વિસામો

એક પળ માણવા નો પ્રયાસ

Tomato Story – Posted by M.B.Sukhadwala

Tomato Story

A Jobless man applied for the position of ‘office boy’ at Microsoft.
The HR manager interviewed him then watched him cleaning the floor as a test.

‘You are employed’ he said. Give me your e-mail address and I’ll send you the application to fill in, as well as date when you may start.

The man replied ‘But I don’t have a computer, neither an email’.

‘I’m sorry’, said the HR manager. If you don’t have an email, that means you do not exist. And who doesn’t exist, cannot have the job.’

The man left with no hope at all. He didn’t know what to do, with only $10 in his pocket. He then decided to go to the supermarket and buy a 10Kg tomato crate.
He then sold the tomatoes in a door to door round. In less than two hours,
he succeeded to double his capital. He repeated the operation three times,
and returned home with $60.

The man realized that he can survive by this way, and started to go everyday earlier, and return late. Thus, his money doubled or tripled everyday.

Shortly, he bought a cart, then a truck, and then he had his own fleet of delivery vehicles.

5 years later, the man is one of the biggest food retailers in the US
He started to plan his family’s future, and decided to have a life insurance.

He called an insurance broker, and chose a protection plan.
When the conversation was concluded the broker asked him his email.
The man replied,’I don’t have an email.’
The broker answered curiously, ‘You don’t have an email, and yet have succeeded to build an empire. Can you imagine what you could have been if you had an e mail?!!’ The man thought for a while and replied, ‘Yes, I’d be an office boy at Microsoft!’
Moral of the story

Moral 1
Internet is not the solution to your life.

Moral 2
If you don’t have Internet, but work hard, you can be a millionaire.

Moral 3
If you received this message by email,
you are closer to being an office boy/girl, than a millionaire……….

નવેમ્બર 6, 2010 Posted by | અંગ્રેજી વાર્તા | Leave a comment

Lazy Brahmin and seven fairies

Lazy Brahmin and seven fairies
He was so hungry that he wanted to eat all the seven in one sitting…

——————————————————————————–

Long, long ago, there lived a poor Brahmin. He was a very lazy man and never liked to work hard. How could he and his family survive? There were hard always quarrels between the Brahmin and his wife. One evening, after a serious quarrel, the Brahmin decided to leave the house and go to some other place to try his luck. The next morning, his wife made some snacks for him to eat on his way. She also packed seven rotis in a cloth and gave it to the Brahmin.

The Brahmin took the snacks with him and left the house. In the afternoon, he sat under a tree to rest for some time. He was very hungry. So, he untied the cloth in which his wife had put the rotis. Looking at the rotis, he said, “I am so hungry that I will eat all the seven in one sitting.”

Now it so happened three lived seven fairies that tree. They were frightened on hearing the words of the Brahmin. They thought that the Brahmin wanted to eat them. They immediately came down and fell at his feet and said, “O kind Brahmin! Please do not eat us. If you spare us, we will give you a magic goat. Whenever this goat opens her mouth to graze, gold coins drop out from it.”

The Brahmin realized that the fairies had misunderstood his words. However, the promised the fairies that he would not eat them up. The fairies also kept their word and gave him the magic goat. The Brahmin took the goat and left for his home. The fairies then disappeared.

On his way home, the Brahmin came to the village where his friend lived. It was growing dark, so he decided to put up at his friend’s house for that night. The friend welcomed him warmly. They had dinner together. The Brahmin told him everything about the fairies and the magic goat. Tired, the Brahmin then went to sleep.

When the Brahmin was fast asleep, his friend got up and crept out the house. He went to the goat and gave her some grass to eat. As soon as the goat opened her mouth to eat the grass, gold coins dropped out from her mouth. The Brahmin’s friend collected all the gold coins and hid them safely in a box. But suddenly he had an idea! Why not steal the goat? The friend wanted to own the magic goat, so he replaced her with an ordinary one.

The next morning, the Brahmin woke up and proceeded on his journey home. When he reached his house, he told his wife about the magic goat. She was thrilled to hear his story. The Brahmin brought some grass and put it before the goat to eat. The goat opened her mouth to eat the grass, but alas! Not a single gold coin dropped out from her mouth. The Brahmin’s wife was furious and said, “what a foolish man you are! Those fairies have cheated you.”

