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A PROPHET IN THE MAKING by prof.puran singh


The travelers of Pothohar are petty traders, conveying goods from one district to another and generally from the plains to the sequestered hills of Jammu and Punch.  They transport the merchandise on donkeys and usually travel together in numbers for fear of highway robbers.  Of animals, the small sized gray donkey of pothohar perhaps is very dull and care still less how they are fed.  And the Pothohar traders have very little company of their donkeys on the way, on higher moments come to the animals, Truly, dumb-driven, they go on and on and on patiently, slowly up the hill, down the hill, and they waken out their dull steps as the cudgel of the owner strikest heir backs.  On the trappings made of goat hair, taken off the back of their donkeys, the travellers sleep under the trees on in the roadside inns das the night fallls, while the merchandise bags are piled in the center of the ‘caravans’ beds.  As the morning star flashes in East, they start and at noon they stop again under the tree-shades and give rest to their donkeys and themselves. One or two of them cook a hasty meal for the whole party and they march oh. It is a strange life they lead; on where is their destination. What they call home is just another inn where they stay a few days longer casting accounts and ledgers till late at night thinking before the sun rise what to purchase next for making more. In their dreams, they find their hands still holding a yard-measure and measuring cloth to the hill men who know not what is what or still cudgeling their donkeys to put a little more speed into their legs in order to clear little robber - infested part of the road before it is too dark. Such fear, anxieties even in dreams consume their minds.  Like the little donkeys, their mind too has only a few ruts, deep-cut channels in which there are some elementary concepts of life and society, and all the nooks and corners are choked with simple arithmetic of their trade. The glowing stars in the sky under whose shade they travel, are looked upon by these grown up men, just as little infants see them., neither they themselves know their ignorance nor can they tell any one else what they feel.  The morning stra with its magnificent brilliance open their eyelids and there is a stir in the donkey-camps of the donkeys being loaded for the day. Now and then, like some excited children, some of them fancy the morning star as the jewel in the turban of god. The red sun as it rises, dazzles their eyes, and their eyelids close and open in quivering sensation.  And as they wade through the little streams on the way, they feel in the dumb silence of their soul some kind of friendship with their waters. Under the shades of trees on the mountain slabs, in the caves on the hills ascents and descents, they fell the comforts of home life. A species of wanderers who live in the illusion that they are working out the future success of their offspring and carry on the trade from generation to generation to on purpose, but passing the day of life in an unexcited simplicity of labor and nameless, wordless love of their wives and children. And all their knowledge is derived from open they travel upon-to go on and on, without saying aye or ray.  One should thick, they have the instinctive knowledge of “He knows, he knows, he knows.”  As regards their social religion, they are mostly Sikhs and they count themselves as the servants of the stables of the Tenth Guru, and in their own way, they think all that they do is divine service.  Some of them are religious in the sense that when they ass stars, they thinks or Guru Nanak’s great song Arti.  But very few know the chant, and they do not consider it is any more necessary, for the Lord locket in His Own way afterall His servant.

