The Burning Owl A short Story By Kamal
Kamal Kishore Sharma
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The Burning Owl A short Story By Kamal
The Burning Owl A short Story By Kamal
Guests assembled in the hall and they were vouchsafing their gifts well packed in blue, pink or variegated painting papers and wrappers to the brides and offered blessings to them. They were chatting like birds in evening in the groups. Old men clad in Dhotis and Kurtas and youngsters in jeans and trousers and ladies well dressed in motley Sarees and sticked the make up of face power and lipstick quite were wandering in the hall ; and children tried to peep into the sight of cameraman , as the flash light glazed time to time on the stage. It was an intrinsic zeal of ladies to be snapped and cameraman and flash light gun holding boy was quite stylist to focus or highlight the flash light on the good looking ladies , and beautiful girls with bob cut hair locks. Scent showering fans were creating cacophony and attendants were roaming like frogs near pool ignoring their duties to serve the feast in Reception.It revealed they forgot the custom to serve the viands and sweetmeats to the guests or they had to arrange all the delicious recipes and dishes on the tables in the dining hall. Natasha cried , ” how delay! ” Monu said, ” Mawabati, Kachori, Imarti, Salad, Puri, Dahibada, Sahipulao, Palakpanir, Chana masala, Palakpuri, Kajukatali, Papad, and Gulabkand and all viands and delicacies are ready and well placed in bowls and baskets and pots in the kitchen.” Natasha asked, ” Why don’t they start serving the feast to the guests of city.”
Natasha aunt , Sattu Mama and his friend Maharaj were gossiping and they had tested the Mawabati and offered me Gulabkand the special viand or delicacy ; I am here to bring the betel , tobacco and lime to them. — Monu muttered.
It is now 10 pm and guests are roaming like hungry dogs the city dwellers ! How is their number? In one invitation card they arrive here like flock of birds or the battalions or swarms of hungry bees with their friends . — Natasha commented.
Saheb uncle was laughing at the Panwala and Milkman — Jittu invited to all them whom he talked once and no neighbor left , he invited all , he also invited his colleagues and clerks and his officers were likely to come in night.
saheb uncle said, ” he will contest the election of ward member after gaining so much popularity and lo ! I neither got a single card nor invited any colleague from my town.” Monu was quite anxious about this report.
Kutabhojan is this ‘buffet’ [ Dog feasting is this community banquet] — the dogs bite bones and eat feces and drink sewage tasty water like Panipuri [ a salty spicy tangy sour liquid] they will struggle to devour all the viands and sweetmeats with their weapons — spoons, plates, bowls and cups. Shy or bashful ladies and old men will run to feast in motion of musical chair competition with push and pull . They will entrust gifts and cash to the receiver at counter in pavilion and to the bride and like in open motel they will throw Dahibada or sweetmeats in excess un consumed or leftovers . What they think that proportionate to the cost of their gifts they will consume and gulp the delicacies many fold. Sattu mama, saheb uncle and Maharaj were discussing . Chandu was roaming like peon not like bride’s father or the host . City dwellers were talking about the feast — the right or privilege they had!
Panwalw asked in dismay to Guruji , ” when will start the feast of reception, it is now 11 pm !” His friends were waiting for the grand gala feast , it looked assembly of petty business men , a quite concomitant of all persons ready to devour the feast. However two hundred guests remained , others had gone . Sattu mama told Saheb uncle he could manage the feast of hundred persons only !
Saheb uncle was outwitted and realized that he was helpless or hapless to unearth the mystery . Maharaj and Sattu mama asked to fetch Chandu and inform him about the fact. Saheb uncle was proceeding towards Chandu and midway he met his wrathful lady Natasha. ” Aji! what is the errand? when will the feast start? I feel humiliation in the occasion , all the ladies are talking about the feast. Shashi and Nisha and our neighbors they had asked several times regarding feast.” I never liked such affront — I would never allow to delay the feast of the city dwellers , you see about one thousand guests assembled near 9:00 pm . Even Singh saheb was not entertained bu Sattu mama and he was awaiting since 7:00 pm . As you already hailed him in the hall. Where is Chandu Bhaiya ! — cried Natasha.
