The Golden Ring and the Horseshoe 

Chaitanyamoi Chetia

© Copyright 2023 by 
Chaitanyamoi Chetia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I lost the golden ring I used to wear in my middle finger; I lost it accidentally; I used to get up from sleep in the middle of the night whenever the ring that I had lost come to my mind. The golden ring was a polished cat’s eye gemstone; it had a streak of light running lengthwise through it which gave it a real look as that of a cat’s eye. Before wearing it, I kept the ring at the bottom of a metal bowl and added Indian basil ( tulsi leaves), un-boiled cow’s milk, and honey on it. After keeping for a few minutes, I took it out of the bowl and cleaned it with water and wore it in the middle of the right finger. It was smooth on the surface, in the dark when light was put out in the house, it shone like that of an actual cat’s eye. My parents gave me to put it in my finger so that I could give more attention to my subjects.

I went to the tuition classes wearing it, and my tuition friends were in enchantment seeing my ring in the middle finger. They told me to be careful in front of the tantricks that wandered every where in the footpath and in the school buildings. I heard from a pan shop near my tuition building that these days the tantricks with saffron attires donned on their bodies with their mystical mantras could loot anything when they would get inside a house. He showed me a newspaper daily, and told me that the previous day a tantric entered a home and with his magic spell acquired the gold ornaments of an aged woman.

During tuition time I always waited at the pan shop and discussed many things with the owner of the pan shop. Many eatables were available in his shop; besides serving pan to customers, confectionery, potato chips, and shampoo sachets were also sold there. Most of the time I would purchase chocolates from him; when he had no changes in his possession, he would give me shampoo sachets in lieu of coins. Potato chips and shampoo sachets were hung in plenty in his pan shop; sometimes he would give me as many as five sachets if he had no five rupee coin to return me.

My father gave me the ring a few months ago, and he told that he would also bring a horse shoe ring for me. I learnt from him that wearing a horse shoe ring in any finger of the right hand was a sign of good luck! I had not seen a horse shoe, but I had seen it in pictures which were “U” shaped. In safety match boxes I had seen the pictures of horse shoe; safety match boxes were necessary to alight candles and lamps when electricity was cut off for a few minutes for load shedding; when trees were uprooted in the storm, and fell in the electrical cables, and when there were no power line the whole night, I would glow up candles at the flint of match sticks, and those match boxes had the pictures of horse shoe.

I did not wait for my parents to bring a horse shoe ring for me; instead, I decided to fetch one ring for myself by searching in some shops. The pan shop owner told me while discussing about it that this thing could be found in jewellery shops, so I went to such a shop that lay near the footpath of a street. I asked the man in the shop whether he possessed a horse shoe; the man replied in the affirmative. His reply made me gleeful in my inner soul.

What will you do with a horse shoe?” he said staring his eyes at me.

I want to put a small portion of the horse shoe metal inside the ring I am wearing,” I said, showing my cat’s eye ring to him. I again said, “You will have to stud a small portion of the horse shoe metal here.”

Have you ever seen a horse shoe before?”

I have seen in pictures.”

The original ones that are removed from the hooves of the horses?”

As I remained mute and did not say anything, he opened a drawer and brought out an old discoloured rectangle container of tin; rust had formed in the four edges of it. He dusted the container, blowing air with his mouth and opened it, and that was the first time I touched with my fingers. It was believed that if school children wore horse shoe rings or keep a small portion in their body, they would improve their studies, and would be concentrated in their syllabus. I removed my ring and gave it to the man and asked him to emboss a small portion of it so that when it was worn in my middle finger the small portion of the metal would touch my skin.

He took my ring and the horse shoe and went inside. “OK, I shall stud a small portion of the horse shoe here,” he said, showing me the portion where he would stud. The jewellery man was very kind, he carried out the work in a short time as I expected and gave it to me.

I came to the tuition class and waited for a few moment with my tuition friends near the pan shop. A few tantricks were following me since I left the jewellery shop; a few of them were roaming every where in the market places, in the footpath and near the pan shop. Some were chatting with some pedestrians; one tantric was giving gemstone to a man and taking money and talking with him.

You are looking pretty with the golden ring embossed with a stone,” the owner of the pan shop said to me as he saw me wearing. “Have you found the horse shoe?”

Yes, I have embossed a small portion of the horse shoe in the ring,” I said.

Tantricks would carry ruby, moonstone, and topaz in their bags, and they would cajole the shop owners as well as the students with magnifying talks of their prosperity and sell the stones to them. They would always look at the palms of the school children and would say some ridiculous things about our health and studies. Just then a tantrick approached me; I tried to give wide berth to him, as I was scared of them and always tried to avoid them. The newspaper news that the pan shop owner told me came to my mind: in a countryside house, a tantric looted all the jewellery of an aged woman. He took advantage of the woman by coercing her to cover all the gold ornaments in a cloth and give it at his hands so that he could double the weight of the jewelleries and that peace would come at their house. The woman acquiesced to his sayings and wrapped all the gold ornaments in a cloth and gave it to him. He took it in his hand and after a few minutes returned it to her; he asked her to open the wrapped cloth after two hours; he changed something at that time and left the place in an easy gait. After two hours the innocent woman found black ashes and small pieces of coal wrapped in the said cloth. That incident came to my mind when the tantrick conversed with me; he looked at my palms and told me that he would shower me blessings and hence asked me to close my eyes. I acquiesced to his sayings, and as his face gave a pretty and modest look, I submitted my right hand to him. I closed my eyes tightly, he touched my fingers for many minutes; I felt as if he were messaging my fingers. I forgot everything about my middle finger ring then; I told him to leave my hand now because I was late for tuition. After sometime, I left the tantrick and hurried to the tuition class where everyone had already arrived.

At night after my dinner, while washing hands with soap I saw my cat’s eye and horse shoe embedded ring was missing in my finger. In confusion I searched everywhere, I searched in the small pockets of my pants, and my tuition bag, but I could not find. Then I took it for granted that the tantrick deceived me in a bad way. As I closed my eyes by giving him my palm - at that time the ring came at his possession. He told me twice to close my eyes tightly and not to open them, because if I opened, his magic spell would not work.

Horse shoes are symbols of goodluck and wealth, but I came to the conclusion that there cannot be anything like hard work and perseverance. For attaining anything we will have to study and I felt wearing stones and metals in our hands has nothing to do with our lives. A horse may not feel pain in their thick tough hooves when horse shoes are nailed on it: we are human beings, we know the forlornness when anything is lost forever; and it takes many years to give comfort to the body after something is missed.

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