Sympathy is still alive

I dedicate this story to the genuine seeker in UMA (Puerto Rico) who is now in the very Heart of God.

"Mother!"

"My dear, what is it that you want of me?"

"I beg to be excused" said Ullash, "I took you for my own mother, as you take after her."

"It seems your mother comes here to this bathing ghat for a dip in the sacred Ganga."

"Yes, but not now. Formerly she used to come to this place to bathe in the sanctified Ganga."

"I cannot make out what you mean. Is she not here?"

"Ah, that is a sad story. But I am off, and I beg to be pardoned for the trouble I have put you to. I am, however, greatly touched by the mother in your heart."

"My dear, I am not put out at all. By the way, why do you look so dejected?"

"My fate is unbearable," came the reply, in a pitiful tone.

"How I wish I could know of the cause of your sorrow!"

"It is rare that one should like to listen to the agonies of another."

"You are but a child of yesterday, a little child. Why should you be beside yourself with grief?"

"It is three months since I have been out in search of mother. To bathe in the Ganga she came here."

"I see, you have been searching for her from one bathing ghat to another."

"Yes."

"Since then, has no one brought you any news of her?"

"No, some people believe that she has been drowned in the Ganga, but I cannot find it in my heart to agree with them."

"Didn't she know how to swim?"

"Swimming! my mother was born and brought up in East Bengal, the land of numerous tanks, ponds, streams and rivers. It goes without saying that to the people of East Bengal swimming is an activity as natural as eating or drinking."

"Then."

"I cannot bear this loss," said Ullash, tears rolling down his cheeks, "and I am almost out of my mind."

"How many brothers have you?"

"I have none, I am her only child. If I fail to find her I shall die. At times, I feel like ending my life."

"Suicide! Suicide is a great sin. Nobody's mother lives forever. My mother too, is no longer on earth."

"Even when mother was with me I could not pass a single day without her."

"Would you come with me to our house?"

"Would you be my mother?"

"I believe that you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. I wish to know your name, my child."

"My mother used to call me 'pagla', mad."

"But I wish to know your real name and not that one."

"Oh, I see, you want me to disclose my surname along with my proper name. If I say, I am an outcast."

"Oh no! You can never be one. By the way, lots of people are coming up to West Bengal from East Bengal. Can you recommend to me a faithful servant?"

"Yes, I can. May I recommend to your kind favour the name of the person who is before you? You can easily find in him a faithful servant if you have no suspicions about him."

"You come of a respectable family. How can you do the work of a servant? And how can I dare to have you for my servant? To clean utensils, to wash clothes, clean up the house and to go to market and so on."

"In my mother's view, I was good at shopping. As for the other things, I hope I can do well, for I was a help, from time to time, to my mother when she used to do all that. And if, out of kindness, you teach me a little of these things, I can learn them easily within a short time."

"All right, my dear. Come along with me. By the way, how much shall I have to pay you per month?"

"How dare I ask money of you? On the contrary, I shall ever remain grateful to you, for you are allowing me to remain under your motherly care."

"Our former servant lived with us, and in addition we gave him thirty rupees per month. Yet he fled after committing a theft."

"Theft! Excuse me, mother, I shall not be your servant. Who knows? One day I may also steal something from your house and run away."

"No, I am positive that you will never do so. And believe me, I am in need of a servant."

"But it is not proper to engage an unknown person as a menial. One day I, too, may play you false."

"I am really glad we have spoken in this way. Come along now. Later you can tell me what was your situation in life and give me your full address."

"All right, mother, I am prepared to follow."

"I have brought a new servant, whose character is beyond question. Alas! his loving and affectionate mother has been drowned in the Ganga. Now if you are pleased with him, we can have this poor youth," said the old lady to her husband.

"Since you are so pleased with him, I can have nothing to say. Is this the man standing by you? Oh! He seems to be a dandy!" Now the gentleman inquired of the young man were he had worked formerly and whether or not he was in the habit of picking pockets. Ullash stood aghast.

"I do not keep a servant without knowing his antecedents. By the way, are you not one of these communists who have brought our country to the verge of destruction?" No words came from the lips of Ullash.

"Why are you so silent? Oh! I see you are absorbed in Samadhi trance."

"You will not believe me, so it will be no use to bring anything to your notice."

"How can one believe a person? Don't you know that skepticism is the order of the day? One should not, in these days, have faith even in one's own son. Alas! My son is totally devoid of knowledge. He is out and out a communist."

"Mother, I am off," said Ullash to the venerable lady, and just before going he prostrated himself before her.

