Odisha State Board CHSE Odisha Class 11 Invitation to English 2 Solutions Non-Detailed Chapter 3 The Open Window Textbook Exercise Questions and Answers.
CHSE Odisha 11th Class English Solutions Non-Detailed Chapter 3 The Open Window
CHSE Odisha Class 11 English The Open Window Text Book Questions and Answers
Unit – I
Mr. Nuttel and Vera are introduced and an immediate impression is given of Vera’s calmness and Mr. Nuttel’s nervousness. Mr. Framton Nuttel needs a rest because of overworking. Therefore, he has come to stay in a country village. Following a suggestion of his sister he has called on Mrs. Sappleton.
He is greeted by her niece Vera, a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen. She asks Nuttel if he knows many of the people round there. He says that he hardly knows anyone. His sister was staying there at the rectory some four years ago. Vera now invents a story and narrates it to Nuttel. She refers to her aunt’s tragedy that had occurred just three years ago. She draws his attention to the open window through which her husband and two young brothers set out for their day’s shooting.
They never came back. They were lost in a marsh having hidden dangers. It was a dreadful wet summer. Their bodies were never recovered. Here Vera’s voice undergoes a change. She narrates that her aunt always thinks that they will return someday. The little brown spaniel that was lost with them will also walk in at that window. Therefore, the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Vera stops narrating the story when she sees Mrs. Sappleton comes in.
presently : soon (ବର୍ତ୍ତମାନ)
self possessed : calm and confident (ଶାନ୍ତ ଏବଂ ଆତ୍ମବିଶ୍ୱାସୀ)
endeavoured : tried (ଚେଷ୍ଟା କଲା)
flatter: praise highly with a motive (ଏକ ଉଦ୍ଦେଶ୍ୟ ସହିତ ଉଚ୍ଚ ପ୍ରଶଂସା କର)
formal: conventional (ପାରମ୍ପରିକ)
nerve cure: getting rid of the feeling of nervousness (ସ୍ନାୟୁ ଉପଶମ)
migrate: move from one place to another (ଗୋଟିଏ ସ୍ଥାନରୁ ଅନ୍ୟ ସ୍ଥାନକୁ ଯାଆନ୍ତୁ)
rural retreat : a place of refuge : a safe and quiet or secluded place in a countryside (ଆଶ୍ରୟସ୍ଥଳ)
put up with : endure (ସହ୍ୟ କର)
discounting : disregarding (ଅବହେଳା)
moping : passing (time) in a dull state of mind (ଏକ ଦୁର୍ବଳ ଅବସ୍ଥାରେ (ସମୟ) ମନ ର ସ୍ତିତି)
nice division : ageable type of hosts (ବୟୋଜ୍ୟେଷ୍ଠ ପ୍ରକାରର ହୋଷ୍ଟ)
communion : sharing of thoughts (ଚିନ୍ତାଧାରା ବାଣ୍ଟିବା)
rectory : a house where the rector (priest) of a church lives ଏକ ଘର ଯେଉଁଠାରେ ଏକ ଚର୍ଚ୍ଚର ରେକ୍ଟର (ପୁରୋହିତ) ରୁହନ୍ତି
caller : one who has visited (ଯିଏ ପରିଦର୍ଶନ କରିଛନ୍ତି)
undefinable : vague (ଅସ୍ପଷ୍ଟ)
masculine habitation : the dwelling of men (ମନୁଷ୍ୟମାନଙ୍କର ବାସସ୍ଥାନ)
out of place : irrelevant (ଅପ୍ରାସଙ୍ଗିକ)
three years today : exactly three years ago (ଠିକ୍ ତିନି ବର୍ଷ ପୂର୍ବେ)
engulfed : covered over (ଆଚ୍ଛାଦିତ)
treacherous bog : a marsh having hidden dangers (ବିଶ୍ୱାସଘାତକ)
falteringly : in broken voice (ଭଙ୍ଗା ସ୍ୱରରେ)
spaniel : breed of dog with large ears which hang down (ସ୍ପାନିଏଲ୍)
dreadful : horrible (ଭୟଙ୍କର)
gave way : changed (ପରିବର୍ତ୍ତିତ)
moor : open and uncultivated land (ଖୋଲା ଏବଂ ଅଣସଂରକ୍ଷିତ ଜମି)
snipe : one kind of bird (ଏକ ପ୍ରକାର ପକ୍ଷୀ)
French window: a long window having two sashes hinged at sides and opening in the middle (ଫରାସୀ ୱିଣ୍ଡୋ)
tease : make fun of in a playful way (ଏକ ଖେଳାତ୍ମକ ଉପାୟରେ ପରିହାସ କର)
creepy : gloomy (ଉଦାସ)
got on her nerves : disturbed her (ତାଙ୍କୁ ବିଚଳିତ କଲା)
broke off : stopped suddenly (ହଠାତ୍ ଅଟକି ଗଲା)
shadder : shake (ହଲେଇବା)
bustled : moved busily (ବ୍ୟସ୍ତ ଭାବରେ ଗତି କଲା)
Think it out:
Why did Nuttel visit Mrs. Sappieton?
Mr. Framton Nuttel was reeling under nervous break-down. He was ailing. The doctor advised him rest. For him change of place was the need of the hour. The doctor instructed him to get rid of mental excitement and violent physical exercise. Therefore, Framton Nuttel called on Mrs. Sappieton, a friend of his sister, with letters of introduction.
What did the young lady say about her aunt’s tragedy to Nuttel?
According to Vera, her aunt’s greatest tragedy happened just three years ago. It was a dreadful wet summer. Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and her two young brothers went off for their day’s shooting. They never came back. While crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shotting ground, they were engulfed in the treacherous piece of wet, spongy ground. Their bodies could not be traced. The little spaniel was also lost with them. Her poor aunt always hoped that they would come back one day.
Unit – II
Mrs. Sappleton talks cheerfully about her husband and her brothers. She is sure that her husband and her brothers will come home directly from shooting. She rattles on cheerfully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds. To Framton it is all purely horrible. He makes a vain endeavour to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic. He is conscious of his hostess’s scant attention towards him. Her eyes are focused on the open window and the lawn beyond.
Framton announces that the doctors have advised him complete rest. He should be free from mental excitement and violent physical exercise. Mrs. Sappleton did not pay any heed to Framton’s words. Her voice changes at the last moment. It seems as if her husband and her two younger brothers were returning from a muddy grave. Framton shivers slightly and turns towards the niece. Vera is horrified. She is staring through the open window.
Framton is filled with nameless fear. He sees the three men with guns under their arms coming towards the house followed by a tired brown spaniel. Silently they come near the house. Wildly seizing his hat and stick, he runs out through the front door and the gate. Mrs. Sappleton thinks that Mr. Framton Nuttel is a very strange fellow. Vera again makes up a plausible story about his fear of dogs. Romance at short notice is Vera’s speciality.
