प्रथम मैथिली पाक्षिक ई पत्रिका

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Gajendra Thakur

The Maithili Short story 'ShabdaShastram' by Gajendra Thakur was translated into English by the author himself.


The Science of Words (ShabdaShastram)

The Sun happens to be in the fifth sign of the zodiac, normally between the sixteenth of August to the sixteenth of September. If you want to dry something then it is the best time to do so, since during this period the most intense light and heat of the Sun falls on earth.

During this fifth sign of the zodiac, the palm leaves remain under the Sun, a part of Milu's father's annual preservation plan, to instil life in these palm leaves. Ananda used to help in preserving these palm leaves. She would carefully place the palm leaves where they would get the maximum heat, Milu remembered vividly. Ananda's life was mostly spent with Milu. But before the onset of this year's fifth sign of Leo of the sun-zodiac, Ananda had departed ... and now when she is not present, how will the preservation of life be possible, the life of Milu's and these palm-leaf inscriptions...

Fallacy, the fallacy of words, we ascribe our emotions to words, and after that confusion begins.


In the courtyard of Lukesari, there is a tree of sandalwood.

Beneath that the cuckoos clamour

I will cut the sandalwood tree and encircle the courtyard.

Cuckoo, your clamouring will end.

The cuckoo of the jungle began crying.

The cuckoo's clamour stopped.

Oh! cuckoos, cuckoos of youthfulness, do not cry.

Clamour cuckoo, clamour

Whichever jungle you would go to.

Your marks would remain there.

Tears do not come out of the eyes.

I will wrap both your wings with gold, o cuckoo.

I will wrap both of your lips with silver.

O my cuckoo dear, whichever jungle you would go

The maks of 'garland of blood' would remain.


Some voice was coming from the village quarters where the tanners lived ... it was Ananda's voice.

But Ananda was dead, only a few hours earlier! Bachlu had seen her dead body. After informing Milu, he returned to the village quarters. Ananda had died when she was quite old. But the voice that was heard was of a young Ananda...

It may be a fallacy, a fallacy of words. Srikar Mimamsak, Milu's father, often said many things about the 'science of words.' We ascribe meaning to the words and then the confusion begins...



The Science of Words


There was a tumult.

The turmoil began. In the river Balaan, a corpse was found floating. Besides the washerman's quay, the corpse had got stuck on the edge.

From where it had come nobody knew. It was a dead body of an old woman. But the washerwoman recognised it. She informed Bachlu, who in turn gave the news to the dead woman's family. Only an old man lived in that house ... the house of Milu. Milu's village people brought the dead body to the village. Milu performed the last rites.

In the village, this incident became a hot topic of discussion. The old Bachlu knew something more. He knew who the dead woman was. The new generation did not know all these things...

The dead body of Ananda was consigned to the flames...

Ananda was kind, she understood things quickly. Her daughters were married into well-to-do families. Her son was educated. Milu, Ananda's husband, and son of Srikar Mimamsak were also highly educated. Never had they asked anything from anybody, even in times of need.

Bachlu was also old... In this village, only Milu was older than him. The people regarded these two as "old men".

Old man Bachlu knew many things...


Discussions between Milu and Srikar were common. Sometimes I understood and sometimes I did not...

"Milu, in the book Bhamati, Vachaspati says that the basis of ignorance of living becomes the subject. You will accept which method for self-introspection? How can the untruth be the cause of something? How can the fact of the existence of something prove something as true; and how it can prove its existence in three ages? That which is neither true nor false; and which is also not both, only that is unspeakable. Without any subject and the knower of that subject, how the concept of zero can be explained? Milu, Kumaril says that the Atman (soul) is living inertia. During the awakened stage, it is knowledgeable and during sleep, it is without knowledge. Milu, Vachaspati says in Bhamati that a person expert in a science that is without self-introspection behaves with society in the same way as an animal behaves with it. He flees on seeing a person coming holding a stick; and if he sees someone coming with a basket of food, then he goes near to him. It means that he fears fear."


It was the season of mango fruits.

Monkeys and Nilgais leapt from tree to tree, and the Bison trampled vegetables growing in the fields behind the houses in the village.

