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After lunch, now, it was the time for dessert. All the family members made a queue near the buffet table. A variety of sweets including chocolates and ice cream were spread on the table with disposable cups and spoons. Bipin and Mihir were busy serving the dessert to all.
Then, the family members heard the voice of the head of the Mukherjee clan, Arnab Mukherjee, “Dear all our family members, please make yourself a circle during taking your dessert as there are some important talks.”
All the family members pulled their chairs to the center of the hall and made a circle. Two chairs were placed in the middle for two heads of the family. Both the heads were sitting on the chairs.
Arnab Mukherjee said, “Now, I request my dear friend, Bhaskar to start the talk.”
All the family members were very much anxious and excited about this unexpected topic which had never happened in any of the previous family gatherings.
Bhaskar glanced towards the anxious faces of members of two families, and then he started his speech, “Both me and my dear friend Arnab are lucky that the Almighty has given us everything. We both are prosperous and rich, blessed with two able wives who have been accompanying with us in our journey of life till date, we are blessed with two competent sons and daughters-in-law, two intellectual daughters, and lastly two pretty granddaughters.”
Arnab chuckled amid the speech, and said, “Bhaskar, luckily we got married at a very young age and made our sons get married early otherwise we wouldn’t have such two beautiful granddaughters.”
Bipasha and Arpita giggled, and all other members smiled gracefully towards both the heads of the family.
Bhaskar continued his speech, “You all only know that Arnab and I are friends and that’s the reason why our two families are bound together. You all might have noticed that there are 100% similarities between these two families in respect of house, way of life, upbringings of sons, daughters and our granddaughters. We both friends have tried to make no differences between the two families. But why? You all should know the past background of certain facts which have united these two families. My father’s name was Ardhendu Chatterjee and the name of Arnab’s father was Abhijit Mukherjee. Both of our late fathers, Ardhendu and Abhijit belonged to a rural area of Nadia District of West Bengal in the British era. Both their families were neighbors, and our fathers were very close friends from their childhood. As per the tradition, both of them had an early marriage in their twenties on the same day, and first I was born, then after three days Arnab was born, it was in 1940 when India was under the British regime.
Although they were fathers of new-born babies, the parents of our fathers sent them to Calcutta, recently the name of which has been changed into ‘Kolkata’ for higher studies. During their studies in Calcutta, both the duo was heavily inspired by Gandhiji who was leading the independence movement for India. Instead of studies, both of them were involved in the Independence movement of India. It was the year 1942. Gandhiji started the ‘Quit India Movement’ and decided to launch a mass civil disobedience movement ‘Do or Die’ call to force the British to leave India. The Quit India movement was violently suppressed by the British – people were shot, lathi-charged, villages burnt and enormous fines imposed. In the five months up to December 1942, an estimated 60,000 people had been thrown in jail.”
Bhaskar paused for a moment, then resumed his speech, “In Calcutta, there was a British Law Authority officer who was also police chief, and his name was William Clayton. There was a massive agitation in Calcutta at that time where our fathers also participated. To suppress the agitators, this British officer ordered the force to shoot to disperse the crowd. As a result,5 Agitators were shot dead on the spot, and our fathers had witnessed all the incidents before their eyes. Our fathers were so shocked by the incident that they wanted to take revenge. After proper planning, they arranged hand bombs and waited for the opportunity to kill that British officer, and regularly following him. After someday in the morning, the duo found William Clayton who was having his morning walk in Maidan (It is the largest urban park in Kolkata now, it is a vast stretch of the field that includes numerous playgrounds, including the famous cricketing venue Eden Gardens). The Duo threw bombs at him, and William Clayton died at the spot. The Duo left Calcutta immediately.
It was a sensational event at that time, the news was printed in the highlight in all leading newspapers, and there was a red high alert for our fathers. Their photos were sent everywhere, and the British force started searching operations in every corner, in every part of West Bengal to nab them. There was even an award for them. The Duo ran for their lives, they were hiding and taking shelter in the houses of sympathizers in the daytime as most of the Indians were sympathizers. They bahis firmaları would move in at night. Both of them were well aware of the fact that once they were caught means they would be hanged. After running for a week, they reached a place named Murguma near Purulia (Purulia, now, a district town of West Bengal) to one of their known persons.”
