Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From a far away land..

              Stories live forever. Sometimes they evolve in the years that they pass through. Sometimes they are preserved in the papyrus scrolls of time, untouched. The most lasting and creative form of passing on a story is by the word of mouth. I call it most creative because as the story travels from one teller to the other, each receiver adds his own perceived or imagined bit and gives it a new turn or paints it in a new shade.
              I get drawn to stories like a moth to flame. It could be my imaginations or some eavesdropping abilities that make for most of my own stories.
              I fancy the pictures showing an all knowing grandma, who sits by in the evening surrounded by her grandchildren, telling tales of a distant land. The tales that the past generation has to offer is often full of mystery and magic. Maybe it was just the lack of understanding of certain sciences or maybe there was magic!! Nevertheless these stories are enthralling!
              Why am I giving a backdrop to my story writing and listening history? Well, my stating the above things will probably make it easier for you to digest the story I m about to tell. The story isn't mine to explain the details and answer doubts. It is something which came to me from a man in his 90s right now. I happened to have been an audience by chance. Strangely, out of the people there who were actually sitting around him, the story found its way to someone who did not know this gentleman. Yes, it was me. Somewhere, somehow this story came to me and in a far away land it is getting delivered to many through this blog. Then there are stories which you need to listen and imbibe without worrying about the details...

               In Mangalore, almost every house worships a spirit. Yes, besides the 33000 crore dieties, it is a custom to worship the spirit known as bootas. This boota is not "bhoot" but a guardian spirit. Legend states that these bootas are actually the herd of Lord Shiva. While Lord Shiva decided to make the Kailash his abode, his herd travelled further south and settled in the kingdom of Nagas. There are places of worship for Nagas in Mangalore. It is said that through Naga worship, we please the Nagas from whom the land was claimed for human settling. Naga and Boota are given more importance in terms of rituals than other dieties. Each house has a guardian spirit. Each family line has a guardian spirit and every community has a guardian spirit. In a land, so rich with spirit worship, it is not unbelievable that spirits make their presence felt.
               A small village of poor peasants was settled near this water body. As to when and how this pond came into being, no one knows. The depth of this pond has been of great mystery. The correct depth has never been found out.
              The pond was said to have a spirit. A benevolent spirit at that. It was unusual to worship a water body without evidence of its powers and powers it mighty had!
             It is said that decades ago, the father of a girl cried. He was too poor to marry off his daughter. How could a father give his daughter in marriage without a piece of jewellery on her wedding day? It is common to wear jewellery of relatives on the wedding day and return it after the grand feast in such communities. It is common knowledge that the girl's family cannot afford to adorn her with riches. But years back it might have been a social stigma to ask for someone's jewellery and hence this father was in distress.
The spirit in the pond, unable to stop the stream of tears passing into it, decided to intervene. It presented the jewels on the banks much to the delight of the poor farmer.
              The wedding was done and the farmer true to his nature returned the jewellery on the banks of the pond. From this incident onwards, the poor girls of the settlement shed their precious tears in desire of getting married with glory. The spirit never failed to help.
              Over the years, daughters of the settlement were honorably married and then returned their present to the pond. Human mind, with all its desires and ambitions, often succumbs to greed. This was bound to happen with the bounties the pond offered. One poor peasant girl, dazzled by the jewellery and blinded by the naive desires, with held a nose ring. What was the pond supposed to know!  A small nose ring wouldn't make a huge difference to the bounty the pond had bestowed. Or so she thought. Little did she know the consequences of her foolishness and the ire that she invoked.
             The spirit, angered by the show of dishonesty, never ever helped anyone.

            It is said that the pond is calm. It never harms anyone near the banks. Women wash clothes sitting by the banks. The harmless looking pond is furious otherwise. Anything that goes into it is thrown out, charred. The reason for the burning of things is not known and the heaviest of the things thrown in, come out floating.
           It  once happened that a woman was washing clothes sitting by the sides of the pond. Her detergent bar just slipped and in a bid to lay hands on it she lost her balance and fell into the pond. 2 men from her family ran to her rescue. None of the three could be saved. The pond pulled them deep inside and threw out the bodies.. charred..

            Mysterious, isn't it? I could think of so many reasons to analyse why things might be happening. Maybe there was someone who overheard the plea of the peasant and offered to help. A good Samaritan maybe!
          Maybe the pond has geothermal energy.. Maybe it pulls down object due to some force and throws it out later as a balancing act. But the theories don't hold as much charm as the lore passed on... :)

         If one introspects further, the underlying message is clear. The spirits, no matter how benevolent, were cheated by the treacherous human greed. Nature gets back too! You just cannot take anything for granted.. Do not invoke the ire of someone just because they have been good to you :) 


phatichar said...


Roshan Radhakrishnan said...

never thought of that aspect really... the 'nagas' and how people worship 'bhootas' there... surprising how 33 crore odd Gods arent enough.

Keirthana said...

Interesting and different, we never think about the consequences that may befall of what we do. Taking granted if nature is something humankind should realize to be not forgiven.

Until later,
Keirthana :)

Keirthana said...

I just dropped by to say that you have been awarded “Creative Blogger Award” at Honoured - The Undefined World

Until later,
Keirthana :)

maithili said...

@ Phatichar: It is :D

@ Roshan: I find it mystifying! the rituals and spirit stories are so full of wonder :D

@ Keirthana: Humans have been taught lessons but they tend to forget! Thank you so much for the award. I will put it up on my blog soon :)

PeeVee™ said...

Science can never explain a lot of things that Nature offers, to intrigue humans with :)

Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

Omg that was an intriguing post ! And sure taking advantage of kindness is not a good idea. To people or to ponds ;-)

maithili said...

So true PeeVee! I personally prefer the nonscientific explaination :D So good to see you on my blog after soo long!

maithili said...

hehe thank you Anita.. Yes now and then nature has to teach a lesson..