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Monday, January 23, 2017

The bloodsucking Yakshi

When I was a kid, April and May fell in the list of my favourite months. Not because it's going to rain and there would be mud all around, but those are the months my cousins would be here at our family house, in our hometown in Kerala. Those are the memories I would cherish forever. My grand-mother has 5 offsprings, 4 boys and a girl. My father is the second eldest of five. Then, he was the only one staying in Kerala and everyone else was in different parts of India, a Pan-India Family one could say.

We were all present, it's like Parliament, shouting, laughing, scolding children, people everywhere, busy doing their chores. An outsider entering the home can still go unnoticed. Life was less complicated then. We were just ........just ourselves. Everyone you valued dearly is with you. It's like, the world has shrunken to a square block of bricks and mortar. Now it's all feel like a fairy-tale, one of the best things about joint-family.

We are all tired of day's hard work. Since there are lots of us, kids, our parents have to make dormitory like arrangements in our living room for us to sleep, which happened to be the largest room available in our home. Grand-kids' accommodation had always been a huge problem for my grandmother at those times. We were like an invading Red army. All my uncles have two kids each, with the exception of my aunt, she has only one kid. And she is the eldest among us. We all lied down in a perfect line across the hall like dead bodies in a mortuary. In those days we were very much fond of hearing ghost stories, especially about "Yakshi".

In Hindu myth, a yakshi or yakshini is a celestial being, attendees of Kubera. But in Kerala myth, Yakshis are like vampires(Female). They will drink your blood and kill you. At night, when you are alone, she will come to you and ask for "chunnambu"(also called Chuna, actually a dash of lime to apply on betel leaf). Some say her legs will never touch the earth when she walks, yet you can hear the sound of leg bangles clings and her laugh is like a heavenly music that will render you unaware of your surroundings. And she will lure you to her home which is said to be at the top of the 'Ezhilam Pala' (Indian Devil tree), where she will sink in her blood sucking tooth in you and drain out your life force.

On that night we were discussing yakshi. We all pretended that we don't believe in any ghost or devil. I and my two elder sisters Kavitha, the eldest and Shubha the second eldest were the main heard in the discussion. I call them "chechi"(spell as in chechniya), means sister(elder). Rest are younger than us and by the name of yakshi they all went to a deep slumber So that when the light goes off they don't want to be the ones seeing imaginary ghostly faces in the shadows.  But we were daring, at least that's how we talked like. We chatted about the logic of Yakshi and is there any actual yakshi or is it just hoax ?. We went deep into the details of Yakshi and how she hunts people especially men.
Suddenly Shubha chechi said,
Hey did you hear that?
Me: What ?
Kavitha: I think the discussion is taking its toll on her. She laughed.
Me: yes, I think so.
Shuba: Shhhhh. Listen, you hear that sound? the sound of leg bangles?
Me: Whaaat? No way.
  Kavitha: It's the cricket sound, you idiot.
Me: I think I hear it too. Or is it cricket? I am not sure.
Kavitha: Shut up, you two. Go to sleep.
Shubha: No. It is actual leg bracelets. Someone is walking outside
Me: Yes, yes, I can hear it too. Oh nooo. I am afraid.
Kavitha: Now, you two are being scary.

Then suddenly we heard a knock on the window-glass. We all screamed our lungs out. We can clearly see a shadow moving on the other side of the glass.
Me: Look, someone is there. Chechi, you go and look.
I pushed Shubha.
Shubha: No I won't.
She looked at Kavitha.
Kavitha: (at me) You are the boy, you go and look.
Me: No way. You are the eldest you go.
By then our grandmother woke up and she asked why are you guys still up and screaming. Then again that knocking sound. Without any hesitation, she goes to the window and opened it. We were all afraid. Yakshi is going to get her. We were sure of it. We were waiting for her to scream, then we heard our grandmother talking to someone and opened the door. It was Kamala. We were like, what the hell?
Kamala, she lives nearby. She was living with her daughter and her child. Grandmother told her to buy some stationary whenever she go outside. She was coming from her relative's home and she became late. And then she saw the light in our home, so she decided to give it by night itself. It was her shadow that we saw outside. By seeing us all weary, she asked us, "do you kids got sacred?", "NO WAY" we all said in unison. "We are just sleepy that's all".

When she strode away, we heared that clinging of leg bracelet again. "Wait a minute , You wear a leg bracelet?" we asked. "No", she said. "Then where is that sound coming from?" Our face turned blue. She laughed and said, "it is my grandchild. Look, she is the one who is wearing the bracelet". We saw a 5 year old girl with her round eyes, smiling at us, our scary, bloodsucking Yakshi.