He soon became our favorite companion
When he discovered Ravi’s misdeeds he beat him soundly, and Ravi ran away from the house, determined over to return.
But return he did, not long after the incident; for he soon learned that his master had been a just and kind one and that he would not easily find another like him. He was received back into the family circle and trained to become a valet. Disciplined by Naresh’s stern training, Ravi learned to do a good job. But it was his own irresponsible good nature that made him one of the families. By the time he appeared on the scene he had already become well known to everyone who had ever stayed at Vishwa Bhavan. He soon became our favorite companion.
He was tiny, barely five feet tall, with a brisk walk. His mischievous ways set him apart from any grown-up we knew and we were mystified by the black hair which grew out of his ears. He would tell us the most amusing fashion impossible stories of his splendid imaginary past, of the days when he was known for his charity and when he would scatter basketfuls of fifteen –rupee notes to beggars in the streets. F we happened to come upon him at work, he would fling aside the shoes he was polishing or the clothes he was folding and start jumping about merrily making faces, until with tears of laughter streaming down our faces, we would beg him to stop.
`All this,’ he would say disdainfully pointing to his unfinished job, `is just to fill in time. Actually my work is to dance sing for little children.’
We never tired of the nonsensical yarns heralded to us and made him repeat them endlessly. `Tell us about the time you were accused of stealing a watch,’ I would start.
`Stealing,’ he scoffed, `I who distributed alms to the poor and bathed in Ganges, accused of stealing?
Did not have enough gold watches to spare?
A man is as rich and famous as I naturally had many enemies.
Do you know I was arrested and sentenced to six month’s hanging?
Dully impressed, we shivered our sympathy.
To hang by the neck for six months: can you picture a more cruel fate for an innocent man?
We could not, even for a guilty man. `I could not even be certain that I would come out of that noose alive.’
We shook our heads, feeling the tension in our throats as he clasped his own imitation of the threatened noose.
`Of course, my influence cleared me of the charge. When the judge found out who I was, he released me at once.’
We have sighs of relief.
But’ barked Ravi making us jump, nobody can treat Ravi like that and get away with it.
Do you know what I did that judge?
`What? We echoed.
`Before I left the court,’ said Ravi, I took hold of that old judge and put his head right between his two ears.’
`Served him right too, said Babita with satisfaction.
`Every time he looks at himself in the mirror, he thinks of me,’ concluded Ravi grimly.
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