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The Fear That Never Got Erased

Sravani Singampalli

It was a rainy day. The winds were tempestuous. I was sitting at the veranda with my cup of hot coffee. I was enjoying the cool weather and kept on staring at the rain and the swaying trees. All of a sudden I caught a glimpse of a moving light around a big mango tree. I started wondering what it could have been. My grandma was sitting beside me so, I told her about what I saw. She was startled at my words, came closer and asked me to repeat what I just said. In an articulate manner I repeated “I saw a moving light around a mango tree.”
She hugged me tightly and took me inside without saying a single word. This made me even more curious and I wanted to know the reason behind this sudden quirky reaction of my grandma. We were having our supper but I still continued to think about the moving light I saw around that big mango tree. After the supper I immediately went to my grandma’s room and asked her the reason behind her strange reaction. I mean it was just a moving light, that’s it! Nothing else. My grandma said that it wasn’t something so obvious and murmured into my ears that it was a very strange pisachi (a devil) with light on top of its head. Well, it actually sounded too funny and unrealistic to be believed. I burst out laughing and made light of my grandma. My grandma lost her temper and started shouting at me “what do you know about this pisachi, it took away my beloved son.” I saw tears rolling down her red cheeks. I hugged her and wiped off her tears. I apologised and asked her to narrate the story of that devil to me.
My grandma started off by describing the special traits of that devil. She said that it appeared in many different forms. It used to roam around in disguise. She said that during night time it used to disguise as an animal with light on top of its head and lived on the trees. People in the village could actually know its presence because of this wavering light. It sounded very interesting. She told me that there were many rumours in our village about this strange devil.

People used to say that it never attacked anybody directly and said that it used to visit everybody’s houses for help only on the days it used to rain heavily. If the owner of the house allowed her inside then the very next day the owner would die, my grandma said in a low tone. Then she told me that she heard many incidents about people dying because of this evil spirit. Even I did not believe in these rumours until the day my eldest son became a prey, my grandma said in grief. She became very emotional so I consoled her. After a long pause, she continued with her story. She said that the weather was very harsh and it rained very heavily the day before my uncle died. Around 11 o’ clock somebody knocked at the door and it was my uncle who opened the door. My grandma said that she was also standing beside him.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A young lady with an innocent face in a red sari fully drenched by the rain was standing near the door way, my grandma said. She started pleading us for allowing her to stay in the house for just a night as it rained heavily and said that her own house was very far away so; it would be difficult for her to reach her house in such a harsh weather. “I shouted a very big No!” my grandma exclaimed. My son didn’t listen to me and convinced me to allow her stay as she was a lady. I knew that she was that awful pisachi who killed so many people. I decided not to sleep that day, she said. I tried controlling my drowsiness but somehow my eyes closed. When we woke up in the morning, she had already vanished without saying a word. Your uncle as usual went for his work and came home in the afternoon for lunch, my grandma continued. After his lunch, he decided to take a nap and by 5 o’ clock he was found dead on his bed. I broke down into tears and couldn’t believe that my son had died. My grandma couldn’t control her emotions anymore and her sobbing woke up everybody in our house. My parents scolded me for disturbing her and started consoling my grandma. My conscience wasn’t allowing me to believe this story. So, the very next day I went to my grandma and convinced her that uncle’s death just could have been a coincidence. I also gave many evidences but she refused to believe my words and my way of analyzing things.

Not only my grandma but many people in my village still believe that their relatives died because of this ‘devil’. I am a modern- day girl so my conscience never allows me to believe these things but after listening to my grandma’s story even I fear looking at the trees and the moving light during night time. There are many kinds of fears in our society and the entire world which would never get erased like the fear of ghosts, demons, behemoths and other evil spirits. They will continue for years to centuries.