The mention of Haru Pundit's name sent shivers down my spine. Haru Pundit had died three years ago. He was an expert in mathematics, and a far better expert in spanking. He used to tell us to solve all those problems involving pipes and hoses, water flowing at some rate, and what not! He would then come knocking at our heads with his knuckles as we sat wide-eyed, completely lost in uncharted territories. Habul was suggesting we summon the same Haru Pundit!
"He used to bop us a lot," I could not help pointing out.
"He will not bop us now; he has mellowed down after becoming a spirit. Besides, he will be very happy if we summon him because no one else must be having fond memories of him. Why only mathematics, he might even tell us the questions which will appear for other subjects," Teni-da tried to reassure me.
"Then, let's sit for the meditation," Kaabla said.
"Yes brother, let's finish it off quickly. If I reach home late, my elder brother will tear off my nose. I have told him I am going to Kaabla's house to practice mathematics," I said.
Before extinguishing the candle, Teni-da gave us last-minute instructions, "Each of you must think only of Haru Pundit. Focus your minds on his image - his beard, his broken spectacles, his baldness, his manner of taking snuff, ...."
"..... And the way he knocked our heads," Kaabla put in.
"Stop that blabbering," Teni-da scolded him, "only meditation now. We will all sincerely pray, 'Sir, please come and reveal to your worthless students the questions which are to appear in the examination'. No other talk. So, here goes the candle - one, two, three."
The candle went off without a whimper.
The room was plunged into darkness. It was awfully dark, and I shivered in fright. How could I meditate under such conditions! As it is, I felt as though I were surrounded by hundreds of spirits!
Yet, I made an effort to meditate. But these mosquitoes .... they were piercing holes into my legs. After bearing the torture for some time, I could not tolerate it any more and I slapped at my legs.
Strange! I slapped at my legs but why did I not feel it? Had my legs become benumbed? But the next instant, Habul, who was sitting next to me, screamed out, "Oh Teni-da, a ghost has slapped me on the leg."
"Shut up, and continue to meditate," Teni-da told him.
"But the ghost slapped me!"
"It will slap you again if you don't meditate. Shut your eyes and sit quietly."
I kept my mouth shut. It was all a mistake! I had slapped at Habul's leg believing it to be mine.
Few more minutes passed. I tried to meditate but without success. I could vividly call to mind Haru Pundit's baldness and beard but, then, the image of Haru Pundit approaching me menacingly with his knuckles raised would suppress the benign images and my meditation would be broken. Besides, I was feeling very hungry. Before leaving home I had seen the cook making mutton curry; it must be ready by now. Had I been at home, the cook might have allowed me to taste his preparation. The more I thought of it, the more hungry I felt.
All of a sudden the sound of "baa baaa baaaa ......" pierced through the darkness.
Oh no! After all my efforts did I summon the spirit of a goat? Quite possible, I had been thinking of mutton all the time!
"Oh Teni-da, a goat ghost!" Habul said in a quivering voice.
"You fellows are goats yourselves; what can you expect other than ghost goats to arrive to your summons," Teni-da roared at us.
I heard Kaabla chuckle. Just then there was another stream of "baa baaa baaaa ......"
Teni-da said, "Don't worry. All kinds of spirits will come; you see, all of them want to come when we sit in meditation. Now, pray sincerely, 'Goat ghost go away. Go to heaven and eat the tender grass there. We want only Haru Pundit - that bald pate, that beard, that snuff box - we want our sir and no one else'."