The Brahmin was shocked and disappointed. The next morning, the Brahmin went back to the forest and stood under the same tree. He said, “O fairies! You have cheated me. The goat does not give any gold coins. You have not kept your word. I will now eat all of you.”

The fairies said, “O Brahmin! We have not cheated you. We do not know why the goat did not give you any gold coins. But this time, we are giving you a magic pan. This pan will prepare the dishes of your choice and lay them before you in a matter of minutes. Call out the name of the dish you desire and then look into the pan. You will get that dish prepared in a flash.”

The Brahmin took the magic pan and left for his house. It was growing dark and once again he reached his friend’s village. This time too, he decided to stay with him. The friend welcome the Brahmin and they had dinner together. While they were taking, the Brahmin told him about the magic pan. After dinner, the tired Brahmin went to bed and soon, was fast asleep. His friend now wanted to have the magic pan. He got up at night and put an ordinary pan in place of the magic one.

The next day, the Brahmin took the pan and returned home. He told his wife about the magic pan. She was happy to see it and asked the Brahmin to demonstrate its power. The Brahmin did exactly as he was told by the fairies, but it was all in vain. He did not get anything from the pan.

This time, his wife was very angry and said, “once again, those fairies have cheated you. Go back to them. I warn you do not spare them this time.”

Once again, the Brahmin went to the fairies and shouted, “hey, you fairies! You have cheated me once again. Now I will not spare you.”

The fairies said “O Brahmin! Please calm down. Believe us, we have not cheated you. But we feel that somebody you met on your way has cheated you.” The Brahmin told the fairies about all the place where he had stayed and all the people he had met on his way home. The fairies understood everything and said, “your friend is the one who has cheated you. He replace our magic thing with ordinary once. But this time we are giving you a magic rope and a magic stick. Take them and go to your friend’s house.”

The Brahmin put the magic rope and the magic stick in his bag and went to his friend’s house. He was welcomed by his friend and they had dinner together. The Brahmin did not tell him anything about the magic things, but went to sleep quietly.

When the Brahmin was fast asleep, his friend got up and started searching his bag. But what a shock! The magic rope and the magic stick came out of the bag. The friend was tied by the rope and the stick started hitting him hard on his back. The friend screamed for help and requested the Brahmin to save his life. The Brahmin did not say a word but enjoyed the scene. The magic stick beat the Brahmin’s friend black and blue.

At lest, his friend confessed that he had stolen the magic goat and the magic pan and promised to return them. The Brahmin asked the stick to stop hitting and ordered the rope to untie him. The friend returned the magic goat and the magic pan to the Brahmin.

The Brahmin came back home with all the magic things. The magic goat and the magic pan made his life very easy and comfortable.

The Brahmin and his wife lived happily ever after. They never had to use the magic rope and the magic stick.

નવેમ્બર 21, 2009 Posted by | અંગ્રેજી વાર્તા | 1 ટીકા

The amazing adventures of Hanuman By Rani and Jugnu Singh, Illustrations by Biman Mullick

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived in India a monkey-boy called Hanuman. His father was Vayu, the god of the winds, and his mother was a monkey princess. Although he was only little, Hanuman had magic powers. He was also naughty.

This is the story of some exciting adventures, which began in the beautiful valley of flowers, where one day Hanuman sat with his mother in the warm sunshine. Hanuman looked up into the sky and saw the sun.

“I like the sun”, said the naughty monkey-boy.

“How beautiful it is, so warm, so warm, so golden and so bright. I’d love to hold it and play with it as if it were my very own!”

He reached up, caught hold of the sun and started throwing it up and down as though it were a ball. The sun was not pleased, and began to feel rather ill.

The sun called out to Indra, the god of thunder and lightning, who was riding by on his magic elephant.

“Help! Indra! Look at what this naughty monkey-boy is doing to me! Help!”

Indra was very cross with Hanuman.

The sky grew dark and storm clouds gathered.

“Put the sun back at once”, he said in a mighty voice.

“NO”, said Hanuman, who was not afraid.

In fury Indra shot a bolt of white lightning.

“Zaap!”

It hit the monkey-boy.