"Don't go away, my dear." She then addressed her husband, "Out of God's infinite kindness today we have come by a good servant. Why do you want to send him away? Where will you ever get a servant after your heart? Our own son does not abide by us. How much more deplorable can our condition be? My Lord, why not keep him for a few days and observe his character?"

"All right, you keep him. It is no concern of mine. It will be good if he can please you. But one thing, by no means should he be permitted to enter my room. The other day your former servant made away with my wristwatch. Now you want me to be robbed of everything? Very well, you keep him, as you cannot continue without a servant."

"Your temper is of the quickest. You always make a mountain of a molehill. In one way, it is quite natural for men to become like that in their old age."

"All right, I shall start for 'Kashi', Benares for a pilgrimage shortly. Let you and your son spend your time happily. I suppose, by this time, you are aware of the fact that it is only because of your son that I am unable to associate with men of respect. And I am afraid that soon even my pension will cease coming."

"Mother, you need not quarrel with my father. I am putting an end to your dispute. We are badly in need of a man at our club; this young man will be a help to us. He will accompany me to our club presently", said Bhanu. "Ullash, come along, I shall show you our club."

With a heavy sigh, Bhanu's father uttered: "Unbearable. Unbearable. My own son speaks in this fashion to my face. I am dead set against keeping Ullash as a servant of ours, but my learned and opulent son has engaged him in some work at the club! Alas! At one time one whole district used to tremble at my command. Now I am a man of no value. Had I known that family life is but a bed of thorns, I would never have married. My bosom friend, Subhash, has now become "Netaji", the leader of the nation, and his fame has spread throughout the world. I too, had a chance to be great like him. Now I put all the blame on my father-in-law."

"Certainly," said his wife to her good husband, and then she continued; "How do you dare to criticise my father? Oh! I see, thus calling him names you are sending your heart-felt gratitude to my departed father. Had I opened my eyes on earth, in this age, I too would have liked to be either a female ascetic or a communist!"

"Yes, you are quite right in saying that you would become a communist if you were born in this age; otherwise why has your son cast such a slur upon our family? May God bless both of you in following the path of communism! Alas! I am so unlucky as to have a son who is not only devoid of knowledge but also of character!"

"I suppose your character too, was bad during your youth. If it was not so, then why is your son now characterless? I am not the only one responsible to God for Bhanu's character."

"Stop now! It is sufficient. You speak of my character! Oh Mother Kali! I wish to be free from this terrestrial bondage. I promise before you that I shall start for Benares shortly."

"I know you very well. You are not man of your word. All right, you tell me, how many times have you promised that you would not take fish any more? But still you are unable to keep your word. And may I know who prevents you from going to Benares? You go. I will not stand in your way."

"Why is it I cannot fulfil my desire? Do you know? I feel in the heart of my heart that I am obliged to look after you and your son."

"In one's ripe old age, to pray to God should be the highest ideal of a human being. You go to Kashi! It is my ardent request to you. After some time I, too, will go there, leaving my son here alone in peace."

"Excuse me. By no means should you come to Kashi. I will not be able to bandy words with you there. I want only peace and nothing else."

"All right! I shall not live with you, but remain in some Ashram, if you feel that I will put an end to your peaceful life."

"Everything is settled then. I shall start for Kashi on an auspicious day shortly. This time I shall be an ascetic of the first water. Never will you be able to know my address."

"Oh! As if I will move heaven and earth in search of you!"

Several months have passed. Bhanu's father, owing to sundry reasons, could not go down to Kashi. By this time Ullash has conquered Bhanu's father's heart. Ullash has now become his confidant. The master cannot go on without the servant. Everyone speaks highly of Ullash. He has only one defect. That is, he will break into laughter when he remains by himself. Bhanu never thinks of Ullash as their servant although the latter is very faithful and always at his command.

Days have run into weeks and weeks into months. As ill luck would have it, Bhanu's mother is now not at all pleased with her servant, for Ullash, due to lack of time, is unable to perform all the tasks he is asked to do. But all that he does, he does to perfection. After 10 pm, he goes away. He never tells anyone, in spite of repeated requests, where he abides during the night. From time to time he takes leave for a day or two, yet he says that he is without relatives. On the whole, there is some mystery in his life. He is afraid of theft. He says, "I will be the first person to be suspected if ever anything is stolen." Most probably this is one of the reasons why he does not remain in the house during the night. He says, "There is no reason to fear passing the night with the refugees on the street. Moreover, I take pleasure in conversing with these innocent people."