Amongst the donkey’s drivers of Pothohar, once a young man named Sant, a fine young Sikh also went driving his four or five donkeys to the Punch Hills via Kahuta. Sant Singh was clad in a dirty home-spun shirt, his holy sink hair uncombed and dusty could be seen through the rope like folds of his too small a turban. Those disheveled hair was the only remnant of the Guru’s initiation of this caste of Donkeys-drivers of Pothohar into the great Fold of the Divines.  And whether poor by choice, or by necessity be being a poor widow’s son. Or by the instinct of frugality, the miserable-looking Sant Singh had on his head an unpolished crown of the Guru, be was a prince in glory on whom the Great spiritual protectors from high looked with favors. And with a crowned head of a prince, he had the angelic beauty which is its general cast was more feminine.  His features were a whole peal of divine music of creation like the garden of full-blown roses. His reminded one of the half-closed gardens of full-blown roses. His reminded one of the half-closed Nargas, and his thick black eyebrows with a sparking forehead above suggested the majesty fresh fallen sown on tow arching hills.  His lips were red delicate like the petals of a rose and as he smiled, it seemed some fairy, a dream-figure, was laughing behind the red rose-blossom.  He was not just Sant Singh.  Surely he was illusions or many beauties playing in these limbs.  In his eyes dozen others pairs of eyes came and looked at the world. On his lips trembled the smile of hundred more Sant Singh excited sparks of affection in the hearts of both the donkeys and their drivers.  The latter not only loved him, but also had superstitious fears of him when he lay asleep on the   goat-hair trapping; they thought dreamily that they at the same time saw him playing in the fields.  One night they actually with one-eyes saw Sant Singh with a moonlike ball in his hands busy paying with divine crowds, and they perceived a crowd of fairies gathered round him.  And they knew that when he was with the party, there was fortune following them.  He would be sitting quiet, but the would imagine they heard a laughter coming from Sant Singh. Some of them called others gone mad, but they did admit that they too had the illusion of Sant Singh sitting as well as standing as if he had two bodies.  Others thought, it was the illusion that beautiful persons, always cast on others by the hypnotic spell of their beauty.  Their images in one’s eyes float in air simultaneously with the real figures!  These were mere superstitions, let us say, but one thing was certain that Sant Singh was very magnetic.  He fascinated and attracted very one. And himself too he was extremely impressionable.  He would tell his widow mother, “Mother! I at time feel much oppressed by all kinds of images of men and things impinging into my very flesh and bones.  Sometimes I fell I am a woman and at other I am a king. If I talk to anyone sweetly on the roadside, a peasant girl or a poor beggar, their figures haunt me.  At time I feel I the hands of a girl in my hands, and at others a stray beggar’s shaggy beard hanging by chin.  Sometime it is pleasant, sometimes it is very oppressive.”  And his widow mother would plunge into dumb grief and just say:  -“May Guru Nanak protect you from these fairies! MY boy, you should not wander like this, always Guru Nanak’s name on your tongue.  Keep your eyes half-closed and look at on one."” And she took an old talisman from the contents of her house and has it bound on his arm as a protection against fairies!                                                                      

On a little hill-village of on importance, the donkeys’ drivers of Pothohar were displaying their new merchandise.  The display was attended by half a dozen of young women who were selecting glass bangles and veil clothes! In the woman enjoy comparative freedom, they can move about freely and sing their lilts without any restraint that in a hundred and one shapes is put on the woman particularly on the maidens in the plains.  But one of them rather a buxom girl somewhat obese but agile and vivacious, and strong, had all the graces of her sex lighting her face and forehead.  There was a whole world of beauty in her eyes, which no one, neither she herself nor her companions nor the donkey-drivers of Pothohar, could distinguish.  She only felt a dance in limbs, a lilt in her throat and something…rushing out of her to go and mingle with the rivers.  She felt like embracing rocks and weeping she felt like kissing the moon. She had an unconscious but full realization of her rousing youth and she tried to conceal herself in the old bud-leaves, but no.  In spite of her, she was expanding into a visible blossom.  She stood there, watching the fleeting marketplace of cloth and other wares, and she was only watching, for she had no mind, nor money, nor wares to exchange.  When Sant Singh, forgetting the premonition of his mother, looked up to her offering her to purchase a piece of veil-cloth, she looked into his eyes, when instantly Sant Singh remembered he had not to lift up his eyes as he had done.  He immediately bent down his look and fixed it on the cloth which he immediately but the girls hands trembled with the blue cloth she held.  The vision was shaking her hands as it they were two hearts trembling.  She said: - “ No Thori* I do not want it just yet.  Next time when you come, I will think of making a purchase.  But will you accept the corn in exchange? My parents are too poor to have money or any other valuable wares that these other girls can given you.”

Sant Singh:       “You can have the cloth, I will accept the corn from you when I come next.

The girl:            “No sir, debts crush our life, our youth. They absorb all our labour.”

Sant Singh:       “I give you free”

The girl:            “But why?”

Sant Singh:       “Simply because you are so innocent.”

The girl:            “I am not innocent. I play so many tricks with my goats and they are all deceived I spread my palms and they come running to me and then I close my first and they put their months to force it open.  And I open them and they go away sad. And still I can deceive them again and again.”

Sant Singh:       “Well then, have the veil-cloth because you are so pretty and talkative.”

