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Moteram: "You forgot! A pandit's son, and you can't remember a simple name! It is shameful. I remember all the five names, and you can't remember one! Listen, your father's name is Pandit Mangru Ozha."
Panditji was thus engaged in tutoring his sons when his best friend, Pandit Chintamani, called out from outside. Panditji got the fright of his life; he wanted to dismiss the boys, but even before he could do so Pandit Chintamani entered the house. The two were childhood friends, and always went together for feasts. But, today, Moteramji wasn't inclined to take his friend along with him; if he were to take his friend along, then that would have meant depriving one of the family members of the feast. Panditji was not prepared to make such a big sacrifice.
When Chintamani saw the boys gathered together he surmised that the family was going out. Hoping to be invited to join in he said, "What brother, going to a feast all on your own! It seems as though you have netted a big catch today!"
Moteram hung his head dejectedly. "What do you say friend! I have never attended a feast without first informing you. Times have changed; no one invites you for feasts these days."
"There must be something; why else should the boys gather here?" Chintamani asked disbelievingly.
Moteram: "Your distrustful nature angers me. I was teaching the boys. They are a brahmin's children; no one will show them any respect if they don't receive a good education.
Chintamani wasn't convinced. He thought the truth could be gleaned out from one of the boys. Fekuram was the youngest, and Chintamani directed his attention towards Fekuram. "What are you studying son? Let me hear." Moteram, afraid that Fekuram would let the cat out of the bag, interjected, "He doesn't study at all; he keeps playing the whole day."
Fekuram was not willing to tolerate such a scandalous accusation without a murmur of protest. With childish vanity he said, "I remember everything ..... Pandit Seturam Pathak. Even though I have learned my lesson well, father says I play all day!" The poor boy broke into sobs after making this speech.
Chintamani lifted the boy and hugged him. "No son, don't cry. You have indeed learned your lesson well. Who is this Seturam Pathak, son?"
Moteram was annoyed. He said to Chintamani, "Why do you have to listen to a child's prattle? He must have heard the name somewhere." Then, turning towards Feku, said, "Go and play outside."
Chintamani, upon perceiving the look of alarm on his friend's face, realized he was hiding something from him. He could not recollect any person by the name of Seturam Pathak even after giving the matter careful thought. Chintamani was hurt at his friend's treachery. "Alright, give lessons to your children and test them; I am leaving. I didn't know you were so selfish; but, today, I have realized the true worth of your friendship."
Pandit Chintamani left the house. Moteramji did not have the time to cajole him and make up; he resumed tutoring the boys.
"Go after him and make up," Sona suggested.
"Not now; I will inform him when I get another invitation for a feast, and then all his anger will evaporate," Moteram said.
"Bhavani, what is your father's name?"
Bhavani: "Gangu Pande."
Moteram: "And, your father's name, Feku?"
Feku: "I have already told you; yet, you say I don't study!"
Moteram: "Well, let me hear it again."
Feku: "It is Seturam Pathak."
Moteram: "Correct! My son is a prince! Today, you will sit by my side and have all the best things to eat."
Sona: "Suggest some name for me too."
Moteram smiled and said in jest, "Your name is Pandit Mohanswaroop Sukul." Sonadevi hung her head coyly feeling shy.
Sonadevi began grooming the boys and getting them ready; Feku romped out of the house excitedly.
Pandit Chintamani had left his friend's house in a huff, but curiosity got the better of him and he had remained standing at the door. He overheard the conversation, and putting two and two together concluded that there was an invitation to a feast. But where and who were the other guests, was still a mystery. Just then Feku came out of the house and Pandit Chintamani picked up the child lovingly. "Where are all of you going, son?" he asked.
Now, Pandit Chintamani was certain he had spoken almost in whispers. But, somehow, the words reached Pandit Moteram's ears. He rushed out of the house immediately and found Chintamaniji questioning Feku. He lunged forward, and caught hold of the child's hand with the intention of snatching him away from his friend's grasp. But Chintamaniji had not yet received an answer to his question; he sprinted towards his own home with the child still in his arms. Moteram ran after him yelling, "Wicked man, why are you taking the child along with you? I warn you Chintamani, the consequences will not be good; I will never take you along with me for any feast henceforth. Put the child down!"
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