Saheb uncle, Chandu Bhaiya and Natasha were discussing over the crucial problem. Chandu Bhaiya asked Shastri Mawasaji, for some Rupees or contribution . He had made up his mind for contribution from some of his relatives. Herethey required ten thousand rupees more as the budget had exceeded the estimated cost of feast. Saheb uncle told Natasha — Sattu mama and Maharaj claimed Rupees Ten Thousand from him. He had Ten thousand Rupees for the giftand requested them to manage the feast late in night.
There was a hot discussion among then regarding feast . Natasha said, ” she would not allow such mismanagement in her daughter’s marriage. self respect and blessing of the guests are worthwhile ,all delays in feast and attitude of Chandu Bhaiya are worthless , shameful and disgraceful.” It was Saheb uncle who coaxed Chandu Bhaiya not to beg contribution . As it was prestige issue — he would talk to Sattu mama and Maharaj once again.
Monu saw Saheb uncle was coming out of the kitchen in alacrity and addressed the respected guests to join the feast in the auditorium hall before the bride and groom and he invited Singh Saheb too. Monu was quite amazed to see thatin a jiffy the scene changed and all the attendants started arranging the plates, bowls , spoons and the delicacies and sweetmeats on the tables. It was 11;15 pm there were then hundred guests remained in the auditorium and rest of them were tired and they had consumed betel and tea near the bus stop. Several guests had gone home back who had accompanied with undesired or unwanted guests. what was the miracle or magic or spell and enchantment in the oratory of Saheb uncle — Monu thought but couldn’t get answer. Natasha was anxious and she realized that Chandu Bhaiya was braggart — ‘dil dariya….'[ Heart is like ocean not to use a single drop] she was ashamed to here that Chandu Bhaiya was having only Rupees one Thousand in bank and he was organizing this function of marriage of Neha his daughter. Like treasure hunter he promised the groom’s father to gift them all the luxurious articles, jewelry and vehicles in stream of conversation. It revealed insult to her — the groom and his father could not sweep the treasure with a pitch fork.
All the guests enjoyed the feast and were in gleeful mood . Monu was quite puzzled and perturbed like the parrot who knew only few words to speak in disdain. It was the time for departure , Saheb uncle was sleeping alone in the inn and about 2:00 am he was called on by Purohit or priest to bless Neha during Kanyadan ceremony [ ceremony — bride’s father entrusts hand of bride to groom in marriage] . It was 5:00 am early in the morning that the marriage party was departing from the inn. Chandu , Monu, Natasha aunt, Sattu mama and Maharaj and others were present except Saheb uncle and the attendants or volunteers were loading the items like almirah[wooden wardrobe], refrigerator etc on the bus. Suddenly the band party started playind brass band and the cameraman was shooting the departing scene. Chandu was not weeping but quite amok . Neha wept and her friends and mother but Saheb uncle was peeping behind window panes and it was Monu who saw him hiding behind the window.and he couldn’t get any clue for the obscure behavior of Saheb uncle.
Chandu,Monu and all relatives were busy in returning the hired utensils and beds, pillows etc. during lunch , it was Monu who dared to speak to Saheb uncle as he knew very well that Saheb uncle had a great affection for him and much favor for his education. He broke the ice , ” uncle you arranged the feast in reception but how!”
Saheb uncle saw him in dismay . He said , ” consume this Mawabati and Gulabkand and Malaichop and Bada monu — He kept mum for two minutes then shouted the Burning owl!” Monu said, ” who? ‘ Your father Chandu — said Saheb uncle.
