info@tellmeyourstory.in
The Ritual

About Tapas

I am tapas Das, based in Mumbai - I love the written word and especially if it's a story. Caffeine and inappropriate thoughts that's my struggle, writing is a vent otherwise I will start punching people, I work with edifice in Mumbai.

View All Stories

Prologue :

She stood in the door, half entering the room and half out, wearing a saree which is knee length – the house is made of mud and cow dung – arranged with wood which has been carved with the personal tool. That’s how it’s always been from the time they have migrated from Bangladesh.

Part 1

“I don’t want to get married ma”; she said adamantly. “I want to study more; I want to become a collector.”
“You are crazy (Tui pagla)” her mother giggled, smoking air in the hot chullah with a hollow pipe.
Girls get married, they take care of family and bear kids, live with it. Otherwise, your father and villagers will be looked down upon.

I want to study, and ever since I got the rank no one appreciated, Fulki reprimanded – and completely in the rage she tossed the sugar cane stick towards her mom.
“I made kheer for you that day, beta” – she responded softly.
“Respect the fact, we support your studies- look at the other girls, they are helping their father farming in the field.”
It’god’s grace that your father sells honey that he allows you to study. Otherwise the entire village suggested me to get you married. You have turned 15.”

“I won’t be able to shut everyone who will speak against us beta”.
With a feeling of agitation Fulki ran towards the small narrow road leading to a thick forest, she kept running till the time she reached a small passage going to a huge banyan tree.
She plucked a flower and started to remove the petals and murmured, “Why can’t I study more, don’t I have a right to do so?” her voice echoed.

She heard footsteps approaching her – for her safety she hid behind the tree.
Two man were carrying a tiger cub in a small cage, they looked lost as if searching for someone to help them find the way. But Fulki felt there was more to it than the tiger hunting – so she did not move out and quietly sat there till the time they went ahead.

She saw them speaking in some foreign language, something other than Bengali. With sheer fear, she took the other way to reach home.
It was 4 in the clock. The mynas, hyenas and the parrots and other crickets were singing together in the dense forest, as she was taking her steps forward. She could hear the grass getting trampled beneath her feet. She realized the other way is far than the normal route. So she took a curved stone in her hand in case any jackal or hyena came her way. The sun was about to set, she could hear the silence of the evening and the increased chatter of the surrounding animals. Just for a moment she felt a bit petrified.

The more she walked there was no trace of the village. The curved road looked endless and for a moment she felt lost and tired, the trees and birds were telling her to run and she felt that some carnivorous the animal was near. There it was! A huge roar and the tiger stood in front of her. She shivered as for the first time she was alone and no one would come to save her.

Her legs were bruised and she had no more strength to run the other way. The tiger looked hungry and morose. He roared. Now it was the time to decide whether she became food or ran for her life. But she cannot outrun a starving tiger, so she picked a big pointed stone and threw at him. She kept looking back, but the tiger was adamant.
Her legs were shivering with fear. She had seen tiger before but never alone. Each step was crucial. Bang!
She heard a loud roar of a man, the roar which is rare in the jungle but common in an Adivasi tribe. She saw a huge man wearing only a half knitted shorts, holding a pointed stick which had a metal pointed towards the end. He roared again and made a clanking sound from his stick.
Fulki felt relieved and took a deep sigh, the tiger disappeared without a trace in the thick bushes.
The man approached near, his hands were huge and his head was as big as a watermelon.

“What are you doing here so deep in the jungle? Are you lost?” he asked with a concerned tone.
“I stay near the river close to the honey market,” she responded.
“But that’s far from here and you are walking the wrong direction. If you’ve had kept walking, you would have reached elsewhere. This small passage road leads to nowhere and ahead are of all sorts of animals who would feed on the flesh of you,”
he spoke with confidence as the birds kept chirping in the background.

She panicked, “I want to go home. Please help me?” she begged for help.
“If you go back now, it will be a dawn. It is too dangerous for you to walk alone. Why don’t you come with me in my village? You sleep tonight, tomorrow morning you can go home,” he reassured.
Fulki couldn’t decide what she should do. She heard different stories of Adivasis killing villagers for their rituals but she had no option other than believing him.

Running from him would serve no purpose. Anyway she didn’t know the way back home from there, so she obeyed him.

Part 2

They walked through the dense forest and there was the small narrow way carved to walk – he kept talking endlessly; she wondered if there was a way of reaching her mother. Her mom and dad would be searching her all night, what would the villagers say about her disappearance? This dilemma made her weaker, and she simply wanted to reach home.

They arrived, the village had huge trees and huts and she could only see an older woman and man. There were no kids and young girls. The guy spoke in a strange language. The old woman took Fulki to some hut to change her clothes.

There was something devilish about the place and she could feel it.

