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It was a dark winter night. Even the stars appeared to be shivering in the sky. Halku was shivering under a canopy of sugarcane leaves. He had an old shawl wrapped around him and was lying on a cot, strung from bamboos, at one corner of his field. Jabra, his dog and constant companion, lay under the cot with his mouth pressed to his abdomen. Jabra was feeling very miserable because of the cold, and let out a whine from time to time. Sleep eluded both of them.
Halku pressed his knees to his shoulders and said, "Jabra, are you feeling cold? I told you to stay at home and lie on the straw. But you wouldn't listen. Now shiver in the cold; what can I do? You thought I was coming here to have a feast and came running after me. Now, whine as much as you want."
Jabra wagged his tail and after giving a long sigh, stopped whining. His doggy intelligence, perhaps, inferred that his master was unable to sleep because of his whining.
Halku removed a hand from the shawl and caressed Jabra's cold back. "Don't come with me from tomorrow, else you will die of cold. I don't know from where this wind brings so much ice; I think I will get up and have a smoke. That will help me to somehow stay put through the night. I have already smoked eight pipes. This is the fun of farming. There are some fortunate people from whom the cold runs away in fright; they have thick blankets, which the cold dare not penetrate. That's fate. It is we who have to do all the work, and it is they who enjoy!"
Halku stood up and lighted his "chillum (clay pipe)" from the fire pit. Jabra also got up.
"Do you want to smoke?" Halku asked Jabra while smoking his chillum. "This doesn't ward off the cold; it only cheers you up a bit."
Jabra looked up at his master with melting eyes.
"Bear up today; tomorrow I will spread some straw, and then you will not feel so cold," Halku told him.
Jabra put his front paws on Halku's knees and brought his mouth closer. Halku could feel his warm breath.
After smoking his pipe Halku lay down on the cot, determined to sleep come what may. But almost immediately his heart began to quiver, and he tossed and turned in discomfort. The cold, like the devil, sat on his chest.
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