Story: THE FARM HOUSE OF NECHAR SAHIB
THE FARM HOUSE OF NECHAR SAHIB
During the summer holiday ,I had promised Bubul to take him to a foreign land. We came to Bangla Desh and received an invitation from Nechar Sahib to see his big farm house. He had about five hundred cows and buffaloes, swans , chicken and many goats and lambs. We headed to his farm in a car seeing the scenic beauty of Cox Bazar. Within an hour we reached the farm house and entered through the massive gate to his bungalow. We were greeted by a man wearing lungi and a vest. He introduced himself as Roni. He said all arrangements were made and he carried our luggage to our room. My nephew was a little irritated as Bangla Desh did not look like a foreign land as geographically Kolkata and Bangla Desh looked the same. But we had to procure visas and stamp our passports to enter it.
Roni offered us milk and famous sweets produced at the farm house. Uncle told him I have heard of this huge farm ,spread over thirty acres of land . Besides there is a huge pond.What do you do on this sprawling farm? Roni said, “Our milk is very good so our milk is sent all over the land . Besides eggs , chicken, goat meat, lamb meat are also marketed.” The big land helps the cattle and goats to graze very well. They love to chew the soft green grass. Apart from this there is a huge burial ground.
Bubul was quietly listening to Roni. He now asked him”Why is there such a big grave yard? Do outsiders come to bury here?” “No ,no said Roni this burial ground is for our dead animals. These animals have helped us to create such a big dairy business So out of gratitude Nechar sahib buries them . A tomb stone is placed at the head of each grave in fond memory of them.” All the animals have their names given by Nechar Sahib like Anwara, Jasmine,Nasreen and so on.
Uncle told Roni ,“we will rest in our room tonight, please send the dinner to our rooms.” As soon as Roni left Bubul asked his uncle ,”have you heard of a graveyard for animals ?” His uncle replied,” in Barrackpur, dead horses are buried there. During the British period, pet cats and dogs also had burial grounds for them. “ He further explained that human beings have souls .After their death, if they are not buried properly they can turn into ghosts. Then in case of animals ,they too can turn into ghosts.”
Bubul was very curious ,” What are you talking! Ghosts of cows , buffaloes , goats and ducks in this farm house? Never heard of such a thing.” However uncle said that ghosts of animals are less harmful than human ones. They decided to talk about this with Nechar Sahib the next morning.Meanwhile dinner was served it was a delicious one. After dinner uncle asked Bubul to turn off the lights and go to sleep. He was very sleepy. Bubul wanted to explore the surroundings of the house. Uncle asked him not to take risks as there might be snakes and scorpions hidden in the bushes.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. As if some was asking to open the door from a mild knock it became distinctly clear. What could it be? Was it real or just a figment of their imagination? Bubul gathered his courage and opened the door .There was a black dog wagging its tail. Bubul was not scared of dogs.He felt fear is man’s biggest enemy. Bubul offered some biscuits but the dog didn’t even smell them. Bubul was thinking if the dog slept in that room . Were they occupying his place? They stepped out of their house and the dog began to walk behind them. Uncle asked Bubul to carry his mobile torch. Bubul said it was not required everything was seen clearly in the moonlight night.
They passed by the pond, the reflection of the moon was seen on the ripples in the pond. Bubul pointed out to his uncle ,”can you see those two ducks ? Did they come out of their cage thinking it was day break?” All the animals were sleeping quietly . The black dog followed them as it was their guide who wanted to take them around the farm. Bubul had walked a bit far from his uncle. Suddenly he saw a signboard Animals Graveyard. Bubul was scared to enter but his uncle assured him there was nothing to fear. In a human graveyard one can come across dreadful looking ghosts, vampires and other evil spirits who can do terrible harm or may also kill.In a an Animals Graveyard,” the innocent animals will do no harm . They should not be scared of the ghosts of cows, sheep and goats. They will not come chasing us with their horns.” His uncle said fear will make you shiver ,your body will become numb and your heart will start pounding. In the darkness of the night, you may even collapse. “ Bubul kept quiet for sometime . Then he called his uncle excitedly, “Can you see some shadowy figures moving around in the farm.” Uncle rubbed his eyes ,and to comfort Bubul he said “ don’t be afraid can’t you see they are Sahib”s goats.They are loitering in the farm and having fun .” Bubul now felt relieved as he had thought of something ghastly. He then said in slaughter houses where goats and cows are slaughtered everyday ,would they be full of ghosts of cows and goats?
Domestic animals are born to serve mankind . Their lives are neglected when alive and even after death. When they will be slaughtered or when they will be spared is entirely a man’s choice . Bubul said when a man dies his body is either burnt or buried. As years roll by he turns into dust. But the dissatisfied souls hover around their family and relatives.Then they take birth in some form. Bubul asked, “You mean to say that it is applicable to the animals too? That means the animals buried in this farm can also come out of their graves and are seen at night?” The animals who are butchered have many painful stories to tell. Their language is also different but they too have a way of coming out of their graves and loiter in the farm ,in the silence of the night.
Uncle further told Bubul ,”Do you know Lord Byron the famous poet’s dog is seen at night near his tomb. England’s famous jockey Fred Archer who died prematurely is seen riding his horse in the middle of the night. Even black cats which were kept as pets by famous painters are still seen today at Clark House in England. Bubul screamed “Look some cows are coming towards us. Seems they will hurt us with their horns .Let’s run”. Uncle pacified Bubul, “no ,no they are not coming to hurt us. They must have untied themselves and are coming to see us for we are strangers to them. We have to report to Nechar Sahib tomorrow that, his servants are not doing their duty properly. How come cattle are roaming around the farm in the stillness of the night?”
A white calf came near them, Bubul wanted to pat him but uncle asked him to refrain. Mother cow could come and hit him with her horns.They also noticed that the black dog was also known to the cows they didn’t chase each other. After all they were all residents of Sahib’s farm house.Uncle told Bubul its time to go back to the house. Dew drops were falling on the grass. Bubul called the dog and said”Kalu let’s get back.” Uncle was happy that they toured the entire farm without a guide. Bubul argued “No it was Kalu who took us around .He showed us the way so in a way he is our guide. When I got lost , a black cat helped me to find you.
When it was morning, Nechar Sahib came to greet and welcome them. He asked them to have their breakfast ,there upon he would take them to see his farm. Uncle did not disclose their nocturnal tour. He said cows are worshipped by Hindus but his cows give him a lot of milk which is used to make butter, cheese and other milk products. Even cow urine is used to make phenol . Cowdung gives biogas which is used as energy. Uncle told Sahib, “we are not interested to get kicked by your cows. Rather your black dog your black cat are more useful.” Meanwhile Bubul woke up and joined the conversation. He said “ your black cat helped me to find the way in the dark.”
Nechar Sahib said,”what are you talking! My dog my cat! Did you go out at night?” Uncle replied,”yes they did help us to find the way. They are a lot better than your attendants who are not vigil at night. Your cat has shown us two ducks in the pond ,some goats , a herd of cows and a calf came near Bubul to make friends .” Nechar Sahib was deeply shocked . “I do not have a dog nor a cat. My grandfather had them but that was fifty years ago! The cows and goats cannot roam around in the dark . They are firmly tied to wooden poles. Roni is coming please ask him.”
Uncle told Nechar Sahib ,” Bubul and my self have seen the same thing. I don’t lie.I am a responsible man . What we have seen is not imaginary. It was real.” Bubul was quite taken aback. He said,” that animals also come out of their graves and take shadowy forms . We enjoyed the nocturnal adventure a lot.’’ Nechar Sahib was flabbergasted . He couldn’t find words to tell. His face became dark and his thoughts got entangled in a big mess. He had no answer.
Nechar Sahib with great difficulty recomposed himself. He asked Bubul and his Uncle to have a bath and he would personally accompany them and show his big farm. He assured them that there was nothing to fear.
Bubul politely said , “Nechar uncle we don’t wish to see the farm now. You told us you would take us to see Cox Bazar? We are getting ready just now.” Uncle was in a state of belief and dis belief. Uncle was still in a dilemma . What they saw the previous night , was it only a figment of their imagination ?Could any one give a practical explanation ? May be or may not. Who knows? But this nocturnal adventure would always remain etched in Bubul and his uncle’s mind.