Editor's note: Sadhona Chatterji wrote this note in her diary in the 2002. It has been typed and provided by her son in 2018.
When we were in Bhopal in the early 1970s, a friend of ours [likely this was Tarun Kumar Bhaduri, who wrote a book in Bengali Abhishapath Chamba], who had written a book about the dacoits of Chambal a few years earlier, used to relate an interesting story.
Sometime in the early 1950s, he was touring around that area to collect information about those dacoits, particularly about the famous and the notorious dacoit of that time, the legendary Man Singh.
One evening after a whole day of hard work, our friend came back to the dak-bungalow he was staying at and was relaxing with a drink and a book in the sitting room of the dak-bungalow.
It was a cold winter night, and outside it became dark very soon.
Our friend had finished his dinner, and was thinking of retiring for the day, when he saw a jeep coming inside the dak-bungalow compound.
It was a police jeep and after a few minutes one of the officers came in to the room and when he saw our friend, asked him very politely if he could join him.
Our friend was very glad to have some company and readily invited the tall handsome officer to join him and offered him a drink.
Very soon they became quite friendly and our friend told the officer that he was a writer and was writing a book about the dacoits and started asking him about Man Singh and his men.
How time passed, none of them realized, when all of a sudden the officer stood up and looked at his watch and said he should be moving out now.
Our friend also stood up and offered his hand to the officer to thank him and asked, "May I know your good name, Sir?"
The man looked at him and very quietly answered, "Log mujhe daku Man Singh kahte hain, (people call me dacoit Man Singh)" and left the room.
The real police party came after some time, but by then Man Singh and his men were miles away.
Kolkata, August 2002.
To find the greatest of all treasures, you may not need to search the world over.
© Pulok Chatterji 2018
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