Bhaskar thought for a moment as if to go back past to recollect his memory, “The well-wisher sheltered them. In the night, the person who sheltered them informed them that the heat was still on them as British police were chasing everywhere for their lookout, and they should leave the place immediately as it was not safe for them as any locals could inform the police after seeing them. After much discussion, their friend suggested one thing. There were a dense forest and hills on the bank of Kangsabati River, just 20 miles away from the place. He suggested they escape into the jungle as nobody had dared to step inside that jungle because the jungle was full of wild animals including Royal Bengal tigers and Leopards. Even the public had the notion that some tribes were living in that jungle who were cannibals and would kill outsiders and not a single person had returned from the jungle alive. Both the friends decided to escape into the jungle rather hanged by the British. The well-wisher provided them sufficient food, water, two hunter knives, and two daggers. Both the friends reached the deep core of the dense forest by midnight and encountered a lot of wild animals on their way. To escape from wild animals, both of them climbed up on a big tree and sheltered in a safe branch quite height from the ground. But throughout the night, the two friends could not sleep as they could hear the roaring of tigers under the tree, both of them were very afraid but managed to sleep few hours.”
Bhaskar stopped for a moment and glanced towards the family members. Everybody was silent and listening to him as if they were hypnotized. He indicated Bipin for a glass of water. Bipin rushed with a glass of water to him. After drinking some water, he looked at two girls.
“Grand paa, why did you stop?” asked Arpita in an anxious voice.
Bhaskar smiled, and said, “Ohhh, my little darling, have patience, I am continuing. So, the next morning, two friends climbed down the tree, it was daylight, and they started exploring the area. Then they could hear the ripples of a river nearby, they found the Kangsabati River which was flowing nearby. Above the bank of the river, it was a dense forest, it was so dense that both could see the only deep shadow of darkness from distance. Suddenly they heard a human scream coming out from that side of the jungle. Both of them rushed immediately towards that side. Behold a terrifying scene! They could see a black naked woman with a child supporting a trunk of a tree with terrified eyes and screaming frantically for their lives. Then they could see a huge wild beast in reddish-yellow colored skin with black stripes in its body, with huge paws, wagging its big tail, approximately 100 meters away from the woman and child was proceeding towards them. Ohhh…my God, it was a huge royal Bengal tiger, slowly proceeding towards them just like a cat towards mice.
The wild beast stopped few yards from its prey, ready to charge and pounce. The two friends ran towards the tiger. The wild beast heard the footsteps of the friends and turned its head towards the backside and saw our fathers. Without wasting time, the two friends pelted stones towards the beast to divert its attention from its prey. The stones hit it, and the tiger made a deafening and heart-throbbing roar and charged towards them at a lightning speed. Both the friends were ready for this, they stroke their daggers aiming at its head and the beast was severely wounded. They rushed immediately towards the beast where it was lying wounded, and without giving it any scope to retaliate, both the friends started striking their daggers continuously and the huge beast breathed its last. When they confirmed that it was dead, they returned near to the woman and child who were still frightened as if death was near to them.
The woman mumbled something in her dialect which the friends couldn’t understand. After some moments, around 20-25 black naked persons both males and females holding twigs in the form of sticks climbed down from the nearest trees with the help of hanging vines. With their fearful eyes, they were staring at the dead tiger, and at the same time, they were staring at our fathers who were holding blood-stained daggers. With cautious distance, suddenly all the black people lay on their stomach, raised their hands before our fathers, and shouted in a loud voice, “Masombango Gazoo… Masombango Gazoo.” (Later on, our fathers revealed to us the literal meaning of the words which were messengers of Deity Masambango in human forms. Their Deity was Masombango, and the tribes thought that our fathers were messengers of their deity, their protector, and had arrived there to save them from kaçak iddaa adversity). The two friends couldn’t understand their dialects but communicate with them through gestures. They accompanied our fathers to little distance with dignity as if they were demi-gods, then some other groups from tree climbed down and joined them. Then the tribes located a herd of deer, they didn’t have any sharp weapons except the twigs and sharpened rough stones. The group targeted a particular big male deer and encircled it slowly and carefully. When the deer got a hint of being encircled by them, it started running but they encircled it, started pelting stones at it, beating it with their twigs, ultimately, they killed it.
