Tenali Raman Turns To Sleuthing (A Story For Children)

Part 1

It was another day in the royal court of Krishna Deva Raya.

And a ‘knotty’ case had come up.

It was between a much-harried diminutive woman and a confident statuesque looking dame towering over the former by a foot and a half at least.

A gist of what the court heard:

The woman’s complaint: When her husband was alive and his business thriving, a couple of years ago, he had bought from the defendant this house in the middle of a sparsely inhabited neighborhood  quite away from the town for them to spend some days in peace removed from the daily hustle and bustle.  Which they did though not as often as they wished, after carrying out some adaptations and changes for their convenience.  

After her husband’s untimely demise, she sold off her house in the town where they lived to settle her husband’s business debts and had gone off on a pilgrimage to the north importantly to immerse his ashes in the river Ganga at Gaya followed by visits to various holy places like Badrinath, Hardwar, Rishikesh…And when she returned some nine months later – no motorized rapid transport in those days – she found this house occupied by the defendant claiming it to be hers. She was turned back at the gate itself, rendering her homeless.   

The defendant asserted that indeed was the fact and the woman was needlessly harassing her. She had always stayed in the house, it was always hers.

Those were the days when registration of property transactions was not rigorously followed. So no records could be adduced by either party to support its claim.

As things stood, it meant some detailed field investigation. The officers of the court looked at each other until one of them spoke up:

‘Your Highness, this is just the kind of matter our Raman is best suited for its resolution. My suggestion is… (mumbling inaudibly) It’s time he goes out under the sun and sweats a bit.’

Raya looked at Raman.

Usually a practitioner of his ready wit, Raman had no choice but to accept the investigative assignment.

Part 2

Next day, a none-too-eager Raman rode to the distant part of the town where the house stood.

There were a few small houses in the vicinity, none close by, where he made discreet inquiries. There seemed hardly any interaction with the big house and its occupants. Though, they confirmed seeing the dame on occasions going in or coming out.  Strike one for the diminutive woman.

He then decided to enter the disputed house to see things for himself, accompanied by the plaintiff. The dame had no objection to their visit.

On the inside the house was a compact single stored structure, everything looking like new. As the dame showed them around, the plaintiff followed like she was in a daze – there was not one piece in the house she could positively identify as hers. Even on the outside no flowering plants she claimed to have planted were to be found. Strike two for the plaintiff.

The tour of the house concluded, the host seated them and went in to bring some buttermilk for them.

Shortly afterwards Raman thanked the host for her cooperation and got up to leave, when the woman suddenly got up, coming to life: ‘Sir, there’s a niche we had not seen. It’s mine…I would like to…if you don’t mind.’ Were her eyes tearing up?

The host obligingly took them to the part of the house where the niche was. Yes, they had missed it on their earlier tour. It was a low-ceilinged ‘secret tunnel’ running behind and parallel to the wall on the far side of the kitchen for a third of its length with an opening for air and light – just big enough for a person and a half to pass. Its no-door entrance placed at the near-corner was cleverly concealed by a piece of ornamental tapestry – easily missed in a first glance unless one went looking for it. Set apart for a good reason, it was a place for a woman to dress and to keep her knick-knacks.

Now it was mostly empty but for a few discarded clothes in a small pile at the deep end. The plaintiff went in first, chin up, coming out dejected after a while unable to find anything in there she could recognize. Strike three for the plaintiff.

Ouch! Raman went in next and received a painful knock on his head from the low ceiling. Bowing down a little, he diligently took in the contents of the narrow ‘tunnel’.  On his way out, suddenly before him he caught the sight of a woman’s red garment flowing from waist down to silver anklets adorning a pair of legs. Startled for a moment, he realized he was seeing on a mirror on the wall before him, the host standing in the kitchen. A gentleman he was, Raman blushed and quickly looked away.

It was a pensive Raman returning to the kitchen, proceeding to look again at things in the house.  

Announcing his task was finished and instructing both the women to appear before the royal court on the following day, he thanked and took leave of the host, dropped the homeless woman at a dharamshala and went home.  

Part 3

At about noon on the flowing day, the matter came up before the royal court in the presence of both the plaintiff and the defendant.

Raya set the ball rolling:

‘Rama, have you been able to ascertain the truth and come to a conclusion?’

‘Your Highness, I’ve.’

‘Then let’s hear of it.’

Appraising the court of the happenings and findings of the day before,

‘In conclusion, the plaintiff herself would agree with me, there was nothing evident to show she ever occupied the house.’

For a brief moment the plaintiff received from the court glances filled with sympathy and derision in an equal split.

Raman continued: ‘On occasions, the neighbors had seen the defendant go in and come out of the house, never the plaintiff. There were no articles inside the house recognized by the plaintiff as hers. In face of these facts, if we still have to believe the plaintiff, the defendant must have completely refurnished the fixtures and furniture in the house leaving nothing behind as a link to the plaintiff…’

‘Which I believe the defendant had done…’

There was a furore in the court.

‘That’s not right,’ screamed the defendant.

 The court was called to order for Raman to continue.

‘There were two lapses she had committed…one was a careless omission and another…she didn’t think of its significance.’

Raman went on to explain how she had somehow overlooked fitting or replacing the one piece that proved to be her undoing – the mirror in the ‘tunnel’ was left in its original low mounting to suit the diminutive plaintiff. He recalled how it showed only a waist-down image of the host standing behind him which had triggered his thinking. Everywhere else the fittings and fixtures and shelves in the kitchen were shifted up and placed at a height suited for the statuesque defendant. 

Yes, there was something else too, Raman recalled…the low ceiling of the ‘tunnel’ brought home by the painful knock on his head. Its import had not occurred to the defendant and hence on occupation did not trouble herself altering it in any manner – the ‘tunnel’ was a space added after purchase by the plaintiff’s late husband for his diminutive wife’s exclusive use!

‘If we hold the defendant in custody and interrogate her more thoroughly, I’m sure, she would…’

Tenali Raman took a bow and sat down, his stature in the court further enhanced. Moments later the court broke into a resounding cheer, his detractors reluctantly joining in.

End

An Old Story And New Insights

A story most from my generation must have heard as children sitting on the lap of their grandma (don’t know what is said to them these days). It goes generally like this:

In a village an old woman sitting under a tree prepared vada’s for sale.

A crow sitting on the tree waited for an opportunity.

When the woman was looking away, the crow swooped down and flew up and away, picking up a delicious vada in its beaks, all in a flash.

As it sat on a branch of a nearby tree, ready to savour its booty, a fox came along. .

Espying the crow atop with the vada in its beaks,the scheming fox spoke:

‘Oh my friend there, news got to me you’re blessed with a very sweet voice that has the koels go away in shame! I have come from a long distance only to hear your voice. Could you kindly sing a song for me? Won’t you? Please don’t disappoint me. ’

The crow was thrilled to hear these words. Not to disappoint its appreciative audience, the crow obliged.

As it opened its mouth going ‘kaa kaa’, the inevitable happened.

The fox grabbed the fallen vada with alacrity and quietly slipped away leaving the crow in a daze.

Usually the grandma, a simple soul, finished the story and made her demand like the child should now go to sleep or eat its food without further fuss…The moral of the story was not explicitly stated. And we simply understood it as: the crow was foolish and the fox wily.

Grandma’s, in the generations that followed, grew more articulate. They would point out how it was unwise of crow to foolishly embark on what it was not capable of, falling a victim to flattery.

Some crow lovers, not happy with the story, added a second round where the crow, learning from its experience, would hold the vadaunder its claws and belt it out raucously to the fox’s dismay.

