Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Part 4/Chapter 2

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When Shanti left for the city that night Jiban was present in the cottage.

'I am going to the city for Kalyani,' she said to him. 'Please tell Mahendra that his wife is alive.'

Jiban had heard the story of Kalyani's revival from Bhavan. He also knew of the present whereabouts of Kalyani from Shanti. And so Jiban told Mahendra everything he knew of Kalyani. At first Mahendra refused to believe him. Then, overpowered with happiness, he felt as if he were in a trance of bliss.

Shanti made it possible for Mahendra to meet Kalyani at the dawn of the next day. Husband and wife met in the serene solitude of the woods and in the dark shadows of the trees before the waking of the beasts and the birds of the jungle. Their meeting was witnessed by the fading stars in the blue sky and the endless rows of sal trees. In the distance, one could hear the music of a little stream as it rippled against rocks and stones. A stray cuckoo occasionally struck an entrancing note...

Later, at about nine o'clock, Jiban came to where Shanti was talking with Kalyani. Kalyani was saying to Shanti: 'Dear sister Shanti, we shall ever remain as your slaves for all you have done for us. Now, please complete your kindness by telling us where we may find our little child.'

'I want to sleep a little now,' Shanti said to Jiban gently, as she looked at his face imploringly. I have been on my feet for the last twenty-four hours and have not slept at all for the last two nights — I am human, you know.'

Kalyani smiled a little. Jiban turned to Mahendra and said: 'I will take care of that. You two may go to Padachina. You will meet your daughter there.'

Jiban left for Bharuipur to fetch Sukumari from Nimi. It was no easy task. Nimi was sad at the very idea of parting with Sukumari whom she had been nurturing as her own daughter. Her face went through a thousand tragic changes at the thought of giving up such a sweet child — the child she loved so much. At last she burst into a wail and said: 'I won't give up Sukumari, I can't, I can't!'

'My dear Nimi,' Jiban said, 'what makes you cry? Sukumari's parents do not live far away. You can visit them and see the child you have grown so fond of.'

'Well, after all, this child belongs to you. Why don't you take her away?' Nimi said. Then she brought Sukumari out, placed her on Jiban's lap and sat down again to weep.

Jiban was at a loss to know what to say or what to do. So he began to talk of different, unrelated things. Nimi's anger, however, was not appeased. She was furious. Rushing into the house, she brought out and in quick succession threw before her brother bundles of Sukumari's clothes, her jewels, her ribbons, her pins, her dolls and her toys.

Sukumari gathered these together herself and asked Nimi: 'Mother dear, where am I going?'

Nimi could not bear it any longer. She lifted Sukumari to her bosom and ran away sobbing bitterly. Jiban had to struggle hard and long to get the little girl back from Nimi.