Hanuman fell to the ground, where he lay very still. His father Vayu, who was flying over the earth, had a feeling that Hanuman was in danger. He rushed back to the valley of flowers and found his little son lying with his eyes closed.

“Who has done this to my son”? he called out from the sky.

The god of the winds was furious and blew great winds and storms around the world. Then, all of a sudden, the air become still.

“I will stop the air from flowing everywhere until my son Hanuman breathes again!”, said Vayu. Now this was very serious for the world. Plants, animals and people quickly began to feel weak, fall over and die. They did not have any air to breathe. When Indra, the god of thunder and lightning, flew by and saw what was happening, he felt very sad for the world.

“Anger is such a terrible thing”, he said. “None of this would have happened if I hadn’t got so cross. I must ask Vayu to forgive me”. Meanwhile Vayu had taken his son Hanuman deep under the ground and was cradling him in his arms. Indra called some other gods to beg Vayu to bring air back to the world. “Not until Hanuman breathes again”, replied Vayu.

So the gods promised to bring the monkey-boy back to life and said that when he grew up he would have more magic powers. He could grow as big or as small as he wished. His tail would be magic and he could fly high in the sky. He would lead an army of monkeys and even live as long as he liked!

“Lightning and thinder bolts will never harm him again”, said Indra.

“Fire will never touch him”, said the sun. Hanuman’s father was happy now and kept his word. The air moved agin and all the plants, animals and people came back to life.

“What happened to us?” they asked. They couldn’t remember anything!

Everything took place as the gods promised. Hanuman grew up to be the most fantastic monkey in the world. He lived in an enormous green forest. Sugreeva, the king of monkeys, heard about Hanuman’s special powers. He went to see him.

“Will you be my best friend and lead my army?” Sugreeva asked.

“Certainly”, said Hanuman, and from that day on the two were always together.

##
At the other end of the forest lived a handsome prince called Rama and his beautiful, clever wife princess Sita. The news of her beauty spread far and wide. Now, down at the Southern tip of India, on an island called Lanka, there lived a wicked, jealous demon with ten heads and twenty arms. His name was Ravana.

‘I will make Sita my wife,’ he boasted,’ even if I have to steal her!’ He sent his wicked demons, disguised as golden deer, to lure prince Rama away from home for a day’s hunting in the forest. As soon as Rama was gone Ravana leapt forward and with a terrifying R-o-a-r-r-r!’ swept Sita up with his many arms. His evil plan was to fly back to Lanka and keep Sita a prisoner until she would agree to marry him. But Sita managed to take off her jewels and throw them down on the ground.

‘I hope, I really hope, someone finds them,’ Sita thought,’ and takes them to my husband Rama.’ Luckily, down below on the ground, the jewels landed just by Hanuman and Sugreeva.

‘The gods must be sending us gifts!’ said Hanuman.

‘I wonder who these belong to?’ asked Sugreeva.

The two set off into the forest to solve the mystery. Meanwhile, prince Rama had returned and was calling for his wife Sita. ‘Where has she gone?’ he thought, as he searched the forest for her. Hanuman and Sugreeva found him wandering alone calling Sita’s name.

‘Who is Sita?’ asked Hanuman.

‘Sita is my wife, the princess,’ said Rama. ‘She has disappeared’. ‘I see,’ said Hanuman. ‘Perhaps these jewels belong to her then.’ ‘Why, they are Sita’s,’ replied Rama. ‘Where is she and who are you?’

‘I am Hanuman and this is my king Sugreeva. We will help you find her.’
‘Thank you,’ replied Rama. ‘Please do your very best.’

HANUMAN SEARCHES FOR SITA

Hanuman flew south. He learned that Sita had been taken to the city of Lanka by the demon king Ravana. Hanuman grew tall and mighty and with one giant leap began to fly through the clouds to the walled city on the island. As he flew over the ocean a terrible sea monster saw his shadow.

‘Grrrrr!’ she said. ‘I’m very hungry and I’d like to eat you.’ She opened her mouth and swallowed him whole. ‘Oh, Oh,’ thought Hanuman, as he slid down her slippery throat. Hanuman landed with big THUMP! He was sitting on something soft. He looked down… he was sitting on a bed! Hanuman was floating inside the stomach of the sea monster! He peered through the darkness and saw bits of masts, bits of sail and ships and all sorts of things the sea monster had swallowed.