"How can you stand such unbearable cold during the night?", said Bhanu's father to Ullash.

"If my friends are able to put up with that cold, why should I fail to do so? Alas! The capitalists always bear a grudge against us. Never do they allow us even to remain along with their domestic animals to spend the night. I admit, in one way they are quite right in not allowing us to remain in their houses, for we make the houses filthy."

"Ullash! Today I will not let you go!", said Bhanu's father in an affectionate tone.

"No, father, I shall have to go. Father, instead of this kind command, you could easily have said that tomorrow you would have me put in custody."

"You always try to play the fool."

"If I am not really a fool, then why was mother in the habit of calling me a mad cap?

"It seems to me that you are a man of knowledge."

"No, father, I am devoid of knowledge. And whatever little I do know, I have learnt from a venerable brother of mine. When he was studying in the Engineering College at Jadabpur, truth to tell, I was his right arm."

"Who is that gentleman?"

"He is the eldest son of the family where I worked previously."

"Why have you left their house?"

"I have not left their house of my own accord. It is they who have dispensed with my services."

"On what charge?"

"Excuse me, father, I cannot open my heart to you. If I do so, in no time you would drive me away."

"You need not tell me. I have guessed at the truth. That was why, I think, you could not speak to me when I asked you if you had been a pickpocket just before engaging you as a servant. Now, Ullash, listen to me. Never sink in despondency. It is no good lamenting the past. I am sure that by this time you have mended your ways."

"Father, I pray to you to believe me. I was faultless then. And father, although the police beat me black and blue, I was not enraged with them in the least. But alas! My sorrow knew no bounds when I was told that it was my venerable brother who had suspected me. It was only because of his suspicion that out of unbearable sorrow I was prepared to commit suicide in the Ganga but was luckily saved by my present family."

"My dear, to err is human as we reside ever in ignorance. No human being is perfect on the sombre earth. The only thing one can do, in this world, is to long for one's own perfection. When one becomes perfect, it is only then that one can perfect others."

"But the one whom I saved once from an imminent peril, how could he suspect me?"

"I too, before I had you as my servant, had a bad impression of you, but this does not now make you at all angry with me. By the way, they say that you are an expert in gymnastics. Who taught you these unique figures on the parallel bars?"

"It was that venerable brother of mine who taught me a few figures."

"Now, know this to be a dead certainty, that your brother's affection towards you was great. You should have winked at his fault. It is deplorable that we cannot excuse others. Ullash, my dear, you should have forgiven him by this time."

"Father, truly I am indebted to you tremendously for your incomparable care and good counsel. Mother's affection too, is boundless towards me. Who says I am your servant? You are so indulgent to me. Truly I am fortunate to be under the very protection of my new parents."

"We too are glad to have a man like you whose services are extremely satisfactory to us. Alas! What is to be done with my characterless son!"

"Why, father, I do not find anything wrong in Bhanuda's character."

"Ah! Communism has ruined him totally. He never pays any attention to his school lessons and he never listens to me."

"But he loves me most sincerely. May I ask him, father, to teach me English?"

"He is not well up in English. I shall teach you myself."

"No, father, I shall ask him over and over again to teach me English. I am sure he will listen to my humble request. Moreover, I hope, he will devote himself to reading in order to teach me."

"No doubt, it is a fine idea if he acquires proficiency in English by way of teaching you."

Ullash now reads with Bhanu. Whenever he gets an opportunity, he puts hard questions to his teacher. The teacher puts forth all his capacity to answer Ullash's questions properly. Whenever he is successful in giving appropriate answers to Ullash's questions, Bhanu's joy knows no bounds. Bhanu's father has a large library. Heretofore even through oversight he never entered the library, but now Bhanu is seen there almost every day, absorbed in reading. At times he takes Ullash to task for putting difficult questions. He says, "Do you pay attention to what I tell you or is it in vain that I take such pains in answering your hard questions?" Bhanu's father is now exceedingly glad to see his son studying so hard.

Out of shyness Bhanu had never talked to his father at any length in the past. He used to give a wide berth to his father. Now he has been obliged to come to his father in order to get faultless answers to Ullash's questions. Now Bhanu's mother and father entertain a good opinion of their son for he has turned over a new leaf. Their love and affection towards him is increasing rapidly.

Ullash is doing well with all. He has accepted no money from his master since he has engaged himself in the work of a servant. One day, Bhanu's mother said to him, "Oh! Now I can understand, Ullash, why you do not long for money. It is because you have no relatives."