The girl:            “But other Thoris do not give things free to us for things like these that can not travel on to you, my beauty remains with me, it can not be exchanged like these wares and so why should you give me aught for a thing which can never become yours in any sense.”

Sant Singh:       “You take the veil cloth from me and I will carry a thought of you in exchange.”

The girl:            “No sir! I would not be bartered like this. If you carry me a away in your thought, there would be nothing left to my poor parents.”

Sant Singh:       “No. No. You will be here.  I am not carrying you. I will carry only a remembrance of yours.”

The girl:            “But you do not know name.”

Sant Singh:       “Alright, tell me you name and for that courtesy take this cloth away.”

The girl:            “No sir, feel there is still some more hidden cleverness in it. Thoris never exchange this wares without some profit to themselves.”

Another girl:                  “why, her name is Bakri. You have that and give me the veil cloth.”

Sant Singh:                  “All right, you have this” And addressing Bakri he said: “Now that she had that cloth for telling your name, why don’t you have another piece for having that name?”

Bakri:           “so you make fun of me.” Saying this she fled away. Towards the nightfall, Bakri brought Sant Singh a glass of goat’s milk and offered it to him saying:”sir! No one else in this village has goats. There are no cows here, I take them to the targets and I love seeing them Brouce fresh leaves no milk.  I thought you might need it after your long travel. Take this milk. It is fresh from my own goats that are my playmates. And while browsing they look at me. Sometimes I cling to their necks and we both laugh and weep together.”

Bakri:   “Look price for milk! We hill people never sell milk. If we have, it is yours as well as ours.  It is the drink we give to our guests.

Sant Singh:       “But how can I accept it, when you decline to take piece of veil-cloth from me.”

Bakri    :           “But you do not create cloth, as my goats create milk, it you bring me a piece spun and woven by yourself, way? I would accept it from you and that also when I go as a guest to your village.”

Sant Singh:       But you can never be my guest. You are the rose of this Forest.”

Bakri:   “No I would go with you, if you take my parents  also with you, and my goats also.

Sant Singh:       “But you wont’s have these wild forests and these parting rivers and these innocence’s of life.

Bakri:   “But I will sing my lilts to you and you will listen. And my goats will be there to tick my hands and my parents for me to love. I will need nothing more.”

Sant Singh:       “you are a lovely burden to carry, but when you are once torn away from these mountains, you may fade away.”

Bakri:   “Flowers fade away.  Leaves fall when dry. How does matter if too fade away when the autumn comes.  But jokes apart.  Here is my milk for you.”

Bakri:   “All right I would accept that, you accept this.” Sant Singh took the milk and again forgetting the premonition his mother; he looked up and gazed at the hill girl. And she left him after giving the milk, and turned her back towards him.  He looking full at her back thought she was a princess in rags. Her youth shone through her tattered garments like the rose petals oozing out of the rose leaves! She was a flower of the forest that waved in its own glory of virgin blushes unseen and unadmired. And no one saw.  Bakri’s eyes were red and she quivered from head to food with love that young women like her do not know; the glance of Sant Singh thrilled her being, as a wayward wing excites the bosom of a lonely calm blue lake.                                                    

When Sant Singh came next, he brought mer many presents and this time he went straight to see her in her jungle hut and asked her to accept them in the presence of her parents.  The parents were delighted like little children seeing to many pieces of cloth and glass bangles bought thither for their daughter. Bakri looked at him and quivered with feelings she did not know how to name.  She felt like embracing Sant Singh as if he were one of her little lambs. She frowned at him and that moment was the intense moment of her passion for him. And he thought it was so strange that instead of smiling she was frowning like a young lioness.

The Mother said:          “You have brought us the dowry of Bakri. We will celebrate her marriage now.”

The Father:       “Would you come and join her wedding.”

Bakri:   “I do not like marriage, they murder the white lambs for

The feast. I like loving them and singing to the trees the songs the that resound in the hearts of our rivers.”

The Mother:     “Don’t say that daughter. Marriage is a great sacrificial fire out the God comes and one sees Him face to face before one dies!  Loving lambs and goats is all right as long as you are a virgin. After marriage it is loving man that is the pillar on which the sky stands.”

