Arriving home he found another crowd gathered under a pandal. He glanced questioningly at Indrani Debi. Surely she knew how he hated crowds. Indrani, obviously uneasy, offered the explanation:
“I have arranged a yajna and called priests to bless you.”
“But why? Just because I left the shores of India? You know it is no longer taboo! And in any case you know my views on these meaningless rituals.”
Indrani Debi looked at Sibaji babu, the younger brother of her husband. Sibaji babu coughed and explained, “We have all been very disturbed since you discovered the comet. Guruji recommended a shanti yajna to pacify the evil spirit behind the comet. We are all waiting for you to perform the yajna.”
Duttada returned to Calcutta after a three-week absence. When Duttada returned home, he was surprised to find another big crowd gathered in front of his house, which was surrounded by a pandal. He didn't understand why guests were invited to his house. He cast a suspicious gaze at his wife, Indrani Debi. Indrani Debi was fully aware of her husband's dislike of crowds. So, Indrani appeared a bit nervous in front of her husband. She then informed Duttada that people had been invited to the yajna she had organised and that priests had been called to bless Duttada.
The motive for Indrani's yajna was apparent. She may have planned for yajna at home since she felt the discovery of Comet Dutta was connected with bad luck. Duttada fought with his wife because he didn't want the yajna to be done at home. He was enraged at her for organising a thing (yajna) that he hated since he believed that doing yajna would be useless. He questioned Indrani whether she had planned the yajna because he was out of India, knowing well that such rituals would be disapproved by him. He also wanted to know if she thought Duttada would approve of such rites. Moreover, in any situation, Indrani was well aware of his opinions about those pointless rituals.
Indrani Debi sought assistance from Sibaji Babu, Duttada's younger brother because she could not avoid her husband's rage in any manner. Duttada's rage terrified Sibaji Babu as well and so he coughed a bit without knowing how to tackle him. He then began by gently explaining that Duttada's family members had been disturbed since the discovery of Comet Dutta. Guruji recommended doing a shanti yajna to pacify the evil force behind the comet. As a result, Duttada's guests were invited to the yajna, and they awaited Duttada's arrival because he (Duttada) was the one who had to perform the pooja.
Meaning of difficult words:
Pandal (Indian word)
A temporary shed used for ceremonies
In a way that can be easily seen or understood
|Yajna (Hindi word)||Refers to a Hindu ritual done in front of a sacred-fire|
|Shore||A land at the edge of lake, river or ocean|
|Taboo||Not accepted as correct|
|Ritual||A ceremony which is performed in the same way always|
|Pacify||To make someone calm|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). The Comet - II — JAYANT NARLIKAR (pp. 81-87). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.