One For All-Part 2
One For All-Part 27 mins 8.8K 7 mins 8.8K
When he left for his masters estate, it was already evening. He prepared some Rotis and lintel for himself and concluded a good meal with ginger tea as he liked it. After the meal, he would go for a walk around neighbouring estates till the nearby temple. Usually he would find some willing ears to hear the dark tales that is the horror stories of the night. He would feed on his listeners expressions of fear to nourish his tale and after jolting them enough, some so much that they would refuse to go back home alone at that hour, he would sleep peacefully. But that night, his ears were at the receiving end. Villagers, gathered around the temple, were talking about crop and thefts of crops in nearby villages. All the victims were landlords with big estates, making the thief or thieves some kind of legend in these local tales. Poor farmers didn’t mind him and Rich landlords were afraid of him. After listening for a while, Bhola thought to himself, there ought to be another master weaver, who has given birth to this legend. He was ready for the competition.
That night, there was a theft in the village. But only the stored hay was missing and that too from a poor household. Why would anyone go for all that trouble just for hay. But nevertheless, it was taken seriously and a meeting in the village was convened. In the meeting it was attributed to the thief whose tales Bhola had heard that day.
“But I heard, he didn’t target poor households. How can this be his act?”
“Because there is no other explanation for this. Who else would do such a job?”
“That's what we need to find out.”
“If you wish you can, we have already established the thief.”
Bhola wanted this thief to be unmasked. He knew there existed no such thief but he had no means to prove. But someone is taking advantage of this legend and is carrying out such petty thefts harassing the villagers. But he also knew it would be as difficult to discredit this story as it is to discredit his own.
That day after the meeting Bhola was disturbed and very tired. Instead of his usual round of walk and stories at night, he chose to sleep early so as to clear his mind. He slept immediately after the meal. That night he woke up twice without realising that he was up. First time he woke up was to drink water and second time to drain it. When he woke up second time, he heard some rustling in farm nearby. He looked in that direction but could see nothing. It was just before the dawn and it was too dark to see anything clearly. He thought it was a stray dog or cat, ignored it and went to his cot to sleep. But again he heard something as if someone is walking among the crops. This was coming from the standing crops near the mango trees. Mangoes! Bhola woke up with a start. Raw mangoes have been kept near the tree covered with a sack to be moved to warehouse this morning.
Now he was cursing himself for not moving these sack of mangoes inside the house. He was alert now for any kind of noise. When again he heard it, he knew he ought to save those mangoes and crops. Now he heard the rustling from another spot, which was distant from earlier spot. How could the thief move so fast, he thought. He thought to confront him and engage him in duel. As soon as he started for that spot, he heard the rustling simultaneously from two spots. He knew now that there were two persons involved and direct confrontation is of no use. Although he would startle them and save the mangoes and crops but would hurt himself in the process. He would rather prefer to go to sleep and let them take away whatever they came to take. But Bhola couldn’t let them ruin his image which he has built over so many months and so many tales.
Bhola went inside the house without making any noise and brought the 3 lanterns with him. He hid himself behind the pillar and lit the first lantern. He carried the other two with him and held the lit lantern at chest level and started to run towards the noise. As soon as he was 40 steps away from the spot he shouted some strange noises, made to scare off the stray animals.
Startled by the noise, first thief near the mango tree, took few steps back and looked in the direction of noise. He saw the lantern moving towards him so he took a few steps back and sat among the crops. Bhola came to the mango tree and hung the lantern there. Then he shouted “ Rama you cover from left. Run fast and light the lantern. Its very dark to see anything. If its a dog or something hit it with your thick stick. And if it tries to run away, I will shoot it.” while saying this he started to move to his left where the second thief was. “And you Harkhu, Light a lantern and go check the farther side from side entrance.” All the while Bhola was moving and lighting the lamps. He hung the other two lamps and fixed it at a position.
Second thief, understanding the directions from what Bhola spoke crawled to a distant corner near the fencing. While the first thief didn’t move, counting on the fact that they are looking for the dog, will end their search soon and also that he was holding the gun and any movement would prompt him to shoot in the direction thinking it to be a dog. Second thief understood that they have to leave this field before the sun comes up, that is within half an hour as even little light would give them away. Both the thieves waited for few moments and started to move little by little. Bhola heard the movement and shouted, “Rama, Harkhu, both of you don’t move till the first light comes out. Today once and for all we will take care of these dogs.” Then in a muffled voice replied to himself, “Ok Ok” Thieves were getting uneasy now, but bhola’s continous ranting and his gun terrified them. Second thief took his chances and in dim light, climbed the fencing wall and jumped to other side. Bhola, on hearing the struggling noises, made a Gunshot noise out of his throat. First thief couldn’t dare to move.
Meanwhile Bhola shouted and called Suren Chacha from neighbouring estate. All three lanterns were still lit in their places making the first thief believe they are stuck. Chacha called other villagers and by the time other villagers gathered, sun was up and it was light. Bhola signalled them to look near the tree and went to the cot. Bhola was asleep even before the villagers could reach the thief. When the villagers were taking the thief out of the estate they heard Bhola snoring and even in that commotion it was loud and clear.
Whole gang of thieves was caught who started these activities after hearing the tales of theft from other villagers. Turns out they were small time farmers of nearby villages whose crop was not good this year so to make up for it they followed the path shown by the twisted tales. Bhola later on told his tale to the villagers at an event organized to honour him. Well Bhola never stopped telling this tale and everytime he would add something new to the story. He knew even a real story would sound vapid without some extra spice of funny and surreal details.
Legend has it that his daughter took after him and even at the age of 6 was such a storyteller that Bhola truly believed that his daughter was incarnation of Goddess and worshipped her for over a month. She gave up the whole scheme only after things blew out of proportions when villagers were thinking to organize a fair in her honour. To this day Bhola tells a new story everyday but now his stories are merely facts stating what his precious little daughter planned on him and as a spicy detail he would add how he caught her and got away with it, which of course he was never able to do.