Bakri:   “Mother! Then marry me to man- Singh is very Beautiful.  When he went away, as I slept, he slept with me as I walked he walked with me. As I sat grazing my goats, he came and sat be me. I touched him, I held him in my arms, real as true I touched him I held him in my arms, as real as true as I see him now before me.”

Mother:   "Foolish little goat! How can we hill-man think of these Khatri Maharajas (Khatri Princes) like that."

Bakri:    But he told me, he would bring a pony and bear me away. I asked him to take me away, my goats away. And also you mother and you father!"

Father:   "The flowers come and go, bushes remain. You are the flower of our forest. Your parents must stand dead in their own fields and die thinks of you when you are married."

Bakri:    "That is why I don't like marriages. It is death and you kill lambs! Does not death come and take lambs in the very first step. Marriage is death!"

Sant Singh:   "I will certainly attend Bakri's wedding, if you only arrange it so as I may be present."

Bakri (to Sant Singh):  I wont' marry. If I marry, I must marry you. But do not wish to marry me. Why not? I fail to understand. Didn't you say you will bring a pony and carry me away marriage is death then. You do not like it. So the story must end there. I am a shepherd girl, I am much too busy with the love of my sheep and you are a Khatri Prince."

Sant Singh:   "A Woman like you is always a whole kingdom by itself. Only I am afraid of disturbing the glorious dream of innocence that is spread before you here?'

Bakri:"But the forests have already gone from my eyes. And the whole dream is but you. My forests are in your eyes now."

Sant Singh:   "It is the fancy of your youth. I am a shattered man, a poor donkey driver of Pothohar and but for a few donkeys, a little mud-walled house and a little piece of brown insipid piece of land, I have nothing. I own but my hands and feel which much be moved rather vigorously to give me my bread. I bless my little legs, their business in just to travel, travel, go to and fro."

Bakri:    "Just like the legs of my lambs, they frisk about. There is great joy for me as they run to no purpose. Everybody then is like this."

Mother:   "Stupid girl! Comparing these princes with your lambs. You have only this much of poor intelligence."

Father:   "No. My poor daughter, I will seek for you a good husband. These Khatris are not for us. They have their own women and their lots and lucks are cast by God with them. The threads of their unions are stringed together in other ways than ours."

Bakri:    "Indeed! Have they one like me."

Mother:   "Hush! You will offend the Khatri Maharaja."

Sant Singh:   "I have seen none like you. You are a wonder to me. The sun rises from within your heart and love quenches its thirst op the fountains of your lips, and in your eyes, there is all the mystery of the stars. And you they call you so meaninglessly a Bakri-a goat."

Bakri:    "Father! He talks so sweet. Give me away to him."

Mother:   "My impertinent girl. Your thought for him would ripen into love in ten births. Not this birth. Wait."

Sant Singh: "Bakri you promised to show me your forests and rocks and flocks."

Bakri:    "Mother! I go with him. And I take my flock!"  

Mother (laughing):"Your have taken my permission, but has he taken the permission of his mother to go with you.

Sant Singh:   "No. But let me take yours." The mother laughed. And they both left for the forests.

Sant Singh had not come to that side for another six months. His business took him to other hills. Bakri was married to a hill shopkeeper, a bania an old, wrinkled, oil-besmeared coughy, sludgy fellow. Bakri's parents owed debts to him and he having lost his first wife, took Bakri to wife for the unpaid debts. And the parents were comforted by the cancellation of debts and by the warmth of the thought that their daughter would be living next door to them. In those hills girls were sold away. And this particular bargain was acclaimed by all as very happy.

The bania Lachhman Das too considered it a bargain, as he got a woman who would cook his meals and light up his evening lamp-a servant whom he had to pay no wages and yet none more faithful. He loved the counting of copper piece and silver rupees and was much too absorbed in accounts to think of her as a wife. And so much work he threw on her, mixed with threats, frowns, abuses, chill and studied indifference, and little contempt’s from his eyebrows that the goat-herd's daughter, Bakri, felt like a wild gazelle bound to a peg by a rope. The forest beauty is not felt by the ignorant villagers, and most of it lost unseen, and so indeed was the beauty of Bakri wasted! But slowly and gradually she was domesticated and she became the docile, dirt-besmeared coolie-wife the Bania and felt somewhat settled.

