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Skull, Bull & Sorcerer

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Thyagarajan, May 25, 2020.

  1. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: SKULL, BULL & SORCERER :hello:



    It was a Poornima ( full moon) Friday past noon in pre-mobile era, (1960s). An expectant Dharini to deliver in few days, returned to her parents in a rural hamlet proximate to a city in South India. She alone at home, was awaiting for return of her parents who had left before dawn to attend family function in the city.

    A man dressed up in lose yellow pyjama and ochre Kurtha, playing vigorously dumroo to a rhythm was accompanied by a snow-white healthy bull. It’s horns painted in deep fluorescent red. A small brass bell and lemon-garland around its neck added to it’s majestic looks.

    Leaning over a stout wooden pillar raising from pyol & holding a large platter of rice, grains and coins in it, Dharini awaited for the man with the bull closer home. Being literate and given to good exposure to urban life, her belief in superstitions vastly changed, yet she followed it to an extent that it remains innocuous.

    BM was carrying bundles of old colourful clothes on his shoulders while the bull moved zig-zag to houses on opposite sides of the street. People of hamlet, considered his visit accompanying a bull on Fridays, as a fine augury and so were generous in their offer to him in cash & kind. He kept his cash collections concealed in turban made of several layers of twisted multi coloured chequered cloth.


    Dumroo between thumb and his fingers, BM vigorously playing it, walked briskly toward the lady Dharini. He said softly in colloquial Tamil prophesying “future good” in the hamlet that would shortly occur and better days to a few - expectants.

    Looking at her rotundity and her glowing countenance, he held his cloth bag down to facilitate her transferring the offerings while he continued with his chatter.

    She was in huge delight, when he in cracked voice - in instalments, announced that that she would deliver naturally, a full term healthy boy and that she should continue with her routine prayer practices; and then, he quickly retrieved from his turban - a small packet of sacred ash and a vermilion smeared ripe lemon.

    Dropping these into her extended palms, BM advised the “young mother-to-be” that - the day being Friday full moon, she should smear the sacred ash wet on her forehead in evening twilight and consume the juice of the sacred lemon for future well being.


    Moving away from Dharini, BM proceeded with bull to house opposite and little later, he & the bull disappeared at the end of the street. She returned inside the house with platter of sacred ash and lemon. She thought for a while and her common sense dictated against using the sacred ash and lemon in the manner suggested by BM.

    She discarded them into a galvanised bucket of water that was kept near the door for washing feet before entering into home.

    Many hours gone by. Day turned to a dusk & later to a night. Dharini from a window had full view of the large white full moon that just began climbing up from horizon. No sign of her parents returning home. She warmed up food, had her dinner, felt weary when sleep embraced her.

    Around that hour, in the outskirts of the village, at about half km, in a field amidst wild growth of vegetation, a snake-charmer (SC) was receiving the BM. The bright moon had shone over them. Here and there, fire-flies and beetles could be spotted behind bushes while bees hummed. SC enquired BM, about handing over packet of sacred ash & lemon to that target woman and whether proper instructions given to her. BM answered in affirmative.

    SC paid half the contracted amount for this act of BM. The other half would be given to him after completion of rest of the horror project. BM engaged himself with preliminaries for SC’s worship - like burning incense powder & sticks, lighting the pedestal multi-wick lamp. He decorated an eerie-looking idol with its tongue fully stretched out. A garland strung of red & yellow Hibiscus flower kept ready over the closed basket in which a live cobra was slithering and hissing. Large copper utensils to collect baby’s blood for ablution of the idol later.

    These two men looked right above their head with great satisfaction at the moon-lit cloudless sky, which according to them supposed to be beginning of auspicious moment for their macabre task at hand.


    At Dharini’s house it was momentous. She in her profound sleep was disturbed when the huge old P.ORR & SONS pendulum-clock in the hall chimed twelve times. At the same time, she heard repeated knocks at the door, woke up lazily. Hoping it was her parents, she nervously dawdled from bedroom to the hall. She stood still with what she saw at the threshold at the entrance.

    She emitted a loud cry for help. The galvanised bucket - into which she tossed the lemon & sacred ash in the forenoon - was repeatedly hitting the bottom of the door with its water splashing all around.

    Her immediate neighbour and others heard loud cry for help and also repeated knocks behind the huge solid door. Two brave boys quickly jumped into back-yard of the house, reached main entrance where metal bucket was knocking the door. They sensed something amiss and super-natural. They managed to open the main passage door and remain bewildered looking at the bucket moving ahead on its own in the street.

