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‘Her Infinite Variety’ (Short Story

October 25, 2012

Picture- The cover of the book ‘Colourful Burma’ in 1976 by Khin Myo Chit, writer, Burma. The cover design was San Toe, artist.)


The title ‘Her Infinite Variety’ is the well-known Shakespeare’s quotation which represents the beauty of Cleopatra as ‘ Age cannot wither her,
                                           Nor custom stale
                                           Her infinite variety.’
Her Infinite Variety is a short story written by Khin Myo Chit won in the ‘Horizon’ magazine short story competition in 1970. It was first published in book ‘Colourful Burma – A Collection of Stories and Sketches’ in 1978.  
The narrator of the story; my grandmother who describes her experience when her visit on holiday at the town meeting with an old man, U Sein Khine, a solo performer of marionettes. Their conversation drew the readers to the end with the sad love story told by this old man, U Sein Khine. 

(Picture – by U Ba Kyi – famous artist in Burma. He sketched an illustration of U Sein Khine and his loving marionette that my grandmother wished to portray.)

Did this marionette doll on his shoulder, the figure of a female dancer which was the likeness of the woman he loved mean everything to this man, U Sein Khine? More than the live woman who loved him? It was the point most important in the story that always remembered not only a small town girl but also the reader. 
Memory of a Country Life

The palm leaf mat, bamboo dais, hot green tea, earthern cup, jiggery sweets or fresh breezing cold air were the beautiful memories of the country life. My grandmother portrayed our Rangoon city as the big city; feeling bored! Hot and dusty! Bla, bla, bla. I confessed that we young people of today do not realize what marionette shows meant to the people of old days. No young people of today saw such an old man of marionettes performer who was carrying beautiful marionette dolls in the market place or marionette troupes travelled in big barges along the river. Yes, they were artists who brought entertainment, fun and magic wherever they stopped.
My grandmother also described in the story about the marionette shows. She said there were dances of the animals such as tigers, elephants, horses and monkey at the beginning of the show. She still remembered the dance of the belu(ogre) and the zawgyi (demigod).  The children were thrilled by the zawgyi magnificent in the flaming red dress, jumping and flying. My grandmother also told the dance of the belu, dressed green with fin-like crests on its head, shoulders and elbows fascinated the audience. Moreover, the nhe (Burmese musical instrument which sound was like howling) ominously howling to the boom of the big drum beating at the background of the stage gave her the creeps. 
Epilogue
However the story goes, my grandmother describes her childhood memory of the country life. Her writing especially was effective at inspiring wonderful view of the country life to the reader because of its focus on the senses such as ‘dragged her feet towards the bamboo dais under the huge tamarind tree’ or ‘heard many stories on her grandfather’s knee’ or ‘took a small chunk of jiggery sweet and chewed it, chasing it down with a cup of green tea’, etc are now rarely see in our boring, hot, dusty Rangoon city!


သင့္အေၾကာင္း သင့္လုုပ္ငနး္ ေၾကာ္ျငာ သည္ေနရာမွာ ေၾကာ္ျငာႏိုုင္ပါျပီ
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