Sadar O Andar : by Rabindranath Tagore short story

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      Bipin Kishore was born in a well-to-do family, so he knew twice as much about how to squander his wealth than how to acquire it. As a result, he could not continue to live in the house where he was born.

      He was a handsome, delicate young man, adept in music, but unskilled in practical work. So he was not of much use for society. Like Juggernaut's antiquated chariot, he was incapable of making his own living, and of late, he had been unable to keep up with his grand lifestyle.

He was a handsome, delicate young man, adept in music, but unskilled in practical work. So he was not of much use for society. Like Juggernaut's antiquated chariot, he was incapable of making his own living, and of late, he had been unable to keep up with his grand lifestyle.
Sadar O Andar

      Fortunately, Chitta Ranjan, a zamindar with the honorific title of Raja, had acquired some property through a court settlement and was thinking of setting up an amateur theatre company. Fascinated by Bipin Kishore's good looks and his capacity for singing and composing songs, he warmly admitted him into his entourage.

      Chitta Ranjan had a bachelor's degree. He had no unruly aspect in his behaviour. Although he belonged to a wealthy family, he ate and slept at fixed hours and even at fixed places routinely. Suddenly his fondness for Bipin Kishore developed into an obsession. Often his meals went cold and nights grew old while he listened to Bipin and discussed the merits of his operatic compositions. His secretary began to comment that the only blemish in his master's otherwise composed character was his excessive affection for Bipin Kishore.

      Basanta Kumari, with the honorific title of Rani, shouted at her husband in rage, 'Why are you wasting your health on a miserable ape? I would find relief only if I could get rid of him.' Chitta Ranjan felt somewhat delighted and amused by the jealousy of his young wife. He thought that women - folk's imaginations are limited to only one man on earth - him whom they love. That there could be many other virtuous men deserving of honour in society is not inscribed in their sacred books. All the love and praise of a woman is heaved on the man who sings marriage incantations into her ears. She agonises over her husband's slightest delay in his dining time, but doesn't care in the least if her husband's dependents have not a morsel to eat. This selfish bias of the fairer sex might seem disgraceful to some, but Chitta Ranjan didn't find it unpleasant. Therefore, every now and then, he would tease his wife with extravagant eulogies of Bipin in her presence and divert himself.

      But this flirting between the rich couple did not bode well for the luckless Bipin. The apathy of the lady of the house only added to his problems. Servants of a rich household are, as a rule, hostile to the sheltered guests; reassured by the Rani's malice, they showed their secret contempt for Bipin in different ways.

      One day the Rani scolded the servant Punteh, You are never around for any work. What do you do the whole day?' He replied that he spends the whole day serving Bipin Babu as per the master's order.

      At this the Rani quipped, 'For God's sake, it seems your Bipin Babu has become a real Nawab'. That was enough of a hint for Punteh not to touch Bipin's uneaten food from the next day. Sometimes he even left his rood uncovered. Bipin began to clean his own dishes with his unpractised hands, and from time to time went without any food at all. But it as beneath him to complain about it to the master. He didn't want to disgrace himself by getting into a brawl with the servants. In this way, his love from the master continued to increase, while his scorn from the mistress of the house became endless.

      The opera Subbadabaran was finally ready after rehearsals. The stage was fitted at the zamindar's regal courtyard. The Raja himself played the role of Krishna and Bipin acted the part of Arjun. Ah, what a voice, and what looks of Arjun! The audience was full of adulation for him. At night, withdrawing to their bedroom, the Raja asked the Rani, How did you like the acting?" The Rani replied, 'Bipin acted the role of Arjun brilliantly. He has the looks of a noble man, and his voice is celestial. The Raja moaned, Perhaps my looks are ordinary and my voice is gruff. Oh, yours are a different matter, the Rani said, and again fell to glorifying Bipin Kishore's theatrical skills.

      The Raja had expressed fulsome praises of Bipin to the Rani in a far exalted language in the past, but today this little adulation trom the Rani made him think that unreasonable people often amplify Bipin's abilities far beyond his actual talent. What was so great about his appearance or his voice? Just a while ago the Raja himself was one of those unreasonable people, but in a sudden and mysterious way he developed symptoms of reason.

      The next day, every good arrangement was made for Bipin's meals. The Rani told the Raja, 'It is obviously wrong to lodge Bipin with the clerical staff in the estate house. After all, he was once a wealthy person.' The Raja curtly dismissed the comment saying, Yes' The Rani appealed, Let's have the theatre again on the occasion of our son's rice ceremony.' The Raja refused to pay any heed.

      One day when the Raja scolded servant Punteh for not properly folding his dhoti into a tuck, the latter replied, What to do, sir? The day is passed waiting on Bipin Babu and washing his dishes, at madam's behest.'

      The Raja became angry at this and yelled, For God's sake, it seems Bipin Babu has become a real Nawab. Can't he wash his Own plates?' Bipin's circumstances reverted again to his former miserable state.

      One day, the Rani pleaded to the Raja that being fond of Bipin's voice she would like to listen to their evening practice from behind the screen in an adjoining room. Not long afterwards, the Raja returned to his old habit of dining and sleeping at regular hours and the evening musical sessions were cancelled. The Raja used to attend to office work at noon. One day, returning home early, he entered the inner apartment and saw the Rani reading something. The Raja asked her, "What are you reading?

      The Rani was initially embarrassed by it and said, I am trying to memorise a few verses from one of Bipin Babu's song-books, now that you have lost your interest in music and we can no longer hear him sing.' She forgot that she herself had tried earlier in several ways to root out the interest from her husband's hind. The next day the Raja sent Bipin packing; not once did he consider where and how the poor fellow would find a morsel to eat from tomorrow.

      But that was not Bipin's only regret. He had in the meantime developed a genuine friendly affection for the Raja; he found his love much more valuable than the wages he received. Even after much careful thinking, Bipin couldn't figure out why the Raja had suddenly turned cold on him; so heaving a sigh, he put his old guitar into the case and stepped out into the wiler world, where he had not a person to call his friend. On his way out, he gave his only savings of two rupees as tip to zamindar's servant, Punteh.

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