A few die-hard purists steered the story back to its original course: In a third round, the fox would request the crow holding the vada in its claws to perform a dance. Yes, it meant the foolish crow…

In some versions, the smart crow, till the end, holds fast to the vada while obliging the fox with song and dance.

In all these versions the story is one of getting into deep waters and followed optionally by learning from one’s experience and getting out unscathed.

The one moral of the story, right before us in plain sight, yet strangely missed by most, was pointed out by Dr Sudha Seshayyan in one of her programs I watched today:

Ill-gotten gains are never enjoyed.

At one stroke this invalidates the versions that let the crow get away with the vada.  All said and done the crow was a thief stealing it from the old woman. Unintended consequences of tampering an old tale?

End

Source: image from YouTube

The Haunt (A Spooky Story For Children)

‘Send him in,’ manthreekan tells his assistant.

A man enters, wrapping himself up head to toe in a shawl, looking like a man on the streets of Delhi on a December night. He is led to stand before a cloth screen. Manthreekan doesn’t see anyone face-to-face during these sessions to conserve his shakti.

‘Tell me.’

Mantra

In a soft voice, ‘Sami, until a week ago, it was very peaceful where I live. In fact, I haven’t seen anyone else in the tenement house ever since I moved in. Suddenly one night I hear this woman from a room across the corridor…she whines and wails all night like someone in her family has died.’

‘Well, you can’t expect your landlord to keep the rooms vacant. He has found a tenant. So, go and tell the woman to shut up. If she doesn’t listen, tell the landlord.’

‘I did, Sami. On the second night, when she was in full cry. Could bear no more. I decided to confront her…’

‘And?’

‘Well, I went in…it was not locked from inside…strangely the light was switched on…the room was bare of any furniture and fixtures. Only a cloying fragrance of jasmine in the air. And no woman!’

‘Ah, this gets interesting…’

‘Sami, I immediately recognized it is a woman’s spirit that has made it its home.’

‘And then?’

‘I also knew what would drive her out. With great difficulty and by some means, I got laid out in her room cloves of garlic and neem leaves in a generous spread, though I’m severely allergic to them myself. A near-death task for me, but sure to fix her.’

‘You did right. I too would’ve done as much. So why have you come here? You seem to know…’

’But this woman proved to be a tough nut. There was no wailing for an hour and then it resumed like before. Next day morning I saw the garlic cloves and neem leaves crushed and left in a dump nearby.

‘I said to myself, ‘Lady, if that’s what you want, a war of attrition, I’m ready.’ So, I somehow managed to have the antidote arranged again and again for four successive nights. No dice – she is made of stronger stuff. Now I’m here to seek your help.’

‘Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve handled more stubborn spirits.’

‘I’ve heard about it, Sami. My methods are not working. That’s why…’

‘This is not for amateurs…It’ll cost you money.’

‘Look at me, Sami. Have mercy. Please…’

‘God, why must I draw such impecunious folks…Okay, I’ll take it up for free just this once. Don’t ever show your face again without moola. You think I can live on fresh air…my shakti doesn’t go that far yet.’

‘I’m indebted, Sami…’

‘Okay, okay…quiet now.’

Sounds and smell of herbs and grains being ground with a pestle emerge from behind the curtain followed by chants of some esoteric invocations.

A little later, the assistant is summoned. The visitor receives an amber colored bottle from him.

‘Sprinkle this all over in her room. Remember this, it must be done before sunset.’

‘Sami, it would work, no?’

Manthreekan is offended: ‘How dare you doubt my shakti! Not just the woman, her entire family if resident would be thrown out…not merely from the tenement house, but from whole of this town.’

‘Excellent, just what I wanted…just one more thing, would it hurt me too, Sami, if I touch or spill?’

‘Why should it, eh? It’s specially targeted at her. It won’t harm anyone else. Now go.’

The visitor is mighty pleased. He would now have a free run of the house as before.

As he steps out on the street, a gust of wind blows lifting the shawl up.

The assistant isn’t sure of what he is seeing.

