By Sarathi Guha(03 Apr 2008)
Landlord Bhuvneshwar Chowdary was preparing for the annual 'sharadotsav'. According to his estate manager Taracharan, he decided to make the idol in a unique style. Instead of the traditional goddess Durga's face, he wanted queen Victoria's face. He was quite assured that it would impress the viceroy. He had a rivalry with the neighbouring landlord Nadubabu, and so he sacked the old potter and appointed a new one from Krishnanagar. The young sculptor Brijbhushan was originally from north India and was ready to make the idol resemble the queen. Apart from the festival, the zamindar had another big reason for his anxieties - he wanted an heir. He had married twice, and had a mistress named Panna, but no heir. He was a sadist and a beast in bed. Brajo's started on his assignment. But one day he suddenly cut his finger. The first lady asked him to rest and brought the old potter for the remaining framework. On the other side, the priest met the lord and gave him a new remedy for bearing an heir. He said that the scriptures say that a woman desirous of a son needs to listen to the sacred reading of the deeds of noble heroes during coitus. The zamindar believed him and gave him the responsibility of reading the sacred chants inside his bedroom during the intercourse. Yashomati resisted but her protests fell on deaf ears. She once tried to escape but Brajo resisted and on another day she tried to hang herself but the elder wife saved her. One night the first lady decided to teach the priest a lesson. She entered the bedroom, undressed herself and seduced the priest. The priest began to sweat and stammer and tried to find a way to escape. But the lord remained right in his position to hear the sacred readings during his acts. So, the palace gradually turned into hell for Yashomati . Brajo, after his recovery, engaged himself in his work again. He had a strange obsession with his work whenever he touched the idol - it reminded him of the sensations of touching his wife. Gradually he found Yashomati instead of his wife whenever he felt the clay idol. In the antarmahal (the inner chamber), the young handsome sculptor became the matter of curiosity among the womenfolk.The first lady once tried to seduce him but failed. She provoked Yashomati to do the same. Intially Yasho refused, but later when the young man came to her bedroom to catch the cat she could not resist her temptations. A few days before the ceremony, a group of priests had come to the lord to put up objections against the new face of the idol. They saw it as a big sin. However the zamindar knew how to circumvent these protests. Arrangements were made for the priest to remove the veil on the first day of the ceremony. Brajo's work was almost done and Taracharan had sent invitations to the viceroy. Finally the auspicious day arrived. The zamindar and all the employees gathered together in front of the idol. All the villagers had come to see the much awaited goddess Victoria, but as soon as the veil was removed everyone turned speechless. Brajo had done the face of the idol exactly like Yashomati's and that was enough to scandalise the zamindar's wife. Bhuvaneshwar got wild and screened the idol. He entered Yasho's room armed with a rifle, kicked the door and tried to shoot her but Yashomati was already dead - she had hung herself from the ceiling. The last words we get from the departing artist's journal was - "that year they worshipped an urn instead of the goddess. After the immersion the second lady was burnt in sandalwood pyre with great pomp. It is said that she died of an incurable malady. Noone knew what became of the young sculptor".