|Always a Debtor Be
(Rhinang-Krittwa by Shibram Chakraborty)
Translated by Ranjan Mukherjee
I could understand if it were a question of true debt, but it was not, really. Only, the rent was due. Not a whole lot, just 500 rupees. And for this paltry amount the landlord appeared seething in anger and with a stern visage warned, "I have given you enough time, I don’t want to hear any more excuses…."
"Just think about it," I pleaded. "You are making a big fuss over this tiny amount! But, a few decades later, after I die, that is, people will point to this house and whisper, ‘See that house. Once upon a time, the famous writer Mr. So and So used to live here."
"Used to live here! Aha! Big deal! What good will that do for me today," my landlord exploded in sarcasm. "Now listen mister, I am telling you in no uncertain terms; if I don't get the full amount today by midnight, people will be saying, not a decade later, but tomorrow, that the famous writer used to live here. Got it?"
The landlord appeared, harangued and disappeared. But where would I get so much money in just half a day? For fear of having to lend to a penurious writer, few people have deigned to make my acquaintance. Writer means a debtor and I fit that description more than any other writer, everybody knew that.
Should I go to Harshabardhan for help? Five hundred rupees is just a trivial amount for the Harshavardhan family. I have written a lot on them and earned a fair amount. Why don't I ask for their help, maybe their benevolence would get me out of my predicament?