‘I must get out of here,’ thought Hanuman, looking around him. Then he had an idea. Hanuman made himself very small and flew around the monster’s stomach tickling her sides. She began to squirm and thrash about.

‘Hoo, Hoo, ha ha! Stop that at once,’ she giggled. ‘I am very ticklish and if I laugh too much I’ll sneeze!’

But Hanuman wouldn’t stop. The sea monster could take it no longer. ‘I think I’m going to…’ She opened her enormous mouth wide. All at once Hanuman shot out of her mouth.

Ahh,Ahh…Choooo!’ sneezed the sea monster.

She shut her great jaws suddenly as she remembered that Hanuman was supposed to be inside her. But he was already speeding away to the walled city of Lanka. When Hanuman arrived at Lanka he saw all sorts of demon guards everywhere. Some were fat, some were thin. Some were beet root red, some were banana yellow and some were even cucumber green. All were ugly and smelly. They grunted as they walked around.

‘Oh dear,’ thought Hanuman, as he sat on the city wall. He was still very small, so he managed to slip past the guards through the darkness without being noticed. Inside the white marble city he searched for Sita in all the rooms of Ravana’s grand palace. Hanuman searched in the dinning hall. He searched in the kitchens. He looked down all the corridors. But he couldn’t find Sita. Then he heard a great rumbling noise, like thunder, coming from a bedroom with a huge golden door. He quietly crawled under the gap in the door and found Ravana. He was fast asleep on a huge bed with all his ten heads snoring loudly.

##
‘Grrrr-phew…Grrrr-phew!!’

‘Well,’ thought Hanuman, ‘ Sita certainly isn’t here!’

Hanuman found Sita outside the palace sitting sorrowfully in a beautiful garden surrounded by sleeping demons. He bent down from the branch of a fruit tree.

‘Pssst!’ he said, beckoning to her. Sita looked up in surprise. ‘Who are you?’ She asked. “I am Hanuman,’ he replied soft and low. ‘I have been sent by Rama to find you. Now that I have I must return to tell him and we will come back and rescue you’.

‘Oh, thank you!’ Sita replied, cheering up a little. ‘But be careful. Ravana is not only mighty but also cunning.’

Just then one of the demon guards was disturbed and woke up. ‘An intruder in our midst!’ he shouted to the other guards. ‘We must capture him!’

They raced to attack Hanuman, who suddenly made himself grow tall and strong again until he stood high above the garden. Reaching down towards the earth he pulled two trees with their roots out of the ground and swung them around like clubs to keep the demons away. When Ravana heard what Hanuman was doing he was furious. There was a deafening sound as his ten heads all roared and shouts at once.

‘A monkey doing all this damage in my garden!’ he cried. ‘Send my son to capture him and bring him to me.’

Ravana’s son went and began shooting deadly snake arrows at Hanuman, but they didn’t harm the mighty monkey-man.

Hanuman had a brilliant idea. ‘Perhaps I should meet Ravana face to face,’ he thought. Making himself small again he allowed himself to be caught. He was tied up and brought to Ravana.

‘Please let Sita go!’ begged Hanuman.

‘Never!’ snarled Ravana. ‘How dare you! Set his tail on fire!’ Several demons grabbed Hanuman’s tail, but it suddenly began to grow longer and longer! It was knocking over the demons who could hardly hang on!

‘Fools!’ yelled Ravana. It’s a trick! Grab his tail and set it alight!’ Finally they managed to set the tip on fire and mighty roar went up from the crowd. But the fire didn’t hurt Hanuman at all because his magic powers kept him perfectly cool. Hanuman’s eyes twinkled as he had another idea.

‘I know,’ he thought. I can put my burning tail to good use!’ He suddenly grew big again, breaking free of his bonds. With one bounded he leapt into the air, his tail burning brightly. He looked like a giant fireball1 He then flew over the city of Lanka setting fire to the roofs of the houses. Another roar went up from the demons, this time in astonishment.

‘Oh, how I hate that monkey!’ Ravana stamped his feet and cursed with rage. He waved his twenty arms wildly, while Hanuman dipped his tail in the sea.