Mantreekan is right asking him sternly to abstain forthwith before it is too late. These days he sees things that aren’t and sees not things that are. It would only make the matter worse if he tells them he saw a man walk on no legs!

End

PS: Manthreekan is one proficient in manthra’s to engage with gods and spirits.

Source: Inspired by a one-pager in Kumudam, image from energymuse.com.

The Wrath Of A Yogi Meets The Wisdom Of A Guru

One evening a guru and his sishya (disciple), on their way to Kashi, reached the village, Peroor.

The village wore a deserted look. Not a living soul in sight save a few stray dogs eyeing them suspiciously. The sishya threw a few pieces of roti at them making themselves welcome.

They saw the shrine at the far end of the main street. None besides the priest at the shrine though it remained open. The priest welcomed them with cordiality that surprised them, gave them water for wash and seated them comfortably on a cot. He further told them they could have dinner with him and spend the night at the shrine and continue with their journey in the morning. Won’t he be discommoded? He assured them he would in fact consider himself blessed to be hosting them for the night.

Meal over, they were relaxing on the cot enjoying the silence broken now and then by a cool breeze whooshing through the leafy trees around. It was then the guru asked the priest:

‘Where’s everybody? Didn’t see a man or a woman or even a child playing. Isn’t it a little early retiring for the night?’

The priest suddenly lost his cheer: ‘Guruji, it’s a long story. If you’re too tired and wanting to go to sleep I won’t bother you with it now. Perhaps in the morning…’

Guru: ‘You got us hooked. Go ahead and tell us all about it. Sleep can wait.’

Priest: ‘Alright…It all happened years ago when I was a kid though I don’t remember any of it first hand. This story – I heard it when I was in teens from my father who was also a priest here before me.’

The priest’s story:

One evening it was just after the sun had dipped below the horizon.

A yogi and his disciple trudged their way to the village, exhausted and hungry.

The village in those days was just a main street lined with houses on either side with a few lanes teeing off and a small shrine and a pond a little away from the street – it’s still much the same as you’ll see. Fertile soil and agriculture worked wonders making the villagers prosperous.

It was the day of the weekly market. The small ground in front of the shrine was bustling with buyers and sellers from this and near-by villages. So it would be at least for an hour more. Vegetables, grains, pots and pans, groceries, clothes, toys, eats…there were even some rides for the children. It was more like a small rural fair.

The visitors were roundly ignored by the villagers busy with themselves, noticed only by a bunch of boisterous boys and their dogs barking and snarling frightfully taking them to be beggars or worse, thieves…

The boys taunted them, gesturing them to go away. One of the boys even threw a log of wood at the disciple hurting him in his leg. And laughing at him as the poor man winced in pain. While the boys ‘amused’ themselves at their expense, no one from the village inquired of them or came to their aid. No time for a couple of irksome mendicants that a market place usually attracted, many of them fake.

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The yogi became furious at this lack of hospitality to the point of utter disregard and even physical assault. The disciple trembled with premonition seeing an angry guru. Pouring out water from his kamandalam and reciting some mantra’s the yogi cursed the village thus:

In the village of Peroor those coming out of their houses later than sun-set tomorrow would break their legs like my disciple here on taking their first steps. And so it’ll be every evening. The curse would lift on the first rays of the morning sun and be so until the sun sets in the evening. If they dare coming out again, they would lose all their fortune. And third time – the house would come down crashing on them unexpectedly. There would be no fourth time. No power on earth may revoke this curse.

The yogi decided not spend anytime in the village. As he was going away seething in unabated anger, the village headman and my father ran to him, hearing about it from the boys and somehow feeling in their guts this was for real. They prostrated before him grabbing his feet seeking a thousand apologies for the negligence and the offence.

The yogi could not be mollified easily.

The headman and my father kept up with the yogi in his long and brisk strides, going all the way to the outskirts of the village, pleading for release from the harsh curse.