briskly: quickly, actively (ତୀବ୍ର ଭାବରେ)
marshes: a tract of wet and soft land (ଓଦା ଏବଂ କୋମଳ ଜମିର ଏକ ଟ୍ରାକ୍ଟ)
mess: disorder (ବିଶୃଙ୍ଖଳା)
rattled on: spoke continuously and in a lively way (ନିରନ୍ତର ଏବଂ ଜୀବନ୍ତ କଥା ହେଲା)
to turn the talk: to change the talk (କଥାବାର୍ତ୍ତା ପରିବର୍ତ୍ତନ କରିବାକୁ)
desperate: vain (ବୃଥା)
ghastly: dreadful (ଭୟଭୀତ)
a fragment of her attention: Mrs. Sappleton was taking little notice of Framton Nuttel’s words (ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲେଟନ୍ ଫ୍ରାମଟନ୍ ନଟେଲଙ୍କ କଥା ଉପରେ ଅଳ୍ପ ଧ୍ୟାନ ଦେଉଥିଲେ)
tragic anniversary: the annual date of the sad event (ବିଷାଦମୟ ଘଟଣାର ବାର୍ଷିକ ତାରିଖ)
violent: (here) hard (ପ୍ରଚଣ୍ଡ)
delusion: false belief (ମିଥ୍ୟା ବିଶ୍ୱାସ)
prospects: the probabilities of gain (ଧନଲାଭର ସମ୍ଭାବନା ରହିଛି)
scarcity: shortage (ଅଭାବ)
straying: wandering (ଚଳଚଞ୍ଚଳ)
infirmities: diseases (ରୋଗ)
yawn: open the mouth as when bored (ପାଟିକୁ ଯେତିକି ଖୋଲନ୍ତୁ, ବୋର୍ ହେବା ସମୟରେ ସେତିକି ଖୋଲନ୍ତୁ)
dazed horror: fear which makes one incapable of thinking (ବିସ୍ମିତ ବିଭୀଷିକା)
swung: turned (ମୋଡ଼ା ଯାଇଥିବା)
hoarse: rough (ରୁକ୍ଷ)
chanted: sang (ସଙ୍ଗ୍)
grabbed at: took hastily (ତରବରିଆ ଭାବରେ)
gravel-drive: a private road paved with small pebbles (ଗ୍ରାଭେଲ୍-ଡ୍ରାଇଭ୍)
headlong retreat: hasty return (ତରବରିଆ ପ୍ରତ୍ୟାବର୍ତ୍ତନ)
imminent: ready to take place (ପ୍ରସ୍ତୁତ ହୋଇ ରହିଥାନ୍ତି)
collision: clash (ମୁହାଁମୁହିଁ ହେବା)
mackintosh: a rain coat, so called after the name of the inventor Charles Macintosh (ମ୍ୟାକିନ୍ଟଶ)
bolted: dashed away (ଦୂରକୁ ଚାଲିଗଲା)
dashed off : ran quickly (ଶୀଘ୍ର ଦୌଡ଼ିବା)
ghost: the spirit of a dead person (ମୃତ ବ୍ୟକ୍ତିଙ୍କ ଆତ୍ମା)
cemetery: a burial ground (ଏକ ସମାଧି ସ୍ଥଳ)
pariah dogs: stray unclaimed dogs (ଅଜଣା କୁକୁରଙ୍କ ଉପଦ୍ରବ)
snarling: growling (ବର୍ଦ୍ଧମାନ)
Think it out:
What did Mrs. Sappleton say about her husband and brothers to Mr. Nuttel?
Mrs. Sappleton said that her husband and brothers would come home directly from shooting, and they always came in through the open window. They had been out for snipe in the marshes that day. She talked merrily about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter.
How did Mr. Nuttel react to her?
A man of nervous disposition as he was, Framton felt ill at ease to listen only to Mrs. Sappleton’s strange story of her husband and brothers. Vera had already told her the story of the open window. He knew that Mrs. Sappleton took little notice of him and her eyes were constantly directed towards the open window. As a result, Mrs. Sappleton’s story of her husband and brothers was purely horrible to him. He made a vain effort to switch over to other topic. It was an unfortunate coincidence that he had paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.
Why did Mr. Nuttel leave Mrs. Sappleton’s house in a hurry?
The hunting party that comprised Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and her brothers and their spaniel really returned in the dim light of the afternoon. They were walking across the lawn towards the window. They all carried guns under their arms. One of them had a white coat hung over his shoulders. A tired brown spaniel closely followed the three figures. They neared the house silently. As soon as Nuttel saw them, he was horrified at the thought that they were ghosts of the dead. Therefore, he left Mrs. Sappleton’s house in a hurry.
How did Vera explain the cause of Nuttel’s sudden disappearance?
When the hunting party and their spaniel really returned in the dim light of the afternoon, poor Nuttel was horrified at the thought that they were the ghosts of the dead and suddenly left that place. Vera calmly invented another story to explain Mrs. Nuttel’s sudden departure. She explained that the poor fellow was terribly afraid of dogs for he had once been chased by a group of stray dogs on the banks of the Ganges and he was forced to spend one whole night in a gravel.
