There were four large cupboards with glass doors; 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! How can Mintu, therefore, 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, one day, saved uncle's life right in the middle of the road!

Mintu was walking to the stationer's to buy an exercise book when she saw the gentleman come out of his house; Mintu's heart raced. She felt a pang of distress at the 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 went out every morning, locking the room behind him, and returned in the evening. Oh, if only uncle allowed Mintu to stay 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 though she had never seen uncle in her life. She walked leisurely as if 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 if there had been no banana skin on the footpath. And, if he had not fallen, Mintu would not have rushed to his help.

Of course, the gentleman did not require Mintu's help. It would have been impossible 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.

Uncle lifted himself and sat on the road still dazed under the onslaught of the remarks. Mintu rolled her eyes at the people. "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. "Why wouldn't I know? 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 and tables. I saw the lorry unloading the furniture the other day. There were books, and ..."


Some useful links for
your career:

  • 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