The yogi finally relented only so far as to let people go out in the night to seek medical help if needed for the sick. Nothing more.

My father continued to press on the yogi, yes, respectfully, for mitigation. Even gods allowed for a release when they cursed anyone.

Thereupon the yogi said there would be a wise guru coming at the same time of the day to our village. No telling when, though it wouldn’t be anytime soon. If he is happy with our hospitality, he may choose to be our savior.

That’s as best it got.

The yogi advised the headman and my father to return to the village. And in future to attend to holy men with greater care.

So he walked away with his disciple into the night never looking back once.

The priest ended this story: ‘So here we’re waiting and waiting for our savior to appear. Meanwhile years have rolled by with no relief. We had learnt our lessons the hard way, never giving holy men visiting us thereafter any cause to be unhappy. In fact everyone of them is welcomed with genuine warmth and, of course, us looking to him expectantly if he would be the man we’re waiting for.’

Guru: ‘Didn’t the yogi tell you how you would recognize him?’

Priest: ‘We did ask him. What he said sounded like a riddle. He said to take the holy men visiting us to the market place. The wise among them, he meant our savior, would know all by himself if he could and would save us. Since then we did take every visitor to the market place to no avail. They were clueless, all expressing their impotency in face of the yogi’s curse.’

Guru: ‘Yes, it sounds like a riddle. I wonder…why the market place?’

Priest: ‘Perhaps because that’s where everyone was making merry that evening unfortunately ignoring the yogi and the harassment he suffered.’

Guru: ‘Could be like you said, the yogi was rubbing his point in.’

Priest: ‘Needless to add, in the days following the incident Peroor did see a few of its men lose their legs. A couple of them saw their fertile fields turn barren for no reason. And at least there was one house crash, my father told me.’

Priest: ‘I must also tell you this: On the following morning after the yogi left, a stone tablet appeared mysteriously at the market place with the curse etched verbatim. To this day, it stands there. We can see it in the morning if you wish.’

Guru: ‘Interesting. Let’s go over in the morning as you say.’

The priest fetched a couple of spare cots he had stowed away. Tired from the journey, the guru and his sishya readily fell asleep. The priest was awake for quite a while with thoughts swirling in his head before he yielded to the charms of nidra devi (Morpheus).

Early morning completing his ablutions and nithya karma, the guru was ready to leave the village intending to cover a good distance before the sun got hot overhead; of course with a brief halt at the market place as he had promised the priest, to be done after the sun peeked out with his first rays. Who knew if visitors were exempted? The guru did not want to take chances with the yogi.

At the market place they stood before the stone tablet eyeing the etched curse.

Guru: ‘I had meant to ask you this yesterday…If this village is cursed thus, why did you all not move away? That would be the easiest thing to do.’

Priest: ‘No, Guruji. This is the ancestral place for everyone here with their houses, fields, orchards, pond, this shrine of the kuldeva’s…tended for generations. The soil here is very fertile, much better than places around. Agriculture has rewarded the villagers bountifully. Affluence screams from roof-tops. No strife, no sickness…all in all a great place to live but for the curse.’

The guru’s attention was divided between listening to what the priest said and what he read on the tablet.

In the meantime the village headman and a few early-risers who had work to do in the fields joined them.

The guru then sat down on the floor in front of the tablet; he withdrew from the present eyes closed losing himself in deep meditation.

cartoon-yogi-meditating fasab wordpress com

A little later, he got up dusting himself.

Guru: ‘The yogi feels contrite over his harsh action and that the curse has endured for so long. But what’s done cannot be undone. He’s very eager to see the village released from his curse. I’ve his blessings to work on it.’

Expressing regret over his inability to stay back until the matter is resolved satisfactorily, he instructed the headman what needed to be done. And assured them this would take them off the hook.

The headman and the priest saw no harm in carrying it out. At worst it meant some wasted effort and disappointment ensuing. But for some reason they felt it would work out this time.

