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by Munshi Premchand
It is the rainy season – Savan, the fifth month of the Hindu calendar.
Golden clouds are gathered in the sky. It keeps drizzling now and then.
It is afternoon, but it seems as though it were evening already. Swings
have been placed in the mango orchards. Girls and their mothers enjoy
using them. Two or four of them are on the swings, while another two or
four are assisting them, pushing their swings. Some sing the kaljli, a song
of the rainy season, and some sing barahmasi songs, sung all round the
year. In this season, the women’s childhood memories are aroused. It
seems as if it washes away the worries of their hearts, and revives and
greens the wilted soul. Everybody’s hearts are filled with ecstasy. The
green coloured saris of the women seem to develop a relationship with
the greenery around.
At this moment, a peddler came and stood close to the swing. The
swinging stopped, and everyone, whether young or old, surrounded him.
The peddler opened his box and started taking out glittering objects to
show them. There were ornaments of pearls, unfinished laces and gold
and silver spangles, coloured socks, beautiful dolls and their ornaments,
tops and rattles for children. They picked up one or other thing. A girl with
big eyes chose the most beautiful amongst all those glittering things. It
was a turquoise coloured necklace, a Chandrahar. She said to her mother,
“Amma, I will take this necklace.”
The mother asked the peddler, “Baba, how much is this necklace for?”
Wiping the necklace with his handkerchief, the peddler said, “The purchase
is for twenty annas, but my lady may give whatever she likes.”
Mother said, “This is very expensive. All its shine will fade away in a few
Nodding in a warmly sympathetic manner, the peddlar said, “Bahuji, your
daughter will get a real Chandrahar in a few days.”
These words of sympathy touched the mother’s heart. The necklace was
There was no limit to the little girl’s happiness. Perhaps she would not
have been so pleased with a diamond necklace. Wearing the necklace she
roamed around the entire village. This crystal necklace was the dearest
and the most precious of all the childhood treasures that she possessed.
The girl’s name was Jalpa; her mother’s, Manaki