The Divine Possession

The priest is walking back to his house. It’s midday, and the sun is burning his shaved head. He put his both palms on his head, trying to cover the heat. “We need more trees here” he thought and started walking quicker as his feet were burning too. He finally reached his home, which is in a spacious land, but a small cottage. It has a big lawn with a Tulsi plant in the middle. “Manga!” the priest called his wife out. There is a water drum placed outside the main door. The priest washed his feet, hands and head. His wife rushed out with a towel. “Where is Ambika?” asked the priest. “She is at Devi’s house, writing homework” Manga replied passing the sheet to him. The priest started rubbing his wet body and walked into the living room. He sat down, and Manga put a half torn banana leaf in front of him. He took some water into his hand dropped a few drops around the plate and chanted some mantras while Ambika walked in. He looked at Ambika leaving her slippers un-organised and coming in. “Wash your legs, fool!” he yelled. Ambika bit her tongue and went back to the veranda. She put her hands inside the tub and started playing with the water.

“Use a mug, Ambi” her mother yelled from inside. Ambika giggles and dipped all her hands inside the tub. She took a handful of water and looked at the mosquito larvae swimming around in the palmful of water. Manga peeped through the door and saw Ambika still playing with the drum; dipping her hands in. Manga started running towards Ambika; as soon as she reached Ambi, she spanked her so hard that Ambika fell on the ground. Manga did not intend to hit her that hard, she started trembling as Ambi is not moving. “Ayyo” Manga began to yell in a rather horrific way that made Seshulu jump. Seshulu left his plate and rushed to Manga. “Why is Ambi on the ground? What did you do?” he cried. “I don’t know dear. Please wake her up! Please do something!” Manga started moving back shaking. She did not want to see her daughter wounded or dead. She started regretting beating her. Seshulu bent closer to Ambi and held her both arms. “Ammulu, are you ok?” he asked, but there is no response. He turned her around, facing the sky and took some water from the tub. He sprinkled some drops on her face.

Ammulu opened her mouth and started making weird noises. Seshulu looked at his wife, Manga with a confused expression. “Ammulu” he called her and shook her to wake her up. Ammulu opened her eyes rather dramatically “You fools!” she yelled in a coarse voice. Seshulu got shocked and is just staring at Ammulu standing up. Ammulu sat down in a manly way. She started shaking around, making weird noises. “Arghhh” she shouted, and Seshulu’s jaw dropped. “Mother!” he said. “Manga, it is the mother goddess, she possessed our ammulu, call the neighbours!” he yelled. Manga started running out; slipped and fell near the gate. Neighbour, Basavamma saw Manga fall and rushed to lift her up. “Ayyo Manga! Why are you in a rush?” Basavamma asked while she is holding Manga’s hand and lifting her.

“My daughter, Basu. She has been possessed by the goddess. Please come inside. Help me call the others, will you Basu?” Manga moaned standing up. “You go inside Manga, I will call everyone” Basavamma said and rushed towards the others. Manga walked in and peeped through the door. Seshulu is applying turmeric on the face of their daughter as she is shaking. Manga went in and started rubbing turmeric too. Seshulu started murmuring few chants as Manga put a big blob of kumkum (saffron and turmeric) on the forehead of Ambika. Ambi kept shaking and making a weird noise as the villagers started rushing in one by one. Basavamma brought neem leaves and put them in Ambika’s hands. Ambi caught them tightly and moved more vigorously. “Is everyone here?” Ambi asked randomly. “Yes, Mother” the people yelled. Ambika started calling names of the people suddenly. “Yadagiri” she called and Yadagiri got excited “Yes, Mother” he said. She began calling names of everyone like she is taking some attendance. After calling out many names, she looked at Basavamma. “Basavamma! Call the ones who have not turned up. Tell them Mother is calling them” she said and closed her eyes again, but she remembered something suddenly. “Don’t call Chanakya, he is a disbeliever” she said. “Why don’t you call themselves, Amma? We even have telephones in all our homes” a voice asked from the main door. It is Chanakya! Ambi closed her eyes, “Kick that fool out!” she yelled. “Get lost you atheist scum, this is no place for the likes of you” Basavamma pushed Chanakya. Chanakya bent on his knees and started praying her. “After witnessing this miracle with my own eyes, I have turned into a believer. Please accept me, Mother!” Chanakya requested. Ambi thought for a while and let Chanakya in, and everyone started asking questions to the mother. “When will the crop yield this year, Mother?” Rajappa asked. Ambi thought for a while and said “When the birds fly low to the south, crops will sow. The crops won’t wither depending on the weather” she said, and Rajappa got confused. “But, Mother?” he asked as the villagers were clapping and praising for her little poetic answer. “Why don’t you help un-intelligent people like I and Rajappa by answering in straight lines, Mother?” Chanakya asked, and Ambi ignored the question. The next half an hour passed with more questions and poetic answers followed by praises.