“Please sit here”, said the old lady who had a big piercing on her nose and she looked wise.
“Have this rice.” The wooden bowl had rice and water was served in a glass.
.
After eating it was 7 30, so they told her she could sleep in the empty hut which had been recently vacated. She had no option other than obeying her. Fulki looked around.
The man who escorted her had disappeared; maybe he went hunting. That’s what she guessed. Now she was all alone and the lady who served her food could not be seen anywhere around.
She stretched her legs and missed her mother a lot. She couldn’t control herself and wept alone feeling homesick.

As she looked outside the hut – there was no one. Only burning wooden logs kept in the center. For the first time she had no one who could give her blankets on cold nights like today. The more logs kept burning, she felt immensely sleepy. Her eyes could not wait any longer.

“Ma where are you?” she reached home and her father was giggling looking at her, as she ran towards them. The same two men in the jungle stood with the tiger cub in a small cage. The beautiful dream had just set in when her slumber broke.

A strong pinch woke her up, she saw the same woman wearing a black saree drawing blood from her leg – she kicked her hard, the woman fell on the ground and the small pointed needle dropped on the floor.

She stood up and held her hair like she was an animal. Fulki cried for help, she yelled in pain and kept calling her mom. The old woman dragged her out just holding her hair. She had immense strength in her hands, inhuman strength.

The man who helped her stood there with black dots on his face with a beheaded man and a small kid holding a bowl. There was a podium in which a woman was praying in gothic language. The woman held her legs and kept her dragging towards the podium.

The flames swayed with cold air and the few men beating drums in rhythm.

Fulki kept calling her mother, but all they did was to keep dragging her.
They placed her head on a platform. She kicked and cried and did all she could but the lady kept on hitting her. In the end, her head was placed on the wooden carved platform.
She was exhausted, her tears ran dry and the mouth was sore.
She closed her eyes for the final moment and the chanting in the background became more loud and intense. For a moment she thought of her mom’s face.
She heard a huge gunshot, and all the villagers ran haywire. The woman who dragged her, been shot point blank and fell from the pedestal hitting her head on the ground.

She looked towards the gunshot sound and saw the same two guys who carried the tiger cubs. They had a big rifle now the tiger cub was gone. They looked exhausted.

“Did they draw blood?” One of the men asked with a grave look.

Fulki, regaining her composure, replied “yes”!

The two mean informed that a cop had been informed about this case. That every full moon night they behead young girls and pour blood on their deity.

The reason the village did not have any young girls was because all of them have been beheaded just to please their god. They believed that if on the full moon the deity will not get blood, they will be cursed with immortality! Their body will wither but their soul will not exit the body.
The curse had been going on since centuries and no one knew because the village was situated deep in the jungle. Fulki reached home and looked at her mom who was surprised to know that she was safe and sound.

She stood in the door, half entering the room and half out, wearing a saree which is knee length – the house is made of mud and cow dung – arranged with wood which has been carved with the personal tool. That’s how it’s always been from the time they have migrated from Bangladesh.

“I don’t want to get married ma”; she said adamantly. “I want to study more; I want to become a collector.”
“You are crazy (Tui pagla)” her mother giggled, smoking air in the hot chullah with a hollow pipe.
Girls get married, they take care of family and bear kids, live with it. Otherwise, your father and villagers will be looked down upon.

I want to study, and ever since I got the rank no one appreciated, Fulki reprimanded – and completely in the rage she tossed the sugar cane stick towards her mom.
“I made kheer for you that day, beta” – she responded softly.
“Respect the fact, we support your studies- look at the other girls, they are helping their father farming in the field.”
It’god’s grace that your father sells honey that he allows you to study. Otherwise the entire village suggested me to get you married. You have turned 15.”

“I won’t be able to shut everyone who will speak against us beta”.
With a feeling of agitation Fulki ran towards the small narrow road leading to a thick forest, she kept running till the time she reached a small passage going to a huge banyan tree.
She plucked a flower and started to remove the petals and murmured, “Why can’t I study more, don’t I have a right to do so?” her voice echoed.

She heard footsteps approaching her – for her safety she hid behind the tree.
Two man were carrying a tiger cub in a small cage, they looked lost as if searching for someone to help them find the way. But Fulki felt there was more to it than the tiger hunting – so she did not move out and quietly sat there till the time they went ahead.

She saw them speaking in some foreign language, something other than Bengali. With sheer fear, she took the other way to reach home.
It was 4 in the clock. The mynas, hyenas and the parrots and other crickets were singing together in the dense forest, as she was taking her steps forward. She could hear the grass getting trampled beneath her feet. She realized the other way is far than the normal route. So she took a curved stone in her hand in case any jackal or hyena came her way. The sun was about to set, she could hear the silence of the evening and the increased chatter of the surrounding animals. Just for a moment she felt a bit petrified.

The more she walked there was no trace of the village. The curved road looked endless and for a moment she felt lost and tired, the trees and birds were telling her to run and she felt that some carnivorous the animal was near. There it was! A huge roar and the tiger stood in front of her. She shivered as for the first time she was alone and no one would come to save her.

