The Night We Met.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. – BM
The following story is divided in two parts, each part has two chapters.
PART A; Homecoming
When Sumit dada was five years old, his mother Pishi-amaa requested her younger brother to look after him and give him a proper education, as Chacha had completed his PhD in that very year most of the people in Danapur look up to him with Pride as he is their own child. Chacha never actually had “that kind” of attitude towards his qualification, he was always keen and close to Earth unlike those, who even after failing sixth grade walk with their neck high. Chacha took Sumit dada to his hometown, and enrolled his name in one of the junior school where the teacher only work is to take the attendance and hammer the gong to announce for break. Chacha was aware of all this rough teacher business, he had also written plenty of complaint letters to the governing bodies, but the situation was still not improved. By this period of time, the condition of Brahmins was improved, destitution was not commonly seen on a large scale, but still there were significant amount of Brahmins who didn’t able to make fool of the people in temples, and return home empty handed, these households usually has a large number of family members and there was only one breadwinner in the family, so it doesn’t take too much time when children of this house scatter in different parts and started working on daily wages. They forgot their origin and started living a “lesser Brahmin life”.
My grandfather were two brothers, Jagmohan Bharadwaj and Triloki Nath Bharadwaj. Jagmohan when reached adolescent left his house as he was so much inspired by Raja harishchandra character that he decided to be like him and follow his footstep. Triloki was opposite unlike Jagmohan he was not extremist but a profound thinker. Triloki was married to Rajni when he was fourteen, Rajni at that time was nine. Both enjoy each other’s company very much. Rajni was shy but at same time witty and full of confidence, she in her first week at Bharadwaj’s demanded her mother in law to arrange a home tutor for her, to teach her harmonium and sitar as she had a musical background and she wished to pursue that. Triloki had a crying infant in his hand when he was twenty one and Rajni at that time was precisely sixteen, Rajni’s mother in law didn’t eat for several days, as she wanted a boy but poor Rajni bear a girl child, Triloki was happy as something that could fit into his arm so well could never disappoint him. He named her Saraswati. When Saraswati was two she had a baby brother to play with, Triloki named him Brijkishor and when he was five he had a little brother to pass on his old shoes and underwear with plenty of holes, Triloki named him Sunil. Triloki gained all the Brahmin wisdom of knowledge and rituals from his father and became a prominent person in his vicinity, the people from far villages invites him for their daughter’s Marrige, son’s Yagopavitra and mother’s last rituals. Scholars from Harvard’s and Yale had interviewed him, and invited him to their country, but his wife was contented in this old thought of not crossing the sea, at it is a sin so he refused to go. Triloki took his last breath on a winter night when the moon was not clear and birds were migrating to east. Saraswati was married to an industrialist of Burma and moved there for some time, she returned after Bengal partition when her husband had to sell his business to the local government, later they moved to Bombay. Brijkishor my father was in Indian administrative service at finance commission of India and Sunil the young one after his graduation moved to Lucknow to obtain his PhD in mathematics.
Soni and Sumit dada were classmate and friends, rather they were very close that when Bihariji knew about it, he took his granddaughter out of that school and send her to Ranchi in a hostel, Sumit was sad after that. A girl and a guy could never be friends, but they could be amazing friends. Changes are mandatory in life, this fact had a deep impact on Sumit mind, he started to live a different lifestyle which has more fashionable cloths, expensive perfume, and shoes from abroad, but under this weak façade there was hollowness and that was just Soni could have filled, he never forgot her. He tried hard to get her address and he succeeded and written her letter, but no reply came. Days converted into weeks and week converted into months.
“Ji Namaskar, I am on my way to Rith, a yajman of mine had to fix a date for his son’s Yagopavitara” Chacha said to a lady in her late fifties who had indicated us to stop for some tea.
I was in my native place Danapur, after my intermediate exams I was free for some time, so dad advised me to visit home. ‘Home‘ yes this is what we call the house in our native place. Everything was same the respect , love and warm regards for we Brahmins in the eyes of people, it is even now believed in our village that through the left leg of a Brahmins, there is a narrow steam of all the holy rivers. Sometimes it astonishes me to see such devotion, I don’t know if we really deserve it or not, but who don’t like such hospitality.
“But a cup of tea surely won’t do any harm” said the lady, “and who is this child” she said looking at me,
“He is the son of my elder brother” Chacha said.
“Oh, okay the one who lives in Delhi, I was thinking about it. Parnam Maharaj” she bowed with joining hands,
I blushed. Chacha parked his bike and we both entered her house. It was on the way to bazar, three floored house with electricity and marble floor, they were Marwaris who owned big lands and lots of people work for them, the man of the house who had inherited all this property from his forefather was Rajendra singh popularly known as Bihariji among the people of our village, he was now old but still own four Mahendra jeep and two tractors besides he had a scrape business of iron and steel. He had three son, the first one was Ranvijay who was married and lived in Patna from the beginning with his family. Second son was Jitendra singh who was also married and lived with them in the village and look after the Business, the third son was married this year and moved to Poland as he had job there. All these three marriages were done by Chacha, and not just marriages any function that takes place in this family, our family was always invited first. Our relation were good with them. I have heard somewhere that my Chachi and this lady were friends, as they were from same locality back in Saharanpur. But I never confirmed this from anyone, so I didn’t gave it much attention.
“Here, pandit ji please sit here” said the lady dusting the chair with a cloth. We took our seat, Then a young women with a big veil over her head, came and touched our feet, I again felt ambiguous, then she moved back in. She was the wife of Jitendra, “So Pandit ji I wanted you to know that these days our business is not going so well, we are facing loss, and Jitendra’s father is really tense, his blood pressure as well as diabetes are both out of control, I don’t know why lord Rama is showing us this day, please Maharaj ji, please find some solution for our problem” said the lady.
“Well, in business things goes up and down and its not a big deal, but taking all kind of trouble on yourself is. So tell him not to worry about this, health is more than any wealth, I’ll look through his horoscope and will let you know, if there required any kind of ritual and worship to perform for such disdain.” Chacha said
“Me as well as Jitendra both are trying hard to make him understand this, but he don’t listen to us, Ranvijay is coming this weekend, now he will try to make things better and Maharaji please tell us some solution as soon as possible.” said the old lady weeping.
“Here put it on the table” she said wiping off her eyes.
Tea and snacks were arrived. The bride still has a big veil over her face, but her fair hands were the proof that she must have belong to a family of high status.
“Yeah, I’ll look through and would tell you the necessary things.” Continued Chacha, taking the tea cup, “So how is Ranvijay ji, last time I went to Ranchi was years ago, when he begin his Hero Motorcycle showroom, really assiduous child he was. I remember when he was a child, he used to be very good in studies, whenever I come over, he intend to talk in Sanskrit and always curious about new things, days pass so quickly,” said Chacha taking a sip.
“Yeah he was a good one, always, never depend on us, all the showroom business that he has is his own, he is truly what they call in cities. A self-made man”, last time on our anniversary he had arranged all the function, and we had no idea about it, why don’t you take sweets maharaj ” said the lady, turning to me.
“Well thanks,” I said. “Picking up a piece of ladoo”
To be Continued…