He was born on September 15, at Debanandapur village in the Hooghly district. He was the second child of his parents. His childhood was spent in dire poverty because his father was an idler and paid little attention to sustain his five children. Because of his inability to clear the fees Sarat Chandra failed to appear for the FA final exams. He found a job of a translator or the appellant court cases sent from Bhagalpur to Calcutta but he did not like the too technical side of the job.
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After leaving school we got admitted to college. Lalu said that he would do business. He borrowed ten rupees from his mother and started business as a contractor. This is enough. So he always got the contracts easily.
After that, on my way to college, I would often see Lalu standing with an umbrella over his head supervising a few labourers undertaking road repair. I do not know from where he had accumulated these things, but there was no work that he could not do with them.
He would do many things for his schoolmates. This included repairing broken umbrellas, fixing the wooden frames of slates, stitching clothes torn while playing games, etc. Moreover, Lalu never declined any work. And he would do it efficiently. Once on the Chhawt festival day, he bought a few paise worth of coloured paper and Indian cork and made some toys with them. Then he went and sold them near the bank of the river for two and a half rupees and with that money fed us a lot of chickpeas.
As the years went by, we all grew up. There was no one in the gymnastics club to compete with Lalu. Both his physical strength and courage were endless. He would turn up whenever anyone called him or whenever anyone was in trouble perhaps because he did not know what fear meant. He had only one serious vice: he could not control himself whenever he found an opportunity to frighten or terrify people. This he did to all men irrespective of their age. How he could invent such plans for frightening people within seconds was beyond our imagination.
Let me narrate one or two such incidents. At midnight, the auspicious time for animal sacrifice was waning away but the man to do it was still absent. People who went to fetch him found him unconscious with stomach ache.
When they came back and broke the news, everyone was upset and worried. How could they arrange for another person to do the sacrifice in the middle of the night? The puja for the goddess would be ruined. He has done this job many times before. It would be dangerous if there were impediments in the puja. There was hardly ten to fifteen minutes left for the auspicious moment to be over and after that no one would escape from the wrath of the goddess.
Chatterjee was relieved after seeing Lalu. Time was running short. The sacrificial lamb was hurriedly decorated with sindoor and a red garland of hibiscus and led to the stocks. The spurt of blood from the beheaded beast painted the dark ground in red.
For some time Lalu stood with his eyes closed. Gradually the loud noise of drums and cymbals subsided. Lalu lifted the blood-smeared falchion once again and brought it down instantly. The drummer kept on beating the drum in full swing, the people stood crowded upon the front verandah, Manohar Chatterjee sat on a carpet seat praying with his eyes closed, when suddenly Lalu delivered a menacing shout. In an instant all the noise subsided and everyone was astonished at his behaviour.
We just offer only two per year. That will not do. I want to kill. Jai Kali! What followed next defies description. Everyone started rushing towards the front door before Lalu could catch them. The rush to escape resulted in a stampede. All these lasted for a moment and soon it was empty everywhere. Where is the purohit? The purohit was a lean man and right at the beginning he had hid himself behind the idol. The gurudev who was sitting on the floor and reciting from the holy scriptures quickly got up and hid behind a huge pillar near the puja pavilion.
But it was very difficult for Manohar to run away with his huge body. I am your uncle, so to say, dear. Your father is like my younger brother. I want to slaughter. So come and I will sacrifice you. It is the order of the goddess. Do you have that much knowledge? Will you sacrifice lambs again? Will you send for me again to do the slaughter? Answer me. I am promising before the goddess that from this day onwards there shall not be any more sacrifices in my house.
Not again. Now dear, let go of my hand. I want to go to the toilet. But where did the purohit escape? Where is the gurudev? Suddenly cries in two different voices came out from behind the pillar. The combined cries of a thin and a hoarse voice resulted in such a strange and funny situation that Lalu could not control himself anymore. And dropping the falchion upon the floor, scampered away from that house. It was only then that everyone regained their senses and realized that Lalu was just playing tricks with them.
The murderous frenzy was just a part of his deliberate plan to fool everyone. Everyone who had run away assembled back within five minutes. The puja was still incomplete and things had already been delayed for quite some time. Amidst all that hustle and bustle Mr. He escaped somewhere early in the morning so quietly that no one could find him for about seven or eight days. But whatever it might be, because he had sworn before the goddess, the practice of sacrificing lambs during Kalipuja was forever stopped in the Chatterjee household.
Apart from publication of several books and scholarly articles in reputed literary journals, her special area of interest is in Rajarshi has been regularly illustrating for Parabaas. He is currently based at Rochester, NY.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
He could not finish novels and stories that he had started writing, but passed on his imagination and love of literature to Sarat Chandra. After the death of Bhuvanmohini in , the family was supported by various other family members during hard times. One of his brothers, Swami Vedananda, later became a disciple at Belur Math. Sarat Chandra was a daring, adventure-loving boy. First Arts examination or attend college due to lack of funds.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (শরৎচন্দ্র চট্টোপাধ্যায়) Books
Selected Stories of Sharatchandra