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English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Snapshot Chapter 3 Ranga’s Marriage Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words

RANGA’S MARRIAGE

(Explanation)

WHEN you see this title, some of you may ask, “Ranga’s Marriage?” Why not “Ranganatha Vivaha” or “Ranganatha Vijaya?” Well, yes. I know I could have used some other mouth-filling one like “Jagannatha Vijaya” or “Girija Kalyana.”

Word Meaning
Vivaha Marriage
Vijaya Marriage
Mouth-filling Impressive

After reading title of this story, some of you may ask why the title is ‘Ranga’s Marriage’. One may suggest that titles could have been ‘Ranganatha Vivaha’ or ‘Ranganatha Vijaya’. I am aware that I could have used some other impressive titles like ‘Jagannatha Vijay’ or ‘Girija Kalyana’.

 

But then, this is not about Jagannatha’s victory or Girija’s wedding. It’s about our own Ranga’s marriage and hence no fancy title. Hosahalli is our village. You must have heard of it. No? What a pity! But it is not your fault. There is no mention of it in any geography book.

Word Meaning
But Then After all, Certainly
Fancy Extravagant, Decorative, Artistic
What a pity! It is very bad
Mention Reference

After all this story is not about Jagannatha’s victory or marriage of Girija, It is about the marriage of our own Ranga. Therefore I did not select any artistic title for the story. Name of our village is Hosahalli. You have not heard name of this village. It is not your fault. This does find reference in any book of geography. Narrator means to say that it is a small and remote village.

 

Those sahibs in England, writing in English, probably do not know that such a place exists, and so make no mention of it. Our own people too forget about it. You know how it is—they are like a flock of sheep. One sheep walks into a pit, the rest blindly follow it.

Word Meaning
Sahibs Officers
Flock Group
Rest Remaining, Other
Blindly Without thinking

The officers of England used to write books in English. Perhaps they did not know about this village so they did not mention it in any book. Our own people also forgot about it. They are like a group of sheep. If one sheep jumps into a pit, all other would jump into it. They would not think on their own.

 

When both, the sahibs in England and our own geographers, have not referred to it, you cannot expect the poor cartographer to remember to put it on the map, can you? And so there is not even the shadow of our village on any map.

Word Meaning
Geographer Person dealing in geography
Cartographer Person who makes maps
Not even the shadow No trace or sign

Sahibs of England and our own geographers both had not mentioned about the village in their texts. Therefore we should not hope that our map maker will remember to mark the village on the map. Thus there is no sign of our village on any map.

 

Sorry, I started somewhere and then went off in another direction. If the state of Mysore is to Bharatavarsha what the sweet karigadabu is to a festive meal, then Hosahalli is to Mysore State what the filling is to the karigadabu.

Word Meaning
Bharatavarsha India
Festive meal Food prepared on a festival
karigadabu A fried sweet filled with coconut and sugar

Narrator feels sorry that he had started with a topic but was now talking about a different topic. He had started discussion about Ranga’s marriage. Now he is talking about his village. Mysore is an important part of India similar to karigadabu being an important part of meal prepared on a festival. And Hosahalli is an important part of Mysore as the filling is to karigadabu.

Narrator wants to say that Hosahalli is an important village in Mysore State. Karnataka was earlier known as Mysore State.

 

What I have said is absolutely true, believe me. I will not object to your questioning it but I will stick to my opinion. I am not the only one who speaks glowingly of Hosahalli.

Word Meaning
Glowingly Proudly, With  pride

I request you to believe me. What I have said is perfectly true. I will not object if you question Hosahalli being an important part of Mysore State. But I will maintain my opinion about Hosahalli. I am not the only person to speak with pride about Hosahalli.

 

We have a doctor in our place. His name is Gundabhatta. He agrees with me. He has been to quite a few places. No, not England. If anyone asks him whether he has been there, he says, “No, annayya, I have left that to you.