Her legs were bruised and she had no more strength to run the other way. The tiger looked hungry and morose. He roared. Now it was the time to decide whether she became food or ran for her life. But she cannot outrun a starving tiger, so she picked a big pointed stone and threw at him. She kept looking back, but the tiger was adamant.
Her legs were shivering with fear. She had seen tiger before but never alone. Each step was crucial. Bang!
She heard a loud roar of a man, the roar which is rare in the jungle but common in an Adivasi tribe. She saw a huge man wearing only a half knitted shorts, holding a pointed stick which had a metal pointed towards the end. He roared again and made a clanking sound from his stick.
Fulki felt relieved and took a deep sigh, the tiger disappeared without a trace in the thick bushes.
The man approached near, his hands were huge and his head was as big as a watermelon.

“What are you doing here so deep in the jungle? Are you lost?” he asked with a concerned tone.
“I stay near the river close to the honey market,” she responded.
“But that’s far from here and you are walking the wrong direction. If you’ve had kept walking, you would have reached elsewhere. This small passage road leads to nowhere and ahead are of all sorts of animals who would feed on the flesh of you,”
he spoke with confidence as the birds kept chirping in the background.

She panicked, “I want to go home. Please help me?” she begged for help.
“If you go back now, it will be a dawn. It is too dangerous for you to walk alone. Why don’t you come with me in my village? You sleep tonight, tomorrow morning you can go home,” he reassured.
Fulki couldn’t decide what she should do. She heard different stories of Adivasis killing villagers for their rituals but she had no option other than believing him.

Running from him would serve no purpose. Anyway she didn’t know the way back home from there, so she obeyed him.

To Be Continued in Part 2…

They walked through the dense forest and there was the small narrow way carved to walk – he kept talking endlessly; she wondered if there was a way of reaching her mother. Her mom and dad would be searching her all night, what would the villagers say about her disappearance? This dilemma made her weaker, and she simply wanted to reach home.

They arrived, the village had huge trees and huts and she could only see an older woman and man. There were no kids and young girls. The guy spoke in a strange language. The old woman took Fulki to some hut to change her clothes.

There was something devilish about the place and she could feel it.

“Please sit here”, said the old lady who had a big piercing on her nose and she looked wise.
“Have this rice.” The wooden bowl had rice and water was served in a glass.
.
After eating it was 7 30, so they told her she could sleep in the empty hut which had been recently vacated. She had no option other than obeying her. Fulki looked around.
The man who escorted her had disappeared; maybe he went hunting. That’s what she guessed. Now she was all alone and the lady who served her food could not be seen anywhere around.
She stretched her legs and missed her mother a lot. She couldn’t control herself and wept alone feeling homesick.

As she looked outside the hut – there was no one. Only burning wooden logs kept in the center. For the first time she had no one who could give her blankets on cold nights like today. The more logs kept burning, she felt immensely sleepy. Her eyes could not wait any longer.

“Ma where are you?” she reached home and her father was giggling looking at her, as she ran towards them. The same two men in the jungle stood with the tiger cub in a small cage. The beautiful dream had just set in when her slumber broke.

A strong pinch woke her up, she saw the same woman wearing a black saree drawing blood from her leg – she kicked her hard, the woman fell on the ground and the small pointed needle dropped on the floor.

She stood up and held her hair like she was an animal. Fulki cried for help, she yelled in pain and kept calling her mom. The old woman dragged her out just holding her hair. She had immense strength in her hands, inhuman strength.

The man who helped her stood there with black dots on his face with a beheaded man and a small kid holding a bowl. There was a podium in which a woman was praying in gothic language. The woman held her legs and kept her dragging towards the podium.

The flames swayed with cold air and the few men beating drums in rhythm.

Fulki kept calling her mother, but all they did was to keep dragging her.
They placed her head on a platform. She kicked and cried and did all she could but the lady kept on hitting her. In the end, her head was placed on the wooden carved platform.
She was exhausted, her tears ran dry and the mouth was sore.
She closed her eyes for the final moment and the chanting in the background became more loud and intense. For a moment she thought of her mom’s face.
She heard a huge gunshot, and all the villagers ran haywire. The woman who dragged her, been shot point blank and fell from the pedestal hitting her head on the ground.

She looked towards the gunshot sound and saw the same two guys who carried the tiger cubs. They had a big rifle now the tiger cub was gone. They looked exhausted.

“Did they draw blood?” One of the men asked with a grave look.

Fulki, regaining her composure, replied “yes”!

The two mean informed that a cop had been informed about this case. That every full moon night they behead young girls and pour blood on their deity.

The reason the village did not have any young girls was because all of them have been beheaded just to please their god. They believed that if on the full moon the deity will not get blood, they will be cursed with immortality! Their body will wither but their soul will not exit the body.
The curse had been going on since centuries and no one knew because the village was situated deep in the jungle. Fulki reached home and looked at her mom who was surprised to know that she was safe and sound.

2 Likes
57 Views

You may also like

Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter message.