Now, it was time for a feast to honor their demigods. The two friends were observing everything keenly and came to know that the tribes knew the use of fire as they struck two small rocks in dry grass and leaves, it might be flint, ignited the fire, later on, they put more dry logs to continue the flames of fire. They skinned the deer and put the deer on fire to roast it. They served various wild sweet fruits, berries, and roasted meat of deer before our fathers. It was a sumptuous lunch for our fathers, and in the evening, they took our fathers above trees, the two friends climbed up the trees through the hanging vines and found small huts built above the trees, the roof being built by palm leaves, and the surface being built by joining small branches of the tree together, tied tightly and secured by wild vines. The bed was made of a heap of smooth wild grasses just like a mattress. That was the first night of our fathers with the tribes, and they slept peacefully on the tree.” Bhaskar stopped for a moment.
Everyone looked anxiously to him to continue the story. Bipasha said, “Grand paa, why don’t you continue the story?”
“Listen, dear Bipasha, if I continue the detailed story what our fathers have narrated to us, it will take a whole night to finish it. So, I am not going into details and making it abridged. So, our fathers named the tribe as ‘Masombango Tribe’ named after their deity aka ‘Tree Tribe’. With the help of their hunter knives, our fathers prepared wooden spears, and wooden arrows from the twigs and they also prepared bows. Then they trained the tribes how to throw sharpened spears and usages of bow and arrow for easy hunting of eatable animals and protecting themselves from wild animals. Gradually our fathers learned their language for communication. Our fathers also taught them another method of igniting a fire which was the hand drill method (The hand drill method is characterized by the use of a thin, straightened wooden shaft or reed to be spun with the hands, grinding within a notch against the soft wooden base of a fireboard, a wooden board with a carved notch in which to catch heated wood fibers created by friction). A year had already passed, and our fathers would often visit the town to their mutual friend and well-wisher in the night to ascertain the current news prevailing in the state. Both of them were still on the hit list of Britishers. At that time plenty of scrap irons were lying in the outskirts of town.
While returning to the jungle, the two friends would often collect these scraps. Often, they would lead the tribes to collect these scrap irons from the outskirt of town in the darkness of night. Later on, our fathers melted these scrap irons and trained the tribes for the usage of iron for making sharp weapons like arrows, spears, knives for hunting purposes as well as for their self-defense and protection from wild animals. Later on, they trained the tribes for the usage of iron for plowing and agriculture purposes. Now, the tribes considered the two friends as members of their tribes, our fathers were two Messiahs for them. Our fathers also visited the deity ‘Masombango’ who was worshipped by the tribes in a cave. The image of the deity was in the form of a hard black natural stone. The top was a round stone symbolizing head. From there two inclined stones in the size of hands were vertically downwards, symbolizing two hands, then from the lower side, there were other two-leg sized stones vertically downwards, symbolizing two legs of the deity. It was not a man-made stone rather a single big black stone made naturally. They were informed by the tribes that the deity had been worshipped from the ages by their forefathers. After visiting the deity, the two friends felt something spirituality, the omnipresence of the deity, the direct blessings of the deity for their survival,” Bhaskar halted for a moment, then took a little quantity of water from the glass.
