There were four large cupboards with glass doors and you could see the books stacked neatly inside. The uncle had arranged the books with care, confident that his books were safe in this new locality.
Mintu has observed the gentleman carefully. He doesn't appear to be hot-tempered. But his own niece has warned that he gets wild with book borrowers! Mintu therefore does not dare to step into the house with a request to be allowed to read the books.
But there is God! At least, Mintu does have a guardian angel.
One day, all of a sudden, a lasting friendship developed between the gentleman and Mintu. The reason reads like fiction. Mintu, on that day, saved Uncle's life right in the middle of the road!
Mintu had gone to the stationer's to buy an exercise book when she saw the gentleman coming out of his house; Mintu's heart raced. She thought that Uncle (she had begun to regard him as her uncle) would soon pass by her but she would not be able to make his acquaintance. Uncle goes out every afternoon locking the room behind him; he comes back in the evening. Oh, if only Uncle allowed Mintu to remain in the room when he was out she could read to her heart's content!
Uncle was approaching nearer and nearer, he was walking at a rapid pace. Mintu left the shop and pretended as if she had not noticed him. She walked leisurely as though she was in no hurry to reach home. Meanwhile the gentleman, who had almost reached Mintu, suddenly slipped and fell on the footpath; his white suit was soiled.
Now, Uncle would not have fallen had there been no banana skin on the footpath. And, if he had not fallen, Mintu could not have rushed to his help.
Of course, the gentleman did not require Mintu's help. It would not have been possible for a small girl like Mintu to try to pick him up. But Mintu will always be acknowledged as the first rescuer. If someone falls down on a Kolkata road, he cannot expect to remain lying peacefully for a while. Bystanders may or may not physically pull up the person, but their torrent of remarks - "He is dying ..... He is dying", "What happened ..... What happened?", "Water, fan, ambulance", "Can't you see where you are going, mister?", "Oh, you have survived by the skin of your teeth", "Do you suffer from any sort of illness? Heart troubles?" - is sure to force him up on his feet. The remarks caused Uncle to get up.
He sat on the road still dazed. Mintu rolled her eyes at the public. "Don't crowd around him," she told them. "Can't you see he needs fresh air? Oh, look at the state of his clothes - they are all soiled."
Then, becoming more friendly, she asked, "Are you hurt, Mejokaka (an endearing term while addressing father's younger brother)?"
Uncle was surprised at being addressed as "Mejokaka".
"Who are you?" he asked as he made an effort to stand up.
"I am Mintu; I hope you are not much hurt."
"No, no, I am not much hurt. But, the public!"
Mintu, assuming the tone of an affectionate aunt, said, "Now, you will have to change into cleaner clothes. Come, I will escort you to your house."
Uncle was taken aback. "Do you know where I live?"
Mintu nodded her head. "I do know where you live ..... You live in that yellow house where there are so many ...."
Mintu checked herself just in time. She was not sure what the results would be if she made a mention of books.
Uncle started limping towards his home with Mintu by his side. The people, when they saw the man getting up without as much as shedding a drop of blood, dispersed quite annoyed.
"So many what?" uncle was suspicious.
"Er .... I mean ..... so many chairs, tables. I saw the lorry unloading the furniture the other day. There were books, and ......"