Sant Singh's mother had tried to get a wife for her son. But people of his caste were afraid of Sant Sing who had something elfin in him. As he bloomed up in his full youth, his eyes did cast such a spell on the village girls that they would sit gazing at him for hours. And when parting, they would shed a tear and heave a sigh. Sant Singh felt helpless when overwhelmed by their sweet love for him. They would on the first available opportunity, steal into the fields apparently grazing their father's donkeys, but inwardly to hold some kind of take with Sant Singh. Sant Singh on the other hand always respected their felling and responded to them in a delightful manner. He would look at the girls when their eyes would be fixed. On the ground and they would look at him when his eyes would be fixed on the ground.

Sarasvati (a grown up girl of the village):"I hear your mother is thinking of your marriage."

Sant Singh:   "Yes I hear, but I don't know why?"

Sarasvati:    "To get you a girl to talk to."

Sant Singh:   "But here am I talking to you."

Sarasvati:    "Well to cook meals for you, to wash your clothes to bid you farewell when you go, and to welcome you when you come home."

Sant Singh:   "But in the case I need a girl at every inn. This house of mine is a good-a destination as any other inn. In fact under every tree where I sleep and wake."

Sarasvati:    "Then here I stand. But who cares for unshapely girls like me?"

Sant Singh:   "No. You are so very affectionate. Your smiles go and intertwine round my heart like threads of lighting."

Sarasvati:    "If you don't go and tell your mother, I will always wait for you here to welcome you with my smile and bid you adieu with a tear."

Sant Singh:   "But how could you? You are married, your husband will take you away and then I will come here in vain."

Sarasvati:    "If you give me your love. If you open your eyes full once, I will not go with my husband. As a married woman, I have certainly more freedom to attend to you."

Sant Singh:   "Ah! But Sarasvati, such pleasures are flashes of stars. They are mere rays of some hidden heart! We are like drops of dew hanging between different hidden influences and impulses and we only reflect love. These inspirations are fleeting, we cannot catch them. They are sweet illusions. They shine through as at some moments as they must. We seldom realize such things, we are seldom ourselves. The unseen souls use us as their vehicles. In small acts lower souls possess us, in great acts the great souls."

Sarasvati:    "I do not know what you say. I only know my heart beats like a hammer when I see you."

Sant Singh:   "I do not know why?"

Sarasvati:    "Just give me your hand and let me show you how it beats."

Sant Singh:   "But I see it throbbing in your temples."

Sarasvati:    "Then you do not love me."

Sant Singh:   "I love you why? I love every girl."

Sarasvati:    "That is only a world."

Sant Singh:   "You don't believe me then."

Sarasvati:    "Hold me in your arms."

Sant Singh:   "My arms are not mine."

Sarasvati:    "Whose are they?"

Sant Singh:   "They are of a hundred women."

Sarasvati:    "Jokes apart. Love is holy. You must not throw away my love, my heart beats, see, like that."

Sant Singh:   "I love your face that glows with love. But there is a woman that goes walking in the stars. Have you ever seen her?

Sarasvati:    "But stars are only burning charcoals. Thrown out of the hearth of God."

Sant Singh:   "The woman of the sky that kindles the hearth fires is in my arms."

Sarasvati:    "No. I see not."

Sant Singh:   "What do you see?"

Sarasvati:    "I see your arms are quite empty. They need a girl like me. Hold me, I fall."

Sant Singh:   "fall. I feel my arms are full."

Sarasvati:(falling into his embrace) "They are full of me."

Sant Singh:   "No of the great woman."

Sarasvati:    "No of me."

Sarasvati:    "If not a full prophet yet he is surely a prophet in the making. All stories about great prophets seen so true, when we see the miracles of the beauty of our Sant Singh. Strange things I have seen! I will tell you if you keep it private. Kirti, another girl (as she and Sarasvati were going to stream for a bath): "Sarasvati! You still doubt my friendship."

