“Tulsi, kal subah jaldi aa jaana, ghar me pooja hai. Thakurji ki baarat nikaalni hai”.
“Aur sun pichwaade ke aangan se aakar bahar se hi kaam karke chale jaana, andar ka kaam hum sambhal lenge.”
“Ghar ki shuddhi hogi, usse pehle hi tu chali jaana”, said the Thakuraain.
“Ji bibiji”, answered she, as she walked out from the backdoor of the haveli after keeping her chappals and her plate in the chest provided near the door.
It was twilight and the redness in the sky was deepening into grayish tones.
From all the houses on her way back home was coming, the aroma of incense sticks and at the entrance of each one of them were twinkling, lighted diyas kept beside the sacred Tulsi plants.
Soon after reaching home, she took a bath, lighted a diya beside the Tulsi near to her chulha, helped her mother come out of the room and sit in the open, and started preparing for dinner.
By the time she prepared daal-bhaat, her father returned from the fields.
She immediately prepared a concoction of tulsi, ginger, and jaggery for him and then quickly served dinner.
“Jaldi jaldi kha lo amma bauji, kaam khatm karke mujhe jaldi sona hai.”
“Kal malkin ne jaldi bulaaya hai”.
“Haan kal tulsi byaah hai na, dekh gudiya tu bhool ke bhi thakuraain ke saamne na jaana”, explained her mother to her.
“Haan amma, main dhyan rakhungi”, she replied.
Early next morning she left for the haveli, and quickly absorbed herself in work so that she could finish in time and leave before the pooja started.
That day there was nobody to offer her tea or breakfast in the haveli as everybody was busy decorating Thakurji and Tulsi maa for their wedding.
So many sweets and savouries needed to be prepared after all. As she was about to leave, the thakuraain called her from inside and asked her to wash a few clothes before she left.
It took her an hour to wash the clothes and dry them before she could finally leave.
Totally exhausted, she hurriedly kept her chappals inside the chest and moved out of the backyard. As an extra precaution she covered her face with a dupatta lest anyone could sight her near to the procession route.
In her hurriedness, she forget to even wear her chappals and had just barely gone a few steps forward when a thorny bush lying on the way pierced her foot.
Aaahhhhh….. she sighed and couldn’t move a bit.
The procession had already started. She carefully covered her full face so as to hide herself.
As the procession came nearer she tried hard to move fast but couldn’t. Though limping badly, still she tried to move out of their way.
They all were passing by without noticing her, but just when the beautifully decorated tulsi plant was being carried from that place a strong gust of wind blew away her dupatta uncovering her face. She immediately closed her eyes and bowed her head as a mark of respect to the Procession and Tulsi ma.
” Are ye kya, ye yahaan kya kar rahi hai. Tulsi ma par nazar bhi daaldi isne, ab Thakurji kaise apnaeinge ma ko”.
“Sazaa do isse aur phir ma ko pavitra karke hi aage badhna hoga yahaan se”, said the priest.
The young Thakur boy whipped her like an animal, then leaving her half-dead poured ganga-jal on the Tulsi plant and then moved further. Nobody cared to see what happened to tulsi.
With great difficulty, she reached back home and broke down in her mother’s arms. Meanwhile, her father also came back from the fields. Looking at her condition, he quickly ran towards the jungle, brought some herbs, with which he made a paste and applied to her wounds.
Tulsi couldn’t even get up for the next two days. On the third day, she managed to get up and go back to work at the haveli.
” Kya do din se tu aayi nahi, kaam karna nahi hai, bus paise chahiye tum logon ko”, said the thakuraain.
” Par chote Thakur ne kitna maara mujhe us din thakuraain”, replied tulsi.
” To kya kehna chahti hai tu, galti bhi to teri hai. Tulsi ma par apni drishti daal apavitra to tune hi kiya tha na unhe. Ab baatein kiye bina jaldi jaldi haath chalaa”, said the thakuraain cursing her for spoiling the procession.
After finishing her work like every day but with a broken heart, she went back home. After having a bath, she took a dupatta and covered the Tulsi plant in her verandah, and started cooking food without lighting the evening diya. Her mother was startled to see her daughter who was such an ardent lover and devotee of the plant and believed it to be her friend doing this and asked her the reason.
Tulsi replied with tears in her eyes “Ma, is Tulsi ki nazar se Tulsi ma apavitra ho jaati hain na. Inhe hamari nazar se bachana bahut zaroori hai”.
One thought on “Tulsi ki Apavitrata”
Such a hard hitting, poignant reality of human face