The Mad God of Morsi (Part 4)
A celebrated journalist’s firsthand account of the mystical forces
Disclaimer: All the characters’ names and places are fictional and bear no resemblance to anyone living or dead.
As Hridaynath and Shailee hastened to get up from their slumber, the wooden pole attached to the corner of their bed hit some old ledgers and piles of papers on the mantle above. It caused an old dusty hardbound book to land straight on Hridaynath’s head. In otherwise what would have been a slightly awkward situation, Shailee burst into a peal of laughter and after setting her saree* and hair straight zoomed out of the room.
Upon entering the verandah, I found both Shailee and Sadashiv in tears. Their precious bottle-gourd vine was badly uprooted. “It was Gundam’s doing. He had come here. It was he who curses everyone and everything to ‘drop dead.’ And when he does so, something good comes out of it eventually. And in Him we trust.” avered Sadashiv heartbroken.
“But you mentioned that he lives 480 miles away, didn’t you? Then why would he come here of all the places?” spirals of logic were building up inside me.
“Sahib*,” somewhat recovering from this grief he added, “I understand, city folks usually don’t believe in such miracles. Let’s just say he came for us…and for you. Gundam will set everything right. Please sit down”.
Saying so he pulled a cot woven of coconut coir. “ I know you must be wondering about yesterday night. I wish to confide in you.” Hridaynath looked nonchalant as he had figured it all out.
“Please hear me out Sahib. Due to the after-effects of the pesticide and the treatment that followed, I now know for sure I cannot father a child. Nor do I wish to subject Shailee to any insults in the name of ugly rituals at the hands of my relatives. We are at your mercy. It’s Shailee’s wish that she wants to conceive from you. May I please request you to…”
Now that Hridaynath had bitten the apple and things were being spoken without any moral inhibitions, he simply nodded assuringly. Hridaynath had lived an austere life for the last five years after separation from his wife. And in these five years, he had so completely immersed himself in his work that he didn’t think much about his pleasures.
Things had happened in such quick succession since Hridayanth had come to stay in Sadashiv’s place that Hridaynath was perplexed at their occurrence. The vermillion mark on his forehead, his getting intimate with Shailee and now the mysterious behavior of the Godman called ‘Gundam’.
After getting ready for the day, as I was neatly folding the duvet and the crumpled sheets and tidying up my bed, I saw an old dusty tome lying on it. I picked it up out of curiosity and wiped it with a piece of cloth. Its cover and inside pages were apparently in tatters. Very carefully I turned to its inside pages. The pages had turned a shade of faint yellow and the words almost wiped out.
About to shut it close as other urgent matters were needed to be addressed, I turned another page simply on a mad impulse. On it was the same woman who’d smeared the vermillion on my forehead. And the next page featured Sadashiv’s courtyard fully covered with the bottle-gourd vine. Only it was loaded with several of those gourds touching the ground. And now this mysterious book. Was this all due to a surge of hormones inside of me? Or is it for real?
At this point, unable to control his piqued interest, Hridaynath did what anybody would naturally do-turn the page. On it was an image that resembled the silhouette of a couple passionately making love and unmistakable was the bed and the wall of his room. This was too much to take in. Hridaynath had to turn more pages. On the next were the words “Your story could not be published.”
Just then a message alert beeped on my phone. What the message said was exactly what was printed in the book. No way was I going to abandon this story. If not them, someone else surely would give it space. Thankfully, the digital age has ushered in unlimited possibilities. I knew all along that there were political bigwigs associated in some way with this fraudulent scheme. I also knew what was coming my way if I didn’t budge.
For the next few days, I met several women from the surrounding region. They heard me out patiently. Many did inform me about how they were lured into this hysterectomy racket and I kept compiling my data. When I approached the reported health centers for verification, the medical staff, as expected was not forthcoming. Some felt crossed on questioning, rather appeared to be somewhat aggressive. That concluded the first leg of my preliminary investigations.
By now, the stringers for local newspapers had got a whiff of my investigation. That meant I had to break the story fast. On the fifth or sixth day, I got a call asking me to meet the secretary of the regional Farm Producer’s Company.
After another night of passionate lovemaking with Shailee, filled with soft cries of ecstasy, early the next morning Hridaynath heard cries of joy from Sadashiv in the courtyard.
I hurriedly stepped out to see an uncouth, pot-bellied man in his late fifties, dressed in the loincloth in the lower half and a pleated cloth tied like a turban around his head. The other end of this covered his right shoulder down to the waist. He squatted near the uprooted bottle-gourd vine. With a sharp stick, he was digging the soil. All the while looking at the sky and saying things like “Now live happily you rotting filth.” He then planted the wilted stem of the vine which he had apparently uprooted a few days back. “Now, water this daily, you rascal” he commanded Sadashiv.
Getting up abruptly, he staggered towards me. True, His face glowed like a hundred incandescent bulbs. Towering over me, with a faltering speech, he said, “Idiot, keep these with you…and go…Drop Dead!” saying so, he flung a few coins at me and walked past like a breeze.
To be continued…
*sahib-local term for sir; a form of respect *saree: women’s attire