The bed was not heavy and the master could easily drag it to another corner. He did so and went back to sleep. But not more than half a minute had elapsed and no sooner had he shut his eyes when two to four drops of cold water fell exactly on the same spot on his belly. He got up again and once more dragged the bed to a new position. "The roof appears to have cracked from one end to the other," he thought to himself. Once again he shut his eyes and once again felt the drops of water on his belly. The master struggled to find a spot which was not afflicted by a leak but his efforts proved in vain. All through the night he kept shifting the bed but no matter where he arranged the bed, the water drops followed, with the result that soon the mattress became soaked and was unfit for sleeping upon.

The master found himself in a difficult situation. He was an old man who was in an unfamiliar place. He therefore, felt afraid to open the door and go out. But, then, it wasn't safe to stay indoors; what if the roof collapsed under the impact of the rains and crushed him! The master picked up enough courage to open the door and fearfully stepped onto the verandah. A lighted lantern hung on one side, but there was not a soul in sight and it was pitch dark.

The rains fell in sheets and the wind howled. It was impossible to stand outside. He did not know where the servants quarters were. He called out loudly but received no response. There was a bench on one side; it was for the use of poor clients who came to consult Lalu's father. The master sat on that bench. It hurt his self-respect but there was no alternative. It was shivering cold; the master pulled the corners of the dhoti over his body, folded his knees, and tried to make himself as comfortable as the situation permitted. A weary body, a bitter mind, droopy eyelids and the heavy meal gave vent to their feelings through a few muttered oaths. Suddenly, the master came under a new attack! Large mosquitoes launched a concert around his ears! The master's eyes refused to open but his mind wanted to know how big was the army; when the eyes did open they saw an army with countless soldiers. It was hopeless to believe that this army could be ignored! The master immediately abandoned the bench but the army pursued him.

The mosquitoes attacked his limbs with fury; the master tried to ward off the attack by waving a towel but this defence proved to be rather weak. The master began pacing from one end of the verandah to the other; despite the cold he had begun to perspire. He wanted to shout out for help but refrained thinking it would be too childish to do so. In his mind he pictured Nondorani and the rest of the family sleeping peacefully on cosy beds; only he was faced with such a dilemma. Somewhere a clock struck four o'clock. The master conceded defeat and said addressing the mosquitoes, "Bite away as much as you want, I give up." He, then, sat down in one corner of the verandah protecting his back as much as possible, and resolved to leave this place the first thing in the morning if he were still alive. "I will take the first train that is available," he said to himself. Notwithstanding his troubled state, the master fell asleep.

Nondorani woke up at the crack of dawn eager to serve the master. Nondorani felt, though wrongly, that she had not fed the master adequately last night. She was keen to make up for that lapse today.

She hurried to the master's room downstairs and found the door ajar. Nondorani felt a little embarrassed that the master should have risen before her. She peeked inside and found no one in the room. So, she entered the room and what she saw alarmed her! The bed, which was in the south corner, had been shifted to the north; the articles of worship were in complete disarray; the room was in a disorder. Nondorani could not understand why the room had been turned upside down. She came out of the room and summoned the servants; they had not yet roused themselves. Where, then, did the master go all alone? Suddenly Nondorani's detected something resembling a human figure sitting at one corner in the darkness. Picking up courage she drew near and saw that the "something" was, in fact, her master. "Oh Thakurmoshai (master)!" she cried out aloud.


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