The Divine Daughter
When I took those rugged stairs on the valley, little did I have in mind about the terrain getting easier. However, it was with that impression that I began my less onerous climb to eventually stumble across a monkey carcass.
Strangely, its head was decapitated and flies were busy in their merry making....A portion of its skin was rubbed off and that exposed it's wounded flesh.
By the looks of it, this seemed a violent act of the local kids. Then I remembered that only few resided around the surrounding areas itself. This was due to the rumour going about, that the place was "cursed".
"Madam?? Can you get a move on...There is still a few steps to the mandir",called out Gujjar
Coming from the city, into this rural part of the country I was getting considerably exhausted. Still could not help myself into meeting with this solitary yogi who decided to stay within the village.
Many people just across the Tahlik River, simply said that this pujari was powerful. It was a period of 14 days that he gave the villagers, before cleansing the area with his spells from the recent Cholera epidemic.
I almost collided with a 100 year old banyan tree creeper that protruded from a large halo on the wall thinking about this Yogi. Meanwhile, the moss strewn steps exuded a familiar aroma to calm me down at the same time.
"Careful Madam! You need to be aware of your surroundings",again said Gujjar
We reached the zenith of that small cliff, and the mandir came into focus.
The large horizon through the Tahlik river came into view, and a dull tap of the Dhol coming from the neighbouring regions where the villagers were currently residing.
The beating was a method used by family head of chief villagers, to ward off evil.
Meanwhile,the mandir was a decrepit place.With shades of darkness sitting in each nook and cranny. Other old trees had its creepers dangling down the roofs. It almost represented a giant caveman that was deep in slumber.
Upon passing the entrance that was dimly lit, I was asked by Gujjar to wait by the lawn.
I saw how amazingly replete the place,
was, with its own shade of Bougainvillia flowers in contrast to the outside state around the mandir.
"Beautiful isn't it?",asked a sadhu standing at the Mandir's lip.
I immediately turned to face him and paid less heed for nature.
"I almost feel how sober it makes one's weary soul, especially when she is far from home and wandering in the darkness", exclaimed the Sadhu smiling.
He walked slowly to me, and looked me in the eye for few brief seconds before attending to the flowers.
"No wonder the villagers worship me, as Ganaram Pandit the vessel to absorb all evil.....The beacon to attract angels", he pointed to me.
"You heard about me? So you do know my purpose?", I asked
"Do you think that superstition has grown it's branches across the more refined parts of society?", he asked non chalantly
"Especially, from where the likes of you hail from!",explained Ganaram looking at me.
I relaxed my muscles and went on confidently on my reveal,"Then it is needless to say, that yours was a cunning plan......I had my suspicions especially when I noticed the dead monkey by the stairs and a grassy residue on its nails. The mandir is swarmed by monkeys because this place also has a special shrine for the monkey god Hanuman. These monkeys discovered your food storage, where items to make prasad are stored. It is there that monkeys create pestilence.....You thought that by killing them you can create another unknown fear....However, I still failed to understand why you needed a whole place for yourself?....Then it came to me, that two weeks ago an opium racket was cracked on by the police not two kilometres from here......That got me thinking, and finally I was able to place the nub of my finger when some police was internally removed from Charipur for accepting bribes.
He smiled and suddenly that turned into a grimace and he said,"Now I know why they regard you as the divine daughter, and your service undercover for foreign police organisations have made rounds around my people".
I smiled the victorious smirk and said"The city police will surround the area very soon....It will be better if you show them the food storage area where you keep the opium".
Gujjar came running out with a gun, but before he could aim it at me. I brought out my own firearm and aimed it at the Pujari.
He gestured his accomplice to drop the weapon, and nimbly raised his hands.
The police surrounded the mandir after an hour, and it was the commissioner who came upto me and said,"A job well done Mrs. Bakshi, just like your father all those years ago".