Tuesday, 20 March 2018

My Wanderings - 62. Short Story No. 42. The Canteen Boy

This story reflects some of the  unique anecdotes  of my life which I had to encounter   during my official  tenure at  Srinagar  city after migration of our community from    Kashmir.  It was only in late nineties when I was transferred to Jawahar Nagar Srinagar  Branch of my Bank from Pathankot and was posted there as Manager operations . Due to militancy all  the outside staff was required to stay in a pooled accommodation in Banks Guest House located near  Badami Bagh cantonment . There was also a proper mess and transport facility provided to us . Banks hired vehicles available  would take  us to different branches in the morning  and bring us back to Guest house in the  evening . We were much  skeptikle about our posting  because of much hostile atmosphere around. Only after our  first night stay at the  Guest House , we heard about the gruesome massacre of  Wandhama  in which twenty six members of  our community were murdered . This incident laid a deep impact on our minds and we felt more concerned about our security . However, in due course of time  we became accustomed to the  circumstances and could discharge our duties in a quite congenial way  . The evenings were mostly spent in the company of our  colleagues playing indoor games , discussing  current affairs or sharing day to day branch experiences with each other .
In the mean time I developed friendship with one of my colleagues who was senior to me and  was staying in  Guest House  much earlier  than my arrival thereat.   His actual name was Mohan Kadalbuju , but he was usually addressed as Buju  sahab . He used to stay alone in one room while all other rooms were shared by two persons normally .  After office hours he usually  confined himself to his room and was noticed always  busy with his books . He was a voracious reader. He used to read books on every  subject on earth . Recently he had developed Interest  in Kashmiri Shivism . I visited his room sometimes to listen to his lectures .  He  also gave me  counseling  occasionally , whenever I faced  any problem at the branch. He had a  very good knowledge and experience of Banking . His advise always helped me . He was having only one bad habit  that he was not  a good listener. He could lecture on any subject and keep his audience spell bound for hours together , but if somebody from audience wanted to express his views he would immediately find some excuse to leave the meeting to the astonishment of all. Only the habit of not listening to others had made him unpopular among his colleagues .
After some time I was transferred as Branch Manger to Rainawari Branch , which was  shifted from its actual location Rainawari and was working from Zonal office Srinagar since long , due to explosion of  various bombs at its original venue. Some time after taking the charge of Branch by me, management of our Bank decided to shift the Branch to its original location which was really an ordeal for me. 
The premises for Branch could not be found at its  original location .But a very spacious branch premises was identified near Saida kadal one and a half Kms away from Kathi Darwaza.  Lease  deed was signed by me and the landlord in Srinagar High court and  Within shortest possible time all the cabins and counters were installed in the premises and Branch was shifted there. Here it will be worthwhile to mention the name of a  casual labourer ' Irfan 'who used to work for us at shifted premises for some small renumeration . He helped  us  relentlessly in shifting of the Branch along with other permanent Bank staff.
Once during these days, Buju sahab said to me, " you have now discretion of appointing a Canteen Boy for the branch."
At once name of Irfan came into my mind. Yes Irfan will be best for the post.He is already familiar with us, I thought.
"What are you thinking about? said Buju sahab .
"I was thinking about appointment of canteen Boy"' I retorted back.
" You have not to worry about that, I know one person,  you can send his recommendation . You have to do this job for me."
" But what about Irfan?He is much hopeful. Moreover, he deserves it," said I.
"No you have to recommend my Man , I have made a comment ment to him. You have to do it anyhow".
Next morning , while I was working at the branch, Regional Secretary of staff Association along with his team arrived at the branch and requested me to appoint one 'Akram' as Canteen Boy  as we have made commitment with him. Please do us a favour, they implored upon me.
My staff was intrested in appointing ' Irfan 'as Canteen Boy. I thought over it for some time and decided to go with the  choice of Staff Association as I could not afford to confront Staff Association in such already hostile atmosphere.
Then I send recommendations for appointment of      'Akram ' as Canteen boy annoying my staff as  well as Buju sahab .  One of my Staff members confided to me that this boy 'Akram 'was an ex-militant and he  has been  already imprisoned  for exploding a Bomb at some other branch of the Bank. I told him straight away that nothing can be done now as I have already send my recommendation and approval of which may be received by us within a day or two.
After few days 'Akram ' joined the branch. Prima facie ,he apperead to me much arrogant and rude ,perhaps because of my already biased outlook against  him and  I regretted my decision . But within a short   span of time he became indispensable for branch. He was so polite , helpful and hardworking  that every staff member of branch began to like him.
One day in order to satisfy my curiosity , I asked him about the allegation of  Bomb explosion against him.
He replied to me, " Sir, a permanent employee of that Branch was actually involved in Bomb explosion  . If he had been apprehended by police , he could have lost his job. I being a temporary employee was made the scapegoat and Association told me to accept the crime . They made a comment ment with me that after my release from Jail , I will be again appointed as Canteen Boy in some other Branch .
The polite behaviour of 'AKRAM' which I had noticed myself while working with him and all other circumstances related with his appointment left me with out any reason not to beleive his  statement. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