Word Meaning
Quite a few places Many places
annayya A respectable term for elder

There is a doctor in our village. His name is Gundabhatta. He agrees with me about Hosahalli. He has visited many places. He has not been to England. Some people ask him whether he has visited England. The doctor replies that he has not gone there because he wants them to go there.

 

Running around like a flea-pestered dog, is not for me. I have seen a few places in my time, though.” As a matter of fact, he has seen many.

Word Meaning
Flea Insects found on body of animal
Pestered Troubled by
Flea pestered dog A dog whose body has many fleas
Running around like a flea pestered dog Not talking about main point
As a matter of fact actually

The doctor used to say that it is his habit to talk to the point. I have seen only some places in my life. Actually he had seen many places.

 

We have some mango trees in our village. Come visit us, and I will give you a raw mango from one of them. Do not eat it. Just take a bite. The sourness is sure to go straight to your brahmarandhra.

Word Meaning
brahmarandhra Part of the head or skull

There are some mango trees in out village. When you come to our village I will give you a mango. You should take only one bite from it because it is very sour. Its sourness will go directly to your head.

 

I once took one such fruit home and a chutney was made out of it. All of us ate it. The cough we suffered from, after that! It was when I went for the cough medicine that the doctor told me about the special quality of the fruit.

On one occasion I took home a mango. We made chutney out of it. We all ate it. Then we started suffering from cough. So we went to the doctor to take medicine. Then doctor told me about the special quality of the fruit.

 

Just as the mango is special, so is everything else around our village. We have a creeper growing in the ever-so-fine water of the village pond. Its flowers are a feast to behold.

Word Meaning
Creeper climber
Behold To see or observe
A feast to behold Very good thing to observe, Beautiful

Mango is a speciality of our village. Many other things are special in our village. We have a climber that grows in the pond of our village. Water of this pond is always clear – free of pollution. This creeper has very beautiful flowers.

 

Get two leaves from the creeper when you go to the pond for your bath, and you will not have to worry about not having leaves on which to serve the afternoon meal. You will say I am rambling. It is always like that when the subject of our village comes up.

Word Meaning
Rambling Talking with any aim

When one goes for bathing in the pond, one can get two leaves from the creeper. Leaves are so big that these would be sufficient to serve lunch for the whole family. You can say that I am talking many things about my village without any aim. But I am always like that while talking about my village.

 

But enough. If any one of you would like to visit us, drop me a line. I will let you know where Hosahalli is and what things are like here. The best way of getting to know a place is to visit it, don’t you agree?

Word Meaning
Drop me a line Write a short letter to me

I have said enough about my village. If you want to come to our village please write to me. I will inform you about location of my village and the things you may like to see. You should agree that the best way to know about a place is to visit there.

 

What I am going to tell you is something that happened ten years ago. We did not have many people who knew English, then. Our village accountant was the first one who had enough courage to send his son to Bangalore to study.

Now I will narrate an incident that had happened about 10 years ago. At that time many people in our village did not know English. An accountant from our village had sent his son to Bangalore to study. It was considered a very courageous step.

 

It is different now. There are many who know English. During the holidays, you come across them on every street, talking in English. Those days, we did not speak in English, nor did we bring in English words while talking in Kannada.

Word Meaning
Come across Meet, See

Nowadays situation is different. Many people in our village know English. During holidays you can meet such people on every street. They would be talking in English. During those days, we did not speak English. We did not include English words while talking in Kannada.

 

What has happened is disgraceful, believe me. The other day, I was in Rama Rao’s house when they bought a bundle of firewood. Rama Rao’s son came out to pay for it. He asked the woman, “How much should I give you?” “Four pice,” she said.

Word Meaning
Disgraceful Shameful
In the house You are inside the house
At the house You may be around the house, on terrace etc

What had happened the other day is quite shameful. Please believe me. I was in the house of Rama Rao. They purchased a bundle of firewood from a woman. Ram Rao’s son came out of the house. He asked the woman about the price of the wood. She replied it was four pice.

 

The boy told her he did not have any “change”, and asked her to come the next morning. The poor woman did not understand the English word “change” and went away muttering to herself. I too did not know. Later, when I went to Ranga’s house and asked him, I understood what it meant.

