Power of a Curse – Garib Ki Hai

In a village of Chandpur Munshi Ramsevak was a very rich man. He could be seen every day seated on a broken bench under a neem tree within the precincts of the open- I~ air small-pleas court. Nobody had ever seen him presenting a brief before the tribunal or arguing a case; but everyone called him 'attorney'. Whenever he made his way to the open court the villagers crowded after him. He was regarded by everyone with respect and trust, and he was renowned for possessing the eloquence of the divine Saraswati herself.

Continue Reading Power of a Curse – Garib Ki Hai

Big Brother – Bade Bhai Sahib

My big brother was five years older than me but only three grades ahead. He'd begun his studies at the same age I had but he didn't I like the idea of moving hastily in an important matter like education. He wanted to lay a firm foundation for that great edifice, so he took two years to do one year's work; sometimes he even took three. If the foundations weren't well-made, how could the edifice endure?

Continue Reading Big Brother – Bade Bhai Sahib

January Night – Poos ki Raat

Halku came in and said to his wife, “The Landlord’s come! Get the rupees you set aside, I’ll give him the money. Munni had been sweeping. She turned around and said, 'But there's only three rupees. If you give them to him where's the blanket going to come from? How are you going to get through these January nights in the fields! Tell him we'll pay him after the harvest, not right now.

Continue Reading January Night – Poos ki Raat

Car-Splashing – Motor ke Chinte

Well it’s like this: early in the morning I finish off my bath and my prayers, paint a vermillion circle on ;my forehead, get into my yellow robe and wooden sandals, tuck my astrological charts under my arm, grab hold of my stick a regular skull-cracker--and start out for a client's house. I was supposed to settle the right day for a wedding; it was going to earn me at least a rupee. Over and above the breakfast. And my breakfast is no ordinary breakfast. Common clerks don't have the courage to invite me to a meal. A whole month of breakfasts for them is just one day's meal for me.

Continue Reading Car-Splashing – Motor ke Chinte

Two Bullocks – Do Bailon Ki Katha

Jhuri the vegetable farmer had two bullocks named Hira and Moti. Both were of fine Pachai stock, of great stature, beautiful to behold, and diligent at their labours. The two had lived together for a very long time and become sworn brothers. Face to face or side by side they would hold discussions in their silent language. How each understood the other’s thoughts we cannot say, but they certainly possessed some mysterious power. They would express their love by licking and sniffing one another,

Continue Reading Two Bullocks – Do Bailon Ki Katha

Catastrophe – Vidhwans

In Banaras District there is a village called Bira in which an old, childless widow used to live. She was a Gond woman named Bhungi and she didn't own either a scrap of land or a house to live in. Her only source of livelihood was a parching oven. The village folk customarily have one meal a day of parched grains, so there was always a crowd around Bhungi's oven.

Continue Reading Catastrophe – Vidhwans

The Shroud – Kafan

At the door of the hut father and son sat silently by a burnt-out fire; inside, the son's young wife Budhiya lay in labor, writhing with pain. And from time to time such a heart-rending scream emerged from her lips that they both pressed their hands to their hearts. It was a winter night; everything was drowned in desolation. The whole village had been absorbed into the darkness. Ghisu said, "It seems she won't live. She's been writhing in pain the whole day. Go on-- see how she is." Madhav said in a pained tone, "If she's going to die, then why doesn't she go ahead and die? What's the use of going to see?"

Continue Reading The Shroud – Kafan