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At the servant of Pratap Singh, who was approaching him, Ramanand Tripathi had first asked him to wait and then turning to Pratap Singh, had said, “Raaja saab.. Thank you for your kind offer which as you say is ten times higher than the current value..
However Raaja saab, money is not the question here and we as such haven’t attributed any value to our land nor we would be doing that in our future either.. This piece of land is a priceless possession for us that is as invaluable as like any member of our family.
Hence, there’s no way either me or my family members would agree to part with it even if you offer us all the money in this world.. Please forgive me Raaja saab for not being in a position to accept your kind offer.
Even after three days, my reply would be the same .. So please don’t waste your valuable time waiting for my response.. And now please allow me to go.. Secondly, Raaaja sab, am more familiar with this area than you all, more so with the snakes here..
And they too know me well so there’s no way they would do any harm to me.. I can go home on my own and I don’t need your servant’s guidance.. Dhanyavaad..”
Laughing wickedly at Ramanand, Pratap Singh said,” Those who have not seen any money in their life talk carelessly about money and talk endlessly about morals, values, relations and sentiments..
Once if the same people see a good amount of money in their life, they wouldn’t mind trading their own Mother for money in the market.. So, ye sab baatein hain Pandit ji.. Baaton ka kyaa..
As I told you, I shall give you three days time and still wait for your response.. Who knows.. You may later change your opinion after going home or your wife, who had seen only poverty in her life after marrying you, may turn greedy and force you to accept this offer..
Or your own grown up children, who are struggling for every pie in their life today, may turn hostile against you and force you to accept this offer.. Who knows Panditji who knows.. So don’t jump to any conclusions now..
Instead.. Go home.. Discuss with everyone in your family and then leisurely come back to me.. There’s no urgency either to you or to me.. Even otherwise I don’t have the habit of breaking my head about things that I wish to do much later in my life.
So don’t worry about me.. Finally, ek baath bolungaa Panditji.. For any reason, if you still come to me with a negative answer, after three days, then I shall plan that day what I should further do to get my work done..
So for now.. Enjoy these three full days.. Jee jaan se aur dil kholke.. Kyunki.. Kal kisne dekhaa Pandit ji..??.. hahahaha..”..
Pratap Singh concluded his conversation with the same wicked smile with which he had commenced it a few minutes ago.
After looking quietly at Pratap Singh’s face for a few seconds, Ramanand, with a gentle smile on his lips, replied, “Raajaa saab.. The world you have seen and the people you have come across in your life may have taught you that anything and everyone in this world can be traded with money.
But the world am seeing and the people am living with have taught me that our love for each other and our family values can never be traded with money.. Just like there’s always darkness on one side of the planet and light on the other, there are also dark shades and light shades on either side of our lives Raaja saab..
While you are seeing only darkness and talking about the ugly people living in there, am seeing light and talking about the lovely people living in there.. Farak sirf itna hain Raajaa saab.. Main aap ke andhera ke taraf kabh bhi aa saktha hoon par aap ke ankh humare zindagi ka roshni kabhi nahin dekh sathe hain.. Am leaving Rajaa saab.. Shubh raatri..”
Saying so and shocking everyone there in that hall with his audacity and more so with his uprightness, Ramanand started slowly walking out of that hall.. Saying, “Ek minute Panditji”, Pratap Singh asked him to wait..
After Ramanand had paused, Pratap Singh said, “we shall meet here at this place exactly after three days that is on Sunday at 9 pm Panditji.. If you have any problem in coming, please tell me.. I shall come to your house.. However, am sure Pandit ji, as a learned scholar you will not give me that trouble..”
“No need Raaja Saab.. I shall on my own be here in front of you at sharp 9 pm on Sunday..” said Ramanand with great intrepidity in his voice; then turned back; and majestically walked out of that hall displaying the same intrepidity in his walking style as well.