My Wanderings - 61. Short Story No. 41. The Mystery behind the House Burglary

This story is of long ago,  when I was small child of five or six years old. My father was posted as a Doctor in Pattan, a small hemlet then, situated  on the national highway leading from Srinagar to Baramulla.  My father had shifted his family to Srinagar for some time  and he was living  there alone .
Once during my school holidays, I accompanied him  to visit the village for few days. My father was a very  busy person , after hospital hours  , he used to visit far off patients on a Tonga or horse back , whatever the transport facility the villagers could provide him. Most of the time I used to play in Hospital compound and when my father had to visit some patient I remained at home alone playing with empty injection bottles and their packages. My  Father was living as a tenant  in  newly constructed bungalow of  village head located on main road. He  after arriving home , used to enquire from me daily whether somebody had visited the house in his absence . I usually replied him in negative  after shaking my head . One day a prank cropped in my mind and I nodded my head in affirmation.
"Who was it" ?
"Kaen tchoor, the thief", I replied with confidence.
"What for he had come here, had he touched anything here."
"Yes he touched it, "replied I , pointing towards some furniture items .
Had I anticipated the enormity  of its consequences , I would not have ventured to play such a prank . 
Here I feel obliged  to reader for giving the details of burglar . The' Ahad tchoor' and 'Kaen tchoor'  , the two burglars were actually real brothers . They were living with their mother in a newly constructed two story house on the outskirts of village. They were very notorious burglars . 'Ahad tchoor 'was elder brother and 'Kaen tchoor 'was younger one. They had vowed never to burgle any house of their native village. Their area of operation was a  big city or  or town  like Srinagar or Baramulla. Elder brother was more  professional and remained mostly in jails . Their modus operandi of burglary was unique . They would mostly accomplish their job in broad day light . Once they entered a house clad in burqa , a veil usually worn by Muslim ladies, no body took much notice of them as there were two families living in the house. One housewife washing clothes on the gate  thought that they must be the guests of other dweller of house . In the mean time they started collecting the goods , when some body noticed them . They took the collected goods and jumped from the window. But due to bad luck they fell on Iron wire fence and cut their legs  . They were caught and Police was called . The Police escorted them to the Police station . While in handcuffs and blood oozing out  from the wounds of  their legs , they called a grape vendor  in the way and snatched a bunch of grapes from him.  They finally reached the Police station while  enjoying the taste of grapes .
Once I had seen the  elder brother 'Ahad Tchoor 'wearing a grey suit and a goggle , handcuffed,  surrounded by two police men  taken in a police vehicle  from Srinagar  to Baramulla for court attendance . He stopped the vehicle near his native village , waved at the people and bought goods and clothes from a shop  for his mother , who apperead from somewhere in the crowd to collect them.
Now reverting to the incident I was referring to ....
My father immediately rushed to the police station and reported the matter to Police  SHO , who earnestly believed my theory because elder brother was in jail and only younger brother was moving around in the village .Had I mentioned about the elder brother,  he would not have believed.    The SHO was my father's friend and therefore , with out loosing any time,  he   deputed two police men for the job. They first visited our residence and asked me few questions . After satisfying themselves they left for the tirade. It was hardly after a gap of an hour 'Kaen Tchoor 'was apprehended. He was caught playing cards with his accomplices in the backyard of his house . He was unaware of the developments which destiny had planned   against him. Therefore,  he was taken by a surprise. But the two policemen caught hold of him and began to remand him in the police custody .
In the meantime sun had set and our land lord, who was a village head also  , called a meeting of village elders  on the main road in front of our  house. He looked very furious and was saying something in a very loud voice while stretching both his hands often,  which I could hardly understand at that age but whatever I comprehended  was that my prank had taken a very serious turn , which can not be retrieved by me at any cost. Therefore , I have to remain sticked to my version of events.
Next day I accompanied my father to the hospital . Every shopkeeper in the way was looking curiously at me as the news had spread like fire in the whole village . I was walking  on the street,  accompanied by my father,  expanding my chest to the enormous proportions like Don Quixote with out much conscious of the implications and gravity of the situation.
In the mean time my father advised Police SHO to release the Burglar  as he had not stolen anything from our  house.  The burglar was released after detaining him for  one night in the police custody  and his head was shaved as a punishment. 
After releasing from the Police station, the burglar came directly to meet my father and asked for his  apology and subsequently  pleaded  his innocence.
He also interviewed me. He said , how you can say it was me only and not any one  else. I remain sticked to my point and never retreated from it as that was  only safe for me.
He said to me, " what I was wearing when I entered the house."?
I looked at his dress , which i still remember , it was a dark coloured pathani dress with a green  embroidered waist coat .
I told him that it was the same pointing towards his dress.
It was  only after a very long time  when I had grown up , I disclosed the secret behind the mystery of burglary to my father , for which  he reprimanded me seriously .

