32. Some Pranks of the mad Chhota-Mami
The Chhota-Mami, the mad aunt, cooked for herself, and took her meal in her own room. The paddy field that she had inherited as the share of her property brought her sufficient paddy for her maintenance. A share from the income of the temple of Simhavahini went to her. Besides, she received some contributions as the offerings of disciples from certain families which looked upon her as the representative of their traditional family priest. The total income derived in this way was sufficient to meet the requirements of an orthodox Brahmin widow, whose worldly needs were comparatively few. Her daughter Radhu was the Mother’s special care, and so she and her husband took their food at the Mother’s place. But yet the great attachment that the
Chhota-Mami had for her daughter and son-in-law would always prompt her to serve them some tasty dishes of her own making. But it did not end with such expressions of love. She was extremely jealous of the Mother, and had a constant grudge against her for winning over her daughter from her. She therefore often accused the Mother of this charge in her talks. When the woman pestered her too much with such accusations she would burst out, “Come and take your daughter Backunder your care.” The crazy Chhota-Mami would then beat a retreat. For, she knew full well that her daughter would never leave the Mother to come and stay with her, and that, besides, she lacked the means to support Radhu and her husband. Radhu no doubt had affection for her mother, whom she called ‘the bald-headed mother’, because Chhota-Mami’s head was partially bald. Sometimes getting annoyed with the loving importunities of her mother, Radhu would burst out, “Away with you! Go and hang yourself!” The mad Mami would then go away shedding tears, but looking Backall the while. When Radhu went to her husband’s place, this mother of hers, in the anguish of love for her absent daughter, often travelled on foot the distance of about three miles to her son-in-law’s place at Taj pur and returned to her home at Jayrambati the same day.
The Chhota-Mami had another
cause of grudge against the Mother. Seeing the young boy disciples of the Mother, she would say in a sorrowful tone: “Oh, what a shame! Such fine young boys to leave their own mothers and come to the Mother to become Sannyasins! The Mother is making them abandon their nearest kith and kin! What an atrocity!” Sometimes unable to bear the sorrow of her heart any more, she would burst out to some of these boys, “This person whom you call the Mother is snatching you, boys, away from the mothers who bore you. It is extremely bad of her to do so, and for you, too, to abandon your hearth and home and your dear parents.” The Mother would listen to it all and quietly smile.