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Comedy Drama



Comedy Drama

Murg Musallam

Murg Musallam

18 mins 240 18 mins 240


Maulana Ashraf Ali Saheb is on his way back home from work. In his hand is a small suitcase - a retirement gift given to him by his office colleagues. He was just an ordinary Clerk when he joined this newspaper company but by dint of his hard work and honesty, promotions kept coming one after another and today he retired as a "Section Officer". He lived in a rented house earlier and later, took a loan from the office and built a small house in a residential area. He had two daughters- Ladli and Guddi. He got both of them educated and married off in good households. He has a son as well - Ejaz, who works as an officer in a bank.

Begum opens the door upon hearing the call bell ring. Entering the house, Maulana Saheb hands over the suitcase to Begum, and sits on a chair.

Begum: - “Did you get this suitcase at the farewell?”

Maulana Saheb: "Yes. This retirement is a very bad thing. Before retirement, one keeps waiting for the day, and post retirement, he wonders what he will do sitting at home.”

Begum Sahiba goes inside smiling and returns with water for Maulana Saheb to drink. After handing over the water to him, she opens the suitcase. Inside the suitcase are a towel and a book. She flips the towel around at first and then picks up the book, which is titled “Kitchen treasures”. She smiles and extends the book towards Maulana Saheb saying, “this seems like something useful to you”. Maulana Saheb reads the name of the book and breaks into a laugh.

In reality, Maulana Saheb is a connoisseur of food and drinks. Every time he got a chance at home or even in office, he would share nuances of some new recipe or the other. By the way, Maulana Saheb's wife was a very good cook in her own right but Maulana Saheb’s regret was that his wife did not know how to make Murg Musallam. Seeing this book today, he was once again reminded of Murg Musallam.

Maulana Saheb: -“Begum! I have now retired from my job and have but a few days of my life left. Sadly, till today Murg Musallam has continued to evade me. By the way, I have information that there is a cook by the name of Irfan Ahmed who people say receives requests not only from this city but also from outside. People say that his handmade "Kofta Kebab" is simply delicious. I am thinking of meeting him one day. If I can manage, I shall get him to make Murg Musallam.”

Begum: "If you have such a desire, do get it fulfilled. When have I refused such requests?"

Making some time one early morning, Maulana Saheb reached the home of the cook, Irfan Ahmed. Seeing the interiors of Irfan Ahmed’s house, Maulana Saheb understood that what he had heard about him was right. This was not the house of an ordinary artisan.There must be some magic in his hands. Irfan Saheb arrived at the lounge and both of them exchanged greetings before sitting face to face on a sofa.

Maulana Saheb: -“I have heard a lot about you. It is my long cherished desire to eat Murg Musallam and it is in that context that I thought of meeting you.”

Irfan Ahmed: -"I feel very happy when someone discusses dishes of the Mughal era. This Murg Musallam is also a dish of those times. It is hard to tell who invented it but it is a fact that every Mughal emperor used to be very fond of Murg Musallam."

Maulana Saheb's face displayed immense happiness upon hearing these words. He was thinking how joyous one feels talking to a learned man of the trade. Irfan Saheb told Maulana Saheb many more details about Murg Musallam. It was he who told Maulana Saheb that though any rooster could be used to make Murg Musallam, for the best results one had to use the hilly (Pahadi) variety. “You can buy this variety in Chandni Chowk. Twenty-eight different types of spices go in the preparation of Murg Musallam. As it will be hard for you to arrange for all these ingredients, I shall therefore bring the spices along with me. I know that it does not feel right to say this, but since this is my profession, I muist tell you that my rate is rupees two thousand. And I start work only after receiving fifty percent of the amount in advance.”

Maulana Saheb had to buy some household items but so impressed was he with the conversations with the artisan Irfan Ahmad on Murg Musallam, that he immediately dished out a thousand rupees and handed over to him as advance. He told Irfan Ahmed that he would inform him as soon as the roosters were arranged.

A lot of time went by in these conversations. Maulana Saheb returned home. He narrated to his Begum every single detail he had heard about Murg Musallam from Irfan Ahmed.

The very next day Maulana Saheb left for Chandni Chowk. He wandered around the Bird market at Chandni Chowk for some time. But no one seemed to have the hilly roosters. Seeing him upset, a gentleman shopkeeper called him over and informed him that the hilly roosters were expected in a week but they will cost rupees five hundred for a pair. Maulana Sahab agreed to it.

