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After five minutes, the frightening sounds subsided, and it became quiet once again.
Pondit Mohashoy asked the watchman to investigate what caused the sounds. The watchman armed himself with a long bamboo stick and, with its assistance, prodded below the planks. Very slowly and with great caution, he removed a canister — it was Ramapada's canister! Some remnants of the sweets were still sticking inside it.
Pondit Mohashoy creased his brows and asked, "Whose canister is this?"
"It's mine," Ramapada said.
The instant he said this, he felt both his ears being twisted painfully.
"What was in the canister?" Pondit Mohashoy asked.
Ramapada realized that the entire blame for the commotion had fallen on his shoulders. The poor chap, therefore, made haste to explain. "Sir, I had brought sweets in it, and then ..."
"And, then, the sweets turned into firecrackers and started bursting, isn't it?" Pondit Mohashoy completed the sentence. He followed it up by slapping Ramapada hard on the face twice.
The other teachers gathered in our classroom to enquire; they, too, were angry at Ramapada. We realized that Ramapada was in deep trouble; he would be punished for no fault of his!
Just then, Dashu picked up my slate and showed it to Pondit Mohashoy. "See, sir, while you were sleeping, they were playing tic-tac-toe," he said.
My name was on the slate. Pondit Mohashoy raised his hands to slap me but lowered it again in embarrassment. He turned towards Dashu with glowering eyes and said, "Shut up! Who says I was sleeping?"
Dashu stood for a while with his mouth open and then, by way of explanation, said, "You were snoring!"
Pondit Mohashoy quickly changed the subject and said, "I see! They were all playing, were they? And what were you doing?"
Dashu replied without the slightest hesitation, "I was igniting the firecrackers."
We couldn't believe our ears! What was the fellow saying!
For half a minute, there was absolute silence; no one spoke a word. Then Pondit Mohashoy roared, "Why were you igniting the firecrackers?"
Dashu was not a person who got easily frightened. He pointed towards Ramapada and said, "Why didn't he offer me the sweets?"
Such strange logic left Ramapada puzzled. "Those were my sweets; I can do whatever I like with them," he said.
Dashu immediately chipped in, "Those were my firecrackers; I can do anything with them as I like."
There was no point in arguing with a crazy boy; the teachers went back to their classrooms after scolding him. Dashu got away without any punishment because of his eccentricity.
After school, we tried to reason with Dashu. But despite all our efforts to prove to him that he was in the wrong, Dashu wouldn't agree.
"They were my firecrackers, and it was Ramapada's canister; so, if I have done anything wrong, he is also to be equally blamed. He deserved the slaps," Dashu said.
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