About the Author:
Manoj Das (1934) is an Indian award-winning bilingual writer who writes in Oriya and English. He has written many novels, short stories, poems, travelogues, and articles on history and culture.
This text is an edited version of Das’s short story which narrates Bhola Grandpa’s hilarious adventures seen through the eyes of a young man who had known him closely. The simplicity and forgetfulness of Bhola Grandpa provide an element of humour on which the story hinges.
The story centers around the funny, fanciful, and forgetful man, Bhola Grandpa. It begins with the description of the location and condition of Bhola grandpa’s residence where he lived with his wife. They lived together peacefully with a small troop of monkeys living on the bokal tree by their cottage. Bhola’s grandpa was forgetful nature is evident in the incident of losing his grandson. It was a moonlit night. Bhola Grandpa was returning from a festival with his grandson. He had gripped his grandsons fingers tightly but he could not feel when the fingers slipped out of his tight grip. He was so involved in other thoughts that he proceeded his journey with his grip which seemed to hold something. And when he was reminded of the fact he burst into lamentation with the realisation that his grandson might be lost. But soon the boy was found sitting under the belly of a cow.
Another incident that made the narrator’s father and his friends unnecessarily harassed, was confusion between fancy and fact. It was an exciting tale of pirates burying a treasure in the nearby seashore. All the efforts of the narrator’s father and his friends failed to find out the large box after a nightlong search. At last Bhola Grandpa confessed his mistake that it was his daydream.
Equally interesting is Bhola Grandpa’s encounter with the Royal Bengal Tiger. One evening he was returning from a weekly market, he confronted a tiger. It was gazing at him from a little distance. He hurriedly climbed up a banyan tree and saved himself by spending the night there. But at dawn, he had altogether forgotten all about the tiger and came down in search of water. As he was reminded of the tiger, he was panic-stricken. He then made a headlong retreat to home. Bhola Grandpa was a long-lived man. He died at the age of ninety-five. So when he passed away, his bereaved wife according to her concept of her husband’s forgetful nature observed that he must have forgotten to take a breath at the last moment.
[ মজার, কল্পনাপ্রবণ এবং ভুলে যাওয়া মানুষ, ভোলা দাদুকে কেন্দ্র করে গল্পটি। এটি ভোলা দাদুর বাসভবনের অবস্থান এবং অবস্থার বর্ণনা দিয়ে শুরু হয় যেখানে তিনি তার স্ত্রীর সাথে থাকতেন। তারা তাদের কুটিরের পাশে বোকাল গাছে বসবাসকারী বানরদের একটি ছোট দল নিয়ে শান্তিপূর্ণভাবে একসাথে বসবাস করত। নাতি হারানোর ঘটনায় ভোলা দাদুর ভুলে ভরা স্বভাবের প্রমাণ মিলেছে। এটা ছিল চাঁদনী রাত। ভোলা দাদু নাতিকে নিয়ে উৎসব থেকে ফিরছিলেন। সে তার নাতির আঙ্গুলগুলো শক্ত করে চেপে ধরেছিল কিন্তু কখন যে আঙ্গুলগুলো তার শক্ত খপ্পর থেকে সরে গেছে সে অনুভব করতে পারেনি। সে অন্য চিন্তায় এতটাই জড়িত ছিল যে সে তার মুঠো নিয়ে যাত্রা শুরু করেছিল যা মনে হয় কিছু ধরে আছে। এবং যখন তাকে এই সত্যটি মনে করিয়ে দেওয়া হয়েছিল তখন তিনি তার নাতি হারিয়ে যেতে পারে এই উপলব্ধি নিয়ে বিলাপে ফেটে পড়েন। কিন্তু কিছুক্ষণের মধ্যেই দেখা গেল ছেলেটি গরুর পেটের নিচে বসে আছে।
আরেকটি ঘটনা যা বর্ণনাকারীর বাবা এবং তার বন্ধুদের অকারণে হয়রানি করেছিল, তা ছিল কল্পনা এবং বাস্তবতার মধ্যে একটি বিভ্রান্তি। এটি ছিল নিকটবর্তী সমুদ্র উপকূলে জলদস্যুদের একটি ধন কবর দেওয়ার একটি উত্তেজনাপূর্ণ গল্প। রাতভর খোঁজাখুঁজির পরও কথকের বাবা এবং তার বন্ধুদের সমস্ত প্রচেষ্টা ব্যর্থ হয়। অবশেষে ভোলা দাদু তার ভুল স্বীকার করলেন যে এটা তার দিবাস্বপ্ন।
রয়্যাল বেঙ্গল টাইগারের সাথে ভোলা দাদুর মুখোমুখি হওয়াও একই রকম আকর্ষণীয়। একদিন সন্ধ্যায় তিনি একটি সাপ্তাহিক বাজার থেকে ফিরছিলেন, তিনি একটি বাঘের মুখোমুখি হন। সেটা একটু দূর থেকে ওর দিকে তাকিয়ে আছে। তিনি তড়িঘড়ি করে একটি বটগাছে উঠেছিলেন এবং সেখানে রাত কাটিয়ে নিজেকে বাঁচিয়েছিলেন। কিন্তু ভোরবেলা সে বাঘের কথা ভুলে গিয়ে জলের খোঁজে নেমে পড়ে। বাঘের কথা মনে পড়লে তিনি আতঙ্কিত হয়ে পড়েন। এরপর তিনি বাড়ি ফিরে যান। ভোলা দাদু ছিলেন দীর্ঘজীবী মানুষ। তিনি পঁচানব্বই বছর বয়সে মারা যান। সুতরাং যখন তিনি মারা গেলেন, তার স্বামীর বিস্মৃত প্রকৃতির ধারণা অনুসারে তার শোকাহত স্ত্রী ভেবেছিলেন যে তিনি অবশ্যই শেষ মুহূর্তে শ্বাস নিতে ভুলে গেছেন। ]
Overshadowed : আচ্ছাদিত
Troop of monkeys: বানরের দল
Moonlit night: জোছনারাত
Gripping: আঁকড়ে ধরা
Remembered: মনে করা
A gang of Pirates: জলদস্যুদের একটি দল
Sand dunes: বালিয়াড়ি
Hidden treasure: গুপ্তধন
Midday nap : দুপুরের ঘুম
Dense jungles : ঘন জঙ্গল
Lamented: বিলাপ করা
• Tick the correct answer from the given alternatives:
1. In the bokal tree there lived
(a) crows (b) monkeys (c) tigers (d) sparrows
Ans: (b) monkeys
2. On the way back from the festival, Bhola Grandpa tightly held on to the two fingers of his
(a) son (b) cousin (c) grandson (d) nephew
Ans: (c) grandson
3. A gang of pirates were burying a
(a) large box (b) small box (c) large bag (d) small bag
Ans: (a) large box
4. Bhola Grandpa was returning from the
(a) annual market (b) monthly market (c) daily market (d) weekly market
Ans: (d) weekly market
5. Bhola Grandpa died at the age of
(a) eighty-five (b) ninety-five (c) fifty-five (d) seventy- five
Ans: (b) ninety-five
• Answer the following questions within fifteen words:
(a) When did Bhola Grandpa let out a loud wail?
Ans: Bhola grandpa let out a loud wail when he remembered his grandson and understood that his grandson was lost.
(b) Where had the grandson found a cosy shelter?
Ans: The grandson had found a cosy shelter under the cow’s belly in the place of the festival.
(c) What request did Bhola Grandpa make to the first man he saw on the mound?
Ans: Bhola grandpa requested the first man he saw on the Mount to give him some water to drink.
(d) How old was Bhola Grandpa’s wife when he died?
Ans: Bhola grandpa’s wife was eight years old when he died.
• Answer the following questions within twenty-five words:
(a) Why was no real treasure found under the sand dunes?
Ans: No real treasure was found under the sand dunes because it was really a dream that Bhola grandpa had during his midday nap.
(b) What did the tiger do after Bhola Grandpa had climbed up the banya tree?
Ans: After Bhola grandpa had climbed up the Banyan tree the tiger roared and circled the tree about a hundred times. Then it sat in a bush and gazed at Bhola Grandpa.
(c) What was the reason for Bhola Grandpa’s death according to his wife?
Ans: According to Bhola grandpa’s wife he died as he forgot to breathe.
• Change the mode of narration of the following sentences:
(a) Bulbuli said to his friend, “Will you come tomorrow?”
Ans: Bulbuli asked his friend if she/he would go the next day.
(b) Paulami says,” I am fine.”
Ans: Paulami says that she is fine.
(c) The teacher said to the students, “Keep quiet.”
Ans: The teacher ordered the students to keep quiet.
(d) My mother said to me, “May your dreams come true.”
Ans: My mother wished me that my dreams might go true.
(e) The students said, “Sir, please allow us to play in the field.”
Ans: The student requested respecting sir to allow them to play in the field.
• In each of the sentences of the following passage, some articles and prepositions are used in an incorrect manner. Underline them and replace them with the appropriate ones:
On an winter night I was aboard a boat. It was a moonlit night full on stars. The boat was anchored up a great river. I was thrilled to see a beauty of nature.
Ans:Ata winter night I was aboard a boat. It was a moonlit night full with stars. The boat was anchored with a great river. I was thrilled to see the beauty of nature.
• Write a dialogue within 100 words on the need to ban the use of animals like tigers and lions as circus attractions:
Hints:- wild animals decreasing – ill-treatment to animals in circuses – criminal offence – laws against such – need to be humane to animals
Rina: Hi, Tiya, how are you?
Tiya: Hello! Rina. Long time no see. I’m fine. How about you?
Rina: I’m fine too. Where are you coming from?
Tiya: I am returning from a circus show.
Rina: Oh! I see. Have you enjoyed the show?
Tiya: Not at all! Instead of enjoying the show, I kept feeling sad and miserable at the pathetic condition of animals.
Rina: Yeah. I can understand your feelings. I really feel sorrow for wild animals like tigers and lions. They should be banned in circus shows.
Tiya: They are being forced by their ringmasters to do the stunts. This is a type of criminal offense. I feel pity for the animals.
Rina: You are right. Now the number of such animals is decreasing day by day.
Tiya: The Government should take necessary action to protect their lives.
Rina: Also people should raise their voice against this torture of animals.
Tiya: I agree with you. My mother is calling so I have to go. Bye!
Rina: Bye! Take care of yourself.
Tiya: You also. See you soon.
• Write a story within 100 words using the given hints. Give a title to the story:
Hints: returning from the educational excursion by bus–night journey–sudden breakdown–tyres punctured–had to wait for two hours at a lonely place–tyres fixed–back home
A Pleasant Journey Becomes Nightmare
It was a jolly and quite exciting day as our school organized an educational excursion in Santiniketan. All the senior students were allowed to join the excursion. As per the scheduled time, we reached Santiniketan around 10 o’clock in the morning. After having breakfast we, guided by our teachers visited Visva-Bharati, Upasana Mandir, Santiniketan Museum, Shonajhuri forest and some other places. We also conducted a survey in Srijani Shilpagram. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and started our return journey after the evening. When we were about to reach Orgram, suddenly we felt a jerk and the bus stopped. One of the back tyres of the bus was punctured. The driver and the helper started to replace the damaged tyre. The place was lonely and at about 8 at night we felt scared. We had to wait for two hours. At last, the tyre was fixed and we reached home safely.
A. Tick the correct answer from the given alternatives:
1. In the village Bhola grandpa and his wife lived at the
A) eastern part B) northern part C) western part D) southern part
Ans: c) western part
2. The storyteller was riding on
A) a house B) a donkey C) a motorcycle D) village chowkidar’s shoulders
Ans: D) village chowkidar’s shoulders
3. In earlier days people traveled in the Sunderbans after sundown A) alone B) with weapons C) in groups D) none of these
Ans: c) in groups
4. The growl was of a
A) lion B) dog C) fox D) Royal Bengal
Ans: D) Royal Bengal
5. With nightfall, the forest gradually became
A) bright and vibrant B) calm and quiet C) dark and silent D) cool and mysterious
Ans: c) dark and silent
B. Answer the following questions within fifteen words:
1. Who is the writer of the story “Tales of Bhola Grandpa”?
Ans. Manoj Das is the writer of the story “Tales of Bhola Grandpa”.
2. Where did Bhola grandpa live with his wife?
Ans: Bhola grandpa lived with his wife at the western part of the narrator’s village.
3. What overshadowed Bhola grandpa’s hut?
Ans: A large bokal tree overshadowed Bhola grandpa’s hut.
4. Who roamed freely in the jungle of Sundarbans?
Ans: Royal Bengal tigers freely roamed in the jungles of the Sunderbans.
5. What did Bhola Grandpa do when he saw the tiger?
Ans: When Bhola Grandpa saw the tiger, he instantly climbed up a nearby banyan tree.
C. Answer the following questions within twenty-five words:
1. How did they find Bhola Grandpa’s grandson?
Ans: The narrator’s father chose two sharp-sighted men from their bunch and sent them back to the celebration with Bhola Grandpa. They before long found him in a secure shield beneath the stomach of a cow.
2. Why did Bhola Grandpa almost lose his senses in fear?
Ans: When Bhola Grandpa realized that he had crossed a hungry royal Bengal tiger on foot within the morning, he nearly lost consciousness in fear. Due to his distraction, he nearly did not take note that the tiger was lying within the bushes another to the banyan tree.
3. One rainy afternoon what did Bhola Grandpa tell the narrator’s father and his friends?
Ans: One rainy afternoon, Bhola Grandpa told the narrator’s father and his companions that he had seen a gathering of privateers burying a huge box on the shoreline close to the village.