‘ Ssssss…’

There was a loud sizzling noise, but Hanuman’s tail was not burnt at all! Hanuman flew back to prince Rama to tell him what had happened. ‘That’s all very interesting.’Rama said, ‘but how can we rescue Sita?’ ‘Don’t worry,’ said Hanuman. ‘I have a whole army of monkeys and I will help you rescue Sita.’

They marched down to the southern tip of India where they were faced with mighty ocean. ‘ How shall we cross?’ asked Rama. ‘My monkeys will build a bridge of rocks for you,’ replied Hanuman. Using great stones and trees Hanuman and the monkeys built a strong bridge. Hanuman carried Rama on his shoulders and they crossed the sea to Lanka. The demon king Ravana sent his son to lead the demon soldiers. There they were lying in wait and ready for battle.

THE GREAT BATTLE

When a fierce battle! Among the ugly, smelly demons and the poisoned spears and snake arrows, Rama fought bravely. Way up on the hillside Hanuman Picked up rocks and hurled them. Then the demon king himself entered the battled. Ravana’s twenty arms were here, there and everywhere, cutting, thrusting, and circling like a whirlwind. Every time one of Rama’s arrow hit one of Ravana’s heads, another would just pop up in its place! The demon moved forwards to attack Rama’s army.

‘This is no good,’ said Rama to Hanuman. How will we rescue Sita now?’

Hah! Sneered Ravana from afar. ‘Foolish Hanuman. Foolish Rama you’ll never get Sita back now because we’re going to win the battle!’ Hanuman flew close to Rama and whispered in his ear: ‘Ravana’s weak spot is his foot. There’s only one sure way to kill him with a magic arrow kept hidden in his own palace!’

Rama looked up. Hanuman was already flying away to Ravana’s palace. Soon he returned with the magic arrow. ‘Here you are,’ he said to Rama. ‘Let’s hope this works’.

It’s our last chance,’ said Rama, as he strung his bow. Ravana was getting closer. Fire was coming out of his ten noses and smoke from his twenty ears. Rama took aim.
‘Z-I-N-G!’
The arrow flew straight and sweet through the air. It hit Ravana’s foot and he let out an ear-piercing scream. Then he fell, dying, to the earth. Hanuman flew to Ravana’s palace, freed Sita and returned her to Rama’s waiting arms. They hugged each other.

‘I missed you so much,’ said Sita,’ but Hanuman gave me hope.’ ‘It is thanks to Hanuman that you are safe and sound,’ said Rama. ‘It was nothing really,’ said Hanuman shyly, as he looked at the ground. ‘Come on Sugreeva, we’d better be going now.’

‘No wait,’ replied Rama. ‘You have done so much for us and we’d like to thank you.’ Rama and Sita gave Hanuman and Sugreeva some jewels as gifts. ‘ From now on you will be our brothers. Please accept our friendship and join us.’ Hanuman agreed. There was great rejoicing in the land. Hanuman lived happily ever after in the green forest and had many more exiting adventures.

નવેમ્બર 11, 2009 Posted by | અંગ્રેજી વાર્તા | Leave a comment

Kabuliwala – Ravindranath Tagor

Kabuliwala

My five years’ old daughter Mini cannot live without chattering. I really believe that in all her life she has not wasted a minute in silence. Her mother is often vexed at this, and would stop her prattle, but I would not. To see Mini quiet is unnatural, and I cannot bear it long. And so my own talk with her is always lively.

One morning, for instance, when I was in the midst of the seventeenth chapter of my new novel, my little Mini stole into the room, and putting her hand into mine, said: “Father! Ramdayal the doorkeeper calls a crow a krow! He doesn’t know anything, does he?”

Before I could explain to her the differences of language in this world, she was embarked on the full tide of another subject. “What do you think, Father? Bhola says there is an elephant in the clouds, blowing water out of his trunk, and that is why it rains!”

And then, darting off anew, while I sat still making ready some reply to this last saying, “Father! what relation is Mother to you?”

“My dear little sister in the law!” I murmured involuntarily to myself, but with a grave face contrived to answer: “Go and play with Bhola, Mini! I am busy!”