"Everything has been destroyed, Bachlu. I will go to the orchard in the morning. The Nilgai has already bitten a lot of fruits and crops, now these monkeys are after the mango fruits."

I did remember that during the mango season Monkeys and Nilagais had a great feast every year.

It was the mango season. So, Milu would have to begin guarding the mango orchard. The flowers had just begun turning into fruits. Milu had to construct a loft; I also helped him. We were just returning after cutting the bamboo. It was early in the morning, and the red in the sky had a yellowish hue. Near the small pond, I saw Bachlu...


I began to come forward through the pathway in the field. Then I saw some blood... I became nervous after seeing the blood.

But I relaxed soon. I then saw the sharp leaves of bamboo had bruised the girl's hand.

The girl had tears in her eyes. Milu cleaned the blood and put some damp soil on her bruises.


"What are you doing?"

"The flow of blood will stop. It will stop bleeding now."

The girl had run through the field. -"What is your name?"


"From which village have you come?"

"From this village."

"From this village?", both of us exclaimed together.

Yes, Ananda was her name. And it was their first meeting, Milu, and Ananda.


The loft in the mango orchard was constructed. But Ananda was not seen after that.

Milu often asked about her.


-To which quarter of the village does she belong? She is neither from the quarter of the Mishras nor from the quarters of the Westerners or the Thakurs, he kept thinking.

-If she had been from the quarter of scavengers, then I would have known her.

-Then how she is from our village, and if she is from our village then why have we not met her till now?


But in between these events, a coincidence occurred. In Milu's quarter, an investiture ceremony of Phude's son was held. On that auspicious day, I had gone outside the village to the tanner's quarters to cut bamboo. I also had to call the men who would play the pipes.

"Hirua brother, O Hirua brother".

"He is coming".

A woman's voice was heard. The voice seemed familiar to me.

"Who are you?"

"I am Hirua's daughter. What do you want?"

"Your father did not come for the bamboo cutting ceremony; the voice of his pipe is missing there. I have come here to call him."

"He is preparing for that occasion".

"What is your name?"

At that very moment, a girl came outside, pushing aside the creepers which were hanging from their house enclosure made of bamboo.

"I am Ananda. I recognised you. What is your name?"

I was feeling cold. But I had to answer.


"And your friends' name?"

"Milu, son of Pandit Srikara."

I told Milu's father's name to Ananda, although she did not ask for it. Not knowing why...I told her.

At that moment Hirua came out with his pipe. I accompanied him to Milu's quarter of the village. On the way, I asked Hirua- "Ananda is your daughter but I have never seen her."

"She has lived, most of the time, at her maternal uncle's place. But now she has come of age. So, I brought her to the village."

"When will she go to her maternal uncle's place?"

"No! Now she is of marriageable age. She will remain with us."

Milu, my friend, had been asking a lot about her. I kept thinking about how he would react after hearing about the news of marriage. I wished that Ananda would go back to her maternal uncle's village and then I would be free from Milu's repeated questioning.

But now since Ananda would remain in the same village as Pandit Srikar's son Milu, what would he do?

Oh ... I, myself, am thinking out of context. Milu had naturally asked about Ananda. That does not mean that ...but does it mean..., then?

The son of a Brahmin and the daughter of a Tanner...

Will Pandit Srikar approve of this relationship? Will the village people approve of this relationship?

Oh...I am again thinking out of context. I could hear the pipe blowing. People moved forward towards the bamboo plantation, and through the field, Milu and I accompanied them. On the way, I tried to locate that place. The place where Milu and Ananda first met ...we could hear a faint voice ...a beautiful musical sound... The boy, whose investiture ceremony was going on, had marked the bamboo. The bamboo now had to be cut. Construction of the sacred loft in the courtyard had to be completed today as it was an auspicious day. After much labour and sweat, we finally completed the work and only then my mind was at peace. After that Milu and I started walking through the field.

But Milu started asking me questions about Ananda again. He was my Lord Rama, and I was his follower, Hanuman.

Sitting on the loft in the orchard one day, I said to Milu:

"Milu. Please forget her. Why are you bent upon giving her a bad name? Ananda is Hirua's daughter. Although she asked only your name, I told her both your and your father's name".

"She asked for my father's name?"