Word Meaning
Muttering Whispering

The boy told her that he did not have any change. He asked the woman to come the next day. The woman did not understand the word ‘change’. She went away whispering something to herself. I too did not know meaning of this English word. After sometime I went to the house of Ranga. I asked him meaning of this word. He explained to me then I understood its meaning.

 

This priceless commodity, the English language, was not so widespread in our village a decade ago. That was why Ranga’s homecoming was a great event.

Word Meaning
Priceless Having very high value, Difficult to procure
Widespread Available at many places, Common

About ten years ago, knowledge of English language was not common. It was very difficult to acquire this knowledge. So it was considered very valuable. Therefore return of Ranga to the village was considered a very big event.

People rushed to his doorstep announcing, “The accountant’s son has come,” “The boy who had gone to Bangalore for his studies is here, it seems,” and “Come, Ranga is here. Let’s go and have a look.”

Word Meaning
Rushed Went in large numbers, Went quickly
Have a look See, Meet

In large numbers people of village went to the house of Ranga. They said that son of accountant had come. The boy who had gone to Bangalore for higher studies has come back to village. Let go and meet him.

 

Attracted by the crowd, I too went and stood in the courtyard and asked, “Why have all these people come? There’s no performing monkey here.”

Word Meaning
Courtyard Open space in a house

I was also attracted by the crowd. So I also went to Ranga’s house and stood in his courtyard. I asked why so many people had come there. There is no performance of a monkey here.

 

A boy, a fellow without any brains, said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “What are you doing here, then?” A youngster, immature and without any manners. Thinking that all these things were now of the past, I kept quiet.

Word Meaning
Without any brains Not intelligent
Youngster Young person
Immature Not mature
Kept quiet Remained silent, Did not reply

A boy was standing there. Narrator thought the boy was not intelligent. He loudly asked why narrator had come there. He was young, not mature and did not have any manners. Narrator felt insulted by the question. Narrator  did not reply him. I thought that all these events are of past.

 

Seeing so many people there, Ranga came out with a smile on his face. Had we all gone inside, the place would have turned into what people call the Black Hole of Calcutta. Thank God it did not.

Word Meaning
Turned into Become, Changed to
Black Hole of Calcutta Overcrowded place causing suffocation

There were so many people at his house. So Ranga came out. He was smiling. None of us went inside the house. Otherwise it would have caused suffocation to all of us. Thankfully we were in an open area.

 

Everyone was surprised to see that Ranga was the same as he had been six months ago, when he had first left our village.

Everyone was surprised to note that Ranga had not changed during last six months. He was out of the village for six months for studying.

 

An old lady who was near him, ran her hand over his chest, looked into his eyes and said, “The janewara is still there. He hasn’t lost his caste.” She went away soon after that. Ranga laughed.

Word Meaning
janewara The sacred thread worn by people

An old was standing near Ranga. She rubbed her hand on his chest and looked into his eyes. She said that Ranga was still wearing the sacred thread. So he has maintained tradition of his caste. After saying this she went away. Ranga laughed upon listening this.

Once they realised that Ranga still had the same hands, legs, eyes and nose, the crowd melted away, like a lump of sugar in a child’s mouth. I continued to stand there.

Word Meaning
Crowd melted away People went away

Soon crowd understood that Ranga had the same hands, legs, eyes and nose of six months ago. Then all people disappeared from the place just like sugar would disappear in the mouth of a child. I continued to stand at his house.

 

After everyone had gone, I asked, “How are you, Rangappa? Is everything well with you?” It was only then that Ranga noticed me. He came near me and did a namaskara respectfully, saying, “I am all right, with your blessings.”

After every person had gone I asked Ranga how was he. Is everything good with you. At that time Ranga noticed me. He came near me and respectfully said namaskar to me. He said that he was all right.

 

I must draw your attention to this aspect of Ranga’s character. He knew when it would be to his advantage to talk to someone and rightly assessed people’s worth.

