Article Index

 


At first he was jealous of the other servant. He grumbled looking at his work. One day Gulai disappeared early in the morning. Where did he go? Why? The whole village talked that he fled. Those who envied Bisobabu's prosperity and believed that Gulba had come to him as his luck were glad in their hearts. But they came to show that they regretted it and went. People spread around, but he could be found nowhere. Bisobabu's wife was also sorry along with him. No one ate in house. It was evening but there was no trace of Gulai. Bisobabu was sitting in the lobby, villagers surrounding him.

Everyone had his own view.

            "Fled even after so many comforts."
             "What'll you do. Don't you know, for his kind fair is foul."
            "I would rather suggest you looked if he took away something."
            Someone disapproved ofthis view, "No, it can't ever be. I can't see anyone to match him in honesty."
"I wonder if someone perverted him away."
Bisobabu listened to all, without any comment. The new servant worked only for day. In the evening he went to his home. It was part of Gulai's duty to serve water to the cattle in the evening. Therefore he went, forgetting it and now the cattle here began to cry for water. But neither Bisobabu nor anyone else noticed it. When the cry of the cattle went louder, someone from the chaff-barn began to mutter. Bisobabu's ear arrested it, 'It's Gulba's sound!' Till he reached the barn, Gulba came out muttering, "You go on talking and talking. The cattle are crying for water." Now instead of being angry with him, Bisobabu had to keep quiet. Gulai began to bring pails of water to the animals, meanwhile jabbering, "Not one, recruit four, they'll all spoil. Will you find another like Gulba who would not be unfaithful to you?" Afraid, Bisobabu said, "Where did you hide, Gulai? We have been restless the whole day." And Gulai became angry again, "Keep quite, I don't talk to you."


Bisobabu was angry indeed, but the intimacy with which he had showed his displeasure subdued him. So honest, so hardworking, without any greed, all these virtues entitle one to some prerogatives also. However, according to the mundane rules, Gulba was but a fool. But Bisobabu had become sentimental in his regards.


Gulo asked himself for his dinner that night. And everything went normal since the morning.
Bisobabu prospered more. Gulai's salary also went up from time to time. Symbolically. Meanwhile, Bisobabu's sons went out from Saharsa to live in Patna for the higher studies. Now, when they came home, Gulai made it a point to put some money from his salary into their hands. In spite of these, many times Gulai showed his displeasure only to be persuaded each time again. Once Bisobabu did not try to persuade him. So he asked his master to clear his account finally, put his clothes in a string bag, made his away to the courtyard, came again and so he did twice or thrice. No one tried to appease him, so he fastened his bag to the tip of his staff and began to blubber before making the headway, "Don't think that I'll be persuaded this time again. Keep your kingdom, I'm going. You both man and wife have the fatty milk and enjoy..."
Bisobabu's wife melted, but Bisobabu stopped her, "Let him go, where'll he go? He'll return by the evening." And really he did return by the evening. Coming, he went straight to the courtyard. Bisobabu was sitting in the front but he did not even look at him. He unfastened his bag from the staff, took out the money from the knot of his dhoti and gave them to his mistress, "You keep my money in your box. I won't give it to the master, he'll cheat me." The mistress laughed, "He never cheated you for so long and now he'll cheat you?"
"Yes, he has become dishonest now. When I got angry and was going, did he ever stop me?" he hiccupped from the bitter sob occurring in his throat. The mistress did not know what to do, so she changed the subject and said, "Go, wash yourself. You must be hungry." Gulai was normal simply by this much and made for the front, "I'm coming. Let me first make the bonfire, the cattle must be facing the mosquitoes."


It was not that Gulai was not displeased any more, but he did not try to leave home. At most he skipped one of his meals or two.