Monday, 8 January 2018

My Wanderings - 60. Short story No.- 40. Myopia

Brij Krishen screwed up his eyes as he peered across  the dimness of his house dining room . He was slightly short sighted of which he had taken little notice so far. He was already using specs for reading books and newspapers since his retirement from a public sector  but had  never faced such a type of problem earlier.   He was  experiencing a mixed feelings of joy and  gloominess  today as he had visited his childhood friend Ram Krishen , a renowned business man , after  long time. He was happy because he had met his childhood friend but gloomy because he had discovered that he was no match to his friend and has lagged far behind him in affluence and prosperity. It was not only clinical problem of his eyes but literally he was regretting for his myopic outlook maintained by him throughout his life   and opted  for a salaried  job with a meagre income as compared to his friend.
Moreover , Ram Krishen looked very young and pleasant by appearance,  thought Brij Krishen and it was a natural sequence after that to glance at his own appearance in the mirror that happened ,most conveniently,  to hang just besides the table . What he saw there put him in further grief . How dreadfully he had changed ? Brij  Krishen was by nature a very  sociable man . Throughout his life he had remained seperate from his wife  and children because of his transferable job. Brij Krishen had always worked hard, harder perhaps than was good for his health . He had worn out as his wife had.  He had a tired and haggard look after facing the vagaries of life . There was a lot of white in his hair. His wife had also suffered  no less .She had looked after the house and  children meticulously in the absence of Brij Krishen .
Now after his retirement  he was looking forward to live ever with his loving  wife . What a happy and peaceful life they would have together. Well perhaps peaceful was overstating it. Family life was never quite peaceful .Infectious  illnesses , vagaries of fate  and other problems were there in abundance . Life really was a series of petty dramas .
Still after all, that was life  And now with the children married and getting a good pension himself  , Brij Krishen could take things more easily .
As Brij Krishen  was at the threshold of bliss of life , the thoughts of his friend made his life miserable. He was having more than enough to look after the needs of himself and his loving wife  but he could never live  peacefully ever after his encounter  with his friend Ram krishan . He always regretted his myopic outlook when he compared his life with that of  his friend . This complex worked upon his nerves so hard  that he began to show signs of depression which naturally effected the peaceful life of his wife also.  He made her  life also miserable. She consulted various doctors but of no avail.
One day Ram Krishen also visited Brij Krishen's house to enquire about his health. Brij  Krishen felt  embarrassed  to see his friend because of his small abode  and humble belongings . Ram Krishen appeared not to be taking much notice of what his friend was thinking about. He was rather envious of his friends peaceful life which he confided  to him quite frankly. He admitted to his friend that he was not living a peaceful life himself because of various business occupations.  He was not able to give much time to his family and hobbies.  No doubt he is earning much more than an average  person but his life is devoid of peace and happiness,  which no money on earth can  buy. 
With these words Ram Krishen left the residence of his friend, leaving the latter in utter confusion.
Brij Krishen pondered over the utterances   of his friend for  a long time   and later  on  reality dawned upon him. He felt relieved of tension which was looming large  over his head for quite a long time. He also purchased new glasses for himself which corrected his myopia . He began to see his life with a different point of view . He felt grateful towards his family and possessions and began to live a happy and peaceful life thereafter .