Word Meaning
Draw your attention Inform you, Request you to notice
Worth Importance, Value
Rightly Correctly
Assess Evaluate, Judge, Determine

I want to inform you about this quality of Ranga. He could recognize when it would benefit him to talk to someone. He could correctly judge importance of a person.

 

As for his namaskara to me, he did not do it like any present-day boy—with his head up towards the sun, standing stiff like a pole without joints, jerking his body as if it was either a wand or a walking stick. Nor did he merely fold his hands.

Word Meaning
Present-day boy A boy of modern day. A boy of new generation
Stiff Rigid
Jerking Giving jolt, Twitching
Wand Magic stick of magician

He did not do namaskara like a modern day boys does. A modern boy would look towards the Sun, stand stiff like a pole, jerk his body like a walking stick and say namaskar. Ranga did not only fold his hand.

 

He bent low to touch my feet. “May you get married soon,” I said, blessing him. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I left.

Word Meaning
A few Some. Small numbers
Pleasantries Polite general discussion

Ranga bent his body to touch my feet. I blessed that may he get married soon. We politely talked about general aspects and then I left his house.

 

That afternoon, when I was resting, Ranga came to my house with a couple of oranges in his hand. A generous, considerate fellow. It would be a fine thing to have him marry, settle down and be of service to society, I thought.

Word Meaning
Generous Helpful
Considerate Cooperative. Kind
Be of service to society Helpful to society, Become social

In the afternoon of the same day, Ranga came to my house. He had brought some oranges with him in his hand. I thought that he was a helpful and kind person. It would be good for him to marry, settle down and become more social.

 

For a while we talked about this and that. Then I came to the point. “Rangappa, when do you plan to get married?”

“I am not going to get married now,” he said.

“Why not?”

Word Meaning
For a while For some time
This and that Nothing particular, General
Came to the point Started talking about something important

For some time we had a general discussion. Then I started talking about an important aspect. I asked him when he planned to get married. He replied that he would not marry soon. I asked him the reason.

 

“I need to find the right girl. I know an officer who got married only six months ago. He is about thirty and his wife is twentyfive, I am told. They will be able to talk lovingly to each other.

Ranga replied that he wanted to find a suitable girl. He knew about an officer who got married about six months ago. I have been informed that his age is thirty years and age of her wife is 25 years. They will be able to talk to each other with affection.

 

Let’s say I married a very young girl. She may take my words spoken in love as words spoken in anger. Recently, a troupe in Bangalore staged the play Shakuntala.

Word Meaning
Troupe A group of actors or dancers that travels & performs together

Assume that I marry a very young girl. She may consider my words of affection as words of anger. Recently the play Shakutala was staged in Bangalore by a troupe.

 

There is no question of Dushyantha falling in love with Shakuntala if she were young, like the present-day brides, is there? What would have happened to Kalidasa’s play?

If Shakuntala were a young girl just like brides of these days, Dushyantha would not have fallen in love with her. In that situation Kalidas would not have written his play.

 

If one gets married, it should be to a girl who is mature. Otherwise, one should remain a bachelor. That’s why I am not marrying now.”

“Is there any other reason?”

Ranga explained that a man should always marry a matured girl. Otherwise one should remain unmarried. That is why he was not marrying now. I asked him if he had any other reason for not marrying.

 

“A man should marry a girl he admires. What we have now are arranged marriages. How can one admire a girl with milk stains on one side of her face and wetness on the other, or so young that she doesn’t even know how to bite her fingers?”

Ranga said that a man should marry a girl he likes and respects. But we always have arranged marriage. One cannot respect a girls who has sign of spilled milk on one side of her face and sign of tears on the other side of the face. Or a girl who does not know how to eat by herself. Narrator has used these expression to symbolise an immature girl.

 

“One a neem fruit, the other, a bittergourd.”

“Exactly!” Ranga said, laughing.

I told Ranga that it would be situation of a neem and a bittergourd. Ranga laughed and agreed with me.

