Slowly Ganeshrao’s visits to Madhurani’s bungalow became more frequent. He was now a completely changed person. His dress also was permanently changed. White khadi pajama and white khadi shirt. His plump body was now acquiring alertness. He was now regularly going for the morning walk and was doing regular exercise. Earlier neither his wife nor his son was ever scared of him. Both were now cowed before him. There was a reason for the son to now be in awe of his father. His father through Madhurani had got him a job in the Municipality. The son was happy that he had now got a job and the wife also was pleased that her husband, even though at this late stage of life, had seen reason and improved. The transfer was also stopped due to Madhurani’s intervention. Now he was working as a full time worker with Madhurani. Because of being in Madhurani’s good books it was not necessary for him to be always present in the office. Even his bosses were afraid to boss over him. In fact if they had any work they began to take Ganeshrao’s help to put in a word to her.
He was considered among the innermost circle of Madhurani as such he stayed in Madhurani’s bungalow at all times of day and night. Now he began to learn several of Madhurni’s inside dealings. Many times he would learn that Madhurani and Madhukarrao were to spend that night at a farmhouse. Except for this, he was much impressed with Madhurani’s all other activities.
He looked forward for such a day to also rise in his life…
When he and she would be at the farmhouse at night. This Madhukarrao would not come in between… nothing will happen by getting angry on Madhukarrao.
These things have to be tolerated with patience….
And one day, when Madhurani would realize that he too, can give his life for her, that day she would certainly take him closer than Madhukarrao…..
At times Madhurani’s stay was in the bungalow and Madhukarrao’s wasn’t. On such occasions Ganeshrao’s living would be in Madhurani’s bedroom. But this fact was not known to anyone. But how can such things remain hidden? Slowly the news began to spread until it must have reached Madhukarrao because one day, without any reason, Madhukarrao started an argument that turned into a quarrel with Ganeshrao. The two exchanged real hot words.
Ganeshrao was not one to be scared. He too, without caring for Madhukarrao, answered each of his accusation. When, as expected by Madhukarrao, Ganeshrao did not cow down, Madhukarrao retreated. But Ganeshrao was no more a greenhorn. He realized that when a politician retreats he becomes more dangerous. Madhukarrao’s cruelly removing Patil’s thorn in a single day was an indication to what level he could stoop. But Ganeshrao expected that until Madhurani gave her clearance he would not go to that level. Ganeshrao was now realizing how difficult a male honey-bee’s life was. At each of the queen bee’s step there was a danger of it losing its life. But he had overcome the fear of losing life from the day he decided to become Madhurani’s male-honey-bee.
One day Ganeshrao met a man in the bungalow. Ganeshrao did not recognize him in that crowd of people. He came near Ganeshrao.
“Namaskar Ganeshrao…Have you recognized me?”
“How can I not?…” Ganeshrao said trying to place him. He met several such people on the bungalow. During the days of his service he would have come in contact with them somewhere or other. If he bluntly said someone that he had not recognized him, he would feel hurt. Therefore at times Ganeshrao, even though not recognizing them, talked and behaved as if he remembered them.
“Rao, you have turned out to be very secretive. I worked and worked and throughout life remained only a Gramsevak.
Now Ganeshrao was able to place him. He was Kharade Saheb. When joining work in Ujni Ganeshrao had taken charge from him.
“ I thought let me do some social work, that is why,” Ganeshrao said.
“For that also one needs to have luck. There, in the office I came to know your influence…All officers are scared of you…” Kharade Saheb said.
“It is all because of good wishes of people like you” Ganeshrao had now learnt to give importance to people.
“By the way, I had some work with you..,,” he said.
Ganeshrao suddenly became alert.
Sala, he has some work that is why he has come to me….
Otherwise he would not have cared for me…
“Tell me… If it is within my capacity I would surely do it…” Ganeshrao said.
“It was about my transfer…” Kharade Saheb said.
“Speak anything but not about transfer… nowadays everyone seeks a transfer. All want to work near a taluka… But how could that be… someone has to be prepared to work in villages….” Ganeshrao said.
“No Sir,… I don’t want to be transferred near a taluka…I want it to be in a village,” Kharade Saheb said.
“In a village?..Everyone wants to get transferred near towns and cities. You are the first one to seek a transfer to a village…” Ganesh said expressing his wonder.
“Yes, Sir, I want a transfer to a village, Ujni. It is near my village…” Kharade Saheb elaborated.
He was elder than Ganeshrao in age and experience, yet he was addressing him as Sir. But now Ganeshrao had got used to it..
“Alright..alright.. but who is there now?...” Ganeshrao enquired.
There is one…. Some Deshmukh..” Kharade Saheb said.
“But does he want to be transferred from there?” Ganeshrao asked.
“I don’t know, Sir.”
“You don’t know it? How can you do such half baked work?.. First find out about it. It would be good if it can be got done by mutual consent.”
“I had heard that his village also is near Ujni… I feel that he would not like to move from there.”
“”That’s it. Now you are coming out with the truth… there is no use hiding things from us. They don’t say for nothing that one should not hide anything from a doctor and a politician…” Ganeshrao made a caustic observation.
“No, Sir, it isn’t like that… And he too had worked as per the wishes of Sampatrao Patil..” Kharade Saheb said.
“As per Sampatrao Patil’s wishes, did he… but now Patil is no more…” Ganesh said bitterly.
“But it is said that he was especially close to the Minister ” Kharade Saheb said.
“Don’t worry about all that…” Ganeshrao said giving him an assurance. “And write all details on a piece of paper and hand it to me… I will see if anything can be done,” Ganeshrao said.
“Means… there is no need to go to the Minister ?” Kharade Saheb asked..
“If you do not trust me, go and meet the Minister. Ganeshrao began to walk away displeased.
“No....it is not like that Sir…” Kharade Saheb now began to go behind Ganeshrao like a dog wagging his tail….
(to be contd.)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote