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"Oh, it's nothing," Shrikant said.
Uncle said, "Weight lifting is a good exercise; it will strengthen his shoulders."
Aunt said, "Why carry so much luggage when we are going only for a few days to attend a wedding? The train stops for only a minute at Madanpur; would it be possible to remove this mountain of luggage in such short time?"
"Don't worry. God bears the burden of the fortunate," Uncle assured her.
But Shrikant shuddered at Uncle's words because he couldn't picture God coming to his help at Madanpur; it is he who would have to remove all the luggage within a minute at Madanpur.
When the train stopped at Dumdum, a few Englishmen entered the compartment. When they saw the mountain of luggage, they were astonished. "Why did you get into this compartment? Did you not read the notice on the door that this compartment is meant for Europeans only?" they asked. "You will have to get down."
But, Uncle refused to budge.
The Englishmen summoned a railway official. The railway employee also asked Uncle to get down and board another compartment.
All the other compartments are full; there is no place, Uncle told him. "You find us a place somewhere else and we will gladly go there," uncle told him.
"Alright, let me see," the railway employee said and hurried away to find some place. Shrikant was worried that if the official did manage to find another place, he will have to shift the luggage on his own again.
But the official did not return and the train commenced its run.
The Englishmen continued to grumble, but Uncle ignored them. This infuriated the Englishmen further and they started making a racket.
Aunt was scared. "Will they bite?" she asked.
Uncle shook his head in bewilderment and said, "I don't know."
At the mention of the word "bite", Uncle hit upon a plan. Turning to Shrikant, he whispered, "Can you bark like a dog?"
"I can mew like a cat. Shall I?"
"No, no. That won't do. From time to time, bark like a dog."
Shrikant obliged and let out a growl.
"A little louder," Uncle said.
"Bow-wow," Shrikant barked.
The Englishmen were alarmed. "What's the matter with him?" one of them asked.
"Oh, nothing. A few days ago, he was bitten by a mad dog," Uncle told him."What, hydrophobia! Why didn't you inform us before? He will not bite, will he?"
Uncle assured them that Shrikant will not bite.
But uncle's assurance failed to revive their spirits and the Englishmen made haste to get down at the next station.
Uncle let out a huge sigh of relief. But his relief was short-lived. Another European youth got into the coach. He did not utter a single word, but sat in a corner reading a book.
"I will make you get down at the next station too," Uncle muttered. "Shrikant, as soon as the train starts moving out of the station, you know what to do."
The sudden sound of barking startled the youth. He looked up from his book and asked, "What is the matter with him?"
"Oh, nothing much; he is suffering from hydrophobia," Uncle replied nonchalantly.
"I see. It will do him good," the youth said and went back to his book.
Uncle was annoyed that his scheme was not working on the youth. He decided to give one last try.
"It is my duty to warn you; he might bite!" Uncle told the young man.
But the young man smiled and replied, "Don't worry. Barking dogs seldom bite."
Now it was Shrikant's turn to be angry. Who likes to be described as a dog!
The train halted at another station. The youth craned his neck out of the window and saw his friends. He called out to them. They were the same Englishmen who had earlier left the coach in a hurry.
"Are you alright?" they asked the youth. "There is a boy in that coach who is suffering from hydrophobia."
"Oh, I have cured him," the young man told them.
"You have cured him! How did you do that?"
The young man told them he had seen through the scheme at once. "When I entered the coach, I saw the boy drinking water. If he was really suffering from hydrophobia, he would not be drinking water."
At this disclosure, the group entered the coach and made it clear to Uncle that he will have to get down at the next station; under no circumstances will he be allowed to remain.
When the train halted at the next station, Uncle pleaded that he be allowed to remain and he would certainly get down at the next one.
But the Englishmen refused to listen. All of them as one man picked up the luggage and deposited it on the platform.
"My suitcase on the rack above," Uncle pointed out.
One of them removed the suitcase and deposited it on the platform.
"My steel trunk under the seat," Uncle pointed out.
One of them pulled out the steel trunk, which also made its way to the platform.
The clever young man who had seen through the scheme picked up the small handbag and gave it to Uncle and said, "Good bye, mister."
Uncle, who had been supervising the removal of the luggage, turned to them with a grateful smile. "Good bye," he told them. "Thank you so much for your help. This is Madanpur; our journey's end."
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