herself on the bed of Phatik calling ‘my darling, my darling’ Phatik stopped his restless movement for a moment and said ‘Ehǃ’ as if in relief. Phatik turned his head and said mother, ‘the holidays have come.
We come from heaven which is our home and again we go back to our home which is our final resting place. This is the significance of the title – ‘The Home – Coming’.