Uprooted from Dacca, the home of her heart, in the aftermath of the Noakhali riots, and forced to take shelter in emerging India soon after Partition, Damyanti builds a new life for herself and her family, even though her heart bleeds for her beloved "Bengal" and everyone she lost in having to leave her beloved city. But her dreams of a flourishing family quickly turn to sorrow and despair. Her hopes for her "boys" is crushed as they fall one after the other, victims of the Emergency, the Khalistan Movement and Mandal Commission.
The Ram Mandir agitation is the last straw. Determined not to succumb to the pressures of a charged and hostile communal environment, Damyanti finally decides to live up to her legacy of being a doctor from pre-independence India. Combatting her overwhelming guilt for her lack of strength and a failed sense of judgement, Damyanti finally believes she has found an opportunity to redeem all past wrongs by helping right her grandson's life.
Damyanti, who has blamed Outsiders her entire life for discord and division in Bengal and post-independence India, is finally forced to accept that "her own people" can just as easily be the Outsiders.
A heart-warming story of love and redemption, spanning almost 50 years, ‘Everything and Nothing’ is a tribute to a generation that found the strength over and over to rebuild on the foundation of ruins and still come out strong. A generation that loved, lost and loved again, but never lost hope...
The old cuckoo clock on the wall chimed nine times. Zafar’s
gaze moved towards it, alternating between the dial
and the swaying pendulum. Sitting at the window of Damyanti’s
bedroom, his wife, Rehana, and he were looking intently at the
street outside. Every now and then, Zafar would go to the edge
of the window, hold the rods firmly, and stretch his neck to look
at the farthest point on the street. Not able to see things clearly,
he would strain his ears for even a hint of a sound of a mob
approaching or people crying.
Zafar and Rehana had been waiting impatiently for the 9
o’clock news on Doordarshan to assess the situation in riot-affected
Three days ago, on December 6, 1992, a mob of kar sevaks
driven by the Ram temple rhetoric had climbed the top of Babri
Masjid and demolished it. Angry, agitated, and hurt, Muslims had
come out in large numbers in various parts of the country to
protest. More often than not, these demonstrations had resulted
in clashes between the two communities and forced the police
to intervene, causing damage to property and loss of lives. Most
of northern India was simmering with tension, and the worst affected
areas were Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Bombay.
However, amidst this turmoil, Patna had remained calm.
Damyanti had never wanted to leave East Bengal — the
place of her birth, childhood, and youth — in spite of her
husband insisting that they move to Calcutta, the city of
hope. How could she leave the house that she had built along
with her husband; where her two sons were born and took
their first steps; where she had sown every plant with her
own hands and watered with ample love and care; where she
had stood under harsh sun and, at times, heavy rain, supervising
the laying of each brick; where every corner had a
story to tell, stories that opened floodgates of memories?
How could she live without the abundant love showered by
her friend Samina, an affection that she treasured and still
wanted more? How could she be away from the place, that
had the comforting presence of Salim, Manas, and other
friends; Salim, who most of the times appeared as a distant
apparition, and on a few occasions still had a looming presence
in her thoughts? How could she pull herself away from
the grand Durga Puja celebrations at her father’s house, a few
rows away from her own? How could she not be a part of the
city’s Janmashathami procession?
She would have continued to live in Dacca had the Noakhali
riots not happened.