Character Sketch of Ajit in Matchbox

In Ashapurna Debi’s poignant story “Matchbox,” Ajit occupies a space of intricate shadow and light. He walks the tightrope between a charming husband and a controlling, intrusive figure, ultimately revealing the complex depths of a man wrestling with societal expectations and personal demons.

Quick Overview:

  • Class Conscious: Ajit hails from a wealthy, joint family, fostering a sense of entitlement and social superiority.
  • Possessed by Beauty: Nomita’s physical attractiveness was the primary reason for his marriage, leading to a shallow foundation for their relationship.
  • Controlling and Intrusive: His habit of reading Nomita’s letters without permission exposes a domineering, insecure character.
  • Prone to Mockery: He ridicules Nomita’s family and background, showcasing a cruel streak masked by superficial charm.
  • Flawed but Human: Beneath the arrogance, glimpses of vulnerability emerge, indicating a potential for introspection and growth.

A Shadow Over Love:

Ajit’s marriage to Nomita reeks of societal pressure and physical attraction rather than genuine connection. His initial charm fades as his controlling nature asserts itself. He pries into Nomita’s letters, violating her privacy and demonstrating a need to possess every aspect of her life. This intrusiveness casts a dark shadow over their seemingly idyllic union.

The Masks of Arrogance:

Ajit’s class consciousness fuels his mockery of Nomita’s family, particularly her aging mother. He flaunts his wealth and position, using them as weapons to belittle and diminish her. This constant belittlement reveals a deep-seated insecurity masquerading as arrogance. He fears losing control, both over Nomita and his carefully constructed facade of superiority.

Glimmers of Vulnerability:

Despite his flaws, moments of vulnerability peek through Ajit’s armor. The quiet desperation with which he pleads with Nomita to stay hints at a fear of loneliness and an unspoken need for genuine connection. He recognizes the emptiness of his marriage built on superficiality and longs for something more, even if he struggles to articulate it.


Ajit remains an enigmatic figure, a study in contradictions. He is a man entangled in the societal expectations of his time, clinging to a facade of control while yearning for something deeper. “Matchbox” leaves us with a poignant question: will he shed his shadows and step towards genuine love, or will he remain a prisoner of his own possessiveness? Only time, and perhaps Nomita’s resilience, will tell.

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