As for my condition, I realized it when I was rudely awakened by a noise. When I opened my eyes I found a giant of a man bending over me with a raised knife.
Just like I had forgotten to lock the door, I had forgotten to extinguish the lantern and I could clearly see the features of my enemy. His shadow had traversed through the length of the room and blended with the darkness outside.
I broke out in cold sweat!
But thieves are nothing when compared to the Chakrabortys. They cannot match our wits.
I rose and sat on the bed. Then I joined my palms in salutation and said, "Come my lord, please come."
"None of your trickery now. Hand over the keys to the cupboard," he thundered, "else ... you can see what I have in my hand. It will not remain in my hand, and you will see it in your belly." So saying he brought the knife a little closer to my abdomen.
I, involuntarily, caressed my belly and said, "Lord, please sit down first. Since you have taken the trouble to visit me, please sit down on that easy-chair first and take a little rest."
The thief was annoyed beyond reason. "Don't play games with me," he roared.
But I persisted and said in my sweetest voice, "Lord now that you have made your appearance, I cannot allow you to go away without first taking a pinch of dust from your feet. Please bring your feet nearer to my hands."
"So that you can pull my feet and topple me? I can see through your plans; I am not such a fool as you think."
"Lord, why are you torturing your devotee in this manner?" I said. "You appeared to me in my dreams just now and revealed that you are my guardian angel. You said you will appear before me in your present form and that I should give away whatever I have. You appeared in my dreams only a few minutes back - the same face; the same features. How can I make a mistake? How can the Lord's words ever be wrong?"
"You saw this face; these very features?" the thief was astonished.
"Of course, I saw you in my dreams and you promised to show yourself to me again. That is why you are here."
The thief was so astounded that he could not speak for a while. After a brief silence, the only word that escaped his lips was, "Amazing!"
"Lord, tell me what you want. I will give away whatever I have - all my belongings are yours. They had been given to me by you and it is you who will be taking them back. Nothing belongs to me - everything is yours. Tell me what do you wish to have?"
"Give me all the money and jewellery that you have."
"Of course I will give; I will give away everything to you. But, first, I have to offer my worship. You are my Lord - first I will offer my worship to you and, then, I will hand over all my possessions including this fountain pen. You have shown yourself to me; my life has become blessed now!"
"You want to worship me?" the thief asked me in disbelief.
"Of course! Now that my guardian angel has appeared before me how can I stay without offering worship?" I threw a poser at him.
"Okay, okay. Finish off your worship fast; don't you see it is almost daybreak!"
"Yes I can see that," I told him, "but please do not disappear before my worship is complete; give me your word".
"Fine! But finish your worship fast; and mind you, do not ring bells. I dislike concerts of any kind."
"Alright, but even if I don't ring bells I will have to blow a conch shell."
"Conch shell! That does it! I warn you that if you blow conch shells, I will not receive your worship. Conch shells produce a very harsh sound that travels very far. Besides, if you blow conch shells at such an hour what will the neighbours ...."
"Alright, then I will complete my worship by chanting 'mantras'."
"Whatever you do, make haste. There is very little of the night left, and I have yet to visit several other devotees of mine. I have to go to their homes also. Do you think you are my only devotee?"
"Sure you have a large number of devotees," I agreed. "I will complete my worship very fast."
There was an ornate wooden plank which I placed against a column. "Please stand on this plank my Lord; stand in a 'tribhanga' pose."