Vikram Betal Stories - The Revenge

 The Revenge

The vampire went on: In the village, Gopipur lived Mahindra, a middle-class farmer. He was as intelligent as he was laborious. He sent his son Uttam to the town for higher education. Uttam was a meritorious boy. He became popular not only in his educational institution but also in the whole town. He received a coveted award from the king for his poetry. He participated in a seminar of scholars and was highly praised for his discourse. At the completion of his studies, he emerged as the best student of his institution. Mahindra, naturally, felt very proud of Uttam. "My son," he told Uttam when the young man was back in the village, "now I'd like you to get married. I must see you settled in life." Uttam was not eager to marry that soon. At the same time, he did not wish to hurt his father's feelings. After some hesitation, he consented to abide by his father's will. Mahindra was very happy. He prepared to go out to meet Dhir Das, his neighbour. Dhir Das was the most wealthy merchant in that area. Mahindra used to observe his daughter, Sumati. She was beautiful and humble. Mahindra nursed a desire to bring her home as his daughter-in-law. Just then they were met by a messenger from the king. He brought some good news that Uttam had been appointed as a scholar in the royal court. Mahindra was elated. Who won't like to have Uttam as a son-in-law in his present status? Mahindra was sure that Dhir Das would feel honoured at the proposal he was going to broach before him.

Mahindra went to Dhir Das and told him about Uttam's luck. Dhir Das was very happy. "Please make it convenient to come to dinner with me tonight, along with dear Uttam," he said. "Thanks. That will be a suitable time for finalising an important matter. I mean, I will be happy to bring Sumati home as Uttam's wife," said Mahindra. Dhir Das laughed as if he took Mahindra's proposal lightly. "Why should you choose our Sumati for your gifted son? This girl hardly knows any household work. Luxurious bringing up has spoilt her!" was his comment. "Oh, no, I refuse to accept your view of Sumati. Don't I know her well enough? I shall be happy to take her home, provided you have no objection to my proposal," said Mahindra. Dhir Das looked grave. Lowering his voice, he then said, "My brother, you and I are friends. Can't we remain friends without becoming relatives? To be frank, Sumati will not suit your family, nor your family will suit her. She is accustomed to commanding servants. She will feel at home in a house where she can continue to do so. When she cannot do so, she will feel awkward.

When you will see that she is not capable of coping up with the household work, you will feel dissatisfied. Being your neighbour I have to continuously worry over the situation. Please give a second thought to your proposal." Mahindra felt awfully humiliated. "We cannot come for the dinner, sorry," he said and went out in a huff. Dhir Das had no chance to say a word more. Mahindra straight went to the next village. He fixed Uttam's marriage with the daughter of another friend of his and returned home. In so many ways Dhir Das tried to reestablish his cordial relationship with Mahindra. But he did not succeed. Mahindra refused to talk to him. After some time Dhir Das got disgusted and stopped trying to reconcile with Mahindra. Uttam's marriage was over. He left for the town. Mahindra spent more and more time with Uttam. The facilities and salary Uttam received enabled him to live comfortably and happily. But he observed that his father was never quite happy. One day he insisted on knowing the cause. Mahindra confessed that Dhir Das's behaviour still rankled in him. "Cheer up, father, one day we will take revenge on Dhir Das!" said Uttam laughing. Mahindra's face brightened up. He looked happy thereafter. Uttam prospered well. After a few years he resigned his job at the king's court and settled down in his village. He set up the business of exporting the produce of his area to the town and became very rich. He raised a palatial building in place of his ancestral house. He grew richer than Dhir Das.

Sumati, Dhir Das's daughter, had married in a wealthy family. Sumati had a daughter, Uttam had a son. One day, a friend told old Mahindra, "Dhir Das desires to marry his granddaughter to your grandson. I think they will send the proposal duly in a week's time." As soon as the friend left, Mahindra told Uttam what he had heard. "Don't forget to avenge our humiliation, my son!" he warned Uttam. "Indeed, the time for that seems to have come!" remarked Uttam. Soon Mahindra fell ill and died. After the funeral rites for Mahindra were over, Dhir Das sent the proposal through a suave mediator. Uttam received the proposal with courtesy and consented to it. The marriage of his son with Dhir Das's granddaughter was performed smoothly. The vampire paused for a moment and then asked in a challenging tone, "O King, did Uttam not betray his father's faith in him? How could he agree to the marriage proposal after asserting that he meant to take revenge on Dhir Das? Answer me if you can. Should you keep mum despite your knowledge of the answer, your head would roll off your neck!"

 King Vikram replied forthwith, "Mahindra and Uttam had totally different outlooks. Mahindra desired to have Sumati as his daughter-in-law. That is why he felt insulted when his proposal was turned down. Uttam had not nursed any desire to marry Sumati. Hence there was no reason for his feeling insulted. To reject Dhir Das's proposal would have been revenge according to Mahindra. According to Uttam, the very fact that Dhir Das sent the proposal for a relationship with them amounted to their taking revenge on Dhir Das. Mahindra was a common man. He had felt insulted comparing himself with Dhir Das. Uttam enjoyed social prestige right from his student days. He had no reason to compare himself with Dhir Das and feel inferior. Anyway, he felt that his father's humiliation was sufficiently avenged when Dhir Das recognised their status. He had not given much thought to his father's idea of revenge. Hence there is no question of his betraying his father's faith." No sooner had the king concluded his reply than the vampire, along with the corpse, gave him the slip.