Sukla talked not only about her daughter, Minu, but also about her husband, “the father of Minu” (a good Hindu wife avoids speaking of her husband by name). She also talked about his younger brothers Khetu and Karuna. They all lived, she said, at Rathtala in Bhatpara.
Sukla’s family, the Guptas, knew Bhatpara slightly—it was a city about eleven miles south—but they had never heard of a place called Rathtala, nor of the people Sukla had named. Yet Sukla developed a desire to go there, and she insisted that if her parents didn’t take her she would go alone.
What do you do when your daughter starts speaking that way? Sri K. N. Sen Gupta, Sukla’s father, talked about the matter with some friends. He also mentioned it to one of his railway co-workers, Sri S. C. Pal, an assistant station master. Sri Pal lived near Bhatpara and had two cousins there. Through these cousins he learned that Bhatpara indeed had a district called Rathtala. He also learned of a man there named Khetu. Khetu had had a sister-in-law named Mana who had died several years before, in 1948, leaving behind an infant daughter named Minu.
Sri Sen Gupta decided to investigate further.