He resumed his speech, “Gradually the two friends started feeling something supernatural and sacred within themselves, and from that day, both of them started worshipping the deity with tribes. While exploring the jungle, the duo found an abandoned two-story Bungalow, near the bank of the Kangsabati River. It had a total of 8 nos of Rooms with kitchen room, two bathrooms separately with an underground water kaçak bahis tank. But the bungalow was in dilapidated conditions, full of shrubs and grasses, even small trees were coming up inside the building. They could see a tigress and its cubs made it their abode. They could realize that it was made for the wild game, amusement, sport, merriment purposes for some Maharaja (Indian Prince) but during the course of times, it was abandoned. They guessed it might be more than 20-30 years, no human beings had stepped therein. Two years had already passed. Our fathers persuaded the tree tribespeople to settle on the ground, to which all of them agreed.
Our fathers choose the place near that abandoned bungalow near the river. They trained the tribes to build their huts in clay and stones, trained them for the cultivation of rice and pulses, cooking in clay utensils. They tamed the wild cattle for their domestic uses. They cleaned the abandoned bungalow where our fathers stayed. Slowly the tree tribes learned from our fathers the art of cultivation, plowing, ironsmith works, carpentry works, weaver, extracting oil, pottery, and other works. Our fathers taught them to extract Ghee (Ghee is a hard fat that is obtained by heating butter made from the milk of a cow or a buffalo) and Animal fat for light in a lamp (mud lamp). Except for lightning and flame of fire, the tribes had never experienced light. With the ghee and animal fat, Inside the hut, they used the mud lamp, and outside they started using Mashal (A torch, which is a long stick with burning material at one end, used to provide light or to set things on fire). The tribes started enjoying their lives by agriculture and hunting with the guidance of our fathers. In the meantime, our fathers got information from their mutual friend that their wives were dead due to cholera. I and Arnab, remember our mothers but don’t remember the death of our mothers as we both were small kids at that time.”
The family members noticed the tears in the eyes of Bhaskar.
He wiped his tears, “After the death of our mothers, we both were brought up by our grandparents in the village. We both had also no memory of our fathers till they picked up us from the village when we both were 8 years old. In the jungle, both the friends were very much grief-stricken after hearing the death news of their wives. Ultimately, they devoted themselves to the development and betterment of Tree tribes. In the year1947, India got freedom, and became a free nation, the Britishers left India forever. The criminal case registered by the British against our fathers was withdrawn by the Government of India, and suddenly the duo became famous as national heroes and freedom fighters. Both of them were praised and were awarded gold medals for their contribution to the nation and gifted two plots in Calcutta where now our houses have been built. Our fathers picked up me and Arnab from the village to Calcutta for our better education, both the friends didn’t remarry again rather they devoted themselves to the education of me and Arnab. They built their houses here, of course, Arnab and myself have renovated the houses, and made them into two-story buildings in an identical manner.
Let me continue about our fathers. Till such time, nobody was aware of the existence of such tribes in dense jungle, but our fathers brought forward the facts of the existence of Tree tribes before the nation. A lot of researchers and newsmen started taking interviews with our fathers. Another important thing is to be noted here that before they depart from the tribes, the tribes made our fathers promise and vow before deity that once in a year during their annual festival when deity Masombango will be worshipped publicly by the tribes, our fathers must be present and stay with them for a month. So, onwards, every year, our fathers would be present during their annual festival when they would worship the deity, and they would stay one month in that old Bungalow. But the two friends had a noble intention, they wanted betterment and welfare of the tribes like civilized society, and accordingly, they requested Government and put some schemes and proposals for the Tribes. The Government agreed and sent some emissaries to the jungle but the emissaries were not allowed to enter their hamlets by the tribes, and they started attacking the govt. officials with their arrows and spears and wounded some officials severely. The Govt. tried several times to intrude into the jungle for their betterment, tried to bring them in the line of civilized society, but everything went in vain as they would not allow any outsiders. Apart from our fathers, whoever would enter the jungle and cross beyond Bungalow will be attacked by the tribes. I think there should be a coffee break,” Bhaskar stopped his speech.
The sound of crockery and spoons was heard from the distant table where both Mihir and Bipin were busy preparing coffee for the family members. The aroma of coffee was coming through the steam from the china kettle. The family members went near the table for their coffee. There was a soft murmuring going on amongst the family members while sipping the coffee, particularly referring to their family history. After 10 minutes, everybody came back to their seats.
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