"No, but..."

"Then why did you tell her my father's name?"

"One day she would come to know ..."

"That day I would have faced ... now she will ignore me ... now I have to put in some extra effort."

"What effort? You are Brahmin Srikar's son, and she is the daughter of Hirua, the tanner. Why are you bent upon giving her a bad name?"

"I will marry her, why I would give her a bad name?"

"Who are you deceiving?"

"I am deceiving nobody, dear friend."

Milu took decisions impulsively. He was Pandit Srikar's son. Srikar was an exponent of the Mimamsa school of Indian Philosophy. I had seen the palm-leaf inscriptions lying everywhere in his house; so, I did not believe my friend.

"I have never seen her in the village."

"You never stay in the village for long. You returned only last year from the school of your teacher."

"But you had also not seen her."

"She has been living in her maternal uncle's village."

"Will she go to her maternal uncle's village again?"

"No, I had enquired again about that. She will now remain in the village."


Last year, Milu's mother died.

Srikar Mimamsak became almost crazy. The village people were worried: How would there be the preservation of palm leaves in this year's Leo zodiac of the sun? Srikar had been grappling with this anxiety and so he became almost crazy...it was being discussed by the people of his quarter of the village.



From my quarter of the village, Domasi, Milu and I were shouting hirr...hirr and following the pigs. We reached the tanner's quarters in the village. Ananda, however, met us midway. Along with the pigs, I moved forward. After a while, I turned my head around to overhear the talk between Ananda and Milu.


This time Ananda shouted "hirr" and I smiled and moved further along with the pigs.

This went on for quite some time. Hirua was agitated and came to me several times. Hiru's wife began praying for her daughter.

How distant is the temple of the Goddess?

How distant is the temple of Lukesari?

Many miles I went for an appeal.

Goddess, look unto me.

Many miles I went for an appeal.

Goddess, look unto me.

Four miles away from the temple of the Goddess.

Eight miles is the temple of Lukesari.

Ten miles I went for an appeal.

Goddess, look unto me.

Ten miles I went for an appeal.

Goddess, look unto me.

Which flower is for the temple of the Goddess?

Which flower is for the temple of Goddess Bandi?

Which flower for my chosen appeal?

Goddess, look unto me.

Which flower for my chosen appeal?

Goddess, look unto me.

This flower is for the temple of the Goddess.

That jasmine flower for the temple of Lukesari

The Marigold flower I chose for appeal.

Goddess, look unto me.

The Marigold flower I chose for appeal.

Goddess, look unto me.


Hirua came to Domasi, the village quarter of the scavengers.

"What will happen? How will it happen?"

"All false..."

"I promised him that I would accompany him to Srikar Pandit."

And I accompanied him one day to Srikar Mimamsak. "Srikar's wife died soon after the Leo zodiac of the Sun. After that Mimamsak became crazy ... people say, people who were from his quarter of the village. The people of the village and the learned people of the area respected him. I am telling you what I have seen with my eyes.", I said to him on the way.

Talking thus, we reached pander Srikar's house.

"Come Bachlu. Hirua, come and sit down.", saying that Srikar relapsed into silence. After the death of his wife, he had become like this. He seemed normal but suddenly would become lost in silence.

"Uncle, the courtyard of your house is empty. How long will you let it remain so? Why don't you get your son Milu married?"

"Milu has already made his decision about his marriage."

"When and where?", I became agitated and asked. Hirua seemed to look towards me with relieved eyes.

"He has decided to marry Ananda. Her father has come with you."

Oh... and Srikar Pandit was that type!

And Milu was of that type too! He has already hypnotised his father. But a person from Srikar's quarter of the village overheard this talk.

We all were seated when that person came to Srikar's house, accompanied by some other people. An argument ensued between Srikar Pandit and these people. The opposite argument, word for word, ensued.

"Srikar, what type of demeanour is this?"

"Which type of demeanour?"

"You do not have any sense in distinguishing high and low Mimamsak?"

"Dear learned folks! What is this high and low differentiation?"

"That means that high and low are only meanings of words. And the analysis that we have done after making it a sentence is selfish?"

"If you do not believe then surrender the selfish content from the sentence. All fallacy would be falsified."