After exactly a week, Maulana Saheb went back to Chandni Chowk's Bird Market. The shopkeeper handed him two very small chicks. Maulana Saheb was stunned. He asked the shopkeeper: “My dear brother! I want to make Murg Musallam. What use are these little chicks?” The shopkeeper said, "Maulana Saheb! Here’s the thing - the hilly roosters will only be available as chicks. That is because the supply of hilly roosters is really very less nowadays. That is the reason they get sold when they are very young. Nobody sells big roosters.” Maulana Saheb thought for a while, paid the five hundred rupees and came back home with the two hilly chicks.

Begum Sahiba had finished preparing the meals and was waiting for Maulana Saheb to arrive. As soon as he returned, Begum asked, "Where were you for so long? I have been waiting for so long!” It took Maulana Saheb about fifteen or twenty minutes more to narrate to Begum his detailed sage with the chicks. Then handing over the chicks to Begum, he went to the bathroom.

Maulana Saheb was tired. After finishing his meals, he sprinkled some of the chicken feed that he had picked from the shopkeeper on the floor and went to take a short nap.

In the evening, when Begum woke him up for tea, she found that the chicks had made the floor dirty in many places. She first sat down to have her tea and then cleaned the floor. Both the chicks looked very cute. Whenever Maulana Saheb sat near the chicks, they would either climb on his hands or on his feet. Maulana Saheb was very happy calling his wife, and showing her their antics.

Maulana Saheb called his two daughters on phone and told them everything about the chicks. Now their children were insisting on visiting their maternal grandmother's house to see the chicks. Maulana Saheb extended an invite to both his daughters and sons-in-law for the following Sunday. The children were very happy. Maulana Saheb's son Ejaz returned from office in the evening and was stunned to see chicks in the house. When his mother told him the entire story, he smiled and walked away to his room.

Within the next two days, Maulana Saheb realised that things could not continue this way. The chicks were making the house very dirty. It was necessary to build a separate house for them. Decision was taken to make a small house at one corner of the verandah.

Maulana Saheb ran around to arrange bricks, sand, cement, wood, netting and other important items. He called a mason and got a home made for the chicks. When Begum started complaining that the beauty of the verandah was lost, Maulana Saheb explained to her that after all it was a matter of a few days only. As soon as the chicks grow up, a day would be fixed to invite the two daughters and the sons-in-law, to eat Murg Musallam. After that this house could be broken down.

The following Sunday, both the daughters and sons -in-law arrived at Maulana Saheb’s place with their children. All three kids - Ladli's two daughters and Guddi's son, remained glued with the chicks throughout the day. The children lovingly named both the chicks as Sonu and Monu. They must have asked their maternal grandfather countless questions about Sonu-Monu. While leaving, Maulana Saheb reminded the two daughters and sons-in-law about the invitation to attend the feast for Murg Mussallam.

Three months have elapsed. Sonu-Monu have now grown up quite a bit. Maulana Saheb lets them out every evening for some time. But he keeps the door to the house closed, so that they cannot escape. As soon as they are let out in the evening, Sonu-Monu create a ruckus inside the house. One would get on the sofa, the other on top of the TV. Sometimes they are both atop the bed. Together they also make the house very dirty. Begum starts getting annoyed. But Maulana Saheb manages to pacify her with his words.

One evening, while letting out Sonu-Monu, the house door remained open by mistake. Finding an opportunity, one of the roosters escaped. Maulana Saheb brought him back home with great difficulty. Given their habit, Sonu-Monu kept making loud cackling noises all day and night. This was the reason behind the frequent complaints the neighbors made to Maulana Saheb. Maulana Saheb would make them understand that it was just a matter of a few more days only. Then the chickens will be slaughtered. Given that Maulana Saheb was a good-natured person, the neighbours would accept his statement.

One day Ladli came with both her daughters. When her younger daughter went to play with the roosters one of them pecked at her finger so badly that it started bleeding profusely. She was taken to a doctor immediately. The doctor bandaged the wound and gave medicines. The child could just not stop crying. Maulana Saheb felt very sorry.

Sonu-Monu are now six months old. Both have also become very strong. Maulana Saheb went to meet the cook Irfan Ahmed and a date was fixed. He then called both his daughters and sons-in-law over phone and invited them to have Murg Musallam.

All arrangements were made for cooking Murg Musallam. Just another week remained. Today is a Sunday, and the coming Sunday is slotted for cooking the Murg Musallam. As per his routine, Maulana Saheb let out Sonu-Monu in the evening. Even today, the house door remained open by mistake. All of a suddenly, both Sonu and Monu walked out together. Maulana Saheb ran after them shouting. But Sonu-Monu scaled over the boundary wall and crossed over to the road. There were children playing outside. One of them teased a rooster. The angered rooster perched itself on the child’s head and pecked hard at it twice. The child started crying. The other children started to shout. A large crowd gathered. The child's head started bleeding.

