Thus awakened from his sleep, the master opened his eyes and took stock of the situation. He, slowly, sat up straight. Nondorani was in despair; fear, worries and embarrassment - all the emotions sprang up in her all at once and she gave vent to them by sobbing. In between the sobs she asked the master, "What are you doing here?"

The master stood up and said, "There was no end to my troubles all through the night, my dear."

"Why Thakurmoshai?"

"You have constructed a new house my dear but the roof has already cracked and not an inch of it is intact; all through the night water leaking from the cracked roof fell on me. I dragged the bed across the room but no matter where I moved it, the water continued to leak. Finally, fearing that the whole roof would collapse I took refuge outside. But even outside there was no respite; the mosquitoes came in hordes and bit me the entire night. My dear I feel as if they have sucked up half the blood from my body."

Nondorani was in tears; after repeated entreaties the master had agreed to visit her house, and this was the state to which he was reduced!

"But Thakurmoshai, this is a three-storied house. There are two more floors above; how could the rainwater have seeped through two floors?" Nondorani said. But even as Nondorani was wondering over this mystery the answer came to her in a flash. This must be Lalu's doing, she thought to herself and immediately rushed to examine the bed. She discovered that the bedspread was now soaked and water drops were continuing to drip from the top of the mosquito net. She removed the net and found that chunks of ice pieces had been wrapped in a cloth and placed atop the net. All the ice had not yet melted; a small piece was still doing its work.

Nondorani rushed out of the room in a rage. "Where is that scoundrel, Lalu?" she asked every one who happened to come her way. "Leave all your tasks and search him out; thrash the rascal and bring him to me."

Lalu's father, who was climbing down the stairs just then, was bewildered by his wife's fury. "What is the matter?" he asked.

Nondorani's tears now flowed without restraint. "Send this boy away from home else, I will drown myself in the Ganges and atone for this sin," she said between sobs.

"What has he done?"

"See for yourself what he has done to the master who did him no harm." Nondorani told her husband everything and showed him the state of the master. "How can I live here with this unmanageable boy in the house?"

When the master learned about the prank played by the boy he broke into a guffaw at his own stupidity. Lalu's father turned his face away and stood silent.

The servants returned from the search and informed that Lalu was nowhere to be found. Another person informed he had seen Lalu enjoying a meal at his aunt's house. The aunt prevented the servant from taking away the boy. The aunt, Nondorani's younger sister, lived in another neighbourhood with her husband who was also a lawyer.

Lalu did not return home for almost a fortnight after that incident.


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