 

I was distressed that the boy who I thought would make a good husband, had decided to remain a bachelor. After chatting for a little longer, Ranga left. I made up my mind right then, that I would get him married.

Word Meaning
Distressed Unhappy
Chatting Talking
Made up my mind Decided

I was of the opinion that Ranga would be a good husband. I was unhappy to know that he had decided to remain a bachelor. At that instant, I decided to ensure his marriage.

 

Rama Rao’s niece, a pretty girl of eleven, had come to stay with him. She was from a big town, so she knew how to play the veena and the harmonium. She also had a sweet voice. Both her parents had died, and her uncle had brought her home. Ranga was just the boy for her, and she, the most suitable bride for him.

Niece of Rama Rao had come to stay in his house. She was an attractive looking girl of 11 years age. She was from a big town. She knew how to play veena and harmonium. She had a sweet voice. Her both the parents had died. She was staying with her uncle. Ranga and that girl were most suitable to each other for marriage, narrator thought.

 

Since I was a frequent visitor to Rama Rao’s place, the girl was quite free with me. I completely forgot to mention her name! Ratna, it was. The very next morning I went to their house and told Rama Rao’s wife, “I’ll send some buttermilk for you. Ask Ratna to fetch it.”

I used to often go to house of Rama Rao. Therefore the girl had no hesitation in talking to me. Her name was Ratna. Next morning I went to the house of Rama Rao. I told her wife that I wanted to send some buttermilk to them. I advised that Ratna should come to my house to collect it.

 

Ratna came. It was a Friday, so she was wearing a grand saree. I told her to sit in my room and requested her to sing a song. I sent for Ranga. While she was singing the song— Krishnamurthy, in front of my eyes — Ranga reached the door.

Word Meaning
Grand Good, Beautiful
Sent for Call

Ratna came to my house in the morning of Friday. She was wearing a good saree. I asked her to sit in a room of my house and requested her to sing. I called Ranga to my house. Ratna started singing the song – Krishnamurthy, in front of my eyes. While Ratna was singing, Ranga reached at the door of my house.

 

He stopped at the threshold. He did not want the singing to stop, but was curious to see the singer. Carefully, he peeped in. The light coming into the room was blocked. Ratna looked up and seeing a stranger there, abruptly stopped.

Word Meaning
Threshold Doorstep, Entry
Peeped in Looked in
Abruptly Suddenly, Unexpectedly

Ranga stopped at the entry to the door. He did not come inside. He did not want singing to stop. He was eager to see the singer. He looked into the room carefully. The light was blocked because of his presence so a shadow appeared in the room. Ratna looked up. She saw an unknown person. She immediately stopped singing. Ranga had not expected this.

 

Suppose you buy the best quality mango. You eat it slowly, savouring its peel, before biting into the juicy flesh. You do not want to waste any part of it. Before you take another bite, the fruit slips out of your hand and falls to the ground. How do you feel? Ranga’s face showed the same disappointment when the singing stopped.

Word Meaning
Savouring Enjoying eating

When you buy the best quality of mango, you would eat it slowly. First enjoy its peel and then one would bite its flesh. One does not want to waste any part of it. But after taking one bite, if the fruit falls on the ground, one is disappointed. Similar was the condition of Ranga, when the singing stopped.

 

“You sent for me?” he asked as he came in and sat on a chair.

Ratna stood at a distance, her head lowered. Ranga repeatedly glanced at her. Once, our eyes met, and he looked very embarrassed. No one spoke for a long while.

Ranga asked me if I had asked him to come to my house. Ranga came into the room and sat on a chair. Ratna was standing a bit away. Her head was lowered, She was looking at the ground. Many times Ranga looked at Ratna. On one occasion Ranga looked at me and I was also looking at him. This is the meaning of meeting eyes.

He looked embarrassed. Nobody spoke for some time.

 

“It was my coming in that stopped the singing. Let me leave.”

Words, mere words! The fellow said he would leave but did not make a move. How can one expect words to match actions in these days of Kaliyuga?

