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But I had a question, "Why should we sing devotional songs to raise money for a gymnasium?"
Kaabla said, "Well, we don't have to sing devotional songs. You do write occasionally; so, write a good song, which includes a mention of Bhim, Hanuman, and all other heroes."
"Yes, you! You!" Tenida raised his fist, "Let me jolt your brain once again; it will cause all the songs to come pouring forth."
I leaped to my feet and said, "Alright, I will write the song. But what about the melody?"
"Don't worry about that; we will sing it to the tune of some devotional song."
"And, who is going to sing?" Habul asked, "our voices sound like the croaking of frogs!"
"Hang your frogs. These kind of songs don't require any special talent to sing; they just have to be sung. But I must request Panchugopal, our Thunder Club's goalkeeper, to lead us; he can play the harmonium and can also sing."
Habul said, "We have a cymbal at home; I shall bring it."
"I can bring along a drum belonging to our cook; he has gone to his village on vacation," Kaabla said.
"Grand!" Tenida was delighted: "I shall play the drum myself. Then everything is complete; only the song remains to be written. Paala I give you thirty minutes, run home and come back with the song. In the meanwhile we shall have some snacks."
I scratched my head and said, "I would also like to have some refreshment; you know...it will assist the brain cells to come out with a really good song."
"There isn't any need for you to eat anything. Run home, be quick. If you don't come back within thirty minutes, you will hear from me. Quick! Quick!"
I had to go.
Wake up, my countrymen and chant the name of Lord Hanuman!
He will make you strong and superman
O friends, whoever chants the name of Bhima every morning and evening
Becomes the greatest hero, never-failing
Wake up my countrymen; do pushups and grab your dumbells
Eat bananas, mangoes, plum fruit, and bael
Become brave, become Bhima, become Hanuman
I think, our country will then wake up to a new dawn.
After listening to the song, Kaabla said, "Why do you have to 'think'; say the country will certainly wake up to a new dawn."
"Right. Correct suggestion," Tenida said.
Kaabla wasn't happy with the line that asked the countrymen to eat eat bananas, mangoes, plum fruit, and bael. I explained that there should be some juice in the song; there was plenty of juice in these fruits. Besides, I said that people should be tempted with a few good things to eat, else they won't be willing to exercise. "We must offer some temptation," I said.
"Yeah!" Tenida agreed, "Finally, Paala is talking some sense. We shall visit all the houses in the neighbourhood at the break of dawn tomorrow, singing this song." He yelled out our signature slogan, "De la grande Mephistopheles..."
"Yak...yak," we responded.
And the next morning near Shraddhanand Park before the first crow had cawed, even before the sweepers had begun sweeping the streets, and much before the first tram had commenced its journey....
Wake up, my countrymen and chant the name of Lord Hanuman!
Panchugopal, with a harmonium slung around his neck, led the procession. Tenida followed him with a drum; Kaabla walked by his side with the cymbal. Habul Sen and I made up the third row - Tenida had ordered us to follow behind because according to him our voices were worse than the croak of ravens. I wanted to protest against this humiliation, but Habul signed to me to remain silent. "Don't utter a word," he whispered, "it is good for us; we don't have to sing. The three of them will do all the yelling, and you and I have only to put in 'O...O' in chorus from time to time."
So, Panchu's harmonium made a pa-pa sound; Tenida banged the drum; Kaabla clanged the cymbal; and, then, emerged the savage song:
O friends, whoever chants the name of Bhima every morning and evening...
Panchu's thin voice, Tenida's earth-shattering roar, Kaabla's nasal intonation, Habul's cold-ridden voice, and my own hoarse inflection refused to harmonize and ran in five different directions.
Wake up my countrymen; do pushups and grab your dumbells...
Suddenly there was some sound like "ghwak...ghwak". Two dogs, which had barked all night long, had at last found time to catch up some sleep; but the savage song woke them up and they ran with such great speed that my guess was they would stop only after reaching Diamond Harbour.
The door of the house belonging to the Ghosh family opened with a bang, and out came the stout woman whose sharp tongue caused even birds to steer clear of her.
"Teni, you rascal, what are you doing? Why are you creating such a noise at this hour of the night?"
Even a brave leader like Tenida retreated three steps!
"Aunty...I mean...donation for our exercise club."
"Donation! You come at midnight yelling at the top of your voice and scaring people, for donation! Go away at once you gang of devils, or I shall inform the police."
The door closed with a bang.
The singers stood absolutely still as though observing silence at a condolence meeting.
Habul broke the silence, "It won't work, Tenida. This song is not likely to melt anyone's heart."
"How do you mean? It has to work. We shall melt people's hearts," Tenida said firmly.
"But Ghosh aunty showed no sign of melting," I had to point out.
"She can only scream and quarrel; what does she know of gym training! All right, next house - Mr Gajakeshta's house."
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