We resumed our march and our song:

Eat bananas, mangoes, plum fruit, and bael
Become brave, become Bhima, become Hanuman

Panchu, Tenida, and Kaabla had uttered "become Hanuman", and Habul and I had managed to reach "mangoes" in our effort to keep pace with the others when from the second-floor balcony of Gajakeshta Haldar's house, dropped...

No, not money. First, a flower pot; next, a goglet. The flower pot missed my head by inches; the goglet shot past almost brushing Tenida's big nose.

"Tenida, guided missile!" I shouted.

The next instant, a huge tomcat dropped from the sky right on top of Panchu's harmonium. There was an inharmonious sound, and Panchu and harmonium lay flat on the ground; the cat cursed in its own language and disappeared.

By then, we had already taken flight. We had to stop when we reached Harrison Road. Panchu was almost in tears. "Tenida, enough, I am going home," he said.

"Yes, we must go home or we will all be killed," Habul agreed. "Now, they have thrown a goglet at us; next, they will drop a chest. Now, they have flung a cat; next, they will drop a cow."

Tenida said, "Shut up; you don't keep cows on the second-floor balcony."

"One might not keep cows on the second-floor balcony, but what is to prevent one from dropping cows on you?" Habul argued. "I am going home, I have to study history."

"Wants to study history!" Tenida said making a face at Habul, "He doesn't ever wake up before 8am, and now he wants to study history! Mind you, Habul, you can't let us down. We will take another chance. Paala has written such a beautiful song and we are singing with so much devotion; Lord Hanuman and mighty Bhima will certainly bless us. We have undertaken such a noble cause that our efforts will certainly bear fruits. Try, try again. Come on, Panchu..."

But even these motivating words failed to lift Panchugopal's spirits. He said, "Excuse me, Tenida. It was such a big cat, it would have scratched and bitten me all over. I want to go home."

"Wants to go home!" This time Tenida made a face at Panchugopal. "Take care, Panchu. I shall give you a minute; if you don't start playing your harmonium by then..."

I whispered into Habul's ears, "People will bash us. What do we do?"

"Why did you have to act clever by writing the song?"

"It was your suggestion that we start a band."

Habul was about to make a cutting rejoinder when Panchu's harmonium came back to life.

Wake up, my countrymen and chant the name of Lord Hanuman!

The tremors caused by the sounds of the drum and cymbal recommenced. Five throats screamed out the savage song:

He will make you strong and superman

The song did not provoke any outburst. Other than the racket we created, everything else was still. Not a single goglet was dropped on our heads, not a cat was flung at us, no one abused us; nothing. In front of us stood in complete silence the new three-story house belonging to Bidhubabu, a contractor.

We continued to sing:

O friends, whoever chants the name of Bhima every morning and evening

By the time we reached grab your dumbells, the door opened with a bang. Bidhubabu, the owner of the house, emerged wearing a coat and carrying a suitcase; he came out of the house, almost dancing!

Habul and I were ready to flee at the first sign of danger; Panchu had stopped his song midway; Tenida's hand remained frozen over the drum. What will Bidhubabu do now? Will he throw the suitcase at us?

Before we could gauge Bidhubabu's intention, the gentleman came and embraced Tenida with one hand while holding the suitcase with the other. He, then, did a tango!

"You have saved me, Teniram; you have saved me! My alarm clock seems to have stopped; if it had not been for your murderous song I would still be sleeping; I would have missed the 5:07am train, and lost a 1.5-lakh rupees contract. Tell me what do you fellows want. Why are you howling like 300 jackals at this hour? Tell me; I shall fulfill your wishes."

"We are not howling like jackals, sir," Tenida said while dancing along with Bidhubabu. "We want money for our exercise club...have to purchase dumbells and barbells... need at least fifty rupees."

The time is 9am; it's a Sunday, a holiday. we are sitting on the raised terrace in front of the house belonging to the Chatterjees. Panchugopal is also present today as a guest.

We are in an upbeat mood; Bidhubabu has donated fifty rupees, and has promised to pay another fifty rupees next month. Tenida is treating us to ice cream at his own expense. After finishing his ice cream, Tenida said while licking the paper cup, "You fellows thought Lord Hanuman and mighty Bhima's names would not produce results. We may be living in the age of degeneration, but the gods are still revered."

Panchu said, "And, what if the tomcat had scratched and bitten me?"

I said, "And, what if the flower pot had dropped on my head?"

Habul said, "What if the goglet had hit your nose?"

Tenida said, "Hang your tomcat, flower pot, and goglet! De la grande Mephistopheles..."

"Yak...yak," we responded.


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