"Does this mean you are hell-bent on carrying out the marriage between Milu and Ananda?"

"Dear Learned Folks! You confuse snake for rope because both have a separate existence. If you squeeze your eyes shut, then you would see two moons; then you place moons in two real places in the sky. The reason for fallacy is not the subject but the attachment, although both purpose and result are true. And here also the knowledge of all subjects cannot give knowledge of the self. One's nature is described by knowledge of self through the concept of self. Self is the subject and the object both, of knowledge. The knowledge of self is both subject and object. The meaning of substance is obtained through attachment. The meaning of a word is near its inference after we hear the word."

"You are creating a fallacy of words. We all see that you are determined to get them married."

"When desire does not get fulfilled then it is envy.", Pandit Srikar commented.

"Do you think that all this that we are saying is out of envy? Don't you give any value to caste?"

"See, Ananda is full of good qualities. My caste and hers are the same, and that is the truth and known to all. She will be able to preserve the legacy that I believe. And that is my decision."

"And that is my decision," these words did not enter my and Hirua's ears simultaneously. I had known Srikar and Milu for a long time. But this type of unexpected decision to which I was accustomed Hirua was not. Hirua realised what these words meant after some time. He was amazed when he turned and looked towards me.

Then Srikar Mimamsak pointed a finger towards one person, an astrologer.

"Jyotishiji, you select one auspicious day. In this season this holy marriage should be held. The Leo zodiac of the sun is arriving. Before that. Does anyone of you have any objection?"

All stood on their feet with bowed heads. Who would dare to oppose Srikar Mimamsak?

"All of us came here to discuss. But if you have already taken a decision then there remains nothing to oppose."

Mimamsak raised his hand, and all became silent.

I and Hirua moved slowly away from there.

Hirua took such a deep breath that I could feel it.


It was not that any other obstruction did not come.

But that crazy Srikar Mimamsak was a scholar of repute. Ananda became his daughter-in-law. She was accepted not only in Milu's quarter of the village but also among all the scholars in the vicinity.


In Ananda's father's house, the marriage ceremony was organised. I had heard the song, full of life, I still remember:

The black bee that slept over the hill

Gardener-daughter sleeping in the garden.

Get up gardener-daughter, keep the garland.

The black bee that slept over the hill

Gardener-daughter slept in the garden.

Get up gardener-daughter, keep the garland.

With what flower I would cover Goddess Lukesari

With what I would make her clothes

With what flower I will knot to make it an ornament

Get up the gardener-daughter and place the garland.

With Arabian jasmine flowers, I will cover Bandi.

With Spanish jasmine, I will clothe her.

China rose would be the ornament of Lukesari.

Get up gardener-daughter, thread the garland.

Get up gardener-daughter, thread the garland.



 Srikar Mimamsak became more composed after assigning the task of preserving the palm leaf inscriptions to Ananda. After his wife's death, the poor man was apprehensive regarding that important work of his.

Ananda's role in preserving these palm leaves seemed like a divine interference. In a sudden turn of events, Milu told me how he had convinced Srikar Pandit about this marriage. The daughter of a Brahmin would be busy cleaning utensils and Pooja materials; she would be busy making an earthen image of Lord Shiva, and by then the palm leaves would get damaged.

He could not allow these palm leaves to be destroyed; Ananda had to get married to his son and come to his home, Srikar Mimamsak had decided.

Milu was grateful for his decision.

Srikar had aged. Srikar and Ananda were still very much active in holding their philosophical discussions.

Ananda sang:

When twelve years passed, and the thirteenth arrived.

When twelve years passed the thirteenth arrived

Folks my mother-in-law calls me tigress.

She would banish the tigress from her house.

Folks my mother-in-law calls me tigress.

She would banish the tigress from her house.

Outside your courtyard of yours is standing the moneylender

Folks, give me Madar and Thornapple, I will grind and will drink it.

Folks, give me Madar and Thornapple, I will grind and will drink it.

The beloved came from outside and sat on the bedstead.

The beloved came from outside and sat on the bedstead.

Folks, tell the thoughts of your heart; after that, I will drink poison.

Folks, tell the thoughts of your heart; after that, I will drink poison.