How does Vera create romance at short notice in the story?
Vera is capable of inventing stories from her own mind on any person or situation within a few seconds. When she knows that Mr. Nuttel is a stranger to the family, she invents a story on the open window of the house and narrates it to Mr. Framton Nuttel. That story makes Nuttel terrified. When Nuttel runs away from the house at the moment of return of Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and her two brothers considering them ghosts, Vera, justifies it by telling another story to Mrs. Sappleton. This proves that ‘romance at short notice’ is Vera’s speciality.
CHSE Odisha Class 11 English The Open Window Important Questions and Answers
Read through the extract and answer the questions that follow.
“My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel,” said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen; “in the meantime you must try and put up with me.”
Framton Nuttel endeavored to say the correct something which should duly flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing.
“I know how it will be,” his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat; “you will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice.”
Framton wondered whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one of the letters of introduction came into the nice division.
“Do you know many of the people round here ?” asked the niece, when she judged that they had had sufficient silent communion.
“Hardly a soul,” said Framton. “My sister was staying here, at the rectory, you know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here.”
He made the last statement in a tone of distinct regret.
“Then you know practically nothing about my aunt ?” pursued the self possessed young lady.
“Only her name and address,” admitted the caller. He was wondering whether Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An undefinable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine habitation.
“Her great tragedy happened just three years ago,” said the child; “that would be since your sister’s time.”
“Her tragedy ?” asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place.
“You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon,” said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn.
“It is quite warm for the time of the year,” said Framton; “but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?”
“Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day’s shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favorite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it.” Here the child’s voice lost its self-possessed note and became flateringly human. “Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing ‘Bertie, why do you bound?’ as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window She broke off with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the aunt bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance.
(i) What light does the extract throw on the character of Vera?
(ii) What do you know about Mrs. Sappleton as outlined in the extract?
(i) The story, ‘The Open Window’ is built around Vera. She is young. She is fifteen. She is cool, confident and composed. She is a fascinating entertainer. She treats Framton Nuttel well. She is a picture of confidence. She handles a nervous person like Framton quite amicably. She has a flair for inventing plausibe stories. She sees the open window and quickly decides to tell him a story.
(ii) Mrs. Sappleton is Vera’s aunt. She is known to Nuttel’s sister. At the suggestion of his sister, he had called on Mrs. Sappleton, but her absence surprises him. He wonders whether Mrs. Sappleton is in the married state or the widowed state. According to Vera’s description, Mrs. Sappleton never sees the dark side of life. She is exceedingly optimistic. She is convinced that her husband and two brothers will come back one day. They had gone for shooting through the window three years ago and never came back. But still she has not given up hope. She has not lost her heart.
Introducing the Author:
Saki was the pseudonym of Hector Hugo Munro. He was born in Burma, where his father was a police officer, but as his mother died when he was still an infant, he was brought up by his aunts in England where he was educated. At 23 he became an officer in the Burma Police, but returned to England and began working as a journalist. He assumed the name ‘Saki’, the name of the cup-bearer in Omar Rubaiyat and began to write novels and short stories under this pen name. It is his short stories that have earned him his reputation as a writer. They are published in four volumes – Reginald, Reginald in Russia, The Chronicles of Clovis, Beasts and Super-beasts. In 1914 he joined the army and fought for his country. He was killed in action in 1916 in France shot through the head while resting in a narrow crater and thus joined the list of great English writers who lost their lives in the First World War.
About the Story:
A self-possessed young lady of fifteen receives a nervous young man called Nuttel in the short absence of her aunt. After ascertaining that the young man knows nothing about her aunt, the young lady coolly invents the story of her aunt’s husband and her brother’s death in a spine-hunting expedition and her aunt’s belief that they will come in through the open window. Mr. Nuttel listens to the story with rapt attention. The young lady also invents another story to explain Mr. Nuttel’s sudden departure.