Saturday, 28 October 2017

My Wanderings - 59. Short Story No. 39. Pyramid

It was in the middle of  Nineteen seventies that   families of two friends Ajay and Vimal were living in the most congested area of down town Srinagar near khan kahi sokhta   Safakadal . The life was simple and both the families had similar economic and cultural  background. Ajay and Vimal being next door neighbours and almost of same age were fast  friends . They had just completed graduation and were looking after  a suitable job for themselves  within the province . Only mode of conveyance in  the city  those days was hiring a Tonga or riding a  personal bicycle if few could afford to purchase it. Possession of personal cars or even  scooters were a rare commodity those days. Means of communication like telephones were far and few in  a locality .
After making hectic  efforts for getting  jobs  of a  teacher or an  Assistant in state Govt. they got desperate and  resolved to appear for competetive  tests of nationalised Banks and central Govt.offices located in Srinagar. Finally they got posted as casheirs in the different branches of a nationalised Bank within the Srinagar city. After few years they were married one after another in   a short span of time. The wife of Ajay was a working lady  and that of Vimal a  housewife but well  educated.  Both the friends were satisfied with  life and enjoying the bliss of married life.
After few years of marriage , wife of Ajay got promoted as a matter of routine but the later could not accept   the promotion of his wife sportingly . Male ego worked upon his nerves to the extent that he desperately wanted to get himself promoted somehow  . But promotion chances in his department were bleak and remote. He tried tooth and nail to fulfill his ambition . On the other hand Vimal enjoyed every minute of his life peacefully and patiently .
After some time God fulfilled the wish of Ajay and a promotional test was held by their department . As Ajay was fully prepared for the test , he  got promoted but Vimal could not make it through . Ajay was  overjoyed with the newly acquired promotion but was transferred out of state. He made it a point not  to look back and  never to compromise with his career. 
The promotion of Ajay also effected the life of Vimal . He could not accept his failure for sometime but compromised with it latter on . Ajay mostly remained outside the state because he got many promotions in quite succession and remained cut off from family responsibilities . He could not even spare time to look after the education of his children who were growing up fast. His son even failed in Matriculation exam despite the hectic efforts of his wife not  to let her children  feel the absence of their father.
Vimal also got promoted but could make it  to the level of middle management only. But his children feared very well in their exams. and got admission in prestigious professional colleges.
Although Ajay had reached to a very senior position in his department but  he was not still satisfied with his achievements. He used to say that graph of promotion  is in  the shape of pyramid ,  where only few can reach to the top.  Only fittest can survive to make it possible. Therefore, any means whether it may be sychophancy  or compromise with morals and  ethics are fair in this race .  Moreover,  success in his career had made him egoistic and arrogant. He felt himself superior and often  misbehaved with his subordinates. He started to maintain distance with his subordinates  and colleagues .Ajay  became so selfish that he  severed connections  even with his friends and relatives ,who  were not up to his mark and who  had once helped him a lot.
In the mad rush of achievements Ajay even ignored his wife , who was suffering from cancer. He did not take pains to take her to a better hospital where she could be treated well. At that time he was heading the north eastern zone  of his department and he could hardly spare time to look after her properly . Finally his wife succumbed  to the deadly disease.
In epilogue both the friends Ajay and Vimal  retired at their respective place of postings on the same day as both were born in  same month . Vimal retired as a satisfied man with his both children well settled
But Ajay appeared very lonely and forlorn after retirement as his wife had already passed away and his  son had left the home after fighting with him .His daughter had married a person much elder to her in age with out taking consent of his father.  Ajay had not even a friend to talk with. Moreover , every body ignored Ajay  whenever   he visited his office  after retirement.
Sometimes he would ponder over the fact that though he could not reach the top of the pyramid of his career graph but as per his life graph he had reached to the top of pyramid as he was left lonely and forlorn in the fag end of his life .

