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HaJaBaRaLa (হ য ব র ল)
Author Sukumar Ray
Translator Jayinee Basu
Illustrator Sukumar Ray
Country India
Language Bengali
Genre Novella
Publisher Nishtha at Lulu.com
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 68 pp (Eng. trans.)
ISBN 1-4116-3983-9 (Eng. trans.)

HaJaBaRaLa (Bengali: হ য ব র ল) or HJBRL: A Nonsense Story is a novella or novelette by Sukumar Ray. Ha Ja Ba Ra La is considered one of the best nonsense stories of Bengali literature. To point out its artistic merit, people frequently compare it to Alice In Wonderland though two are completely different in their plot organisation, tone, mood, and cultural setting.


The story starts with a child, the narrator, suddenly waking up from sleep and finding that the handkerchief they had placed just beside them before sleeping has turned into a cat. They start talking to the cat, who speaks nonsensically about a handkerchief and a semicolon before disappearing over the hedge. The cat tells him to go find Kakeshwar, in a series of calculations that eventually tell him that he is in a tree. The child finds Kakeshwar doing calculations in a slate and doing some mathematics that appears very unusual to the narrator. This includes division that is purely illogical and fallacious. After arguing over math, a goat appears and narrates his life about eating paper and other artificial things. Hijibijbij appears and laughs hysterically at improbable situations and keeps changing his mind about the names of his family members. Then many animals appear, and confusion results. The child wakes up from their odd dream and finds the cat, which does not talk.


Most of the characters have found idiomatic usage in Bengali language, which is true for many of Ray's works.

Some of the main characters are:

Kakkeshwar kuchkuche (Bengali: কাক্কেশ্বর কুচকুচে)
A raven who wears a clerk's green eyeshade while performing mathematics.
Gechhodada (Bengali: গেছোদাদা)
A character that is only alluded to by the cat but never appears in the story. he is completely unpredictable, and according to the cat, can only be found solving a very complicated, irrational and nonsensical mathematics, which depends on many probabilities about where Gechodada can be that moment.
Heejibeejbeej (Bengali: হিজিবিজবিজ)
A person who imagines very improbable situations and laughs at them.
Byakaran Shing BA Khadyabisharad (Bengali: ব্যাকরণ শিং বি,এ,খাদ্যবিশারদ)
A goat who delivers academic lectures on non-academic subjects, such as what goats do not eat.
Udhho and Budhho (Bengali: উধো আর বুধো)
dwarf-like creatures who are fighting one moment and hugging the next. The phrase "Udhor pindi Budhor ghare", meaning (but not literally translated to) "the shoe is on the other foot", has become a very common idiom.
A nonsense cat who speaks about nonsense things like gechodada (woody) and other people

There are many other characters.


  • Ray, Sukumar (1921). HJBRL: A Nonsense Story. Jayinee Basu (trans.) (2005 Eng. trans. ed.). United States: Lulu.com. 

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