Exorcism before my eyes 

Krishnankutty Komaram, s/o  late kelukutty Komaram, Thenjippalam komarappadiparambu Sri Bhagavathi  kshethram. The woman undergoing this is standing opposite the exorcist, outside this room under scorching sun.

“Ettathum, ettubhadichathum, elppikkapettathumaaya sarva bhooda pishachukkaleyum akattuka ! Om daaridrya dukha dahanaaya namah sivaya ! Humphatt swaaha”

The exorcist kept chanting these lines a hundred times. I was just an observer who thought (i doubt whether i still think) all this was perfect shit. I had taken pride in being an atheist and had always been hesitant in going to religious places. But still I am sure that there is no Krishna or Shiva or Hanuman or the like. Those are just mythological figures created for common man to imagine the supreme power (just like how much concentration they get through idol worshiping). But the power, I don’t understand. Perhaps it is the thing I try to understand the most. I fail terribly every time. Anyway, I think one shouldn’t be against something without knowing the A-Z about it. This thought of mine had actually triggered my curiosity to know more about our traditional beliefs. I accompanied my relatives to this strange place – it was a wonder for them that I was going to such a place. Each of us might have been born to different parents, at different times, places, situations, conditions etc. This makes us react to same situation differently. The difference is in the way our life was set. I don’t mean to say it is all fate. But just look at that beggar on the roadside, and that blind girl who pleads before you for few bucks.  Don’t these keep you thinking? This is when great people talk about mental power and will. Of course the mind has tremendous power. But at times it somehow fails to gather all this so-called ‘instinct’ power. It seems like someone or something is pulling us unconditionally and thereby dominating this mental power of ours. Renowned film Director Lal Jose said,

“Had I not gotten those ‘circumstances’, I would not have become a film director”

Yes, though I don’t believe in the blurred term ‘fate’, I do believe in circumstances which I am forced to believe (by my experiences) are preset. All of us, however fervently we believe in ‘personal-mental-power’, would have thought at some point of our life about such bottomless truths.

Having this in mind I followed my relatives to Komarappadi kshethram.

The exorcist there was talking about ‘durbhoodangal’ (demons) who are supposed to attack us as per our time of birth – influenced by various planets. Crap! Crap! I whispered to satisfy my conscience – though I was inquisitive. Fire, earth, water, air and space – the five forces of nature were used for exorcism, I noticed. It had to be effective, for I believe in the divine forces of mother earth. There were not many people there unlike normal temples. In fact it is not exactly a temple – it’s a holy enclosure maintained by the Komarappadi family. I waited for the oracle along with the others present. Among the devotees was a muslim girl (in 20s). I was eager to know more about her. Without hesitating I asked her curiously’

“Where are you coming from?”

To my joy, she came closer and answered with a great smile;

“I am from Cherooppa, and you ?”

“Okay! I am from Calicut city. Are you here for the first time?”

“No, I’ve been here twice before. Their power is astonishing”

I found myself dying to ask her plenty of question – my big doubts.  I continued talking to her.

“So why do you come here?”

“Marriage purpose.”

“All right! Don’t you have siblings?”

“No I don’t”

“Oh so it’s just dad, mom and yourself at home, huh?”

“No, it’s just umma (mother) and I”

I knew it was high time for me to shut up. But since Hajra seemed so revealing and open to my damn queries I managed to continue.

“Oh! Isn’t he there?”

“Left us as soon as I was born. Might have died just then. Perhaps on roads”

She said with a strange laughter.

Shit! I shouldn’t have asked her that, I thought. Giving her a smile of remorse I kept quiet for a while.

But she continued talking to me about many things. She said neither herself nor her mom was working. They don’t have anyone to call as relatives. I wondered who fed them. She had terrible squint eye just like her mom. But still those eyes were expressive.

We waited for about an hour for the head-man to make his appearance. He talked to my people and everyone there, very casually.  People disclosed private matters shamelessly to this man wearing Red dhothi.

“Ellaattinum parihaaram undu tto”

He replied to everyone.

His few words gave immense respite to all gathered for the same.

At a corner, arrangements for the devil-dance were carried out.

Meantime, Kuttikrishnan Komaram dressed up colorfully for the day’s exorcism. With Golden foot-trinket, Blood-red dhoti, bare-chested with turmeric powder sprinkled all over, he came swiftly towards the throng. As he neared, we moved back giving him enough space for the devil-dance. Soon I realized it was not an easy task. He must have taken great pain to internalize this body language, I thought.

Suddenly, a Muslim woman who stood opposite to me grabbed my attention. Initially, I saw her fingers quiver. Slowly her hands trembled. In no time she uttered a shriek and screamed anxiously. I stood rooted to the spot barely ten feet away stunned by the magnitude and suddenness of the change in her behavior. The oracle continued his acts as if nothing was happening. But in a few minutes he strode towards her and splashed some holy water on her face forcefully. She responded to that by screaming vigorously. The devil dance continued with all its vibrancy even after that. After a few dialogues with the oracle, the Muslim lady fainted to the ground. Before fainting she entered into a deal with the oracle; she said that the bad spirit that she was, will leave the body, only if she was given a cock (poovan kozhi).

“Crap! Crap! “

This time I whispered in disharmony.

A few days back I had gone to a famous dermatologist to consult my facial skin disease.

“It seems that your skin is not responding to any treatment, Shruty. Do you believe in Lord Ganapathi? ” My doctor (for the past 3 years) asked me in a sad tone.

“No, I don’t” I said without giving it a thought.

“I think you must start believing now” The doctor laughed and said.

“Doctor, please make her understand that. Evil-eye does exist. I am a firm believer. I think that is why she is getting this problem with her skin all the time. She has consulted various skin specialists so far – since her ninth grade – ranging from Ayurveda, homeopathy to Allopathy now. I have taken her to all the major centers. But there has not been a satisfactory cure for this. Lord Ganapathy is going to be my last try” my mother said .

“I don’t blindly believe in it. But experiences are plenty. So I am forced to believe a bit of it. There is something behind all this.” Doctor said mysteriously.

“Swami, ee kutteede mukham kandille? Doctor vare kaivittu. Kanneranu kuttikku. Uzhinjaduppilidaarundu . Ennaalum Swami Kurachu vellam jabichu thalichal mathi”

My aunty told the head-man

“jeez!” i thought silently.

“Okke povum tto!

Oru thenga ingu konduvarrua. Deha muttu cheythekkyam aadhyam”

He said.

He broke a coconut at the altar. It broke into two exact halves. My aunt’s face charmed in bliss.

“shubham! Okke sheriyavum tto!”

He said and came back with a pot of water.

After sprinkling some holy water on my face he called me near,

and whispered into my ears

“Vaave (a mollycoddling word in Malayalam), apply some turmeric and honey on your face daily in the evening. It may help”

Humphatt Swaaha !