a character from one of my stories I no longer need... not for now anyway
Rajeshwari had turned mad in her late teens. No one could explain why. She had come home from school one day crying and red cheeked, refusing to tell anyone what had happened. Soon after that she began acting strangely. She developed an appetite that put the heartiest of men to shame. She was found outside the local wine shop, jostling with lorry and rickshaw drivers demanding to be served. She answered back, would be morose and then all of a sudden as though a light had been switched off she was back to her old mild mannered self.
Unable to cope with her affliction (or find a prospective groom who hadn’t heard of it) in the small town they lived in, Sita’s grandparents and her Chitti moved to the city and boarded with Sita’s family. Sita’s parents had been told that the young girl was depressed, that she was bored of small town life. But when Rajeshwari Chitti started talking in strange voices – as a young child, a drunkard, sometimes an old crone who spoke only in riddles – they realised there was more to her problem than a mild depression. Sita had been six or seven when her mother’s family had arrived. In the six months they lived with them she would often be woken up in the middle of the night by her family’s frantic shouts as they searched for Rajeshwari who disappeared in the middle of the night. The house (and the entire street) would be roused as they went in search of her, finding her curled around the thick trunk of the mango tree that grew in the Xavier’s courtyard fast asleep or sitting on the water tank shouting at the moon. The neighbourhood delighted in this of course, the last excitement they had had was when Chandru had failed his board exams. The Mamis would all congregate at Sita’s house the morning after such incidents, headed by Janaki Mami to counsel and console.
“Don’t worry, once she gets married, everything will be alright” Janaki Mami would opine, before slipping away with Indra’s mother to discuss all they had seen, heard and said.
And so, following the common wisdom that marriage was the panacea Rajeshwari needed, she was married to the first young, unsuspecting bank clerk they could find. But a year later and she was not cured. In fact she had become worse, adding to her repertoire of voices and disappearing acts a sudden aversion to sleeping and bathing. Her husband who had soon realised his wife’s problems were more serious than the fact she had had a sheltered upbringing (as the family insisted after she tore his silk shirt and scratched him on their wedding night) complained to the family that they had to stop her nocturnal, noxious wanderings. A priest was called and consulted and after scrunching his eyes shut and flaring his nostrils he determined that 4 spirits were residing in Sita’s aunt’s body. An exorcism was arranged and a small donation of Rs.30, 000 was made to the temple trust. The exorcism took place at Sita’s house. She had spent most of the time hiding her face in the fragrant pleats of her grandmother’ sari, too afraid to see what visuals accompanied the piercing screeches that echoed throughout the house. The exorcism had not helped and Rajeshwari Chitti had died not long after it after losing her balance and falling from the water tank. The Priest acquired a new moped.
“But she died a married woman’ the ladies of the neighbourhood had stated ‘What more
could a woman ask for?”