Section 1: Days of peril

Damnation of a gentleman


New residence


My noble boss retired from service in 1991 but continued as a research scientist for another twelve years with a little reduced emolument. During the period he was obsessed with the idea of moving out of Dehradun.  Kolkata was his new destination.

  “My wife is of the view that we should settle finally in Kolkata where she has some relatives. I have booked a flat with a builder costing rupees 750,000; it will be ready in near future,” V. R. told me soon after his retirement.

Change of place was a difficult task for a dedicated scientist like V. R. with sinking finances and thinking masked by Malun.  I explained the pitfalls of his new venture. But I also understood that the spirit had opened her new front to torture my ex-boss further. Her victory was certain because she was now operating through the mind of V. R.’s wife.  I could see him landing in serious financial troubles soon. 

“But how do you pay 7.5 lacs?” I questioned V. R.

“I will sell my house of Dehradun for 10 lacs and pay the money, leaving some surplus,” my boss was not worried on the financial front and replied accordingly.

 Reply from V. R. was simplistic. He did not visualize that constructing a house means a ‘doubling of time and money’ both over the best estimates. Things were not going to be simple for him as V.R. had projected. His alien must have plans to see my boss tasting the worst misery –   being penniless or in loan due to new enterprise.    The devil was driving him to his worst future, I could see. Course of action by V. R., under the possession and command of his dead queen, could lead him to starvation for meals in the worst scenario before me. She was now forcing him through his wife to sell his house at Dehradun and move to a town where he would not be earning any money for his living through research grants. This may bring a psychological setback to my past boss, I imagined.

 Acquisition and movement to the flat in Kolkata was a long story, putting him to financial stress for quite some time. His first flat, booked initially for 7.5 lacs, was not acquired because his house at Dehradun could not be sold in time to make payments. A new flat was booked again but it cost him   15 lacs in 2003 due to price escalation.   V.R.’s new residence ate the savings of the simple scientist and brought him on ground zero of finance while he was climbing the stairs of his flat in Kolkata. This is what the spirit of his Khasi queen had wanted, and she succeeded in her mission.

Luck, however, still had some happiness and positive looking surprises in store for the future of V. R. He discovered to his luck that his departmental pension was revised upwards in 2005. Amount available now helped him a nice living at Kolkata in the years to follow.