"Who says, mother, that I am without relatives?" said Ullash, and then he added, "I am beside myself with joy to have new parents. It is beyond one's imagination to accept money from one's parents for rendering services to them."

"We are under obligation then, to please you in some other way as you are dead set against accepting money from us. By the way, shall I look for a good looking girl who will be your wife?"

"No, mother, excuse me. I have not even a house of my own to live in. Who will give their dear daughter to me, out at the elbows as I am? Moreover, my mother once told me that there is no indication of my marriage in my horoscope, so what necessity is there to hope against hope? Mother, if you but permit me, I shall leave no stone unturned for Bhanuda's marriage. My dear Bhanuda's better half will be nothing but the beauty of this village."

"My dear Ullash, you have gone mad!"

"Mother, I have been out of my mind from the cradle; that is why my mother used to call me 'pagla' (mad)."

"No, Ullash, it was your mother who was out of her mind and not you."

"Mother, please don't speak ill of my departed mother. I cannot bear to have her insulted so."

"All right, let it be. By the way, are you not going to the bank to withdraw money?"

"I am off, mother!" Then, turning toward Bhanu, Ullash asked, "Bhanuda, why should the bank give me money in exchange for this cheque?"

"My father has deposited money in that bank. That is why when you offer them the cheque, you get money in exchange."

"What benefit does one derive from that? One can easily keep ready money with him."

"Listen, you are quite ignorant regarding this matter. One should not keep a large amount of money at home. It is always unsafe. Thieves may, at any moment, steal it. Moreover, the bank gives us some interest on our deposits."

"The bank takes great pains to keep the money out of danger. So, in my opinion, it is the depositors who ought to pay the interest to the bank."

"You are weak in the upper storey. Now, listen to me carefully. Suppose you deposit a sum of 1000 Rs. in some bank. Some other person, who is badly in need of money, will take a loan from the bank and it will be your money that will be given to him. But, after some time, the bank has to be paid a high interest rate by the borrower.

"Now everything is clear to me. The bank is a money-lender on a large scale."

"You cannot call it simply a money-lender, for it does so many other things in addition to the money-lending business."

"Kindly let me know what other things a bank does."

"As I am not a banker, how can you expect me to tell you everything in detail regarding a bank?"

"Mother," said Ullash to Bhanu's mother in a pitiful voice, "I do not know why Bhanuda has been so angry with me for the past few days. If he does not give me adequate answers to my questions, how can I be a man of knowledge?"

"Bhanu, my dear son, it does not become you. It is beneath your dignity to displease such a good and obedient student. Had I been as obedient a student as you have, I would have taught him day and night."

"Mother, I am not at home in bank activities. It seems, according to you and Ullash, I should not even speak the truth."

"Ullash, come with me into my father's room. All the activities of a bank are at his fingertips."

"No, Bhanuda, not today. I am off to the bank to draw money. Bhanuda, if you were the manager of a bank, undoubtedly I could easily have become a messenger of that bank. Then I could have learned everything about banking."

At this Bhanu's mother said in an affectionate voice, "Ullash, you want to appoint yourself to the work of a messenger in a bank? Don't leave me, my dear! My one foot is already in the grave. You can go wherever you like when I will be with God."

"Mother, I am ever at your command. I have a mind to tell you something, mother. Ever and anon I see in a dream that my father found a big factory. He has given me, out of kindness, a high post there. Hundreds of labourers work there the whole day and far into the night."

"I have now grasped the truth as to why your mother used to call you pagla (mad). By the way, you know my younger sister's son, Hiranmoy, will soon open a factory. He will give you a high post there. So your dream may come true. I am writing to him now to call on me tomorrow and to bring his sister, Rekha, along with him. It has been a long time since I have seen my dear Rekha."

On hearing this Ullash's face turned pale. Since he wanted to leave the place immediately he simply said to Bhanu's mother that he was to go to their club now. Then Ullash went away, successfully deceiving her.

Ullash has now been at Bhanu's house for a year. Bhanu and his father now love him from the bottom of their hearts. But, to his misfortune, Bhanu's mother is now bearing a grudge against him. This is the law of nature. When a woman loves a person, she loves him with all her heart. But when she is displeased with him, owing to a quarrel, she looks down on him with such disdain that words cannot adequately express her feelings. To conquer a woman's heart is easy, no doubt, but at the same time, they are too clever in deserting in the twinkling of an eye. They do so because they are wanting in intelligence. The other day Bhanu's mother said to his father, "I am extremely sorry to tell you that you are becoming block-headed day by day. What necessity is there to keep Ullash in our house? Are you not aware of the fact that he is wicked to the backbone? Who can venture to say that he is our servant? In my opinion he is nothing but a dandy. I am on the lookout for a new and good servant. If he is to remain immersed in books all the time he must needs leave my house."