Pratap Singh just remained frozen in his chair and kept looking at Ramanand until he had completely walked out of the hall.. After making sure that Ramanand had left the hall, Pratap Singh then asked his servant to immediately call Raju Yadav, his driver.
Almost everyone in the hall, including the servant, felt shuddered after listening to that instruction from Pratap Singh to call his driver, Raju.. Because, they all know what sort of a monster Raju is and what all dirty works he does for Pratap Singh.
“But why is that Pratap calling Raju now..???”.. Everyone there thought so.. After about five minutes, the servant entered the hall along with Raju,
Looking at him, Pratap Singh kept saying something to him for two full minutes while all those in the hall felt a sort of coldness in their spines and numbness in their minds quietly listening to what Pratap Singh was telling Raju, that moment ..
After listening to all that his boss had told him, Raju nodded his head saying, “jo hukum hain Raaja saab” and quietly walked out of the hall.
After that, party was again resumed in that hall ; drinks were still consumed; women were still enjoyed but the highly effervescent mood that was there, a few minutes ago, was missing..
Instead a great unusual fear was taking grip of the whole atmosphere there as though signalling the onset of a great diabolic act in that hall in the forthcoming days.. PERIOD
After Reaching Home
Ramanand Tripathi had immediately called each and every member of his family into the main room and placed before them the proposal of Pratap Singh..
To be very honest, literally every face in that room had brightened for a few seconds after listening to what Ramanand had told them.. It was understandably so, owing to the poverty ridden conditions they were all living in those days.
However, almost all in that room have quickly composed themselves and had hidden that brightness quietly behind their eyes.. There was a deafening silence in that room for a few seconds.. Everyone was looking at everyone for their opinion.. No one wants to speak first and voice their opinion..
Not that they can’t nor that they don’t have any opinion about the proposal but none of them in that room was willing to hurt the feelings of their other most loved ones there by speaking out their opinions.. So everyone was quiet there..
Breaking the silence, Ramanand’s beloved wife, the noble Vasundhara was the first one to speak.. Touching everyone’s heart there, she said,
“The proposal from Rajaa saab is certainly exciting and is also very tempting.. For the conditions we all have been living for so many years this is certainly an irresistible offer.. In fact a God sent one..
However, days won’t be the same for us forever nor this darkness would remain forever in our lives.. We have seen some worst moments in the past and may have to see a few more in the coming days as well, in fact, more worse than what we have already seen in our past..
But that doesn’t mean we should compromise on our family values and sell something that our ancestors have earned for us as a priceless gift of pride that should be preserved and cherished for our lives beyond lives..
I know nothing lasts forever so not even our troubles.. Our children are still studying and in about a couple of years time would complete their studies and start earning.. These conditions are only a matter of another two or three years for us.. We have managed all these years can’t we manage for another two or three years.. ??
On the contrary, this land is something that our families have earned for us not as any gift or donation but as an honor in recognition of our family’s immense knowledge of Vedas and Sastras.. If we are tempted by money today then how can we uphold the core values of Dharma and nobility in our future..
To the best of our abilities all those here shall try to protect this land and preserve it as long we are alive.. If someone in our future generations would like to sell it for money or for some other need, we shall, wherever we are and in whichever world we are, would gladly welcome their decision and bless them heart fully.
Until then we should all stand united and not let this land go off our hands.. For that we all need to take a pledge now.. That’s my opinion.. Many among you may agree or disagree with my words but I just said what I wanted to say.. Whatever decision you all take now would still be acceptable to me..”..
The otherwise demure Vasundhara concluded her conversation pleasantly stunning everyone there in that room..
With a broad smile on his face, Ramanand’s father said,”Vasundhara.. With your nobility and upright behavior you have always made us feel proud of you for having you as our daughter in law, however today you made us held our heads high with great pride..
How well you have crafted your words and how beautifully you have expressed your opinions and displayed your nobility.. Really proud of you my daughter.. We shall all give our lives but not this land.. Never.. This land is our family honor and we shall never let it go.. This is my opinion..”.. Concluded Ramanand’s father..
