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"Alright, don't leave the gold behind. Here is the torch, some food and water for you. I am going." The sannyasi went away, and iron door of the gold warehouse closed behind him.
Mrityunjoy paced the room in a state of ecstasy - he started piling the gold bars, he struck one bar against another and delighted in the sound, he picked up the bars and caressed them. Finally, he prepared a bed of gold and fell asleep.
He woke up to the sight of glittering gold all around. There was nothing but gold everywhere! Mrityunjoy wondered what must be happening outside - perhaps, the dawn has broken and all living creatures had woken up in delight to welcome a new day! He was lost in an illusory world, and in his imagination could smell the rich fragrance wafting from the garden by the pond near his house; he could see very clearly the ducks making a clamorous noise while waddling to the pond; and there was his maid with a sash tied around her waist come to wash a heap of utensils.
Mrityunjoy struck at the iron door and called out, "Oh sannyasi, are you there?"
The door opened and the sannyasi asked, "What do you want?"
Mrityunjoy said, "I wish to go out, but can't I take away just a few gold pieces?"
The sannyasi lit a torch without giving any reply. He placed some food before Mrityunjoy and went away. The door closed behind him.
Mrityunjoy picked up a thin leaf of gold and broke it into pieces. He flung the pieces up in the air. He bit into the gold and left the mark of his teeth on them. At other times, he flung the gold bars on the floor and stomped on them. "Is there any emperor in this world who could have treated gold in this manner?" he thought to himself. He suddenly felt a deep desire to crumble all the gold and sweep them away like dust - in this way he could defy all the kings and emperors in this world.
After wearying himself by such antics, Mrityunjoy dropped down and fell asleep. Waking up he again saw the heaps and heaps of gold before him. He once again struck at the door and called out, "Oh sannyasi, I don't want this gold - I don't want this gold."
But the door did not open. Mrityunjoy's voice became hoarse from the calling but still the door did not open. He picked up the gold bars and hurled them at the door but that too did not cause it to open. Mrityunjoy was overcome with fright - won't the sannyasi come back? Was he condemned to suffer a slow death in this golden prison?
While looking at the gold now, Mrityunjoy was gripped with panic. The gold lay strewn as before - they had no life - these gold bars did not crave for sunlight, they did not crave for the fresh air, they neither wanted life nor did they want freedom. They were blissful in their state of hardness in this eternal darkness.
Has dusk fallen outside now? Oh for the golden hue of dusk - that gold which appears only for a brief instant, pleases the eyes, and and then departs in the darkness! Then the stars peep out and gaze steadfastly down on the courtyard. The brides have lighted lamps in their homes, and the temples must now be resonating with the sounds of bells. The smallest and insignificant matters of village life now appeared before Mrityunjoy as the brightest and most significant events. Even the thought of his dog which went to sleep in the evening with its tail pressed to its head, tormented Mrityunjoy now. He pictured the grocer, in whose shop he had taken shelter in Dharagol, leaving the shop after the day's business and slowly walking homewards for his meals. The grocer is so happy, Mrityunjoy thought. He did not know what day of the week it was - if it were a Sunday then villagers would be returning to their homes from the weekly market; they would be calling out to their friends and, forming little groups, crossing the river in boats. He could imagine the farmers carrying a fish or two in their hands while balancing a basket on their heads and walking homewards in the faint light thrown by the stars.
Mrityunjoy yearned for that life, for that sky, and for that light which to him now were more valuable than all the gemstones on earth put together. Mrityunjoy felt that if he could only for a brief moment breathe in the delightful air while standing under the open blue sky and then die, his life would be fulfilled.
At that instant, the door opened. The sannyasi entered the room and asked, "Mrityunjoy, what do you want?"
"I don't want anything - I wish to get out of this tunnel, this darkness, this maze, and this prison of gold. I want light, I want the sky and I want freedom," Mrityunjoy cried out.
"There is another room full of riches more valuable than what you have here. Don't you wish to go there?" the sannyasi asked.
Mrityunjoy said, "No, I don't wish to go there."
"Don't you have any desire to see it even?" the sannyasi asked.
"No, I don't even wish to see it. Even if I have to live by begging I am ready to do that, but I don't want to remain here for another moment," Mrityunjoy said.
"Alright, then come with me," the sannyasi said.
The sannyasi held Mrityunjoy's arm and led him to the well. He gave him the paper that bore the directions to the treasure and asked, "What will you do with this paper?"
Mrityunjoy took the paper and tearing it into pieces, threw the pieces down the well.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu