About the author- He was one of the most famous figures in modern Hindi literature as well as Hindi theatre. He promulgated ‘Chhayavad’ a literary trend in Hindi literature. It is romanticism with a spiritual base and universalism which touches every core of humanism.
“You are being reckless, Chandra Dev.”
“I am speaking the truth, Dev Kumar.”
“Your truth is weak as it is impossible that it actually appeared. I think while giving a speech, you are swayed by emotions. To think of something’s mysterious existence to be a reality is beyond the ‘x-ray’ perceptions that we possess.” Saying this Dev Kumar laughed and his laughter was filled with contempt.
Chandra Dev changed the topic and said- “I will argue on this later. See we have reached the waterfall for which we had travelled eight miles.”
“Man, made of truth and falsities hasn’t been able to touch the shadow of Truth as he stays in the darkness. I believe that you are unable to even understand yourself.” – said Dev Kumar.
Chandra Dev sat down and kept looking at the cliff. This waterfall is the most famous in Mussoorie. Falling into a huge pit, the water converts into a river and runs along as if rejected by everyone.
Chandra Dev was the son of Taluqdar and had come to Mussoorie with his friend Dev Kumar to stay at a guest house for peace and health. It could never be determined when clouds would cover the mountains and when it would start raining. Chandra Dev’s servant reached the spot with food. Both the friends sat under a walnut tree and started eating. Chandra Dev used to drink as well for his health.
Dev Kumar said- “If we want to prevent getting drenched then we should leave now.”
Chandra Dev, drinking said- “You are a coward and do not have the strength to lead a courageous life. Being careful when walking, shutting one up in one’s room on time, behaving as if one is inflicted with many diseases will make any one stay at home.”
Dev Kumar laughed and after sometime both of them got up. The servant followed them. Rain drops had started falling and everyone took out their rain wear.
It became necessary to take refuge against the rain as their rain wear wasn’t good enough to protect them from the rains. The three of them started looking for shelter. They saw a small cave and they entered it.
Removing the water from his eyebrows, Chandra Dev saw a dark but a lit up face shining with youthfulness. She was a local. Chandra Dev started looking at the woman in an artful manner. She became shy. Chandra Dev asked her in a profound manner- “ What have you come to do here?”
“ Babuji I live on the other mountain and had come here to earn a livelihood.”
“ What do you do for a livelihood?”
“ I catch snakes.”
Chandra Dev was shocked and asked- “ Have you come here to catch snakes? There are very few snakes here.”
“ Yes, at times I catch snakes here. I have just seen a golden snake.” Saying this she pointed towards the crevice.
Chandra Dev looked- Two glowing lights.
The rain had stopped. Chandra Dev said- “Let’s go Dev Kumar. Ramu you catch snakes as well? He catches without using any means.” Dev Kumar nodded.
Ramu said- “Yes Master, should I catch this one?”
“No, no. Let her catch it. You bring it to the hotel for us to see. What do say Dev? That will be good entertainment?” Saying this Chandra Dev and Dev Kumar left.
A lot of friends had gathered in Chandra Dev’s room and Nera showed the golden snake to everyone.
Ramu was staring at Nera. Chandra Dev said- “ Ramu bring me that glass box.”
Ramu brought it immediately.
Chandra Dev laughed and said- “ Nera this box is for your snake.” Happy, Nera started to keep its new find in the box but it did not want to go inside the box. Ramu intervened and the sanke entered the box. Nera thanked Ramu through her eyes.
Chandra Dev’s friends said- “ Your servant is very experienced.”
Chandra Dev looked proudly at Ramu but Ramu was mesmerized by Nera and was staring at her.
Dev Kumar laughed. The show ended and Nera received a huge prize.
Three days later, near the hotel under a tree; Chandra Dev was standing. He was looking intently at a man and a woman who were taking to each other. He felt angry but did not say anything. Dev Kumar touched his back and said- “ What is it ?”
Chandra Dev showed him what he was watching. Nera was standing near a bush and Ramu was saying something to her. Seeing this Dev Kumar caught hold of Chandra Kumar’s arm and said- “Let’s go.”
Both of them came back and sat in their room.
Dev Kumar said- “ You were discussing about the true nature of Ramu’s heart. It is possible that you don’t know yourself.”
Chandra Dev said- “ I will whip him and set him right. That scoundrel!”
Chandra Dev had returned after watching a ball and was retiring to his room. He heard someone whispering. It reminded him of Nera and he bit his lip and crashed on his bed. His temperature rose. He was very angry and switched off his lights.
After some time a yelling was heard. It seemed as if someone called out Ramu’s name. he switched on the lights and saw the golden snake coiled around Ramu’s hand. Chnadra Dev shouted- “ What are you doing here? Look, its life is in danger. If only Nera was here.”
Chandra Dev was very frightened and then Nera appeared. At this hour of the night? Chandra Dev remained silent with anger. Nera removed the snake from Ramu’s hand and closed it in the box. Chandra Dev asked Ramu- “ What are you doing here?” Ramu started shaking.
“ Speak up! Otherwise I will peel your skin off!”
Ramu remained silent.
Chandra Dev’s face darkened. He would look at Ramu and then at Nera. He picked up his gun and Nera stood in front of Ramu. “ Babu ji he had come here to take the wine for me which is in that bottle.”
Chandra Dev looked and saw the red wine happy in its encasing. Chandra Dev kept his gun down. Picking up the box and the bottle he gave it to them and said- “ Both of you leave right now and Ramu never show your face to me again.”
Both of them slowly retreated from the room. Ramu knew his master’s temperament.
The next day, Dev Kumar and Chandra Dev descended the mountains and Ramu was not with them.
After eleven months, Chandra Dev reached the same hotel. It was evening and the sun was setting filling the sky with myriad colours and there was a slow breeze. Chandra Dev tried to close the glass window. He saw Ramu carruign a box on his head and Nera following him in a slow manner. Neera looked up and smiled; paying her respects she again followed Ramu. Chandra Dev slammed his window closed and thought- “ It is true, do I even know myself?”