With the help of some people Maulana Saheb managed to get Sonu-Monu under control and locked them inside their pen. Seeing the condition of the child he then took him to the hospital. Some others also joined them. The child belonged to the neighborhood. When news reached the child's house, his family members along with others from the locality reached the hospital. Maulana Saheb assured the child’s family members that there was nothing to panic. “It was after all a minor injury which would heal soon. The expense on his treatment will be borne by me.” he said.

It was late in the night by the time Maulana Saheb returned home. Begum was very worried. She was hoping that nothing should go wrong with the child. Maulana Saheb could not sleep well at night. The next morning, Maulana Saheb was unable to go to the hospital to see the child as he was not keeping very well. However he had inquired with the others and found out that the child was safe. But given the severity of the injury, the child would have to stay in the hospital for a day or two.

But somehow the matter became complicated. When Maulana Saheb did not visit the hospital, the family members of that child misconstrued that it was because he wanted to wiggle out of the situation and save himself. So they filed a police report against him.

Maulana Saheb got arrested.

Maulana Saheb's son Ejaz started running around. He got a lawyer who tried to get his father out on bail. The policeman refused to grant him bail and Maulan Saheb found himself locked up in the Police Station all night before being presented at the court the next day. The court granted him bail on the same day.

Maulana Saheb and his family members were very disturbed regarding this matter. Begum said to Maulana Saheb, "Now do something about these roosters as soon as possible. They are creating some problem or the other every day.”

The case was being heard in the court now. The date of hearing was announced. Maulana Saheb's lawyer provided complete details about his motive to raise the chickens. The opposition lawyer argued about the child's severe head injury and the impact that it could have on his brain in future. At the same time, he also pleaded with the court that until the case was on, Maulana Saheb should not be allowed to kill or sell those roosters because they were an integral part of this case. The hearings kept getting scheduled from time to time. The trial went on for a long time. In the meanwhile, Maulana Saheb got his son married.

Given the unique nature of the case, every time the case took a new turn, it made it as a news item in the paper. Maulana Saheb's interview with a picture of the rooster also appeared in the newspaper once. The roosters became very famous because of this. Every single person who attended his son's marriage talked only about the roosters. There was not a single person attending the wedding, who did not pay Sonu-Monu a visit at least once.

After three-years’of trial, someone informed Maulana Saheb about the lawyers from both the sides conniving with each other. They were both cheating their clients. Both were deliberately prolonging the case so that the trial would go on and give them a regular income. Upon hearing this Maulana Saheb got very angry and replaced his lawyer with a new one.

On being beckoned by Maulana Saheb, artisan Irfan Ahmed came to his house one day. He evaluated Sonu-Monu and declared that the chickens had grown very old. They are no longer good enough for Murg Musallam. In the past three years, Maulana Saheb had petitioned in the court several times for permission to slaughter the roosters. Each time the court had rejected his application. A considerable part of the money that Maulana Saheb had received on retirement was spent fighting this case. At the time of retiring he had thought that he was unable to visit anyone even when invited because of his job. And that retirement would give him just too much time. He would visit all his relatives one by one. Thanks to the roosters, in all these three years, he had not been able to visit even his daughters for a single day. Moreover, the mind always remained disturbed because of this lawsuit. Maulana Saheb would tell these things to his wife with great agony and ask, “Will the rest of our lives be spent like this?” Begum would console him saying, "Trust the one above. You have not intentionally harmed anyone. Whatever happened was accidental. Everything will be alright.”

The next day, Maulana Saheb picked up the newspaper. Looking at the headline, his eyes got stuck on the news of bird flu. He also got Begum to read the news. There was news of a very dangerous type of bird-flu was spreading. In the last two days, about three hundred fowls had died. All poultry farmers are crying in grief. Maulana sahab got scared. He started worrying that nothing should affect Sonu- Monu. Being together with them for so many years and the lawsuits keeping them always in the news, Sonu-Monu were no longer mere roosters for Maulana Saheb.They were now part of their household. Just a few days ago, he was saying to his wife, “Now these roosters have become old. They are not fit for Murg Musallam. So I have decided to neither cut them or sell them. Let them continue to live as they are.”

And then one day, all of a sudden, one of Maulana Saheb’s roosters was affected by bird-flu. Maulana Sahib immediately consulting a doctor and bought the medicines. The next day the other one also fell ill. By evening Sonu-Monu were both dead and had left this world..