Vera cool, confident, composed young lady of fifteen receives a nervous young man called Nuttel in the short absence of her aunt. He is in need of rest and as a result of over-exertion, he visits the house of Mrs. Sappleton, a friend of his sister. Vera finds that Mr. Nuttel is a stranger and knows very little about Mrs. Sappleton’s family. She understands his feelings well and gives him an excellent company. She entertains Mr. Nuttel by inventing a story.
Vera sees the open window and quickly decides to tell him a story about it. She tells him that it is the anniversary of that dreadful day when her aunt’s husband and her two young brothers had died. They had gone for their day’s shooting. They were engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. They never came back. It had been the dreadful wet summer. Their bodies were never recovered. Here Vera’s voice lost its confident note and trembled with human emotion. Her aunt often told how they went out, her husband with his white water-proof coat over his arm, and Ronnie her youngest brother.
Vera stops suddenly in the middle of her speech at the sight of her aunt Mrs. Sappleton. She enters the room with a whirl of apologies, for being late. Her presence is a relief to Framton. Mrs. Sappleton expects them not to mind the open window. She says briskly that her husband and brothers will come back home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They have been out for birds in the marshes that day. There is no end to her lively talk about the shooting, the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter. To Mr. Framton Nuttel, it is all purely horrible to listen. He makes a vain effort to change the topic. He feels that his hostess is taking a little notice of him. Instead, her eyes are constantly directed towards the open window. It is an unfortunate coincidence that he has called on her on this tragic anniversary.
