The Mad God of Morsi (Part 2)
A celebrated Journalist’s firsthand account of the mystical forces
Disclaimer: All the names of the characters and places are fictional and bear no resemblance to anyone living or dead.
Prologue: Hridaynath, a celebrated journalist, is openly sharing the hard facts of his illustrious career journey. He suspects it could lead to unsavory feedback from his loyal readers and followers. Especially, his community of peers might not appreciate such a revelation. And this may also affect his career prospects. But he admits he feels compelled from within to get this out. On one of his visits to the Kure village in Northern Maharashtra, he encounters mysterious incidents.
Now read on…
There was a facet of his life which Hridaynath had so far avoided from his talk. However, that kept playing at the back of his mind.
Staring at the vermillion patch on his forehead that reflected in the jaded mirror, he saw Shailee, the good lady of the house, standing behind him. She had brought his morning tea. Her dove black eyes looked playful and teasing.
Hridaynath reciprocated her subtle smile. He was still lost in thoughts as he pointed at his forehead. Briefly, he narrated the morning incident.
Shailee retorted softly, “Beware, women out here cast some spell,” and blinked her kohl-lined eyes.
“I very well know what you mean, aren’t you one of them ?”
Shailee blushed and looked the other way and said, “We are indebted to you. You are no less than any God for us.”
“I respect your feelings,” Hridaynath said matter-of-factly. “But I’ve never believed in God, you know, as I feel both evil and good reside in us all.” Changing the topic, in a firm tone, he added, “Look, I need to meet the other group of women. How soon can you arrange the meeting?”
“A day or two more, maybe,” she replied. “I’ll get going. Just call Gopu if you need anything.” Gopu was her 7-year-old niece.
Hridaynath had last come to the Kure village a month ago. This had always been his preferred camping base, which was well connected to the district headquarters at Amravati, in northern Maharashtra, and also it was centrally located among the surrounding small villages.
Hridaynath had made an arrangement with the mukhiya or the head of the Kure village. He was provided a small room in the mukhiya’s courtyard. In return, Hridaynath would pay him a decent amount while leaving. Money had never been a problem since Hridaynath always managed to get all his projects well funded.
Last time, a survey on the conditions of farm laborers from the surrounding region had brought him to the far-flung Kure village. It was then that one day he heard some commotion in the nearby block.
Sadashiv, Shailee’s husband, had attempted suicide and was being rushed to the local dispensary. Without a second thought, Hridaynath had dropped whatever work he was busy doing and rushed to help Sadashiv reach the city hospital. Not only that, but he also used his connections and got him admitted on time. Eventually, Sadashiv’s life was saved. So, here he was witness to one live notorious case of the ill-famed ‘Farmer’s Suicide’ from this belt.
City folks generally tend to rubbish such incidences and often attributed the deaths to consumption of spurious liquor. Although this cause cannot be ruled out, most of the times farmers are driven to suicide in some desperation arising out of not being able to pay back the ever-mounting debt on loan coupled with misleading advice from other ignorant villagers. Hridaynath knew better.
Over the last ten years, he had become ‘the expert’ on issues faced by marginal farmers and all those whose life depended on farming and farm-related activities. As a result, today, he was on a few government-appointed panels and committees.
Strangely, Hridaynath noticed that Sadashiv’s family members were not seen around during the melee of his hospitalization. At the hospital, when Hridayanth was about to leave after ensuring Sadashiv was well attended to, a woman about 27 came to him and fell at his feet.
Embarrassed, he requested her to get up. She was Shailee. She thanked him profusely and told him that she was admitted for some procedure a day before. Comforting and assuring her, Hridaynath compassionately inquired what was wrong with her. She said there was nothing wrong as such. She was not alone. There were a couple of other women from her group who were to be benefitted from the new government scheme.
Hridaynath asked Shailee to wait for him in the ward where her husband was admitted. He then went about doing some sleuthing work and was shocked to learn the callous and evil intentions of this so-called government scheme.
This set the wheels of his brain in motion. Hridaynath knew instantly that he had chanced upon a scoop. Breaking news. What a scandal, after all! Illiterate women were lured to get their hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) done without properly informing them.
On a selfish note, further probing and moving around, he knew this was going to be the ‘Award Winning’ story of the year for him!
On reaching the ward, he asked Shailee to pay close attention to what he was about to tell her. “A while ago, you said I was a Godsend for your husband’s life. A savior. I am now going to ask you to immediately return to your village, along with other women. Do not question me right now. I will explain it all to you later. All I can say right now is that you are being misled and your well-being compromised. Do not stay here another minute. Look, if you trust me, then you must leave right away. Don’t worry about your husband, he will be well looked after. “
To be continued…