Thursday, 5 October 2017

My Wanderings - 58. Short story No.38. A Tale of an unknown KP

I can  not resist the temptation of writing about  a strange  person who encountered me during my Wanderings in life and influenced me so much. Although  he had implored  me  vehemently not to write anything about him but I do not want to keep my readers,  ignorant   about this  mysterious character,  who may get some lead to study the diversity in nature of life  represented by some unique persons in this  universe.  They appear just like aliens as if they are from  different planets , perhaps from Mars or Jupiter , if life  exists there. Because such truthful , honest and benevolent  persons  can rarely be found on our planet i.e earth .
In order to keep sanctity to his word of honour I am changing his name and mode in ancedots of his life to some extent.
I know Mahesh for the last thirty five years but could not visualise the depth in   his character for a long time  due to his ordinary disposition and simple way of life .  Actually Mahesh was a Photographer by profession. He had learnt this art while working as apprentice  in a famous Photography shop at Srinagar.  Then he joined   as a professional photographer in some Govt. Department and started working there  hard and honestly. Honesty and hard work was in the blood of Mahesh . He used to give credit of these virtues present in him to his mother.
I have seen him  mostly working  in the marriages of his friends and relatives tirelessly. He used to take the charge of store and kitchen in these functions and remained mostly there till the completion of the task. He was averse to the limelight of these functions . He would be seen always working there in ordinary clothes and never joining the celebrations. He would also prefer to take his simple  food in the  kitchen store only. After completion of function , he would properly arrange the leftover oils, spices and utensils with precision and store them properly. Sometimes he would himself wash the floor or used utensils . He was an expert housekeeper and  would work hard to avoid any loss to the host. It was not only marriage functions but in case of death of somebody in neighbourhood or in relation , he would provide his services relentlessly .In the rush of celebrations no body could notice his selfless service and he himself was not also concerned about that as he never required any recognition for that.  He was   a low profile man with simple habits and  providing his services with selflessness .
Mahesh  has many stories related with  his long stay at Srinagar after the migration of our community from there. Although he had already sent his family to Delhi but he remained at Srinagar till his retirement glued to his attitude of service. Most of militants used to stay in his house as it was safe heaven for them as no body suspected them there. He used to provide them with all essentials like food tea etc. as he was  helpless to take cudgels with them. Once militants brought a person blindfolded to his house and started enquiring him as they suspected him to be an informer. After a long  investigation they tied him in the upper storey of  house and left him at the disposal of  Mahesh  after advising him that they will return soon. In the meantime Mahesh reached near the tied person and asked him whether he wanted something to eat. After getting his nod, Mahesh provided him with some egg omellete and bread which he relished so much. Then militants took him again to some unknown destination .
Once a friend of Mahesh was in urgent need of money and requested him for help. Mahesh sold  the jewellery of his  newly wed wife and helped his friend. But that friend never returned him the money borrowed .
He was having an old scooter which was his means of transport  . Many times he visited Jammu or even to Delhi on  his old scooter. He hardly boarded a bus or train as scooter  was his most favourite means of travel. One day while travelling from Srinagar to Jammu , the headlight of  his scooter stopped . He immediately bought an ordinary torch and tied it to the Scooter in place of headlight.  These days he is however, living at Delhi but whenever he visits Jammu , he will be seen on his old scooter. The expenditure incurred by him on scooter in the shape of cost of petrol and service charges, plus inconvenience caused  is sometimes more than what a train or bus ticket could have  cost him. But he has fancy for scooter drive  .  One day he confided to me that he could have purchased a new scooter but he cannot afford to part with it as his late wife used to sit on the back seat of his scooter .  Therefore , he was also emotionally attached to his scooter. Here it will be worthwhile to  mention about the sad demise of his worthy wife  few  years back which broke his heart to the hilt. He remained confined to his room for many months after that,  but his friends helped him to come out of this grief.  Every one gets  surprised to notice him covering long distances on old scooter and that too at the  ripe age . But if one takes Intrest in his sojourns there is something miraculous about him. When asked how he covers  these long  distances on scooter with out any difficulty  he replied, " I sometimes myself feel disheartened to think about covering the long distances on old scooter, but some unseen power makes me to reach my destination with out any difficulty even to my own astonishment."
Most of his friends make fun of his utterances and take him lightly or even far granted . But if his devotion for selfless service is taken seriously,  he does not appear to be an ordinary person. He appears to have achieved the highest order of penance as per our religion that is Hinduism.
Here I quote two texts of SrimadBhagwadgita from chapter 12 and 14 respectively,  as my dedication to this great man which reflects  his personality to a large extent.
Arjuna asks  to Krishna,  what is the best form of penance
Bhagwan Krishan replies to Arjuna,
"If however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of me , then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self situated.
If you can not take to this practice , then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge (Gyan). Better than knowledge , however , is meditation (Dyana or  Bhakhti) , and  better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of  action ( Karm fal Tyag) , for by such renunciation​ one can attain peace of mind."

