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It was my parent’s anniversary. Papa and I together arranged for a homely get together that evening. Some of our family friends came. Fortunately as it was during my winter vacation, I too was at home. My mom was dressing up in my room but before the party, a messing up incident happened. After mom got ready with her new sari suddenly she found that the ruby in one of her ear rings was missing. It was her favourite ear ring. It was presented by papa on the last marriage anniversary. She searched everywhere in her jewellery box but found no where. She was looking so beautiful but her anxiety brought a pale presentation in her appearance.


I ran to papa hurriedly to tell him up all that had happened.

He consoled mom, “Don’t worry, you will definitely find it. It must be somewhere in your box only.”

“But I have put off the whole box on the bed and no loose ruby was found. Where it could be?”

“I will help you again in searching after the party is off. Please get relaxed and try something else.” He rushed off as some guests have already started to come.

 Then mom wore another beautiful ear ring of pearl. Oh! She was looking so calm and beautiful. I kissed her.


It was a gala evening. We had a nice gathering with delicious food. After all the guests got parted, I told mama, “Will you search for the stone once more now? I can help you always.”

Mom laughed, “No, you are quite tired. Go for sleep tonight. We will look to it tomorrow.”

I changed and went back to my room. After I got on to bed and was about to sleep I found something shining beside my pillow. I, at once took it in my hands, ran to her and shouted,

“Mom, I got it. It was beside my pillow.”

Her eyes shone with joy. It was her gift and so she was more passionate about it.

“When you opened the box on my bed, it must have got slipped there.”

She kissed me and bade me good night.



The next morning, in our tea table, I told Choco-Dadu about this particular incident. I saw him smiling and nodding his head.


“What’s the matter?”

“Thank God that the ruby is found at last. This misplacement of this precious stone reminded me of a remarkable incident of my child hood days.”


I insisted and so started narrating the incident.


“I have already told you about my maternal house near the Kunjaban Palace of East Agartala. My eldest maternal uncle was a gold smith. They had this business over generations. He was the key person to supply all the ornaments and jewelleries in any occasion of the palace. It was a special merriment for me to stay in my maternal’s house in any vacation. With him, I too had gone to this Royal palace for a few numbers of times. He was a respectable man in the family. It was ideal for relaxation and pleasure strolls in the past for its green beauty, well laid green gardens and lawns orchard and a small zoo.”


Dadu Paused for a moment “let me tell you a brief description of the palace and its surroundings. It will not only enhance your knowledge but also will help you in interacting whenever you go in Agartala in your future.”


I laughed at my self. I know that this is the topic which never tires him and his eyes shine so glitteringly while narrating any incident of his childhood days of Tripura!


Choco- dadu was nostalgic.

“Do you know the meaning of the name of the palace?”

I nodded.


“The green hillock is known as Kunjaban (a bower) for its scenic beauty. It stands to the north of Agartala town and within a mile from the Royal Palace (Ujjayanta Palace) with tracts of some law-lying hillocks.”

He continued, “Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya (1909-1923) selected this beautiful place for building a suburban palace for retreat and constructed a palace in 1917 which was named as Pushbanta Palace’. It was near the Kunjaban palace. The Maharaja himself being gifted artist is said to have drawn the plan of the palace and its adjoining garden.

It may be interesting to add that our pride, the greatest poet of all times, Rabindra Nath Tagore stayed in the eastern apartment of this palace during his seventh and last visit in 1926. Around verandah attached to this eastern part, named as Gol Verandah was the most favourite place for its distant view of Baramura Hills on the eastern horizon. This verandah had been the mute witness of many a dear moment when the poet composed a number of popular songs which were in corporated in Vaikali series, or remained assorted in silence. The southern side of the garden has been made open for the public and has been named as ‘Rabindra Kanan’

This palace has been taken over by the Government of Tripura and is being used as the official residence of the governor-Raj Bhavan.”


“Such an incident of misplacement which led to the mistrust of theft had occurred there. Though I was too small at that time, still I remember the incident vividly now too.

I was the 12th birthday of the princess. My uncle was commissioned by his highness to make a magnificent decorative necklace for he daughter, for which she had supplied many valuable and colourful gems.

Iqbal, the jeweller of my uncle had joined the gold shop very recently then. He was very poor and stayed in our shop only. This boy gazed at the multicolored gems and often wondered how such beautiful stones were made. He took them in his hands, saw them with utter interest and again kept them in their own place.

One day uncle noticed that two of the gems were missing. After long discussions with his workers, he immediately suspected that they had been taken by the young apprentice and went to look in his room. He found them hidden in a hole in the wall above an old cupboard.

Iqbal protested his innocence but in vain and my uncle punished him severely and sent him away from the shop telling him that he would be hanged if it is known by the royal family. It was better for him to flee away from the place in order to save his own life.

The following day another gem was missing and uncle was severely astonished at it. More over, it was found it in exactly the same place. He wondered who it was that was taking the jewels and putting them in such an old place. He decided to do some spying.

After a little while he heard a strange noise and in flew a
black-crested Bulbul, which the boy had domesticated, and going to the work bench picked up a gem in his beak and flew off with it to the hole in the wall. It feeds on fruits and small insects and they conspicuously perch on trees but it came often in the room.

My uncle was bitterly sorry that he had been so rash with his apprentice and immediately sent for him and had him take up his work once again. From that day onwards he treated the boy kindly and gave him several important jobs and never suspected him again.”


 Turning to me, Choco-Dadu added finally, “The less we know the more we suspect.”