He had come there only on the advice of the doctor. All on a sudden, Mrs. Sappleton becomes alert. The hunting party and their spaniel really return in the dim light of the afternoon. Nuttel is horrified at the thought that they are the ghosts of the dead and he bolts away in an unceremonious hurry. And the young lady invents another story to explain Mr. Nuttel’s sudden departure. The poor fellow is terribly afraid of dogs for he had been once chased by a group of stray dogs on the banks of the Ganges and he was forced to spend one whole night in a grave. Romance at short notice is Vera’s speciality.
ଶାନ୍ତ ସ୍ଵଭାବବିଶିଷ୍ଟ ଓ ଆତ୍ମପ୍ରତ୍ୟୟପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣ ତରୁଣୀ ହେଉଛି ଭେରା । ତା’ର ବୟସ ହେଉଛି ମାତ୍ର ୧୫ ବର୍ଷ । ଥରେ ତାଙ୍କ ଖୁଡ଼ୀ ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟଟନ୍ଙ୍କ ଅନୁପସ୍ଥିତିରେ ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ ନାମକ ଜଣେ ଯୁବକ ଅତ୍ୟନ୍ତ ଶ୍ରାନ୍ତକ୍ଲାନ୍ତ ହୋଇ ବିଶ୍ରାମ ନେବା ଉଦ୍ଦେଶ୍ୟରେ ତାଙ୍କ ଘରେ ଆସି ଉପସ୍ଥିତ ହୋଇଛନ୍ତି । ତାଙ୍କ ଭଉଣୀ ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟଟନ୍ଙ୍କ ସହ ପୂର୍ବରୁ ପରିଚିତ । ଉଭୟଙ୍କ ଭିତରେ ଘନିଷ୍ଠତା ମଧ୍ୟ ଅଛି । ଭେରା ଜାଣିବାକୁ ପାଇଛି, ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ ଜଣେ ଅପରିଚିତ ବ୍ୟକ୍ତି । ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟନ୍ଙ୍କ ପରିବାର ବିଷୟରେ ସେ ବିଶେଷ କିଛି ଜାଣନ୍ତି ନାହିଁ । ତାଙ୍କର ବିଶ୍ରାମ ଦରକାର । ତେଣୁ ଭଉଣୀଙ୍କ ପରାମର୍ଶକ୍ରମେ ସେ ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟନ୍ଙ୍କ ଗ୍ରାମ୍ୟ-ଗୃହରେ କେବଳ ବିଶ୍ରାମ ନେବାକୁ ଆସିଛନ୍ତି । ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ଙ୍କ ମନର ଅବସ୍ଥା ଭଲ ଭାବରେ ଜାଣିପାରି ସେ ତାଙ୍କୁ ଘରେ ଆଶ୍ରୟ ଦେଇଛନ୍ତି ଓ ନିଜର ସାନିଧ୍ୟ ଦେଇ ତାଙ୍କୁ ଆପ୍ୟାୟିତ କରିଛନ୍ତି । ସେଥିପାଇଁ ମଧ୍ୟ ମନରୁ ଗୋଟାଏ କାହାଣୀ ଆବିଷ୍କାର କରି ତାଙ୍କୁ ଶୁଣାଇଛନ୍ତି ।