Ramanand was endlessly happy..
He just couldn’t speak.. He knows, in fact he was very sure, that everyone in his lovely family would support him but didn’t know that his wife too is so emotionally attached to their land..
After thanking her for supporting him during that most critical phase of his life, Ramanand then turned to his children and asked them, “My beloveds.. What do you feel about this proposal..”
After some initial hesitation, Ramanand’s eldest son, Harshavardhan had said, ” Pithajee.. Nothing in this world is more precious for us than you and mom.. We shall do anything in our life that makes you happy and nothing that makes you unhappy..
We know how much you both are struggling in your life to keep us comfortable.. Then how do you think pithajee we would opt for something in our life that is against your wish.. Never.. This land is equally precious for us as it is for you.. So there’s no way we would allow someone take it away from us..”
Ramanand wanted to weep.. Weep with joy.. Weep with pride.. And weep out of love for his love for his children and for his wife.. He was just uncontrollable..
With tears emerging out of his eyes, he quickly got up from his chair; rushed to his children; and embraced them with all the warmth and love in this world..
It was then that Ramanand’s Mother who was until then silently observing everything in that room had said, ” it’s all fine and we shall at any cost not give our land to Pratap Singh.. But how’s he going to take our rejection.. Will he just keep quiet if we say no to his proposal..
As far as I know, Pratap is a poisonous snake more poisonous than an actual snake.. He shall certainly do something unimaginable.. More over he’s the son of cruel Vikram singh, a more dangerous snake than Pratap..
Bete Ramanand.. We all must be very careful and seriously think from this angle also.. It is my duty to tell you that although this land is important for us our lives are more important.. It’s not my intention to create fear in your mind but as a Mother am only trying to caution you..
My advice is, let us look at all the options and arrive at a decision on Sunday morning until which time, we shall keep this issue inconclusive.. There’s no point in arriving at hasty conclusions more so when our emotions are charged.. Caution is the keyword here..” ..
The Mother concluded,
Leaving everyone in the room in a state of shock and despair.. They all know there’s reality in every word she spoke.. After silently looking at everyone in the room for a few seconds, Ramanand concluded that all crucial meeting in his house, saying,
“What Mother saying is right.. Let us carefully look at all the options and arrive at a careful decision on Sunday morning.. We shall have a final meeting on that day; discuss everything again and then convey our decision to Pratap Singh that night”..
Later, they all quietly retired to their beds after offering prayers to their Giridhar Gopal..
Unfortunately, none of those in that house were aware that moment that Pratap Singh’s close confidant and driver, Raju Ydav, was quietly listening to their conversation hiding himself outside that room just beneath the room window.
And this was what Pratap Singh had told Raju Yadav, after Ramanand had left the hall that night..
“Dekh Raju.. You know well I hate to hear no to my proposal.. I have made a proposal to this Pandit and he’s saying no.. Just because he’s a Pandit and just because we have great respect for Brahmins, am maintaining restraint and giving him three more days time..
Otherwise I would have smashed him to death if he were not a Brahmin.. But my patience too has a limit Raju and am sure he’s going to reject our offer.. But let us try to save his life to the best of our abilities.
So go to his house immediately and secretly meet his Mother and then create fear in her mind telling her about what we may do if her son rejects our offer.. At least she will be able to convince him..
If he still doesn’t come to terms with us then you must stab him to death as brutally as possible right in front of me in this same hall and at the same place where he had thus far stood.
His death should set an example to everyone who may even think of opposing us or saying no to us in future.. Now do what I say and be prepared for Sunday night, Raju .. Go..”
“Andhere me jo baithe hain.. Nazar un par bhi kuch daalo.. Arey o roshani walo.. Bure itne nahi hai hum.. Zara dekho hame bhalo.. Are o roshani walo” – Kavi Pradeep
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