Ranga said that probably because of his coming into the house, the girl stopped singing. He further said that he would like to go. But he did not go. Actually Ranga did not want to go. Narrator explains that in the time of Kaliyuga, one cannot expect actions to match the words. 

 

Ratna ran inside, overcome by shyness.

After a while, Ranga asked, “Who is that girl, swami?”

Word Meaning
Swami A word equivalent to sir in Kannada

Ratna became very shy. She ran into the house. After sometime Ranga asked me about Ratna.

 

“Who’s that inside?” the lion wanted to know. The he-goat who had taken shelter in the temple replied, “Does it matter who I am? I am a poor animal who has already eaten nine lions. I have vowed to eat one more. Tell me, are you male or female?” The lion fled the place in fear, it seems.

Ranga asked who was inside the house. The narrator has equated Ranga to lion and himself to a he- goat. Ranga had the courage to ask who was inside the house. I had fixed marriage of nine couples so far. I wanted to fix marriage for one more couple. Narrator felt that Ranga had become courageous in asking about the girl.

 

Like the he-goat, I said, “What does it matter to either of us who she is? I’m already married and you aren’t the marrying kind.”

Very hopefully, he asked, “She isn’t married, then?” His voice did not betray his excitement but I knew it was there.

Word Meaning
Betray Expose, Deceive

I replied that it did matter to any of us who was that girl. Because I was married and Ranga did not want to marry. Ranga asked with lot of hope if she was unmarried. His voice did not show eagerness. But I knew he was eager to know about her.

 

“She was married a year ago.”

His face shrivelled like a roasted brinjal. After a while, Ranga left, saying, “I must go, I have work at home.”

Word Meaning
Shrivelled Wrinkled, Shrunk

I told Ranga that Ratna got married about a year ago. His face shrunk. He was disappointed. After sometime Ranga left my house. He said that he had some work at his home.

 

I went to our Shastri the next morning and told him, “Keep everything ready to read the stars. I’ll come later.” I tutored him in all that I wanted him to say.

I found no change in Ranga when I met him that afternoon.

Word Meaning
Shastri Astrologer, Pandit
Tutored Taught

I met the astrologer of our village. I told to keep his books ready to read and tell about position of stars. Narrator expects that auspicious occasion for marriage would soon need to be declared. Narrator told Shastri what he should tell in such situation. Then he went to house of Ranga. Mood of Ranga was unchanged.

 

“What’s the matter? You seem to be lost in thought,” I said.

“Nothing, nothing’s wrong, believe me.”

“Headache? Come, let’s go and see a doctor.”

“I have no headache. I’m my usual self.”

Word Meaning
Lost in thought Thinking deeply
See a doctor Consult a doctor
I am my usual self I am OK

I asked Ranga that he appeared to be deeply thinking about something. He denied. I suggested that if he had headache we should consult a doctor. Ranga said that he did not have headache and he was fine.

 

“I went through the same thing when the process of choosing a girl for me was going on. But I don’t think that that could be a reason for your present condition.”

Ranga stared at me.

I told Ranga that I had similar feeling during the process of selecting a bride for me. I further told him that probably this was not the reason for his present condition. Narrator wanted to tell that he knew Ranga was not looking for a bride. Ranga looked at me but did not speak.

 

“Come, let’s go and see Shastri,” I suggested. “We will find out whether Guru and Shani are favourable for you or not.”

I requested Ranga to come with me to meet the astrologer of the village. He will find if position of stars was favourable to Ranga.

 

Ranga accompanied me without any protest. As soon as Shastri saw me, he exclaimed, “What a surprise, Shyama! Haven’t seen you for a long time.”

Shyama is none other than your servant, the narrator of this tale.

Word Meaning
Protest Objection
Exclaimed Told with surprise

Ranga came with me without any objection. When Shastri saw me, he told with surprise – “Shyama, I have not met since very long time”. Shyama is name of the narrator of this story.