They gave a fond farewell to the guru and his sishya, accompanying them to the outskirts of the village, tears of gratitude clouding their eyes and choking their words.

The news quickly spread causing a lot of excitement all around.

But there was work to do, cut out for them by the guru, before the day ran out.

A small knee-high wall was built fully and closely encircling the tablet. A pole was planted inside the structure carrying a signage reading ‘Peroor’. Another similar pole was erected in the market place at a distance from the structure.

It was almost sun-set when the job was completed.

Everyone scrambled to get behind shuttered doors of their houses.

Now only the orange glow filled the horizon.

A little later somewhere a door opened noisily.

A figure was seen making it to the shrine. No limp there.

As the headman clanged the bell at the shrine without let up, doors opened one by one. Steps were taken tentatively.

In a minute, the entire village emptied itself onto the main street…

The jubilation and revelry continued well past midnight in Siroor and well, why not?

Yes, the village was born again that night as Siroor as the signage on the second pole at the market place proudly proclaimed.

The village of Peroor, still bearing the curse with no prospect of release as decreed by the yogi, was now simply a small enclave enclosed by a wall with its own signage and no inhabitants.

End
Source: Images from spiritualsuperpower.com and fasab.wordpress.com

Across The Waters Sans Boat Or Bridge – A Children’s Story Of Tenali Raman’s Wit And Wisdom

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The pehalwan from the north was an instant hit. People dropped their jaws watching his amazing acts of physical prowess – he would have a couple of heavy-built locals stand on his out-stretched arm, pull a tree clean off the ground with bare hands or bend iron bars.

It was only a matter of time before he drew the attention of Krishna Deva Raya’s court where he was invited for a display of his strengths before the royalty, senior officials of the court and special invitees. A part of the beautiful palace garden was set up for the show. As a standard courtesy extended to all artistes, on arrival important dignitaries ere personally introduced by Raya to the pehalwan with a few words on who they were. When it was Tenali Raman’s turn Raya went overboard waxing eloquently about his wit. Not given to sharing the stage with anyone else, the pehalwan looked at Raman’s unremarkable presence in a traditional attire, his body language making no secret of where he stood on brawn vis-a-vis brain.  Raya noticed it right away and made light of it cautioning  the pehalwan not to get on the wrong side of Raman.

Introductions concluded, Raya went back to his seat and the pehalwan to his position for commencement of the show. In his opening act he came out cradling a baby, a little large-sized, in his arms; his audience amused at this light-hearted start – a L or XL bear mad with buzzing wasps held in an embrace would have been a more satisfying sight! Soon he was handling the baby like it was a soft-toy, tossing it from here to there, standing it up on his little finger in a ‘Krishna’s Govardhana’ pose, tossing it up overhead and catching it quite nonchalantly. It was in fact a toy for all to see setting everyone at ease – there was no danger to any life. Just when people began to wonder where it was going a wooden table was brought in; and a few of his people joining from the sidelines climbed atop and jumped up and down like they were standing on hot bricks, no one knew why. Were they trying hard to crash the table and failing? The pehalwan holding the baby effortlessly in one hand walked up casually gesturing them to get off. Once the table was clear, he dusted the top with his towel and showing great care and concern laid the baby on its back on the table, seemingly ending the frivolous miming act that no one really understood or even cared.

And perhaps readying himself for his second act, the pehalwan stood a little to the front of the table, taking time to wipe copious sweat streaming off his body. For the first time a few of the onlookers were intrigued – all that sweat in playing with a toy?

Suddenly there was sound like something was crumbling. Next moment they all saw the table crashing down and the baby landing with a thud bringing in a rush the people  who had earlier stomped on the table. They struggled to lift the baby out of the pile of splintered wood. They could not. They devised a rope around its waist and tried to pull with more men joining in to help. The baby wouldn’t budge. All this while the pehalwan stood unperturbed, his face slowly breaking into a hint of a smile.  Finally he stepped forward and shoving aside his men grabbed the baby by its crown and held it aloft on his palm for all to see like it was no more than a soft-toy.