When twelve years passed, and the thirteenth arrived.

Folks, my mother-in-law calls me tigress.

I will banish the tigress from home.

My mother-in-law beats me, my sister-in-law beats me.

My mother-in-law beats me, my sister-in-law beats me.

Folks, these will go, and all the wealth would be mine

Folks, these will go, and all the wealth would be mine

Keep silence; keep silence proud women you are great, proud women.

Keep silence; keep silence proud women you are great, proud women.

Proud women, I will perform holy-basil-plant oblation and will squander all my wealth.

Folks: I will perform pond oblation and will squander all my wealth.

Srikar Mimamsak would jokingly ask- "Ananda, you do not have a mother-in-law, then can you say that she is calling you a tigress?

"Therefore, I am singing, everything I have, but ..."

While speaking Ananda's eyes were full of tears. I still remember this.

"I caused you pain by telling this."

"What pain; I do not have a mother-in-law, but I do have a father-in-law."

Seeing Srikar happy, Milu always felt satisfaction.


Even after Srikar Mimamsak's death, Ananda continued to instil life in these palm leaves.

At the proper time, Milu had two daughters, Vallabha, and Medha.

I had seen the joy on Ananda's face. She had gone to her mother's place, where she gave birth to the twins.

You Red Fairy. O Pink fairy

You Red Fairy. O Pink fairy

O Over the sky would dance the Indra Fairy

O. On the rose would dance the Indra Fairy

At the proper time, he had a son. When his son Megha grew up, Milu sent him to Benaras to study.

The days passed, his daughters grew up, and both Medha and Vallabha were married. Milu knew inner satisfaction and peace.

His son's marriage was also performed in the meantime. Megha began teaching in Benaras. Megha, Medha and Vallabha all three came to the village at least once a year.

People forgot many things about them.



The Stage of Bhamati


Ananda was busy preserving the palm leaves of Milu's father; even in the intense heat, Milu still remembers.

Ananda's whole life was spent with Milu and when she was not present then how could Milu survive?... Milu did not listen to the holy Garur Purana. Milu liked to hear Mandan's Brahmsidhi and Vachaspati's Bhamati when he felt in the mood to listen to something. If his daughters insisted, then he would hear Kumaril's philosophy about self.

Srikar often spoke many things about the science of words and the philosophical writing of Bhamati. We ascribe too much meaning to words and then begin the confusion.

"Teacher; after my wife's death, I am in distress. What is this life? Where will Ananda be?"

"Milu; be composed. This lesson of Brahmasidhi will remove all your illusion. In Brahmsidhi there are four divisions - Brahma, Logic, Command and Accomplishment. In the Brahma division, the discussion is on forms of Brahma, in the Logic division it is on proof, in the Command division it is on the liberation of living beings and in the Accomplishment part, there is a discussion on the proof of Upanishadic thoughts. Milu, there is no subject apart from liberating knowledge. Liberation is knowledge itself. Mandan gives value to the mean knowledge of Man's intellect. He values work. But these alone are not enough for liberation. The sound word was given meaning through the explosion that Mandan saw. So, he is different from Shankar in a way that he identifies this explosion and gives identity to it, but Shankar does not believe in any identity less than that of Brahma. So, Mandan is a purer non-dualist as compared to Shankar. Milu, Mandan does not believe in abled and not-abled as mutually opposed. This sometimes means action-based difference, but that difference will not become an original element. So that Brahma would remain in all differences and still would do every work. Look, the thought at the Bhamati stage of Vachaspati and the philosophy of Mandan, are in coherence. On Brahmsidhi of Mandan, Mishra Vachaspati wrote an elucidation called Epistemology Critique. Although that work is now not available".

"Then how did epistemology critique come forward?"

"In Bhamati of Vachaspati, there is a discussion about it."

"But before knowing the thoughts of Mandan I feel that when he lost a discussion with Shankaracharya then how one would benefit from his defeated theories and how one would get peace?"

"See, Mandan was defeated; the evidence of this is not available in the writings of Mandan. Mandan was a supporter of the theory of explosion, but Shankaracharya denied it. Mandan was a supporter of the opposite fame of Kumaril Bhatt; but Shankaracharya's pupil Sureshvaracharya, whom people often identify with Mandan Mishra, opposes the opposite fame theory."