Arjuna says who has transcended the mode of nature .Bhagwan Krishna replies ,

"He who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress , who looks upon a lump of earth , a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye , who is equal towards desirable and undesirable , who is steady , situated equally well in  praise and blame , honour and dishonour , who treats alike both friend and enemy and who has renounced all material activities - such person is said to have transcended the mode of nature ".

Monday, 11 September 2017

My Wanderings - 57. Pt. Shankar Kaul, a Great Teacher, a Reformist and a Spiritualist

   " What Shankar Knows is worth knowing and what Shankar does not know is not worth knowing "
           These were the lines written by Tyndale  Biscoe , a great educationist and first Principal of CMS Mission School Srinagar in his Book 'Sunlight and Shade' This reflects the depth of  Knowledge and illustrious  personality  of a great teacher  of his times and the son of soil Pt.Shankar kaul.
Pt. Shankar Kaul was born in year 1879 near  Batyar   Mohalla of Aali kadal Srinagar. After  completing his early education in State High School, he got admission in CMS Mission School Fateh Kadal,  where his personality began to develop  under the  worthy guidance  of Mr. Tyndale  Biscoe, Principal of the School.
Shankar Kaul proved to be  a brilliant student , good swimmer and a  magnificent hiker. After completing his education i.e. BA. and B.T from Lahore university  Shankar Kaul joined as Teacher in the same school and became famous due to his ability and knowledge .He remained attached with the school for fifty three years and rose to the position of Head Master. Pt. Sansar Chand Koul, Nandlal Bakaya, N.N. Fotedar , Shiv ji Koul and Master Zinda Koul   were great teachers and his contemporaries. While teaching at the school , he also became  instructor of swimming, hiking and Gymnastics. Being a devout Hindu, he was also having full knowledge of Christianity and Islam. He used to quote the sayings of every religion while proving his point or delivering lectures. He was a very good orator and his early morning lecture to gathering of students had a deep impact and a magical effect on the audience . He was also very much Intrested in social service. He along with a  group of students voluntarily visited the areas effected by epidemics , fires or floods  to help the people. He also raised his voice against the exploitation of animals.
He  initiated an agitation against child marriage , which was very  common those days . He also met Mahraja Hari Singh and persuaded him to pass  the bill for  Widow remarriage . Hindu widows of Kashmir got the right of remarriage in year 1928.  Mr. Biscoe has well appreciated the efforts of Master ji ,in this regard, in his book Sunlight and shade .        .
                 Being a  man of diverse qualities,   Master Shankar Pandit was appointed as Commissioner of city  Municipality by Mahraja Hari Singh. Master ji took much Intrest in the cleanliness drive of Srinagar city . The  Govt. used to consult him regarding social service schemes to be initiated by them.
Despite of being a teacher in Christan Missionary School , he was  a devout Hindu and  very much  interested in his own religion. During leisure time,he remained busy  in his spiritual pursuits and had attained greater heights in the field. He always helped poor and needy and laid much stress on the purpose of life. He used to say ,  to get destroyed for a purpose is better than living a purpose less life. He was a great Karmyogi pandit. He was having spiritual liaison with Bhagwan Gopi Nath ji, a great saint of Kashmir .
I would like here to quote an incident from the life of Master ji which justify his spiritual attainment.
Master ji used to  visit Hari Parbat  daily early in the morning  to pay his obeisance    at the feet of Mata Sharika ji. Once he had to stop his daily schedule because of fracture in his leg due to some accident. One day he looked in desperation towards Hari Parbat from the window of his house located on the banks of Jehlum  and murmured  ," Mata I am not able to visit you presently but you have also forgotten me ; can't you send me your prasad even?"
At the same movement an unknown  person named Bhagat ji who was at Hari Parbat got a vision of Mata , who ordered him to take some prasad from here and deliver it to Master Shankar pandit of Ali Kadal.
Bhagat  ji took some Prasad and entered  the house  of Master ji much hesitantly and sat just  near the entrance. He could not venture to handover Prasad to  Master ji. He thought Master ji will make fun of him if he revealed truth to him. But Master ji affectionately called him in and asked for the Prasad , which Bhagat ji most readily offered . Thereafter, Bhagat ji became a great desciple of Master ji.
He distributed  knowledge to all the student and believed in Nishkaam Karma through out his life.  Pandit  Shankar Kaul left this mortal world in year 1963 .