 

I got angry and shouted, “What? Only this morning…” Shastri completed my sentence, “You finished all your work and are now free to visit me.” Had he not done so, I would have ruined our plan by bursting like grains that are kept in the sun to dry. I was extremely careful of what I said afterwards.

I became angry. I shouted and started telling him that in the morning I had …. Shastri did not allow me to speak further. He spoke before I could complete my sentence. He told me that I had come to meet him now after completing my work. If he had not told those words our plan would have failed. After this I became very careful about what I said.

 

Shastri turned to Ranga. “When did the young son of our accountant clerk come home? What can I do for him? It’s very rarely that he visits us.”

Shastri looked at Ranga and asked me when did the son of accountant came back to village. What could he do for Ranga? Ranga rarely comes to the village and meets people.

 

“Take out your paraphernalia. Our Rangappa seems to have something on his mind. Can you tell us what’s worrying him? Shall we put your science of astrology to the test?”

Word Meaning
Paraphernalia Things associated with an activity, Here it means books referred by an astrologer
Have something in mind Thinking about something

I asked Shastri to take out books referred by him. Ranga is thinking about something. Please tell him why he is worried. It is the test of your knowledge about astrology.

 

There was authority in my voice as I spoke to Shastri. He took out two sheets of paper, some cowries and a book of palmyra leaves, saying, “Ours is an ancient science, ayya. There’s a story to it…

Word Meaning
Cowries Shell of small marine animal
Palmyra Type of tree
Ayya A word of respect meaning sir

I had spoken to Shastri as if it were an order. He took out two sheets of paper, some cowries and a book written on leaves of palmyra tree. He addressed me as sir and told that the astrology is an ancient science. There is a story about it.

 

But I won’t tell you that story now. This is not a harikatha which allows you to tell a story within a story… You may get bored. I’ll tell it to you some other time.”

Word Meaning
Harikatha An occasion or event to tell stories about God

Shastri said that he will not tell the story. This is not the occasion of telling stories of God that permits to tell many stories. You may get bored. I will tell you these stories some other day.

 

Shastri moved his lips fast as he counted on his fingers and then asked, “What’s your star?” Ranga didn’t know. “Never mind,” Shastri indicated with a shake of his head. He did some more calculations before saying in a serious tone, “It’s about a girl.”

Shastri moved his lips quickly. He counted on his fingers. Then Shastri asked Ranga about his zodiac sign. Ranga did not know it. Shastri did some more calculations. Finally, in serious voice he said that Ranga had a girl in his mind.

 

I had been controlling my laughter all this while. But now I burst out laughing. I turned to Ranga. “Exactly what I had said.”

“Who is the girl?” It was your humble servant who asked the question.

Word Meaning
Burst out laughing Laughed loudly

Till this time I have been controlling my laughter. But now I started laughing loudly. I looked at Ranga and said that I had told the same thing to him. Then I asked Shastri who was that girl.

 

Shastri thought for a while before replying, “She probably has the name of something found in the ocean.”

“Kamala?”

“Maybe.”

“Could it be Pachchi, moss?”

“Must it be moss if it’s not Kamala? Why not pearl or ratna, the precious stone?”

Shastri thought for some time. He told that something found in ocean is probably the name of the girl. I asked if the name could be Kamala or Pachchi. He said it is possible. He further said if it is not Kamala or pachchi, it would be pearl or ratna – meaning a precious stone.

 

“Ratna? The girl in Rama Rao’s house is Ratna. Tell me, is there any chance of our negotiations bearing fruit?”

“Definitely,” he said, after thinking for some time.

There was surprise on Ranga’s face. And some happiness. I noticed it.

I told that name of the girl residing in the house of Rama Rao is Ratna. I asked if discussion about marriage between Ranga and Ratna be successful. Shastri thought for some time and said the discussion would certainly be successful. Ranga was surprised and he looked happy. I noticed his happiness.

 

“But that girl is married…” I said. Then I turned to him. His face had fallen.

“I don’t know all that. There may be some other girl who is suitable. I only told you what our shastra indicated,” Shastri said.

