Act IX, Scene 3

(31 March 1910. Srinivasachari's house, Pondicherry. Srinivasachari with his friend, Subramaniyam. Moni arrives from Calcutta. He presents an introductory note (2 x 2 inches) to Srinivasachari from Aurobindo.)

SRINIVASACHARI (reading the note most carefully): My dear friend, I find it difficult to believe you. Aurobindo Ghosh has chosen Pondicherry for his stay!

SUBRAMANIYAM: Unbelievable, impossible.

MONI: I am shocked to see that you do not take this note to be genuine. It is in Aurobindo's own handwriting.

SRINIVASACHARI: Can anybody imagine that such a great national figure would come down to Pondicherry, a French pocket?

MONI: I give you my word of honour. If I am telling a lie, you may do anything with my life.

SRINIVASACHARI: You want simply a house for him?

MONI: Yes.

SRINIVASACHARI: Nothing further?

MONI: For the present, no.

SRINIVASACHARI: Then I, too, give you my word of honour that as soon as he arrives here I will arrange a house for him.

SUBRAMANIYAM: That's a fine idea.

MONI (turning towards Srinivasachari): Well, Sir, I think it would be better if you kept it ready for him beforehand.

SRINIVASACHARI: When is he coming?

MONI: On April 4.

SUBRAMANIYAM: And if he doesn't turn up?

MONI: Then you may do with me anything you like.

SRINIVASACHARI: The time is so short. I am thinking of giving him a public reception.

MONI: I beg your pardon. He is coming over here incognito.

SRINIVASACHARI: Where have you yourself put up?

MONI: I am coming straight to you from the station. I don't know where to put up.

SRINIVASACHARI: Well, you will be in my house. (He takes Moni into an adjacent room, and returns to his friend, Subramaniyam.)

SUBRAMANIYAM: He may be a spy.

SRINIVASACHARI: I don't think so.

SUBRAMANIYAM: Anyhow, it is better to be on one's guard.

SRINIVASACHARI: I shall be on the alert. But I must find a suitable house for Aurobindo Ghosh. Pondicherry will be blessed by his presence, be it long or short. But in this dilapidated town can I find an accommodation suitable for him?

SUBRAMANIYAM: You can have a talk with Shanker Chetty. His house is three-storeyed. He can easily spare the needed accommodation.

SRINIVASACHARI: It is a good suggestion. I will act on it at once.