Chanakya lost his chill and started pushing people in his way. He sat in front of Ambi as she gulped. He observed her gulp. “Mother, will you help me with my problem?” He asked. Ambi looked at him and gestured him to ask. “What is the equation of Force?” he asked, and everyone is shocked. “Hey, physics teacher! Get out and let us ask real-life questions” Ramulu yelled. “For me, this is a real-life problem, Ramulu anna (brother)” Chanakya said politely and looked at Ambi. “Mass times the acceleration, my son” Ambi started shaking. “Good mother. So you do know physics!” Chanakya clapped. Seshulu got angry and pulled Chanakya closer. “Fool! You are talking to the mother goddess. Be wise and ask helpful questions!” he shouted.

“What’s Bernoulli’s principle?” he asked, and Ambi pretends like she didn’t listen to it. “Move away, imbecile. Are you testing the goddess?” Seshulu shouted angrily and pushed Chanakya. “Don’t hurt Ambi! Treat her carefully! She is my manifestation. As you have wasted my time with silly questions. I’m hurt and leaving. If you treat Ambika good by giving her what she needs, I will be pleased to revisit you sometime” Ambi hissed coarsely and fell on the ground. Everyone began looking at Chanakya angrily, and Ramulu dragged Chanakya and threw him on the ground. “You wasted all our chances, you dumb man!” Ramulu yelled and spat beside Chanakya. Everyone is pushing him out as Seshulu shouted angrily. “Everyone leave immediately!” Seshulu demanded.

“Chanakya, you stay!” he ordered. Everyone touched Ambika’s feet and moved out as Chanakya stayed back. “Why did you ask her specifically about that one question?” Seshulu asked as Manga lifted Ambika and took her inside. “Because Ambika failed to answer that in today’s class. In fact, I came to your home to tell you that she is terrible at physics. I wanted to ask you if you can permit me to tutor her in your home. People like Ambika are creative, and they need to be taught creatively. You saw how she convinced you all that she was possessed by divine” Chanakya laughed “She’s smart and got wits” he added. Seshulu is shaken and couldn’t accept the fact that he got conned by his daughter. “I don’t believe you. You are an atheist” Seshulu said in doubt. ‘If God existed, he would definitely know the Bernoulli’s principle, because he wrote Bernoulli’s fate and guided him right?” Chanakya asked, and Seshulu is blank. “It is ok. Regardless of your belief, it will be useful if you allowed me to teach her in a way she understands or she will get crushed in the system that respects marks than wit” Chanakya asked once again. “It’s late, I better go” he started leaving as Seshulu fell in a dilemma. He went inside and looked at Ambika lying on the couch watching TV. “What happened with me, nanna (father)?” she asked Seshulu. “I don’t know, Ammu” Seshulu said and went back to his room as she continued watching TV.

She is watching a Telugu film about a goddess in her human manifest.