‘Cursed Avanthi, why did she have to suggest this truth and dare game, and why did Dayani have to come up with this punishment for me!’
“Thousand steps in this dense path!” Dayani had pronounced the verdict using the steel bottle as the gavel.
I had come with five of my female colleagues to spend New Year’s Eve at the resort city of Nuwara Eliya.
It was getting darker and I nervously moved ahead, monitoring my steps on my handset. The crepuscular rays danced in the horizon as the sun was about to set
‘Jai Hanuman Gyan Gunn Sagar…,’ I began reciting the Hanuman Chalisa* fervently.
My wrecked nerves felt relaxed.
Suddenly a man clad in jeans and T-shirts jumped with a somersault from a tree.
“What is the matter? Why did you call me?” He queried.
“What??? I don’t even know who you are. Why would I call you?” I jeered; touching my purse and making sure the canisters of pepper and chili powder were at hand’s reach.
Other than teaching me to recite Hanuman Chalisa, this was another of my granny’s lessons. ‘Keep pepper and chili powder handy. If a man tries to approach you with deleterious intentions, use it liberally on his eyes.’
The benign look on this man’s face disallowed me from taking any brutal step by opening the canisters.
“You called me now,” he repeated like a broken record. “I am Hanuman.”
Now I became sure that he was a diddler. Initially, I contemplated running back, but looking at his sturdy figure that was capable of over powering me, I gave up the idea.
The equipment that I possessed (a sharp knife that granny had advised to use in the worst situations) gave me some extra pep to confront him.
“How can I believe that you are Hanuman?” I questioned like an IGP.
The next moment he flashed his NIC.
His name read as, ‘Hanuman Vayu.’
“This does not look like your photo,” I retorted, pointing to the photograph on the card.
“Show me your card,” he said, and mechanically I followed his instructions.
“How can you even say that this girl in the photo remotely resembles you? See, she has a squint eye, while yours are beautiful and egg-shaped. And this female has a nose cut like Shoorpanaka, but your nose is sharp and pretty.”
I took a keen look at the photograph and almost broke into a laugh.
He joined in the merriment as if we were sharing a joke.
I composed myself, realizing that I was in the company of a man who called himself Hanuman. Just now, he seized an opportunity to admire my looks under the pretext of drawing parallels with the photograph in the NIC.
“Well, if you are Hanuman, how come you are loitering here in a trendy outfit? And I can’t see any tail on you,” I said, shamelessly peeking at his back.
“Haven’t you heard of evolution? Even human beings had tail initially. You also don’t have one now,” he said, responding to my gawking at his back.” I cringed taking a couple of steps backward.
“What brought you here?” I enquired.
“I hope you know that you are very near to Ashok Vatika, where I had come to meet Sita maiyya on her being abducted by Ravana.” He asserted.
“Yes, of course I have a thorough knowledge of the topography. I was born and nurtured in Sri Lanka.” I boasted.
“I am blessed with a boon of visiting Ashok Vatika and its vicinity for four Purnima* in a year at regular intervals. Though I can only move in an invisible state, I become discernible when someone calls for me with all their heart.” He explained the reason behind his presence there.
I comprehended that it was indeed a supernatural being with whom I was conversing. However, I shrewedly concealed this realisation from surfacing on my countenance.
“As a part of a game I had to cover thousand steps. The approaching darkness scared my wits off. I recited Hanuman Chalisa to keep my cool.” I said with a daft expression.
The number of steps on my phone app showed five hundred.
“I should take your leave now,” I said and just then I noticed Hanumanji’s expressions undergoing a drastic change.
With creased forehead, he pointed at my screen saver picture and said, “He is an evil man.”
Appalled by this audacity, I demanded a substantiation. How could he gratuitously accuse someone of being evil?
“I saw him with a lady in Hakgala Botanical Gardens during my last visit on Purnima. They were seated below the tree on which I was sitting.”
I listened to him rapt attention.
“The duo was planning to cheat on some girl. ‘Our drama is working well. The betrothal was yesterday. Once the wedding is solemnized, I will lure her into signing on the property papers. And then you know she is as good as a curry leaf,’ this man said, and they both broke into peals of laughter.”
The revelation came to me as a shocker. I looked with blurred vision at the diamond ring that adorned my finger.
“Thank you, Hanumanji. I shall leave now.” I fought back my surging tears.
“Call me Hanu,” he said, walking along with me.
As a supernatural being, I am sure he was aware that he had indeed been a succor and had inadvertently done me a great favor? But he wasn’t keen on self-approbation.
It dawned on me that all events were intertwined and predestined!
The day being Purnima, Avanthi’s choice of truth and dare game, the punishment pronounced by Dayani, me chanting the Hanuman Chalisa.
I was indebted to my prudent granny for teaching me to recite the hymns, despite of my throwing unnecessary tantrums.
“The Lord will come to your rescue whenever you recite Hanuman Chalisa.” Her golden words reverberated in my ears.
The Lord Himself had come to redeem me from the clutches of a greedy man!!!
Hanuman Chalisa—— A hymn composed on Lord Hanuman by Saint Tulsidas.
NIC—————– National Identity Card.
Purnima ———-Full moon
Photo Credits: Cinthia Aguilar
This is an entry for the event #Supernatural #UniK-7 being held at Writers Room | Room8.
Read the event guidelines here: UniK-7 event guidelines
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