A little titbit from my life!
I was born 12 years after my sister was born. My parents were rejoiced, and my father took a box of mithai (sweets) to his office to share his joy with his colleagues, and one of them consoled my Dad, “Oho, Bora ji, 12 saal baad bhi beti hi hui” (“Oho, Mr. Bora, even after 12 years you had a daughter”) and did not pick up the sweet. My father came back home, and told my mother to celebrate because their daughter is Lakshmi as she saved them a sweet’s cost.
Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens tells the story of Mr. Paul Dombey, the manager of a shipping company, Dombey and Son. The birth of his son gives him immense happiness as he has found his heir. And in the background of all of this is Dombey’s daughter, Florence Dombey, and perhaps the central protagonist of the entire story. She longs for her father’s love, but she is a daughter who can never be the heiress to the company, thus she is irrelevant to Paul Dombey.
This Dickens story is not about an orphan, like most of his stories are. It is about a child who is an outcast from a living parent’s love. Florence’s unfailing love for her father goes unreturned. It is a depiction of a man imprisoned by his own pride, and how he finally comes out of it.
Typically Dickensian are the number of side-plots that run parallel to the Dombey family story. There are greedy characters manipulating their way into a piece of the Dombey fortune. Dickensian sub-plots have always been successful in confusing me!