The window of my room overlooks the road. The child had seated herself at my feet near my table, and was playing softly, drumming on her knees. I was hard at work on my seventeenth chapter, where Protrap Singh, the hero, had just caught Kanchanlata, the heroine, in his arms, and was about to escape with her by the third story window of the castle, when all of a sudden Mini left her play, and ran to the window, crying, “A Kabuliwallah! a Kabuliwallah!” Sure enough in the street below was a Kabuliwallah, passing slowly along. He wore the loose soiled clothing of his people, with a tall turban; there was a bag on his back, and he carried boxes of grapes in his hand.

I cannot tell what were my daughter’s feelings at the sight of this man, but she began to call him loudly. “Ah!” I thought, “he will come in, and my seventeenth chapter will never be finished!” At which exact moment the Kabuliwallah turned, and looked up at the child. When she saw this, overcome by terror, she fled to her mother’s protection, and disappeared. She had a blind belief that inside the bag, which the big man carried, there were perhaps two or three other children like herself. The pedlar meanwhile entered my doorway, and greeted me with a smiling face.

So precarious was the position of my hero and my heroine, that my first impulse was to stop and buy something, since the man had been called. I made some small purchases, and a conversation began about Abdur Rahman, the Russians, the English, and the Frontier Policy.

As he was about to leave, he asked: “And where is the little girl, sir?”

And I, thinking that Mini must get rid of her false fear, had her brought out.

She stood by my chair, and looked at the Kabuliwallah and his bag. He offered her nuts and raisins, but she would not be tempted, and only clung the closer to me, with all her doubts increased.

This was their first meeting.

One morning, however, not many days later, as I was leaving the house, I was startled to find Mini, seated on a bench near the door, laughing and talking, with the great Kabuliwallah at her feet. In all her life, it appeared; my small daughter had never found so patient a listener, save her father. And already the corner of her little sari was stuffed with almonds and raisins, the gift of her visitor, “Why did you give her those?” I said, and taking out an eight-anna bit, I handed it to him. The man accepted the money without demur, and slipped it into his pocket.

Alas, on my return an hour later, I found the unfortunate coin had made twice its own worth of trouble! For the Kabuliwallah had given it to Mini, and her mother catching sight of the bright round object, had pounced on the child with: “Where did you get that eight-anna bit? ”

“The Kabuliwallah gave it me,” said Mini cheerfully.

“The Kabuliwallah gave it you!” cried her mother much shocked. “Oh, Mini! how could you take it from him?”

I, entering at the moment, saved her from impending disaster, and proceeded to make my own inquiries.

It was not the first or second time, I found, that the two had met. The Kabuliwallah had overcome the child’s first terror by a judicious bribery of nuts and almonds, and the two were now great friends.

They had many quaint jokes, which afforded them much amusement. Seated in front of him, looking down on his gigantic frame in all her tiny dignity, Mini would ripple her face with laughter, and begin: “O Kabuliwallah, Kabuliwallah, what have you got in your bag?”

And he would reply, in the nasal accents of the mountaineer: “An elephant!” Not much cause for merriment, perhaps; but how they both enjoyed the witticism! And for me, this child’s talk with a grown-up man had always in it something strangely fascinating.

Then the Kabuliwallah, not to be behindhand, would take his turn: “Well, little one, and when are you going to the father-in-law’s house?”

Now most small Bengali maidens have heard long ago about the father-in-law’s house; but we, being a little new-fangled, had kept these things from our child, and Mini at this question must have been a trifle bewildered. But she would not show it, and with ready tact replied: “Are you going there?”

Amongst men of the Kabuliwallah’s class, however, it is well known that the words father-in-law’s house have a double meaning. It is a euphemism for jail, the place where we are well cared for, at no expense to ourselves. In this sense would the sturdy pedlar take my daughter’s question. “Ah,” he would say, shaking his fist at an invisible policeman, “I will thrash my father-in-law!” Hearing this, and picturing the poor discomfited relative, Mini would go off into peals of laughter, in which her formidable friend would join.

These were autumn mornings, the very time of year when kings of old went forth to conquest; and I, never stirring from my little corner in Calcutta, would let my mind wander over the whole world. At the very name of another country, my heart would go out to it, and at the sight of a foreigner in the streets, I would fall to weaving a network of dreams, –the mountains, the glens, and the forests of his distant home, with his cottage in its setting, and the free and independent life of far-away wilds.

Perhaps the scenes of travel conjure themselves up before me, and pass and repass in my imagination all the more vividly, because I lead such a vegetable existence, that a call to travel would fall upon me like a thunderbolt.

In the presence of this Kabuliwallah, I was immediately transported to the foot of arid mountain peaks, with narrow little defiles twisting in and out amongst their towering heights. I could see the string of camels bearing the merchandise, and the company of turbaned merchants, carrying some of their queer old firearms, and some of their spears, journeying downward towards the plains. I could see–but at some such point Mini’s mother would intervene, imploring me to “beware of that man.”

Mini’s mother is unfortunately a very timid lady. Whenever she hears a noise in the street, or sees people coming towards the house, she always jumps to the conclusion that they are either thieves, or drunkards, or snakes, or tigers, or malaria or cockroaches, or caterpillars, or an English sailor. Even after all these years of experience, she is not able to overcome her terror. So she was full of doubts about the Kabuliwallah, and used to beg me to keep a watchful eye on him.

I tried to laugh her fear gently away, but then she would turn round on me seriously, and ask me solemn questions.

Were children never kidnapped?

Was it, then, not true that there was slavery in Kabul?

Was it so very absurd that this big man should be able to carry off a tiny child?

I urged that, though not impossible, it was highly improbable. But this was not enough, and her dread persisted. As it was indefinite, however, it did not seem right to forbid the man the house, and the intimacy went on unchecked.

Once a year in the middle of January Rahmun, the Kabuliwallah, was in the habit of returning to his country, and as the time approached he would be very busy, going from house to house collecting his debts. This year, however, he could always find time to come and see Mini. It would have seemed to an outsider that there was some conspiracy between the two, for when he could not come in the morning, he would appear in the evening.

Even to me it was a little startling now and then, in the corner of a dark room, suddenly to surprise this tall, loose-garmented, much bebagged man; but when Mini would run in smiling, with her, “O! Kabuliwallah! Kabuliwallah!” and the two friends, so far apart in age, would subside into their old laughter and their old jokes, I felt reassured.

One morning, a few days before he had made up his mind to go, I was correcting my proof sheets in my study. It was chilly weather. Through the window the rays of the sun touched my feet, and the slight warmth was very welcome. It was almost eight o’clock, and the early pedestrians were returning home, with their heads covered. All at once, I heard an uproar in the street, and, looking out, saw Rahmun being led away bound between two policemen, and behind them a crowd of curious boys. There were blood-stains on the clothes of the Kabuliwallah, and one of the policemen carried a knife.

Hurrying out, I stopped them, and enquired what it all meant. Partly from one, partly from another, I gathered that a certain neighbour had owed the pedlar something for a Rampuri shawl, but had falsely denied having bought it, and that in the course of the quarrel, Rahmun had struck him. Now in the heat of his excitement, the prisoner began calling his enemy all sorts of names, when suddenly in a verandah of my house appeared my little Mini, with her usual exclamation: “O Kabuliwallah! Kabuliwallah!” Rahmun’s face lighted up as he turned to her. He had no bag under his arm today, so she could not discuss the elephant with him. She at once therefore proceeded to the next question: “Are you going to the father-in-law’s house?” Rahmun laughed and said: “Just where I am going, little one!” Then seeing that the reply did not amuse the child, he held up his fettered hands. ” Ali,” he said, ” I would have thrashed that old father-in-law, but my hands are bound!”

On a charge of murderous assault, Rahmun was sentenced to some years’ imprisonment.

Time passed away, and he was not remembered. The accustomed work in the accustomed place was ours, and the thought of the once-free mountaineer spending his years in prison seldom or never occurred to us. Even my light-hearted Mini, I am ashamed to say, forgot her old friend. New companions filled her life. As she grew older, she spent more of her time with girls. So much time indeed did she spend with them that she came no more, as she used to do, to her father’s room. I was scarcely on speaking terms with her.

Years had passed away. It was once more autumn and we had made arrangements for our Mini’s marriage. It was to take place during the Puja Holidays. With Durga returning to Kailas, the light of our home also was to depart to her husband’s house, and leave her father’s in the shadow.

The morning was bright. After the rains, there was a sense of ablution in the air, and the sun-rays looked like pure gold. So bright were they that they gave a beautiful radiance even to the sordid brick walls of our Calcutta lanes. Since early dawn to-day the wedding-pipes had been sounding, and at each beat my own heart throbbed. The wail of the tune, Bhairavi, seemed to intensify my pain at the approaching separation. My Mini was to be married to-night.

