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The drummers started playing their "dhols" like mad; the people had all gathered in the courtyard and they had to speak loudly with one another to be heard over the din; it was a noisy environment. Manohar Chatterjee sat with closed eyes on a carpet spread on the floor of the verandah in front of the courtyard, silently counting the rosary beads. Suddenly, Lalu let out a terrifying roar at which all the noise abruptly stopped. Everyone stood still in dismay; what madness was this! Lalu's eyes were uncommonly wide and seemed to be rolling. "Where are the rest of the lambs?" he bellowed.
Someone from the family replied trembling in fear, "There are no more lambs; we don't ever sacrifice more than two lambs."
Lalu swirled the bloody falchion over his head a few times and said very gruffly, "That won't do; I need more lambs to slaughter; I am thirsting for blood; get me more lambs, else I will carry out human sacrifice." Immediately after uttering these words he landed near the sacrificial platform in one big leap, while swirling the falchion above his head dangerously. It isn't easy to describe in words what ensued; everyone ran helter-skelter towards the door lest Lalu get his hands on them! It led to a stampede with people trying to get out as fast as possible. Some tripped and fell after being pushed from behind; nevertheless they continued to struggle towards the door on all fours, but found their progress impeded as their heads got between the legs of the people ahead; there were some who were almost choked by the flailing arms around them; and then there were a few who tried the acrobatic feat of trying to climb over the shoulders of others in order to make a quick exit but came tumbling down! But this scene did not last very long; within a few minutes, the place was deserted.
Lalu bellowed, "Where is Manohar Chatterjee? Where is the priest?"
The priest was a sickly looking person who at the first sign of trouble had hidden himself behind the idol of the Goddess. Manohar Chatterjee's spiritual guru was sitting on a cushion chanting mantras; he too quickly picked himself up and hid behind a pillar. But Manohar, weighed down by his obesity, found it difficult to run. Lalu took hold of one of Manohar's hands in his left hand, while he held the falchion in his right hand. "Come along to the sacrificial platform and put your head on the slab," he ordered.
Chatterjee quaked with fear. He began pleading with Lalu in a tearful voice, "Lalu! Son! Compose yourself and look at me - see, I am not a goat; I am a human being! I am your uncle; your father is like my younger brother."
"I don't care; right now, all I care for is blood. Come along I must sacrifice you; it is Goddess's command."
Chatterjee broke into sobs, "No son, it cannot be Goddess's command. She is the Mother of the Universe."
"Mother of the Universe! Are you conscious of that fact? Will you sacrifice lambs again? Will you send for me to slaughter the lambs? Speak up."
"Never again, son," Chatterjee said between sobs, "I pledge before the Goddess that henceforth there will be no animal sacrifices in my house".
"Will you keep your promise?"
"Certainly, son. Please release my hand; I must go to the bathroom."
"Alright, you may go," Lalu said releasing his hand, "but where is the priest? Where is your gurudev?" Once again he let out a roar, and sprang towards the place of worship. No sooner did he utter these words that sounds of wailing from two different throats rent the air - one emerged from behind the idol of the Goddess and the other from behind a pillar! The two sounds, one rendered in a thin squeaky voice and the other deep-sounding, merged to produce such a bizarre and hilarious effect that Lalu could not restrain himself any longer, and he burst into uncontrollable laughter. He dropped the sword on the ground and fled from there still laughing.
This abrupt transformation in his behaviour left no one in doubt that Lalu had only been play-acting all the while; all the talk about "thirsting for blood" and "Goddess's command" was hogwash. Within five minutes of Lalu's departure, everyone came out of their hiding and reassembled at the place of worship. The worship had not been completed; it had been much delayed. Mr Chatterjee was furious when he realised Lalu had taken him for a ride. "I will have the rascal horsewhipped by his father the first thing tomorrow," he told everyone again and again.
But Lalu did not have to suffer any such horsewhipping; he disappeared somewhere, and returned home only after seven or eight days. After returning, Lalu went to Manohar Chatterjee's house one evening when it was dark and pacified him by seeking his forgiveness. This act also saved Lalu from his father's wrath. Anyway, Chatterjee had pledged before the Goddess's idol that animal sacrifices would not take place in his house ever again. He kept that promise; no animal sacrifices were made in the Chatterjee household since then.
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