    With hurricane lamps in one hand and a bamboo stick on the other, many men soon after marching behind moving bucket in moon-lit streets. When they reached an area of wild growth of greeneries, they all hid behind the bushes and watched the sluggish movement of the bucket treading and stopping at a distant spot where BM & SC stood awaiting for the pregnant lady to reach them.

    The bucket halted in front of the idol. Men with sticks hiding behind bushes could see in moonlight the two at the spot in altercation. They advanced to the spot slowly and steadily, encircling the two and began enquiring the purpose of their presence at that ungodly hour and their hand in the mystery behind mobility of bucket. To extract their true intent, the men of hamlet bludgeoned both BM & SC.

    The man found to be a sorcerer cum snake charmer and to enhance his magical evil powers, desired skull of an unborn baby. He decided upon the target lady; and in collusion with BM, contrived the macabre plot to propel pregnant Dharini walked to him at the “spot” & to have her unborn baby’s skull.


    (
    This anecdote based on news report appeared in popular tamil daily six decades ago)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  2. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    To appreciate and understand the BM, here I share a u tube song from Tamil cinema .
     
  3. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Thyagarajan Sir,

    You brought unpleasant memories of those guys who come with color turban playing that rattling sound and predicting things for those residing in the house. He generally collects clothes as well as food. But food is okay but clothes? Even worn clothes could make people suffer the fate you described in your snippet according to those who believe in superstition. I remember, once my Periamma was scared when such a guy predicted about the danger that was going to happen to her youngest daughter (my cousin), she ended up giving a lot more away to the guy to neutralize his predictions.

    I wish the government put a ban on such guys roaming the streets. But where do they start? Nowadays, guys in Sanyasi dress attract more crowds to their ashram and do more extraction than those roamers on the street. You have now scared all those who are pregnant and likely to become pregnant. This karma can be removed only by you writing another snippet about what nice things could happen to pregnant and likely to become pregnant women.

    The women are brave now and if the BM does something like this in the present day, there is a good chance the pregnant woman will pretend to be in a spell of the BM, go to the place where they perform pooja with a sword and severe the head of BM as well as snake charmer. I enjoyed listening to that Tamil song. The dancers in the street never look like actress Kanchana. :(
     
  5. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:@Viswamitra Sir,
    Thanks for your detailed comments.
    2. Writing this snippet came to mind as I happened to study about nomads - scheduled tribes living in forest . The tamilnadu government has a separate welfare board to take care of TB their needs. You might have heard of IRULAR - a community in the hill forests of Nilgiris.
    Wikipedia states -
    A Boom Boom Ox (Tamil: பூம் பூம் மாடு) is a decorated ox used in Tamil Nadu, India for fortune-telling by Boom Boom Mattukaran tribe. These oxen are decorated with jewellery, bells and bright cloth and are led by fortune tellers to individual houses or places where people gather. The patron usually stands in front of the ox and the fortune teller. The fortune teller asks the ox questions in a sing-song voice about the future of the patron. The Ox is trained to nod yes or no for the questions and from its head nods, the fortune teller tells the fortune of the patron. The term "Boom Boom Ox" is also used as an insult to denote a yes man or a weak willed person.
    The nodding of head by bull not covered in my snippet.
    I remembered a news item appeared in daily thanthi I read in late1950sabout a metal bucket filled with water at the entrance of a home in midnight tumbling and reaching a forest etc. Hence the snippet.

    This is nice idea. In the link below, I had suggested Do’s & Don’t s
    Melody Of The Pregnant Mind

    Glad that you could enjoy the music.
    Actress Kanchana deserted by her kith and kin’s spending or living her days in a temple in bangalore according to Kumudam.
    Thanks and Regards.
     
  6. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello:Thanks for clicking like option.

    2. Intent not to scare but how in the past people in city and rural were subjected to superstition and mould the life around it.

    3. Son was advised by dad to meet an influential politician for getting fixed up . When boy reached the influential person, the latter’s Man Friday advised that all along he was at home due to Rahugalam and then only he had left on tour.

    4. A king was made to believe that citing a pair of crows the moment he wakes up from night sleep would bring enormous luck. He appointed a man to watch for a pair of crows and alert him . A man was appointed and he did alert the king the moment he spotted on a branch of tree behind the palace. The king with closed eyes carefully guided to the nearby window to look at the pair of crows. By the time the king could see they had flown away. An angry King put the man behind the bars. The man softly but mockingly said, for seeing a pair he was behind bars and that was his luck. The king realised his foolishness and therefore released the man from prison with some presents.

    Thanks and Regards.
     

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