"That is right. If Mandan had lost, he would have followed Shankaracharya."

"Now tell me, the Sureshvaracharya, who was appointed as head of Sringeri Math by Shankaracharya, says that ignorance is not of two types, but Mandan mentions two types of ignorance in Brahmsidhi as non-acceptance and wrong acceptance. Mandan tells living one is an abode of ignorance, but Sureshvaracharya disagrees with it. Mandan opposes Shankaracharya but Sureshvaracharya follows him."


Monkeys and Nilgais are tearing down the fruit trees and the male buffaloes are trampling the cultivated land behind the dwelling houses. Now for my sake, the village people would not stop rearing buffaloes.

"Four monkeys are in the orchard, and they are damaging the mangoes. I had gone there. In the evening, all the monkeys were perched on top of the trees. Till evening we, father and son duo, took care of the orchard. Now the monkeys have fled when we threw wooden missiles, but then they went towards your orchard."

"All has been damaged. At night I am not able to see. In the morning I will go to the orchard. The Nilgais have also been damaged a lot. And now these monkeys are after mangoes. Let them damage when..."

"The Nilgais were completely gone from our area for some time. How have they resurfaced again? They must have crossed the river from the next village during the night..."

"I don't think that is true. These Nilgais have come from the Nepal side during the floods. Let them come when..."

"I told you about the monkeys."

"That would be done."

"All right, brother: then I am going," I remember the year when Ananda and Milu had met for the first time when during the month of mangoes, the Monkeys and Nilgais had suddenly disappeared. Now when Ananda has departed, these Monkeys and Nilgais have resurfaced again from nowhere. Not even fifteen days have passed since Ananda's death...


Bachlu left the place and on Milu's forehead thick lines of anxiety began moving, one towards the other like waves do, interfering mutually, the old waves turning into new waves and moving forward. He calls his daughters, his voice reaching across the courtyard.

"Daughters! Jayakar and Vishwanath had gone to the orchard today; have both returned or not? I heard that the monkeys are up to mischief there. From tomorrow Jayakar and Vishwanath will not go to the orchard, tell them. Today monkeys came to the orchard; you did not tell me this. What should I do after hearing this when ..."

"I did tell you, father, but these days you remain in your thoughts. Then I got tired after repeating it, so I stopped."

Yes, Milu nowadays is lost in his world. The mangoes had begun ripening soon after Ananda's death... After so many years these Monkeys and Nilgais have again resurfaced to remind us of something!


Vallabha, the mother of Jayakar, and Medha, the mother of Vishwanath, both sisters have come to their mother's house after a long time. They met each other after so many days. The sons-in-law of Ananda have also come: Visho, the husband of Vallabha; and Kanh, the husband of Medha. Megha has also come with his wife and children.

Milu is calling for his wife ... Ananda ... Ananda. Then he remembers that she is gone now. Then he begins to call ... where is Vallabha ... where are you, Medha? Where are you, Jayakar, and Vishwanath?

Vallabha and Medha both come, and Milu begins singing. Ananda often sings the song: the songs that Ananda sang for Vallabha and Medha.

Red fairy. O. The Pink fairy

Red fairy. O. The Pink fairy

O. Over the sky would dance the Indra fairy.

The Goddess of the garland of red blood is standing at the door, the devotee has become poor.

O after she became poor, she is standing near the door of the blood-garland goddess

Mother, we would have to give money to the poor.

Mother, we would have given money to the poor.

Mother, we had given money to the poor.

Red fairy O pink fairy

Mother, O after she became blind, she is standing near the door of the blood-garland goddess.

Mother O, give an eye to the blind immediately.

Mother O, give an eye to the blind immediately.


The father and both daughters began crying.


