Instead of being happy, Tarapati's mind boiled in rage against Ninu.
"Who are you playing with? Me? How dare you impersonate my late good friend?" Tarapati hollered right up to his lungs as he clenched his fist to strike Ninu on the face, but the latter calmly moved his head and shifted his hair to show Tarapati his hairy mole behind his left ear. Tarapati's hand temporarily suspended on the air after he saw it.
Before the old butler could say a word, Ninu brought out Tarapati's perfectly concealed life secret of which no one knew except Ninu. He recently recalled this matter after interacting with Tarapati for the previous months. This was also the reason why he was self-assured to come out clean as Ninu.
"You have a daughter and her name is Veronica Robertson," Ninu blurted without a second thought. And Tarapati's trembling hand fell on Ninu's shoulder.
One day in the past, Ninu saw Tarapati meeting with a British woman and they walked into a hotel. The next day, Ninu asked the old man about his relationship with the foreigner. At first, he was adamant to keep his mouth sealed, but Ninu promised he wouldn't tell a soul. Thus, Tarapati admitted that she was his lover for a long long time and his new wife as well, Louisa Robertson.
They've met at a party while he worked as an interpreter for the British Envoy when he was still twenty-three years old and the lady was nineteen years old.
Somehow, both of their families strongly opposed in their relationship since Tarapati was an upper caste Hindu while Louisa was a daughter of one of the British representatives and a Christian. However, she already bore him a daughter. The couple firmly refused to let their families and faith separate them from each other.
In the end, both pledged their love and made a solemn vow to remain single until they have the freedom to be wed peacefully. This heightened the anger of his parents while the lady's family disowned her. Hence, Tarapati sent Louisa and his daughter to England while he chose to leave the faith and became an outcast. In his lowest point, Uncle Mithin took him in and gave him protection. So he made an oath to repay Mithin's kindness until he reached the age of sixty.
It was their wedding day when Ninu saw them. The wife and daughter went back to England while he stayed to finish his remaining four years and this was his last year.
"Huh? It can't be. Only Ninu knew that. Are you really Ninu?" Tarapati said. His eyes got misty as he shook Ninu's shoulders. "Are you really Ninu?" he said in great urgency.
"Yes, ekaki Tarapati," Ninu called Tarapati the usual nickname he called the old man when the latter was angry with him in the past.
This utterly melted the old butler's heart. He pulled Ninu to his tight embrace and wept. "You're alive, you're alive. I'm a fool not to recognize you right away."
Tarapati's profound feelings resonated to this friend in his arms. As a result, Ninu's chest felt the surge of emotion welling out of him and tearfully reciprocated the old friend's gesture. He was thankful for being alive, for the privilege to see his friends and family again, and for receiving another chance in life.
Their bodies trembled and tears dampened their shirts as they stood in the middle of the farm.
They didn't move for a time, desperately reminiscing the past regrets and fully rejoicing the present joy of the reunion. Later, both of them let go and brushed their tears with the back of their hands.
Tarapati looked at Ninu's face. "Ah, this red beard and long hair prevented my poor eyes from recognizing you."
"Until when are you going to buy a pair of spectacles? When you totally lost your vision?" Ninu said, teasing Tarapati.
"Don't you lecture me, you pagul chele," Tarapati said and they rang in laughter. "It's so nice to talk to you this way again."
"Just like old times," Ninu said with a smile.
"Yeah, just like old times." The two burst into bellyful of laughter again.
Tarapati turned his gaze on Ninu's neck. "So you got this scar when you were...?"
"Tell this old man how'd you survived," Tarapati said as he slapped Ninu's shoulder.
"Sorry, but I can't tell you as of the moment, but trust me when I say that someone saved me."
"Okay, as you wish."
All of a sudden, Tarapati's eyes lit up as he looked back to a momentous incident and pointed a finger at Ninu. "So you and that pesky Dulun acted and made a fool out of me to make me hire you. Am I right?"
"Of course. How can I convince you to hire me if we didn't do it?"
"Shame of me I didn't realize it was you at that time." Tarapati lowered and shook his head.
"Forget it. It was my intention not to reveal myself to you. I know how loyal you are to Arup. You might blow up my cover and that would be a disaster."
"Fine, fine. But Ayoush . . . ah Ninu Bhai, all of you should come to the mansion tonight."
Ninu's face became somber and Tarapati entirely understood Ninu's apprehension. "Don't worry. Shaheb Arup has repented after learning the truth."
"How did you know it was Rimas?" asked Ninu. Both of them walked back to the farmhouse while Tarapati disclosed to him everything.
"So you don't need to hide anymore. But I'm happy that you've found the long wanted server. What was his name?"
They continued to talk while Sovhona prepared dinner. Before dusk, all of them agreed to transfer to the mansion as soon as possible, to avoid any more mishaps while Rimas was still at large. However, the two friends continued to keep Ninu's identity from Sovhona and Aathmik. They assumed the two would be frightened once they learned who he was.
The next day at dawn, Harry, Asha, and Ronjon left Ashaer Yatra to meet with Ninu before facing Arup. They arrived at the farmhouse before noon. As they entered the courtyard, a hired boy told them that they could only meet Ninu at the Mukherjee's mansion. This news scared them. They thought Arup discovered Ninu's true identity and captured him.
"What do you mean?" Ronjon asked the boy.
"That was the only instruction I got in case someone will look for Shaheb Ayoush."
"Were they hurt or forced to go there?" Asha asked this time.
"No, they gladly left with old Tarapati," said the boy and disregarded any more disruptions as he began working for his chores.
"Uncle Harry, what are we going to do?" Asha asked, filled with anxiety.
"Calm down. Don't forget your father works there and the boy said they went willingly. Let's wait for the Deputy Inspector of General Police to arrive with his men to accompany us. This is for our own protection and to prevent Arup from doing anything stupid when I hand him the warrant of arrest."
Before arriving from France, Harry had communicated with Judge Bernajee to release a warrant of arrest for Arup for criminal threats against Asha and the orphans.
"Who is higher in position, Uncle? The District Chief of Police or that Deputy Inspector?" Asha asked, thinking of Netratav as Arup's accomplice.
"Of course, the deputy inspector," Harry said. Asha felt at ease upon hearing it.
The Deputy Inspector and his men arrived thirty minutes after. They traveled in convoy on the way to Arup's mansion which was a fifteen-minute drive from the farm.
Ekaki Tarapati - lonely moon
Pagul chele - crazy boy
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