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16
CHANDRASHEKHAR

taste? Is the snow-white Mary comparable with the flaming beauty of this Warm region? Can't say.

After Foster had departed, Shaibalini slowly filled her pitcher and placing it on her hip, like a cloud riding on the spring breeze, traced back her slow steps home. Setting the pitcher in its accustomed place she entered the sleeping room.

There Shaibalini’s husband, Chandrashekhar, squatting on a small square blanket, with his waist and knees fastened together with a cloth printed with the sacred names of the gods and an earthenware lamp in front, was poring over manuscripts of hand-made paper. A hundred years have now elapsed since the time we are talking of.

Chandrashekhar was about forty. He was tall of stature with a corresponding powerful frame. He had a massive head and a broad forehead marked with sandalwood paste.[1]

“What should I say,” Shaibalini asked herself as she entered the house, “if he wanted to know the cause of my delay?” But when she went in, Chandrashekhar said nothing. At that time he was deeply engaged in elucidating the meaning of a particular verse of the Brahmasuttras[2]Shaibalini laughed out.

Chandrashekhar looked up and said, “Why this untimely lightning flash?”

“I was thinking what an amount of scolding you would give me,” said Shaibalini.

“Scold you for what?”

“Because I am late in returning from the ghât?”

“Exactly so. Are you just come? Why this delay?’,

  1. Marking the forehead with sandalwood paste forms part of the religious ceremonial of a Hindu.
  2. This is one of the sacred books of the Hindus.