Maulana Saheb first reported about this to his lawyer. The lawyer started taking the necessary actions. Since it was the court's order that the roosters should not be killed until the trial was over, a postmortem was ordered for both roosters to find out whether Maulana Saheb had a hand in their death or they had actually died from bird-flu. When it was confirmed officially that the roosters had died only from the bird flu, Sonu-Monu were handed over to Maulana Saheb along with a postmortem report. While burying both the corpses in his garden, tears came out of Maulana Saheb's eyes. He slept without eating any food at night. He was very sad today. Begum was also anxious seeing Maulana Saheb's condition. She started telling her son, "Your father has suffered deep shock. I am worried that nothing should happen to him." The son consoled her saying that everything would be all right. Abbu loved Sonu-Monu like his children. He is sad because of the sudden, unexpected death of both the chicks at the same time.”

The next day, Maulana Saheb remained silent throughout the day. While drinking tea in the evening, he listlessly picked up the morning newspaper. It carried news of Sonu-Monu's death with the results of the post mortem report in headlines along with the photographs. He slammed the newspaper on the table in anger, got ready and left the house.

He headed straight to the house of the boy who was pecked by his rooster. Maulana Saheb could not recognize that child as he had grown up quite a bit in the three years. But the boy could recognize Maulana Saheb instantly as he had frequently seen him featured in the newspaper along with the roosters. He ran into the house and called his father. The boy’s father respectfully seated Maulana Saheb in the living room.

Moulana Saheb asked the boy, “How is your health? You must have recovered from your head injury.”

The boy smiled and replied, "I was fine then itself. Now there is no sign of a scar even.” After talking to the boy's father about this and that, Maulana Saheb came to the topic of the trial. With a cool mind, Maulana Saheb explained to him how they had both lost heavily only because of this trial, and how there will continue to be more losses. The discussions went on for some time after which it was decided that on the next date of hearing we would go to the court together and close the case. The boy's father got Maulana Saheb tea and snacks and then Maulana Saheb left for his house. Hearing the developments, Begum felt very happy.

On the day of the next hearing, Maulana Saheb woke up early in the morning. He got ready, sat down for breakfast, and when he picked up the newspaper, he was shocked. He started saying," These press people are like vultures.” The newspaper headlines reported that the trial was going to end today.

On reaching the court, he saw several press reporters present. They were moving around with cameras. After meeting Maulana Saheb and his opposition together, several press persons interviewed them and took their photographs. After finishing some legal formalities, the case was closed. Both the clients hugged each other, distributed sweets to each other and left for their respective homes.

The next day, the telephone in Maulana Saheb’s house kept ringing throughout the day. Those known to him were congratulating him. Everyone had received the news through the newspaper that about Maulana Saheb's case coming to an end.

Both the daughters called Maulana Saheb over the phone and informed him that they would have dinner with him tonight. In the evening, they arrived with their husbands and children at Maulana Saheb's house.

Everyone looked very happy today. The table was laid with food items. Suddenly the doorbell rang. When Maulana Saheb went and opened the door, he saw the artisan, Irfan Ahmed standing. Maulana Saheb called Irfan Ahmed inside. Irfan came in but said, Sir, I am in a hurry today so I will not be able to sit down." He told Maulana Saheb: -"I always kept track of the news of your case. And today when I came to know that your case is closed, I felt very happy." Irfan Saheb returned Maulana Saheb's advance of one thousand rupees, without his asking and said, "You will be happy to know that I have opened my restaurant and today is the inauguration." Handing a packet to Maulana, he said, "This is for you. Today, you can taste the food of our restaurant and enjoy.” Maulana Saheb tried hard to stop him, but he left after promising to return later.

Maulana Saheb picked up the packet given by Irfan Ahmed to Begum. Everyone was already seated at the dinner table where Begum opened the packet. "Hey! It is Murg Musallam" Everyone started laughing loudly.

Now there was a lot of laughter at the dining table, and everyone was enjoying the taste of Murg Musallam. Finally, Maulana Saheb's desire of eating Murg Musallam was fulfilled.

All the people parted happily. Maulana Saheb sat down in his bedroom with a chair in front of the window. From here, his beautiful garden with blooming flowers could be seen clearly. It is very dark today. The flowering plants are not visible in darkness. Only a small light is visible in one corner of the garden. This is the place where Maulana Saheb had buried Sonu-Monu. Not every day but sometimes Maulana Saheb would light a candle at the grave. It was that brightness , he could see.



A Hilarious Short Story In Hindi By Pradip Biswas 


प्रदीपविश्वास By Pradip Biswas

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