At this Bhanu's father began to laugh and said, "May I know why your former faithful servant has now become a thorn in your side?"

"He does not listen to me. He does not abide by Bhanu. He cherishes only the memory of his venerable brother. The very sight of him is repulsive to me."

"Why do you want to drive him away?"

"Let me know why you are so indulgent to him. Do you want us to adore him? He does no work in our house. All that he has is a long tongue."

"I cannot agree with you. Today you will drive him away and tomorrow you will be overwhelmed with grief for him."

"Believe me, I am not a woman of insincere profession. Never shall I weep for that rogue. On the contrary, I shall make you a great feast when you ask him to leave our house."

"I do not know why you are so angry with him."

"And I do not know why you care more for him than for my dear son Bhanu."

"Your son Bhanu, many a time has acted deceitfully towards me, but Ullash has never played me false. Ullash is my confidant."

"You do not know how great are Ullash's shortcomings. Don't you know why he does not accept money from us? It is because he wants to remain in our good graces. He is a culprit from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. All right, I shall put an end to this altercation. I shall start for my younger brother's house tomorrow. Time and again he has invited me. I am not alarmed in the least to go down to Pakistan, although the Hindus are being tortured ruthlessly by the Muslims there."

"I do not object to your going to your brother's house. You go. And I am starting for Kashi for a pilgrimage shortly. I am really sick of quarrelling with you. I shall enjoy, at Kashi, the happiness of solitude."

"I am not such a fool as you think me to be. You will go to Kashi leaving your faithful servant here. While you are at Kashi, you know what he will do, he will simply ruin my son for good and all. I am not going to my brother's house."

"It is sufficient. Let us now put an end to our dispute. I shall ask Ullash to cast about for some other work today. I cannot simply drive him away. It will cut him to the quick. Soon he will go away of his own accord. By the way, I shall ask Hiranmoy to give Ullash some work at their factory."

"Alas! When he calls me mother, all my temper vanishes in the twinkling of an eye. On the whole, he is not a bad servant. Whatever he does it is open and above board. At times I find that he is a good man at heart. The only thing is that he is lacking in intelligence."

Hiranmoy and Rekha have arrived at their aunt's house today. Bhanu's mother is now seen extremely busy preparing sweets for them. As Rekha entered the bathroom to wash her feet, she was struck with wonder to see a servant washing clothes. As it seemed to her that she had seen this servant before, she asked her aunt, "Since when have you had this new servant? It seems to me that I have seen this youth somewhere else."

"He might have worked formerly at a place near your house, and that is why you might have seen him before."

"By what name is he known?"

"He is our dear Ullash."

On hearing this, Rekha cried out, "Hiranmoyda, Hiranmoyda! Look! Your friend has engaged himself here in the work of a servant!"

Hiranmoy was taken aback. He said. "How can my friend work here?"

"About a year ago I met him one day at a bathing ghat in the Ganga. With sorrowful face he was searching for his mother. He told me that many people had the strong belief that his mother had been drowned in the Ganga. But how can he be your friend, Hiranmoy?"

"Aunt, I have been hand-in-glove with Ullash for the past several years. He is an engineer, just as I am. He had passed the examination with very high honours. About a year ago, when his mother passed away, he wore black for several days. Hoping to console him, I kept him as a guest in our house for a week. One day, as ill luck would have it, I was absent from the house and that very day a theft was committed. The police came immediately to investigate the case and suspected Ullash, taking him to the police station. When I returned home the next day and came to know of it I hastened to the station. To my sorrow I could not meet him there. The police had already driven him off, taking him for a madman. Aunt, it is a strange story. Then one day, about six months ago, we met by chance in the street. As if nothing had happened, he spoke to me from the bottom of his heart just as he used to do before. He had purchased a share of 50 thousand rupees in our factory and will become its manager. With a heart full of sorrow I said, "Ullash, I hope you have excused me by this time." At that, he burst into a guffaw of laughter.

"I am not angry with you in the least, so it is out of the question to excuse you. Your honesty will never be called into question by me. God is nothing but the Author of all Good. Had I been able to remain in your house I would not have got new parents. My new parents are so indulgent to me. The joy of my heart beggars at description since last year."

I asked him where he had been staying.

