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Vishram: विश्राम (Arthvyavastha - Part V)

Continued from here: Viraam: विराम (Arthvyavastha - Part IV).

"Guruji!", Saakshaat called out to Kalpakji, his teacher (Guru) as they walked towards the Banyan tree in front of the Panchayat Bhavan, "You remember there used to be days when you would announce a test only to make us study the whole night, and then announce a cancellation the next day when everyone came ready for it?" Kalpakji smiled, he knew what Saakshaat was hinting at. "Yes, I do. But remember when the same exam was announced two weeks later, you all were better prepared for it! Do you agree Aanglesh?", Kalpakji had deliberately asked Aanglesh, noticing that he had been quiet all along after the meeting.

"Yes Guruji, but you know - one thing that always made me study harder for every exam?" Kalpakji could not guess where this was going, he looked questioningly towards Saakshaat, but he too was clueless. Aanglesh replied on his own - "the fact that I knew I will be judged by you impartially. I knew that if I studied hard, I will get good marks. But here, it looks like our fate is already decided and the evaluation is not going to be fair!"

"Aanglesh!", retorted Kalpakji with the ire and authority that only a teacher could assume, "Have you forgotten that you are doubting the impartiality of not just a revered panch but also your own father! I will not tolerate such impropriety in my presence! Is this what you learnt in school?" "My sincere apologies Guruji! I got swayed by my emotions, I did not intend to sound rude or uncouth; but you do realize where I am coming from. Had it not been due to the turn of events, the tamrapatrak scheme's fate was almost sealed today."

"That may not be completely true Aanglesh ...", said Saakshaat, "there's some other reason why the picture was presented to us the way it was; if circumstances were different, I am sure Pramukhji and Pramanikji both would have given us a chance to present our sides and also evaluated our reasoning. In fact, the circumstances have anyway come in our favour. If Pramanikji is elected as the next Pramukh, he will have to defer his judgement to whatever the new panch for financial matters presents to the panchayat. He will have to remain impartial to a great extent, and I have complete faith in his ability to remain impartial!

"The question remains as to who will be the next panch to be given responsibility of financial matters and what views will he take. More fundamentally, I find the problems cited by Pramanikji to be quite worrisome and if the panchayat decides to continue tamrapatraks, these issues will have to be dealt with. If in the next 15 days, we can figure out ways to counter the ill effects of these problems, we can convince the panchayat to not just continue but even expand the tamrapatrak scheme."

Kalpakji was smiling; Saakshaat had been his favorite student in his school days, and rightfully so, he thought to himself. "Well boys, Pramukhji and Pramanikji also had the same thoughts in mind, that it has to be you two who should come up with a solution to these problems; and which is why they have nominated me also to help you arrive at conclusions. Also, there are other details of certain complaints which you should know about before you start thinking of solutions."

"Guruji, it is really kind of you to volunteer to help us, after all, you have no stake in the whole affair!", said Aanglesh, visibly still little dejected; "I have one more request. I doubt if I will be able to think straight on my own especially under the constant gaze of my father, would it be possible for me to temporarily move to your ashram to think and research in solitude and away from the turmoils of my trade and especially away from my father's eye?"

"Why not! My students are always welcome at the ashram, you don't even need to ask. In fact, Saakshaat should also join you. Three weeks is a short time, it will pass before you know of it. Especially because you also will have to waste at least 2 days attending mahapanchayat. It will help if you both are with me at the ashram, we will be able to concentrate on the problem and also contemplate solutions better."

"Guruji, I will gladly come, but we may need to have occasional visitors. Traders like Anugam who have been early adopters of tamrapatraks and even buyers. May be, it may also make sense to meet some of the people who have gotten involved in dubious activities like buying and selling tamrapatraks between themselves and borrowing money on basis of them. I hope you will permit such visitors to the ashram." Saakshaat was already thinking ahead.

"A few visitors should not be a problem Saakshaat, but bear in mind that the ashram might be quite a distance for a regular trader to come to everyday. Instead we can plan on coming to the village every few days and meet them here.", Kalpakji was also conscious of the fact that he didn't want his other research vidyarthees (विद्यार्थी, students) to be disturbed by too many non-academic visitors to the ashram.

"Ok Guruji, this sounds great. Both me and Aanglesh will be at your ashram in the first hour of the pratham paher (प्रथम पहर)", Saakshaat concluded the discussion and they all rose thinking of the challenge to be resolved in the next 3 weeks.

(to be continued.)

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