Sarasvati:"Today I met Sant Singh by chance on the way. And I saw he changed into a woman. I put arms round his neck, and as I looked up, I saw he was girl like myself, only she was differently made, her body shone as if made of light. Here eyes were such as would make the hearts of stone thumb. My arms are still feeling the sweetness of "her" limbs. My very bones are feeling the relish of "her" as if they were tongues."

Kirti:"Sarasvati! Sant Singh is the dream of every girl but we have tried to find him without success. Similar is my experience. But when I embraced him, I found I was embracing a white little lamb. I think he can assume any shape he likes or he mocks us with a thousand images. But yet he is so dear, dear young man. I am married now, but the wounds of love in me make my very limb ache with love for life. He is me full, and I am his bond slave for life. He is like Krishna, a prophet. He is alluring. His eyes sing."

Sarasvati:"But for a married girl to think of another     man is a sin they say."

Kirti:    "Ah! They say! But pray how can we control the volition of love."

Sarasvati:    "But how can you leave your husband like that in the lurch?

Kirti:    "Ah where is my husband when I sleep. Where is he when my mind wanders to the stars? He is not   with my when I faint away. We cannot suffer from an earache by proxy. And how strange my hunger is not cured when he had satiated himself."

Sarasvati:    "That is quite true. Oh why then they say, the husband and wife are unity?

Kirti:    "Ah! They say! Unity! Unity between an object of dream and an object of walking."

Sarasvati:    "But they say, husbands are very good. They give fine clothes, fine ornaments. And the kisses, which no parents can give.

Kirti:    "Ah! They say. One has to be married to know what torments are these husbands. Their gifts are the price of one's freedom which we had when virgins. Well does the Guru say: "When a virgin, I longed for my marriage, and when married I long again for my virgin hood for the married life has its enslavements, limitations, and heartaches."

Sarasvati:    "Then it’s no good to be married."

Kirti:    "No, Such is this wretched world. Centuries have passed over this earth in a brutal hurry, they never stopped to think that they are going merely imagining that in their lives they have done a lot, when they had not yet settled finally in an amicable manner the relations between husbands and wives. Rotten, rotten is the very home of the civilized man. And then look at these robbers that daily break into houses, that kidnap women, that murder for a moment's hunger, that cover themselves with gold and turn out hunger, that cover themselves naked and starved into the streets! The man's palaces are curses. And there is no kindness and love on this earth, except when you see it in the eyes of men like Sant Singh."

Sarasvati:    "Kirti! Marriage puts a lot of knowledge into one. I do not understand what you say."

Kirti:    "You need not. Girlhood and possibly your bride hood," a stage of life before wifehood, is the only age on this earth when we are in the lap of God-not the temple-God of stone, but the living God, the Guru. And the latter settles in us the whole empire of stars, he sends to us from there these little joys that dance on our hearts, as he sends, the rays into the hearts of flowers." When we arrived, they suck this blood out of us, and after we are drained of youth, they throw us away."

Sarasvati:"But why I still love to be married. My limbs ache for my man. I am throbbing to be in the embrace of my husband. I wonder when would he come and take me away."

Kirti:    "This exactly. We have to get married and pass through all the harsh hell of it. We are born for it. This world is perfected only in the next. And unless we do what we must do here on earth, we can not fit in the art of perfection whose only one end touches our soul at one unseen point in us."

Sarasvati:    "But what about Sant Singh? you think he would not marry."

Kirti:    "If you wish to know the truth about it, listen. Sant Singh is a man from the other world of perfection. He does not know himself, he plays with us village girl just as a shepherd plays with the little kids and lambs. The donkey drivers of Pothohar have him amidst them, but he is different. There is star shining on his forehead."

Sarasvati:    "One thing is certain, he can make us dream of him in a thousand shapes. And when we run into his arms, we find either a girl like us. or a lamb as you say, or a Pothohar donkey. This is very strange. He is great magician. How his eyes glow and his hair sparkle with seraphic blackness. Mystery of creation trembles about him, as the rays of the sun tremble on running waters."

When Sant Singh next went with his donkeys to the Punchh hills, Bakri was settled down as Bania's wife. He called for her at her parental house and      wished to present a few pieces of calico he had      brought for her. Her mother met Sant Singh and welcomed him with mother's affection.