When the penny dropped – this was no ordinary baby to defy the utmost exertions of many and neither was the pehalwan’s feat – he earned a generous round of applause.
And so followed many acts of sheer physical strength that left his audience awe-struck. Like carrying a human pyramid on his shoulders, holding back Raya’s chariot pulled by his prized horses…More than once Raya was seen to be enjoying himself visibly conveying his appreciation. And, so were his guests.

A great show-man he was, the pehalwan played out his acts knowing well how to ratchet up the tempo to a crescendo in a cycle only to be followed by another cycle more challenging, and another, keeping his audience right through on the edge of their seats.
In a final act, he lifted a massive cannon ball of iron and heaved it straight off the palace gardens (of course, landing safely).

As the ovation died down, it was time for Raya to honor the performer suitably and reward the pehalwan with gifts.

Just then, Tenali Raman got up from his seat.

‘My lord, I’ve a small request to make of our esteemed guest. I’m sure it would be easily accomplished compared to the awesome display we saw today.’

The pehalwan confusedly looked at Raya.

Raya gave his nod.

‘Thank you, my lord, for your kind indulgence,’ Raman bowed.

‘It’s like this. Here it is, no cannon ball, only a small piece of cloth. I would like to see it thrown across this stream only a few feet wide. That’s all,’ Raman offered it to the pehalwan with insincere deference.

It was an artificial stream arranged to flow through the garden, fed from the fountains.

Too full of himself with the adulation showered on him, the pehalwan, seemingly exasperated  at the ridiculousness of the exercise, snatched the piece of cloth without a thought from Raman’s hand, made a mock show of bending down under its weight and then, crushing it in his hand, threw it across the stream with all his might as it were. He felt it was quite beneath him to even turn around to check on the outcome. Alas, for him, the piece of cloth, as it would, sailed through the air no further than a couple of feet  before being blown adrift by the mild breeze and dropping down in a crazy swirl into the stream.

Raman was at hand giving the stunned pehalwan another piece of cloth. Again, the result was no different. It was then the pehalwan realized the impossibility of the situation and his own folly in making the attempts.

When a third piece was offered, he shoved it back into Raman’s hands with a gesture that said: ‘All right, Smarty, I got suckered in.  It’s now your turn; try getting out of it, eh?’

Raman was clumsy dropping  the piece of cloth to the ground. He then picked it up, rolled it into a ball, muttered some mantra’s and sent it across the stream. And lo, there it sailed all the way like a cannon ball landing on the far side almost going out of sight.

How did he do it? When and from whom did he learn mantra’s? Raya was dazed as everyone was. The pehalwan fared the worst looking like someone punched him hard in his gut knocking him out of breath.

But first things first. A large-hearted and wise Raya did not allow Raman’s side-show to take the shine off the pehalwan’s hitherto awesome display of muscle power, bestowing on him the honors, words of praise and gifts rightly due to him. A mortified pehalwan made his peace with Raman – no use crossing swords with a guy who pulls potent mantra’s from his scabbard.

It was then Raman leaked out the secret of his mantra’s – there was no mantra’s, no secret. The ball of cloth that he threw across the stream had a pebble inside making the flight perfectly possible. He had picked it up along with the cloth that he had dropped on purpose.

Why did Raman let the cat out of the bag?

If it were not debunked at the earlies, he feared, people including Raya would want him on occasions to invoke those and other mantra’s for causes right or wrong. He would be held up to ridicule for failures, much worse, his loyalty questioned, despite his protestations of innocence and ignorance.

At this the pehalwan could not help laughing over his own imbecility and Raman’s wit. Preparing to leave the town, he gifted his emblematic silver bracelet to Raman and invited him to his home-land to learn from him some real mantra’s.

End 

Source: www, animationxpress.com