The Drunkard's wife ( aka The village shrew and the Goddess .... ) Part 3
The Drunkard's wife ( aka The village shrew and the Goddess .... ) Part 3
Stories by Grumpy Grandpa Pandemonium
This story is dedicated to My spiritual Guru Shri Mataji Nirmaladevi and all the women in the world in recognition of the tremendous and unimaginable struggles they have to go through
Title of the story :
The Drunkard's wife ( aka The village shrew and the Goddess.... )
Better lower your hand or else you will have to reckon with me!
( Part 3 of total 4 )
Soon after the departure of the drunkard's wife from the temple, the village priest, with a spring in his step and bestowing a benevolent yet slightly patronising smile with a cocky nod of his head to acknowledge the early morning greetings of en route well wisher passer bys , subtly proud, being aware of the prestigious position he held in the village, arrived at the temple to perform his daily puja rituals. He opened the door of the sanctum sanctorum ( garbha griha ) with a routine disdain. Slowly and yet suddenly, ( such opposite reactions do happen sometimes simultaneously in reality ) his eyes casually noticed the overnight change that had occurred in the posture of the Deities hand and facial expression and he froze in disbelieving horror!
His entire visual apparatus blew a neural fuse as the sight slowly sank into his stupefied brain! Momentarily time and the rest of the universe stood still for him.
But then his mind automatically kicked in like an alert inverter in a time of sudden power failure, and in a split second took over his brains working.
Immediately comprehending the unnatural phenomenon manifested by the statue, it took control of his body and switched it into a high panic mode. First collapsing on the floor in fright, his body began trembling from head to toe like a person electrocuted with a high voltage shock. The metal puja plate or thali fell from his shaky hands with a loud echoing clang on the stony temple floor repeating multiple such loud echoing clangs. Vertically rotating in a spiral track on the floor the plate slowly stabilised and its clangs subsided into an eerie silence. The silence was now more prominently noticeable, due to its earlier amplified stereophonic clanging noise.
Stuttering and gasping for breath, he somehow managed to get up on his shaky feet. With his eyes popping out, his right hand rolled into a fist which repeatedly started bouncing off his wide open mouth. ( In Marathi this gesture is called as bomb maarne. It is used to denote a state of acute distress or supreme danger or grief or pain of the highest grade , which cannot be expressed at once in words. Its specifically used in certain parts of Ratnagiri or southern Maharashtra. The words that are to be uttered almost like a mantra in accompaniment with this gesture are... abababababa.... or aayaaayaayaaa to achieve maximum impact on the onlookers. It is an age old emergency human siren system ingenuously devised and developed by the wise and creative Maharashtrians.
Making use of the easily and always available tongue and a limb, in times when electricity and loud speakers were absent, it is in common practice even today. The author of this story will feel immensely happy and his lifes mission fulfilled if the reader or listener of this story, no matter where he / she is, or what time of the day it is, should take a break and immediately practice this hoary custom. This author will always join you in spirit at each and every such experimental yodelling. Fyi he is also famous as a great spiritual master known as Maha Avtaar Baba Bombaabomb. Needless to say his spiritual practice lays great stress on this important Bombaabomb yoga. You dear reader / listener can practice it spontaneously anywhere and earn great merit or punya very easily in this lifetime ).
With this little practical demo over, we revert to our story and the vociferous temple priest....
In this unique fashion, his left hand flailing wildly, he began running helter skelter in the village like a headless chicken in every which direction shouting and hollering and blabbering incoherently.
At once a huge crowd gathered and seeing his dumb founded stupefied frightened state and noticing him pointing all the time towards the temple, they rushed towards it and on entering it, gave a big collective highly audible gasp! Lo and behold! They all were also shocked to see the changed facial expression and shifted pose of the hand of the Goddess!
After the initial whispering soon changed into a cacophonous commotion, the news spread like wildfire and soon the entire village leaving all its daily chores aside flocked to see this wonder. The small temple was packed to bursting point by this sudden influx. Somehow a bit later a little sense prevailed and the village chief ( known as Patil in Marathi ) took matters in his hand. He ordered the temple to be emptied at once and its precints to be cordoned off. Standing on a make shift dais in the temple courtyard, he immediately summoned the village sorcerer ( sometimes locally called as Bhutya ) at the scene.
