The pitch black Scorpio screeched and came to a halt right in front of the house. The servants of ‘Paladka Subraya Bhat’ came rushing. There was a sizeable crowd in the waiting area. Most of them knew a wealthy group from Mumbai are going to visit Bhat and there fore, people without appointment were going to waste today’s day just waiting! The workers were speaking in hush tone. Meanwhile, Subraya Bhat came to the entrance and welcomed Xavier and company. All were lead to a pooja room where Bhat used to perform and officiate! The wooden door next to him was locked. Villagers say that the room is the place of one demon or spirit which is locked always. Bhat is solving people’s problems through this demon.
He gets all the power and wisdom through this invisible creature. Well, Abraham was looking around puzzled. He had come for the first time and couldn’t stop wondering what this hullabaloo is all about. A portly Brahmin wearing a white lungi and a Saffron colored satin ‘uttariya’ around his shoulders can solve people’s problems. No wonder, this world is crazy. The sorcerers and witchcraft magicians from the Biblical history got flashed once again in front of his eyes. Fr. Gilbert from St. Andrew’s Church had given him too much knowledge on this topic. But, as adamant as ever, Abraham was in no mood to buy any such stories.
"Welcome, Gentlemen, please be seated. It will take a while before I get charged up. I have to awaken my god. It will take a few minutes.? All nodded in the affirmative. Xavier was pleased as punch. He was looking around with pride. So as Kudwa and Yashwant Shetty. As they used to visit him since their college days. The assistants of Bhat brought all the required things for pooja. Bhat opened the room and sat in the middle. A small havan was in the centre. There were coconuts and vermilion spread every where. Also there was all kinds of fruits and vegetables! Bananas, White Gourd, and different kinds of flowers on the ground. The place was full of fragrance emanating from fragrance sticks. The assistants started chanting mantras and shouting at times. Bhat joined in the chorus. Abraham looked at them funnily and gave his trade mark smile. Xavier chided him and asked him to keep quiet. Yashwant and Kudwa also gave an angry stare to Abraham and folded their hands and looked at the proceedings and began chanting hymns. The scenario was getting out of hands for any onlooker.
But, Xavier and brigade minus Abraham were a seasoned lot. The ongoing scenario was because of Subraya Bhat’s efforts in provoking his god. There was a great amount of resistance from every quarter!! Twice, Bhat came out of his room, totally sweating! Xavier and rest were totally taken aback! What could be the reason Bhat is disillusioned? Why he looks like a moron? Why he does not seem happy like before? He walked out to the courtyard in front of the house and took three rounds of the Tulsi stand and went straight inside without looking towards left or right. The second time also he did the same! Why is Bhat being troubled? Is there a big conspiracy than we all could imagine? Xavier, Kudwa, Yashwant were all shivering. Now, Abraham also found out that something was amiss! He started trembling under his clothes. Bhat went inside the second time and whispered very strongly to his chief assistant Prashant. It was very much audible. It was not a whisper. But, a giant whisper which can be heard by neighbors altogether! But, he spoke in such a harsh voice, it was mumbling or broken speech for any onlooker. Prashant was delighted. He shook his head. He started to gyrating in front of the havan kund! The guest brigade was totally taken aback. They could hear so many familiar names from Prashant’s mouth. The Bandra politician! Attu’s father!! Silvi’s boyfriend’s father! And many other names!! Now Xavier, Yashwant, Kudwa stood on their feet and began chanting what Bhat, Prashant and another assistant Veda uttered. Abraham was sweating in such a way that he could not stand at all. He just lay down amidst heavy chant of Sanskrit words!
Veda sent Prashant out. Prashant told Xavier that Abraham be sent out in the courtyard or else he will die. He has pent up frustrations, which is not helping him at all. He needs to be a cool cat like Xavier. He needs to take things easier. All along Prashant’s eyes were popping out like they were some marbles!! Xavier, Kudwa and Yashwant understood it pretty well! They all, quickly, in a split second lifted Abraham and took him outside to the courtyard and made him lay on the sofa. Many assistants of Bhat sprinkled rose water on him. They were enchanting Shlokas non stop! Veda came out and told the three of them to leave alone Abraham and get inside the room. Now, Subraya Bhat will reveal the names!! Xavier, Kudwa and Yashwant gathered all strength and went inside and they reached upto the Bhat’s pooja room.
"I will not spare Rilsy, Kunji Mohamed, Jingush Mehta , Somnath Jain, Fr. Henry Sequeira, Fr. Williams and ?.
Now, Bhat’s voice was cracking?. His voice was inaudible.. Xavier, Kudwa and Yashwant were shell shocked! Apart from all others two priests! No.. how can it be? Is Bhat mad? They could only see Prashant and Bhat chanting hymns and talking nonsensically to some unknown person. They could not make out what was happening. They swooned?..
(To be continued?)
Author: Donald DSilva- Mumbai