ଯେଉଁ କକ୍ଷରେ ସେମାନେ ଆଳାପରତ, ତାହାର ଗୋଟାଏ ଝରକା ଖୋଲା ରହିଛି। ସେହି ଖୋଲା ଝରକା ବିଷୟରେ ତାଙ୍କୁ ଗୋଟାଏ କାହାଣୀ ଶୁଣାଇଦେବାକୁ ଭେରା ମନସ୍ଥ କରିଛି । କାହାଣୀଟିର ବର୍ଣ୍ଣନା କରିବାକୁ ଯାଇ ସେ କହିଛି – ‘‘ଆଜି ହେଉଛି ସେହି ଭୟାବହ ଦିନର ଏକବର୍ଷ ପୂର୍ତ୍ତି । ଠିକ୍ ଆଜିର ଦିନରେ ମୋର ଖୁଡ଼ୀଙ୍କର ସ୍ଵାମୀ ଓ ତାଙ୍କର ଦୁଇଜଣ ତରୁଣ ଭାଇଙ୍କର ମୃତ୍ୟୁ ଘଟିଥିଲା । ସେମାନେ ଶିକାର କରିବାକୁ ଯାଇଥିଲେ । ଜଙ୍ଗଲ ମଧ୍ୟରେ ଗୋଟାଏ କାଦୁଆ ସନ୍ତସନ୍ତିଆ ସ୍ଥାନ ଥିଲା । ସେଥିରେ ପୂରି ରହିଥିଲା ତରଳ ପଙ୍କ । ଉପରୁ ତାହାର କୌଣସି ସୂଚନା ପଙ୍କ ଭିତରେ ଡୁବିଯାଇ ଅଦୃଶ୍ୟ ହୋଇଯାଉଥିଲା । ସେହି ପଙ୍କ ଭିତରେ ସେହି ଶିକାରୀ ଦଳ ମଧ୍ୟ ସମାଧି ନେଇଥିଲେ । ତା’ ପରଠାରୁ ସେମାନେ ଆଉ ଫେରି ନାହାନ୍ତି । ଏହା ଥିଲା ଏକ ଭୟାବହ ଆର୍ଦ୍ର ଗ୍ରୀଷ୍ମକାଳର ଘଟଣା । ସେମାନଙ୍କ ମୃତଦେହକୁ ମଧ୍ଯ କୌଣସି ଉପାୟରେ ସେହି ଗର୍ଭରୁ ବାହାର କରାଯାଇ ପାରିନଥିଲା ।’’ ଏତିକି କହି ଭେରାର କଣ୍ଠସ୍ଵରରୁ ହଜିଯାଇଛି ଆତ୍ମପ୍ରତ୍ୟୟର ଚିହ୍ନ – ତାହା ମାନବିକ କୋମଳ ଭାବାବେଗରେ କମ୍ପିତ ହୋଇଉଠିଛି । ଭେରା ତା’ ଖୁଡ଼ୀଙ୍କ ମୁହଁରୁ ଶୁଣିଛି, ଶିକାର କରିବାକୁ ଗଲାଦିନ ତା’ ସ୍ଵାମୀ ଅସ୍ତ୍ରଶସ୍ତ୍ରରେ ସଜ୍ଜିତ ଥିଲେ ଏବଂ ତାଙ୍କ ସାନକକା ପିନ୍ଧିଥିଲେ ଧଳାରଙ୍ଗର ୱାଟର୍ ପ୍ରୁଫ୍-କନାର କୋଟ୍ ।
ବର୍ଣ୍ଣନାର ମଝିରେ ହଠାତ୍ ଭେରା ଅଟକି ଯାଇଛି । କାରଣ ତା’ ଖୁଡ଼ୀ ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟଟନ୍ ଠିକ୍ ସେତିକିବେଳେ ସେଠାରେ ଉପସ୍ଥିତ ହୋଇଛନ୍ତି । ବିଳମ୍ବ ହୋଇଥିବାରୁ ନିଜର ତ୍ରୁଟି ପାଇଁ ବହୁ କ୍ଷମାଭିକ୍ଷା କରି ସେ କକ୍ଷ ମଧ୍ୟକୁ ପ୍ରବେଶ କରିଛନ୍ତି । ତାଙ୍କର ଉପସ୍ଥିତି ମି. ଫ୍ରାଫ୍ଟନ୍ ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ଙ୍କ ପାଇଁ ଆଶ୍ବସ୍ତିର କାରଣ ହୋଇଛି । ଉନ୍ମୁକ୍ତ ବାତାୟନ ବିଷୟରେ ସଚେତନ ନ ହେବାକୁ ସେ ଦୁଇଜଣଙ୍କୁ ଅନୁରୋଧ କରିଛନ୍ତି । ସେ ମଧ୍ୟ ଏକ ସୂଚନା ଦେଇ ପ୍ରକାଶ କରିଛନ୍ତି, ତାଙ୍କର ସ୍ଵାମୀ ଓ ଦୁଇଭାଇ ଏହି ଝରକା ଦେଇ ସର୍ବଦା ଶିକାର କରିବାକୁ ଯାଆନ୍ତି ଓ ସେହିବାଟେ ମଧ୍ଯ ଫେରି ଆସନ୍ତି । ଏଣୁ ଶିକାର ପରେ ସେମାନେ ସେହି ଝରକାବାଟେ ପ୍ରତ୍ୟାବର୍ତ୍ତନ କରିବେ ବୋଲି ସେ ତାକୁ ଉନ୍ମୁକ୍ତ ରଖୁଛନ୍ତି । ଆଜି ମଧ୍ୟ ସେମାନେ ଜଳପୂର୍ଣ ନିମ୍ନଭୂମିରେ ପକ୍ଷୀ ଶିକାର କରିବାକୁ ଯାଇଛନ୍ତି । ତାଙ୍କର ଗପର ଯେପରି ଅନ୍ତ ନାହିଁ । ସେ ଶିକାର, ପକ୍ଷୀମାନଙ୍କର ସ୍ଵଚ୍ଛତା ଏବଂ ଜଳାଶୟ ଭୂମିରେ ବତକ ମିଳିବାର ଉଜ୍ଜଳ ସମ୍ଭାବନା ବିଷୟରେ ଗଳ୍ପ କରି ଚାଲିଥା’ନ୍ତି । ସେଗୁଡ଼ା ଶୁଣିବାକୁ ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ଙ୍କୁ ଭଲ ଲାଗୁନଥାଏ। କାରଣ ସେ ସବୁଥରେ ଭରି ରହିଛି ସମ୍ପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣ ଭୟାବହ ଚିତ୍ର । ଗଳ୍ପର ବିଷୟବସ୍ତୁକୁ ପରିବର୍ତ୍ତିତ କରିଦେବାପାଇଁ ସେ ଚେଷ୍ଟା କରିଛନ୍ତି । ମାତ୍ର ତାଙ୍କର ଉଦ୍ୟମ ବ୍ୟର୍ଥ ଧାରଣା ତାଙ୍କ ମନରେ ସୃଷ୍ଟି ହୋଇଛି । ଏହା ପରିବର୍ତ୍ତେ ତାଙ୍କର ଆଖ୍ ସିଧାସଳଖ ବାରମ୍ବାର ସେହି ଖୋଲା ଝରକା ଉପରେ ବୁଲିଆସୁଛି । ସେହି ଦୁଃଖଦ ଘଟଣାର ବର୍ଷ-ପୂର୍ତ୍ତି ଦିନରେ ସେ ତାଙ୍କୁ ସାକ୍ଷାତ କରିବା ଘଟଣାକୁ ଏକ ଦୁର୍ଭାଗ୍ୟଜନକ ଆକସ୍ମିକ ଯୋଗସୂତ୍ର ବୋଲି ମନରେ ଭାବୁଥାଆନ୍ତି । କେବଳ ଡାକ୍ତରଙ୍କ ପରାମର୍ଶକ୍ରମେ ଜଳବାୟୁର ପରିବର୍ତ୍ତନ ପାଇଁ ତାଙ୍କର ସେ ସ୍ଥାନକୁ ଆଗମନ ହୋଇଥିଲା । ତା’ ବ୍ୟତୀତ, ଏଠାକୁ ଆଗମନର ଅନ୍ୟ କୌଣସି କାରଣ ହିଁ ନ ଥିଲା ।
ହଠାତ୍ ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟଟନ୍ ସତର୍କ ହୋଇଗଲେ । କାରଣ ସେ ଦେଖିବାକୁ ପାଇଲେ, ଅପରାହ୍ନର ସେହି ମ୍ଳାନ ଆଲୋକରେ ଶିକାରୀଦଳ ତାଙ୍କ ଶିକାରୀ କୁକୁର ସହିତ ଫେରି ଆସିଛନ୍ତି । ଅଳ୍ପ ସମୟ ଭିତରେ ସେମାନେ ସେହି ମୁକ୍ତ ବାତାୟନ ଦେଇ କକ୍ଷ ଭିତରେ ପ୍ରବେଶ କରିବେ । ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ ତାହା ଶୁଣି ଭୟଭୀତ ହୋଇଗଲେ । କାରଣ ତାଙ୍କ ଆଖୁରେ ସେମାନେ ଥିଲେ ମୃତପ୍ରାଣୀମାନଙ୍କର ଭୂତ । ଏଣୁ ସେ କୌଣସି ଲୌକିକତା ରକ୍ଷା ନ କରି ଉନ୍ମାଦଙ୍କ ପରି ସେହି କକ୍ଷରୁ ଝଡ଼ ବେଗରେ ନିଶ୍ରାନ୍ତ ହୋଇଗଲେ । ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ଙ୍କ ସେହି ଆଶୁ ପ୍ରସ୍ଥାନର କାରଣ ଦର୍ଶାଇବାକୁ ଯାଇ ଭେରା ଆଉ ଗୋଟିଏ ନୂତନ କାହାଣୀ ସଙ୍ଗେ ସଙ୍ଗେ ଆବିଷ୍କାର କରି ଶ୍ରୀମତୀ ସାପଲ୍ଟଟନ୍ଙ୍କୁ ଶୁଣାଇଲେ । ତାଙ୍କ ମତରେ, ବିଚାରା ମି. ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ କୁକୁରମାନଙ୍କୁ ଭୀଷଣ ଭୟ କରନ୍ତି । କାରଣ ଏକଦା ଦଳେ ବୁଲାକୁକୁର ତାଙ୍କୁ ଗଙ୍ଗା କୂଳକୁ ତଡ଼ିନେଇ ଯାଇଥିଲେ । ସେତେବେଳେ ରାତ୍ରି ସମୟ । ବିଚରା ନ୍ୟୁଟେଲ୍ଙ୍କୁ ଗୋଟାଏ କବର ଭିତରେ ଲୁଚିରହି ସାରାରାତି ବିତାଇବାକୁ ପଡ଼ିଥିଲା ।