He asked the sorcerer who also performed multiple roles of the village witch doctor, matrimonial matchmaker and consultant and specialised in summoning dead ancestors to redress family quarrels. In such disputes he was known to be pliable in favour of the client who was willing to pay him more fees. However his stellar performance was reserved for special village events where he would go into a trance and get possessed by multiple deities. This performance was triggered off by the drinking of a decoction of secret potions and mixtures and burning of a lot of smoke creating herbs and roots while simultaneously chanting some weird meaningless words of an unknown language. The sorcerers body would soon start swaying and bouncing with rhythmic jerks and in a strange voice emanating from the sorcerer the invisible entity would announce its arrival. In all this process the sorcerer was ably assisted by his loyal lackey. An interactive question answer session would take place in which the problems at hand and its solutions were asked to the invisible entity. In almost all sessions the solutions were same. Offering of a chicken or goat and multiple food items and fancy clothes to the entity thru his appointed agent the sorcerer or Bhutya.
Without wasting much time the sorcerer got into action and soon his histrionics were in full bloom.
A great crime has been committed by the villagers! This village is doomed! Before the sun sets if the village does not atone and repent by undertaking a ritual conducted by the sorcerer a monstrous Calamity would befall the entire village. It would not spare a single soul. Even those who had not died before would die! ( this one liner stolen from Pappu quotes collection ) None would survive.
This announcement by the sorcerer caused great panic and fearful hysteria amongst the villagers. The manner in which their death would occur was discussed and described in gory details.. some said they would be eaten alive by some monster or ogre, others preferred a fiery or watery death scenario. A few masochists said it would be a more painful process with each limb being torn off and being skinned alive and dropped into boiling oil.
All this conjecturing caused a great pandemonium and loud synchronised wailing and breast beating amongst the crowd.
Sensing trouble, the village chief ordered the sorcerer to commence the calamity vanquishing ritual without wasting any more time.
The sorcere began to chant his standard mantras and ringing bells and blowing conches while offering his favourite food and clothes and sweets items to the Goddess which were skillfully siphoned off by his lackey into a sack meant for the sorcerer.
All this went oñ for a long time but to no avail. The hand of the Goddess would not budge at all.
Soon it was evident to all that the sorcerers magic was totally ineffective on the Goddess.!
As time was running out and sun set time grew near, the villagers grew more and more desperate, restless and hysterical. Past suppressed disputes or forgotten flashpoints were revived or raked up again. Arguments and quarrels started breaking out amongst them as to how the situation should best be dealt with. Multiple line of actions were suggested. The wisest or most foolish suggestion, depending on ones perspective, which was fast gaining public approval was that they should all commit collective suicide so that they would pre-empt the Calamity monster and deprive it of the joy of killing them.
There were many conjectures and hypothesis made as to what was the cause of this impending doom and who was to be blamed. In a mood of repentance some villagers started confessing their hidden sins and secrets. One confession led to another and corelations and interlinks of past and current illicit liaisions and scandals started getting exposed. Indeed so many skeletons started tumbling out of old rusting cupboards and so much was the mass fury unleashed and further fanned by these sensational disclosures that it was certain that the villagers would end up killing one another before the Calamity monster reached their shore!
It seemed as if the curse had already started to play out its work!
Finally in an last ditch effort to maintain social sanity and order he edged his way to the front. Standing on a make shift dais in the temple courtyard, the village chief addressed the frenzied crowd.
Dear villagers its imperative that we find an immediate solution to this calamity. Who ever has the means or power to placate the Goddess and restore her to normalcy, may please step forward. Our entire village shall be eternally indebted to that person. On behalf of the entire village I promise to compensate that Saviour in whatever manner he may demand as a token of our gratitude! "
This was indeed a most generous offer and a would be windfall for any aspirant eager to don the mantle of a Saviour! The crowd looked around expectantly to see who would step forward. Surely there would many such claimants or candidates to perform the requisite miraculous cure !
But after the initial murmuring a hush slowly descended on the crowd. None desired or had the courage to play with fire or face Divine retribution.
At this moment when every one in the crowd seemed to be like the fixed terracotta statues of a Chinese army, a thin human figure was seen coming to the forefront. The hushed fearful silence which had captivated the crowd slowly broke into a whispering query " Who is it? Who is it? " and on seeing the person there was a big collective gasp from the audience and one word broke out of their mouths in a hushed voice in precise unison.....
End of Part 3 of Total 4....
All copyrights of this story / article / essay / poem are retained by the author Mr Parag Raje.