Word Meaning
His face had fallen He was disappointed

I said that the girl was married. Then I looked at Ranga. He looked disappointed. Shastri said that he was not aware about marriage of Ratna. There may be another girl who is a good match for Ranga. I have told you what my books have indicated.

 

We left the place. On the way, we passed by Rama Rao’s house. Ratna was standing at the door. I went in alone and came out a minute later.

Word Meaning
Pass by Come near or cross something on your way

We left the house of Shastri. On our way back, we came near house of Rama Rao. Ratna was standing at the door of the house. I went into the house alone and came out within one minute.

 

“Surprising. This girl isn’t married, it seems. Someone told me the other day that she was. What Shastri told us has turned out to be true after all! But Rangappa, I can’t believe that you have been thinking of her. Swear on the name of Madhavacharya and tell me, is it true what Shastri said?”

Word Meaning
Madhavacharya He was a saint

I said to Ranga that it was a surprise that the girl was not married. Some days ago someone had told me that she was married. The prediction of Shastri is true. Rangappa it is difficult for me to believe that you have  been thinking about Ratna. I asked him to swear in the name saint Madhavacharya and to tell the truth.

 

I do not know whether anyone else would have been direct. Ranga admitted, “There’s greater truth in that shastra than we imagine. What he said is absolutely true.”

Word Meaning
Absolutely Completely, Totally

I do not think anyone would have directly asked this type of question. Ranga accepted that he was thinking about Ratna. He also said that earlier he did not believe in shashtra. But now he has understood that there is truth in those books.

Shastri was at the well when I went there that evening. I said, “So Shastrigale, you repeated everything I had taught you without giving rise to any suspicion. What a marvellous Shastra yours is!” He didn’t like it at all.

Word Meaning
Marvellous Wonderful,

In the evening I went to the well of the village. Shastri was also there. I told him that he had repeated exactly what I had asked him to repeat. Ranga did not have any doubt about it. I further said that the shastras are really wonderful. He did not like my comments.

 

“What are you saying? What you said to me was what I could have found out myself from the shastras. Don’t forget, I developed on the hints you had given me.”

Tell me, is this what a decent man says?

Word Meaning
Decent Good

Shastri objected to my statements. He said that he could have easily found everything through his books. I agree that  hints given by  you were helpful in quickly reading the shastras. He further told me that a good person should not make such statements.

 

Rangappa had come the other day to invite me for dinner. “What’s the occasion?” I asked.

“It’s Shyama’s birthday. He is three.”

One day Rangappa came to my house. He invited me for dinner. I asked what the occasion was. He replied that it is birthday of Shyama. He would be three year old.

 

“It’s not a nice name—Shyama,” I said. “I’m like a dark piece of oil-cake. Why did you have to give that golden child of yours such a name?

I told Ranga that Shyama is not a nice name. it means someone who is dark coloured. I am as dark as a piece of oil-cake. Why did you give this name to your child who is quite fair.

 

What a childish couple you are, Ratna and you! I know, I know, it is the English custom of naming the child after someone you like… Your wife is eight months pregnant now. Who’s there to help your mother to cook?”

Word Meaning
Custom Tradition

Narrator is talking to Ranga. You and Ratna both are really like a child. I recalled that in Britain it is the tradition to name one’s child after someone you like. Now your wife is again pregnant since last eight months. Who is at your home to help your mother?

 

“My sister has come with her.”

I went there for dinner. Shyama rushed to me when I walked in and put his arms round my legs. I kissed him on his cheek and placed a ring on his tiny little finger.

Word Meaning
Tiny Very small

Ranga replied that his sister had also come with his mother. I went to his home for dinner. As soon as I entered the house Shyama came running towards me. He put his arms around my legs. I kissed him on his cheek. I gave him a ring. I placed it on his small finger.

 

Allow me to take leave of you, reader. I am always here, ready to serve you.

You were not bored, I hope?

Now I request you to allow me to go. I am always around to serve you more stories. Hope you were not bored by this story.

****


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