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One day, Raicharan abruptly gave up the employment. He handed some money to Felna and said, "I am going to my native village for a few days." Raicharan arrived at the home of Anukulbabu, who was now a magistrate.
Anukulbabu did not have a second child, and his wife was still finding it difficult to come to terms following the loss of her only son.
One evening Anukulbabu was resting at home after returning from court. His wife was consulting a mendicant and obtaining some expensive herbs from him that were assured to bless her with a child. Just then, a voice of greeting was heard from the courtyard, "I bow to you, mother."
"Who is there?" Anukulbabu called out.
Raicharan came forward and touched Anukulbabu's feet. "I am Raicharan," he said.
Anukulbabu was moved upon seeing old and bent Raicharan. After inquiring into his circumstances, Anukulbabu suggested that Raicharan should once again come and work for him.
Raicharan smiled faintly and said he wished to pay his respects to Anukulbabu's wife.
Anukulbabu took him inside the house. Anukulbau's wife could not welcome Raicharan as sincerely as her husband had done. But Raicharan did not seem to notice. "Mother, it is I who stole your child. It was neither the Padma nor anybody else ... It was me," he said.
"What are you saying! Where is he?" Anukulbabu exclaimed.
"He is with me, and I will bring him here the day after tomorrow."
It was Sunday, and Anukulbabu did not have to attend court. His wife and he remained at home waiting impatiently for Raicharan's arrival. Raicharan came with Felna around 10 am. Without asking any questions, Anukulbabu's wife drew Felna to herself, caressed him fondly, and gazed at his face with insatiable eyes. She laughed and sobbed at the same time. The boy was good-looking and did not appear as if poverty had ever touched him. His face had a gentle glow. Upon seeing the boy, Anukulbabu also felt an affection for him.
However, he wanted to know, "Is there any proof he is my son?"
"How can there be any proof of such a thing?" Raicharan said. "It is only God who knows that I stole your child; nobody else in the world knows anything about it."
Anukulbabu decided that the manner in which his wife had accepted the boy as her son, it would be unwise to seek proof. It would be better to believe Raicharan. Besides, from where could Raicharan have found such a cultured boy, and why should his old servant be playing deceitful games with him? Anukulbabu thought.
Anukulbabu spoke to the boy who told him he had been living with Raicharan since his childhood. The boy said he had looked upon Raicharan as a father, but Raicharan had always behaved more like a servant.
Anukulbabu was now convinced. But turning to his former servant, he said, "Raicharan you will have to leave us and never come here again."
"Where will I go in my old age, master?" Raicharan asked.
"Oh, don't be so stern; I have forgiven him," Anukulbabu's wife said.
But Anukulbabu, an upholder of justice, said, "A person, who has done wrong, must be punished."
Raicharan clutched at Anukulbabu's feet and said, "I did not do it on my own accord; God made me do it."
Anukulbabu was even more disgusted at Raicharan's efforts to shift the blame on God for his own evil doings. "One who has committed such a great betrayal cannot be trusted ever again."
Raicharan said, "I am not the betrayer, master."
"Who is responsible for this act, then?"
A highly educated person like Anukulbabu could not accept such arguments.
"I have nobody else in the world," Raicharan told him.
When Felna understood he was a magistrate's son and that Raicharan had stolen him and disgraced him by claiming to be his father, he felt a little angry. Yet, he said with a touch of generosity while addressing Anukulbabu, "Father, forgive him. If you cannot employ him and keep him here, at least arrange for a monthly allowance for him."
At this, Raicharan did not utter a single word. He scrutinized his son's face for a while, and after seeking the blessings of Anukulbabu and his wife, stepped out of the house and was lost among the vast multitude outside. At the end of the month, when Anukulbabu sent some money to Raicharan's address in his village, the money was returned undelivered. There was no person by the name of Raicharan residing at that address.
This is a poignant story about human relationships. Raicharan is a simpleton who finds employment in the house of a well-to-do family. His primary responsibility is to take care of his master's child. The little boy, Anukul, grows into a well-educated man and becomes a magistrate. Anukul marries and becomes the father of a son. Raicharan takes care of Nabakumar, Anukul's son. Nabakumar is very fond of Raicharan.
However, Nabakumar drowns in the Padma river. Raicharan should not have left the child alone near a swollen river. However, the child had insisted he fetch flowers for him, and Raicharan had to submit to the child's wishes. Raicharan is overwhelmed with guilt.
The child's mother suspects that Raicharan might have stolen her son. Raicharan returns to his village. Despite her advanced age, Raicharan's wife gives birth to a son and dies at childbirth. Raicharan develops a tremendous hatred for his son because he believes that the boy was born to usurp Nabakumar's place from his heart.
All children, by and large, behave in the same manner, but to Raicharan's guilty mind, it seemed as though his son and Nabakumar shared similar traits. Raicharan starts believing that Nabakumar had indeed been returned to him by God in the form of his son. The belief takes such a firm hold of him that Raicharan starts treating his son, Felna, as though he were Nabakumar. The boy gets the best education, the best food, and the best clothes; Raicharan serves him as a servant.
The little boy, unable to fathom the complex nuances, starts to believe that Raicharan is a servant. Felna, of course, is fond of Raicharan, but it is not the fondness of a son towards his father.
Raicharan tells Anukulbabu he had stolen Nabakumar; Felna is no one else but Nabakumar. Anulkulbabu accepts Felna as his lost son with some reservations. But his wife is certain that Felna and Nabakumar are the same. The boy, made to understand from the start that Raicharan was not his father, is angry that he was stolen by the faithful servant. Little understanding of the tremendous hurt he was causing Raicharan, Felna urges Anukulbabu to grant a monthly pension to the faithful servant - his own father - for his services!)
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