Sant Singh: “Where is Bakri? I have a few presents for her."

Mother:   "We married her."

Sant Singh:   "Where and to whom?"

Mother:   "To the Bania who lives in the "gully," "yonder and she pointed out the hut of Bakri on the brow of a yonder hill.

Sant Singh:   "Then I must go and see her."

Mother:   "Yes! Come I will go with you." Seeing Sant Singh and her mother coming up, Bakri ran down to receive them. And as they were scaling up the brow, Bakri said: "Sant Singh! You never came with the pony to bear me away."

Sant Singh:   "But I will."

Bakri:    "But you are too late. I am married now."

Sant Singh:   But the marriage has not altered you shape for me. And I suppose there has been no rechiselling of my face for you by your marrying a shop-keeper."

Bakri:    "But husbands alone can carry women on their ponies. And you can no more carry me away."

Sant Singh:   "Bakri! You are mind. No marriage can make you anybody else's."

Bakri:    "This is quite true. Though I have married him, yet I loathe to wash his soil-besmeared clothes. He takes them out when they are much too offensive with dirt. And he beats me."

Sant Singh:   "So you are not happy."

Bakri:    "No. I am happy when I think of your promise of bringing a pony and bearing me away. And then I see you as clear as you now are by me. I am then happy. And I irresistibly burst into laughter, my husband beats me, saying: "I am in so much loss, I can not sleep for a moment at night with cough and cold, and you laugh like that. You sleep so sound. And he beat me again." By this time, they arrived at Bania's shop who came along from the opposite side with a load of green-stems of maize for his buffalo and had just thrown down his burden in the courtyard full of buffalos dung and mud.

Mother of Bakri:   "Shah! You are very cruel to my daughter. If you cannot love your wife, I better take her back and make happy. We have plenty for her. You seem to think we are     helpless, we can not afford bread for her." Bania (with pungent sarcasm in his comment): "No you pay me back my mother you took and take her. I see you have a new financier."

Mother:   "Every one take money for their daughters but no one's daughter is so unhappy as mine."

Sant Singh:   "You have a pretty wife, Sir, she is like a lamp in your dark heart. Why not make her a star of your mind and be happy."

Bania (furiously):"you come to praise my wife. You must be in league with the mother with a new offer."

Sant Singh:   "Foolish fellow I only came to tell you of your treasure over which you are passing your days never thinking what you have."

Bania:    "thank you. But I don't like people coming to my house and admiring the beauty of my wife." Sant Singh:    "All admire moon, why not a pretty face?

Bania furiously:   "Got away you "badmashes" of the plains. You come here only to steal women."

Bakri:    "If you don't stop, I will quit your house."

Bania:    "You can not."

Bakri:    "I can."

Bania:    "Try."

Bakri:    "Here I go." Bania caught hold of her hair and began dragging her inside the hut. Sant Singh went up and threw him aside and asked Bakri to go down with them to her parents hoe. And they all then went down. And Sant Singh presented the calico he had brought for her, and she accepted with the old child like glee. And they went again together through the forest where she used to graze her parental flocks, looking at stars.

Bakri Suddenly:    "Sant Singh my saint, my Sant who is there roaming creiding in the sky?"

Sant Singh:   "It is you."

Bakri:    "No. I am here sitting how can I be there too."

Sant Singh:   "compare your face with hers."

Bakri:    "I do not see myself."

Sant Singh:   "Then believe me. Your face reflects just a little of hers. And you are a woman, she is a woman. Bakri's eyes filled up with tears and she gazed deep into the stars.

Sant Singh:   "The great goddess of skies sometimes comes and lives in you. She loves simple shepherdesses like you."

Bakri:    "I never knew."

Sant Singh: “But your inner goodness knows of it quite well."

Bakri:    "I have no goodness."

Sant Singh:   "This ignorance is of the great."

Bakri:    I know only I am the Bania's wife."

Sant Singh:   "Enough is the evil of the day thereof."

Bakri:    "When will you come again?"

Sant Singh:   "But I am with you."

Bakri:    "Only your face, not your sweet speech."

Sant Singh:   "Now it is your turn to come to me."

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