"Ananda's death has been a disaster for you. Even though you are from the Brahmin caste and Ananda is from the tanner caste, the love between you two is incomparable. Do not be unhappy over her death. Brahma is without sorrow. The fanciful face of Brahma is pure joy. Thereafter your unhappiness over Ananda is inappropriate. Brahma is the one who oversees. The visible ones are changeable and do not have any relation with the overseer. This world is not simply a fallacy, but it does have an existence. But this practical existence is not true. Milu, there is a difference between consciousness and unconsciousness; but that is not true. Living beings are of many types and ignorance is also of many kinds. Ignorance is one vice but the reference to it cannot be Brahma, it cannot be a complete soul. Its reference can only be an incomplete soul. Ignorance then is not true, but it is not a major untruth either. Milu; please remove this ignorance; that is called liberation, that liberation which Ananda has achieved."


And on Milu's face, complete peace could be seen.


Milu remembers the discussion he had once with Ananda, a long, long time ago...

"Ananda, when I am talking to you, again and again, I am gripped with fear. My father's weakness is his possessiveness for palm leaf inscriptions. So please remember all this: when my father asks you how these palm leaves should be preserved, then your reply should be: by protecting the books from water, oil, and loose binding, by drying these under the shadow. These books contain five hundred to six hundred leaves. I will bring some of those books for you to see. One leaf is a hand long and around four fingers broad. These are covered with wooden frames on top and bottom. On the left side, there remains a hole through which a rope passes thereby binding the leaves together."

"Your father would agree?"

"He will have to agree. He does not have the means to bring a Brahmin bride. I once gave a farmer two rupees in advance for buying some land. But my father brought the advance back. He is saving money. He will have to spend seven hundred rupees to have his son married to a good Brahmin family so that his superior genealogy is preserved. And that Brahmin bride would come and preserve his palm leaf inscriptions?"

After the death of Milu's mother, Srikar became almost crazy; the people of his quarter of the village often said.

The village plague destroyed two-quarters of the village; those of the Mishras and the Westerners almost got annihilated. How many people in the surrounding areas died, nobody could count.

Milu got an opportunity so that his father could meet Ananda. Srikar saw in Ananda much more besides the quality of palm leaf preservation techniques.

Milu was victorious. Milu, of the Nyaya School of Philosophy, had won over Srikar of the Mimamsa School of Philosophy!

And the marriage of Ananda and Milu was thus solemnised.


He remembers his love talks with Ananda. Milu, it seems, is going to meet her. Ananda has died. She slipped into the Balaan River. The marks of her feet slipping into the river are quite visible.

Milu sees that mark and his heart fills with joy, he slips into the wave of emotion...

Ananda and Milu would meet very often, and take walks in the fields, the orchards, and the grazing grounds, beside the river. Milu did not jump into the river. This slope had become slippery, thanks to the young boys. Milu has a lot of memories of this place, he had often sat over here and then rushed forward at great speed into the river, cutting the waves in the forward direction.

"Hey, come and do this.", he said.

"That is not a big deal."

"Perform first, then only I would believe."

Ananda tried carefully but...

He could not stop her, especially beside the river.


She must have come here ...and then she slipped ... and drowned.

She might have come to remember something.

Yes. Ananda has arrived. Bachlu, listen, listen to this song.

Behind the house is the tree of china-rose flower

It is laden with fruits and flowers.

A parrot came from the northern state.

The parrot sat on the china-rose tree.

The parrot eats neither fruit nor flower.

It is destroying branches and leaves.

The parrot eats neither flowers nor seeds.

It has destroyed branches and leaves.

Beside the house, there lives a jackal.

O Jackal, please capture this parrot sitting over the tree

Once tried.

Twice tried.

A third time the parrot flies

Neither this parrot is a mystic

Nor is the partridge.

It is like a conveyance for hen-sparrow.

"Brother; are you not able to hear this song?"

"Brother, I am hearing and seeing. Ananda, my sister-in-law, is singing. I also heard this song the day she died; it was she, singing-

In the courtyard of Goddess Lukesari, there is a tree of sandalwood.

Beneath that the cuckoos clamour."


It was not the fallacy of words.


The next day after the ritual of fish and meat and after the Pooja of Lord Satyanarayan, Ananda neither cut the sandalwood tree nor encircled her courtyard.

The next day beneath that sandalwood tree the villagers saw two dead bodies in the tanner quarter of the village. The voice of Ananda echoed in the sky; all the village folks heard this:

Whichever jungle you would go to dear lovable cuckoo.

A mark of the garland of blood would be left.


It was not the fallacy of words.


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