Friday, 18 August 2017

My Wanderings - 56. Short Story No 37. Facts of Life

Pooja was  just seventeen   when she completed   her School education  and stopped studying   further as there was no college in her village . She was the only child of her father, who was a rich Landlord of the village and her mother a seasoned housewife.  Therefore, Pooja was a pampered child of family and  brought up with much fanfare. But Pooja was very innocent by nature and totally ignorant about the facts of life as compared to other girls  of her age. Now Pooja had left school, radiant, bursting with life , thirsting for happiness , ready for all the joys and all the risks which she had already anticipated in imagination. She looked like portrait of Godess , with her dark hair and fair complexion. Her eyes were blue with a dark mole on her chin. She was tall with a developed bust.
Once sitting  near the window of her bed room she began to dream of love. For sometime her thoughts  have  been filling up with anxious anticipations of its advent. She had only to meet him . What would he be like? She did not really know . She only knew that she would worship him with all her heart and soul. They would go on long walks , they would hold hands , pressing close to each other , hearing their heartbeats suddenly she seemed to feel him close by her side and a shiver of sensual  longing ran over her whole body.
After some time  village priest brought the proposal of a boy namely Ashok who was a graduate and living in a near by  village. But the parents of Ashok had  already expired . Pooja's father asked the priest to bring the boy someday to their house so that they know each other better.  Ashok was a very smart boy of average  height with a very good  sense of humour.  Every body in the house began to like him gradually  as he started to visit their  house.
One day Ashok proposed Puja when her parents were not at home.  Ashok seizing the hand of Pooja whispered to her, " tell me Pooja dear, will you be my wife?" She bent her head and when he again whispered , " Do give me an answer, I love you". She raised her eyes gently to his and he read her answer  in her glance.
She was blushing ,panting and strangulated with emotion when her father one day  added  with  a smile ,  " we can not do anything without discussing it with you. Your mother and I have no objection with this marriage , but we do not wish  to put any pressure on you. You are much better off than he is, but when it is a question of lifelong happiness , the consideration of money ought not to come in . He has no near relative living , so if you do marry him , he will come into our family as a son , whereas with someone else it will be  a case of our daughter going among strangers. We like the boy .We seek your opinion. Pooja stammered in affirmation and marriage was fixed.
On the night of marriage Ashok pressed the ears of Pooja with his lips, saying ," Today you will be my little wife". Although she had learnt the facts of life from her school friends, she still only thought of the romantic aspect of love and was surprised .His wife? Was not that she already ?" Then he clasped her in arms and she surrendered because she remembered the words of her mother that from now  on you are all his. Finally  with some inquisitiveness some pain and some excitement marriage was consummated.
Excitement of marriage lasted for some months when Pooja noticed some indifference  in the attitude  of Ashok towards her.  Ashok had taken full charge of the  farms of his father in law. Pooja first  thought it is because of work load of Ashok that he can  not afford to give her much time. But soon it transpired that Ashok had developed illicit relations with some farm girl , who had become pregnant by now. This  ill action  of Ashok gave a shock to the whole family in general and particularly to Pooja. She wanted to severe all relations with Ashok. But father of Pooja,  who was a seasoned landlord and a business man ,  gave serious thought to the problem and paid  considerable amount of  money    to   father of farm girl and  advised him to arrange the marriage of his daughter , which he did later on.
But it was difficult for Pooja to compromise with the situation. She dared not face the people she met, convinced that they would whisper behind her back. She felt a grudge against Ashok in her heart for not understanding her and having no refined modesty and delicacy. She felt as if   it were a veil , a barrier between herself and him, realising for the first time that two people can never understand each other's deepest feelings and thoughts. They may walk side by side and sometimes embrace , but they remain apart and moral being of each one is eternally isolated all through life. Pooja could realise  that facts of life are not always  sweet but sometimes bitter also.