"I live with the refugees," said he, and he added, "I am doing the work of a servant in a gentleman's house."

I asked him if he was off his head.

He said, "Brother Hiranmoy, how can one be able to feel the unbearable agonies of the refugees unless and until one lives with them? How delightful it is to pass the night on the footpath in unimaginable cold, while it is raining cats and dogs!"

I enquired of him how much his master paid him per month.

"I accept no money from him. I enjoy my meals only at his house. I have not run short of funds, but their family members are very kind to me."

On hearing this, Bhanu's mother said, "Hiranmoy, Ullash's life is, on the whole, wrapped in mystery." She then addressed her husband, "Hiranmoy never tells a lie. I believe Ullash is a great engineer. But I wonder what he learns from Bhanu."

"With laughter!" Said Bhanu's father, "By way of learning, Ullash teaches our son. Sympathetic men like him are born few and far between."

"Aunt, where has Ullashda gone?", asked Rekha.

"He has gone to market."

"Aunt, I have never come across such a madman as he. No sooner did I catch sight of him than he ran for all he was worth in shame. I am sure he will not come back today."

Suddenly, as they were all speaking of Ullash, Bhanu broke in upon them and said to his mother, "Mother, Ullash has gone to see one of his friends who is confined to bed and most probably it will not be possible for him to return from there today. He has given me this ten rupees to give you."

"Aunt," said Rekha, "My prophecy is correct. Ullashda will not be able to come back so long as we are in your house. I do not know how an insane person like him will ever be able to be the manager of Hiranmoyda's factory."

Bhanu, as if dropped from heaven, said, "Ullash will be the manager of Hiranmoyda's factory! By manner of no means shall I be able to work under him!"

With a smile Rekha said, "Bhanu, you find it beneath your dignity to work under Ullash; but why do you forget the true truth that he has been serving you since last year?"

"He is not in his right mind."

The night is far advanced. All are speaking highly of Ullash.

"From his very face I knew that he was not an ordinary servant. And I was positive that he would do well in the long run," said Bhanu's father.

Immediately Bhanu's mother said, "I knew before you that he is not an ordinary servant, for I did not believe him when he told me that he was an outcaste at the bathing ghat in the Ganga."

"Mother," said Bhanu, "You and father knew that he was not in the common run of men, but I do not know and it is beyond my imagination why such a learned man should do the work of a servant in our house!"

With a bright smile, Hiranmoy said, "Now let me bring the secret to light. One day, in the course of talk, he told me that the master should always bear sympathy for his servants, and he knew that a day would come when a great number of people would work under him. In order to realise the weal and woe of the servants, he has accepted this work."

On hearing this, Bhanu said, "He is nothing but a fool; otherwise, why does he put such silly questions to me?"

Bhanu's father, in a low voice, said, "You should not go the length of saying that he is a fool. You know nothing. He has a mind to teach you by way of learning from you."

"Alas!" said Bhanu's mother, "Ullash will not come back today. May the Almighty Father cure his friend!"

"Mother, I have come. My friend is now in a fair way to recovery. Excuse me for the delay I have made."

"It is sufficient, Ullash," said Hiranmoy, "make an end of your dramatic performance now. We are so delighted to see you."

"Dear Ullash," said Bhanu's father, "Why have you played us false? English is not Greek to you, and you do not come of a poor family."

Ullash remains silent.

Ullash and Hiranmoy have sat for their dinner. Rekha is serving. Ullash is silent. He is trying to finish his meal as quickly as possible. Suddenly, Bhanu's mother says, "Why are you so silent today?"

"I am silent because Rekha is performing my work, and I feel really sorry that my usual work has been usurped by Rekha."

"Ullashda," said Rekha, "How can I get the opportunity of doing your work if you do it yourself?" At this all burst into laughter.

The next day, in the small hours of the morning, Ullash made obeisance to Bhanu's parents and said, "It is with unfeigned joy that I tell you that your unimaginable affection will never fade from my memory. Now I am off to our factory. On the 15th instant I shall once again come here to take you to our factory. You will be the one to open it. Hiranmoy had a mind to have the factory opened by a politically prominent man, but in my opinion, nobody is superior to you, father. Fortunately he is now at one with me."

With a smile, father said, "My fate is such that often men come into contact with me who act in a most bizarre fashion. The sterling qualities of head and heart which you have shown will never be effaced from my mind, dear Ullash. What more can I give you in return than my tears of love and sorrow? May God the Author of all Good shower His Choicest Blessings upon your devoted head!"