Monu was devouring the Malaichop and other sweetmeats quickly. He couldn’t understand why saheb uncle was calling his father the Burning owl . Uncle reckoned and explained — your father is dunce and braggart . He was having Rupees 1000/- only in bank and he boasted a lot like rich man or prodigal . you are curious to know — what I said to sattu mama and Maharaj and how did i tackle the problem of feast in reception. I asked the attendants to serve water to every guest and make them busy in gossip and communicate the news that some honorable guests or VIP were likely to arrive so they might attend the feast after some time. after a short pause , Saheb uncle narrated — Sattu mama and Maharaj both had stopped the serving of the feast . During a dialogue among us they were insulting Chandu and me . Maharaj said, ” I came to know that you are income tax payee and earned a good reputation.” saheb uncle responded- yes! Maharaj asked to share Ten thousand rupees for the contract of feast as it was a free service for cooking. Saheb uncle thought a while and responded — I had purchased the gift worth Rupees ten thousand, I couldn’t yield money then.
Saheb uncle uttered in a fury — Sattu mama , no doubt , I am income tax payee ,this is known to the Income tax commissioner too, but what for you, whether do you give the receipt for your tender . Your catering business is upgrading day by day and you have earned a lot of wealth . I know you don’t pay income tax . Oh you don’t pay sales tax too…. you were talking about my friend , he is now in sales tax service and likely to come here from Raipur. You are claiming for rupees Ten thousand whereas within Rupees 3000/- you could manage all, whether you are not going to do pious act or generosity. Chandu had posed you Sattumama as the ring leader in this project or I will ask to my friend to manage the feast on my credit. Maharaj suddenly changed his attitude and ordered the attendants , abusing them idiots — ” they are not serving the feast why ! Damn it ! First arrange the feast quickly in the auditorium but not in the dining hall. They began to arrange the tables and plates and delicacies like the devils.
Monu astonished and he wanted to know — why Saheb uncle kept him reserve and isolated during the departure of marriage party and couldn’t solace Neha in bus. Saheb uncle caught the wind and said to Monu — ” I know Monu — what do you want to learn about my isolation ! I saved the moment of affront as Chandu couldn’t purchase the vehicle , I knew that was not loaded on the bus. The guests were entertained mostly with feast and delicacies and had satisfaction.
Monu was still curious to know — Why Saheb uncle called his father Chandu as the Burning Owl. He was pondering over the matter but could not get the answer . He was anxious about his studies and career that his father couldn’t affordand guide. Saheb uncle guessed it and asked him to come to him in need and guidance of study and career. Once i [ Sahebuncle] was studying in the open balcony and the electricity was cut out from the power station. It was earthen lamp light , all of sudden, an owl arrived and sat on the electric cable and my attention was drawn there that an owl was sitting there his eyes were burning or glowing red bubbles . I scared for a while but I showed it the flickering flame of earthen lamp . what could an owl hurt me? It gazed at the flickering flame and flew towards the peeple tree . Chandu is quite like the burning owl who may terrorise any one in night like owl. He is greedy , ideal and dunce and underemployed quite parasite on the properties of relatives or brothers. Monu was afraid listening the tirade of Saheb uncle.He learned the essence of the labor and zeal and study that embody the career in life — what the saheb uncle had — why all relatives call him Saheb uncle . It was Saheb uncle who commented – ” it is the act of burning owl or dunce , by envy and jealousywho without achievement of position and gain of health in life daily commits suicide of his morale . Monu began to ponder about his study and career and he determined that one day he would out cast or dispel the burning owl . as he came to know that advise of saheb uncle accomplished the big project of marriage that was postponed for a year and his father met to Saheb uncle after seventeen years — a top secret not to tell others . A lug worm that wriggles for its own reason.
- Vouchsafe– give or grant
- Feast — a large meal typically a celebratory one
- Viands — items of foods
- Delicacy — fineness, a rare expensive food item
- Delicious — highly pleasant to taste
- Malapert — bold, saucy, impudently
- Concomitant — associated , naturally accompanying
- Errand — task, a short journey to deliver or collect
- Braggart — boaster
- Amuck — amok go berserk , get out of control
- Dismay — distress
- Dunce- stupid
- Dungeon– underground cell
- Pious — maganimity
- Peeple tree – a fig tree
- Tirade — a long angry speechof criticism
- embody — incorporate
- Dispel — disappear
- Variegated — exhibiting different colors
- Motley — appearance or character
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The Burning Owl A short Story By Kamal
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