From early morning noise and bustle had pervaded the house. In the courtyard the canopy had to be slung on its bamboo poles; the chandeliers with their tinkling sound must be hung in each room and verandah. There was no end of hurry and excitement. I was sitting in my study, looking through the accounts, when some one entered, saluting respectfully, and stood before me. It was Rahmun the Kabuliwallah. At first I did not recognize him. He had no bag, nor the long hair, nor the same vigour that he used to have. But he smiled, and I knew him again.

“When did you come, Rahmun?” I asked him.

“Last evening,” he said, “I was released from jail.”

The words struck harsh upon my ears. I had never before talked with one who had wounded his fellow, and my heart shrank within itself, when I realised this, for I felt that the day would have been better-omened had he not turned up.

“There are ceremonies going on,” I said, “and I am busy. Could you perhaps come another day?”

At once he turned to go; but as he reached the door he hesitated, and said: “May I not see the little one, sir, for a moment?” It was his belief that Mini was still the same. He had pictured her running to him as she used, calling “O Kabuliwallah! Kabuliwallah!” He had imagined too that they would laugh and talk together, just as of old. In fact, in memory of former days he had brought, carefully wrapped up in paper, a few almonds and raisins and grapes, obtained somehow from a countryman, for his own little fund was dispersed.

I said again: “There is a ceremony in the house, and you will not be able to see any one to-day.”

The man’s face fell. He looked wistfully at me for a moment, said “Good morning,” and went out. I felt a little sorry, and would have called him back, but I found he was returning of his own accord. He came close up to me holding out his offerings and said: “I brought these few things, sir, for the little one. Will you give them to her?”

I took them and was going to pay him, but he caught my hand and said: “You are very kind, sir! Keep me in your recollection. Do not offer me money!–You have a little girl, I too have one like her in my own home. I think of her, and bring fruits to your child, not to make a profit for myself.”

Saying this, he put his hand inside his big loose robe, and brought out a small and dirty piece of paper. With great care he unfolded this, and smoothed it out with both hands on my table. It bore the impression of a little band. Not a photograph. Not a drawing. The impression of an ink-smeared hand laid flat on the paper. This touch of his own little daughter had been always on his heart, as he had come year after year to Calcutta, to sell his wares in the streets.

Tears came to my eyes. I forgot that he was a poor Kabuli fruit-seller, while I was–but no, what was I more than he? He also was a father. That impression of the hand of his little Parbati in her distant mountain home reminded me of my own little Mini.

I sent for Mini immediately from the inner apartment. Many difficulties were raised, but I would not listen. Clad in the red silk of her wedding-day, with the sandal paste on her forehead, and adorned as a young bride, Mini came, and stood bashfully before me.

The Kabuliwallah looked a little staggered at the apparition. He could not revive their old friendship. At last he smiled and said: “Little one, are you going to your father-in-law’s house?”

But Mini now understood the meaning of the word “father-in-law,” and she could not reply to him as of old. She flushed up at the question, and stood before him with her bride-like face turned down.

I remembered the day when the Kabuliwallah and my Mini had first met, and I felt sad. When she had gone, Rahmun heaved a deep sigh, and sat down on the floor. The idea had suddenly come to him that his daughter too must have grown in this long time, and that he would have to make friends with her anew. Assuredly he would not find her, as he used to know her. And besides, what might not have happened to her in these eight years?

The marriage-pipes sounded, and the mild autumn sun streamed round us. But Rahmun sat in the little Calcutta lane, and saw before him the barren mountains of Afghanistan.

I took out a bank-note, and gave it to him, saying: “Go back to your own daughter, Rahmun, in your own country, and may the happiness of your meeting bring good fortune to my child!”

Having made this present, I had to curtail some of the festivities. I could not have the electric lights I had intended, nor the military band, and the ladies of the house were despondent at it. But to me the wedding feast was all the brighter for the thought that in a distant land a long-lost father met again with his only child. (courtesy : http://www.4to40.com)

નવેમ્બર 10, 2009 Posted by | અંગ્રેજી વાર્તા | Leave a comment