I continued to read, ‘In Agasthyakoodam, there are some curly-haired people who has won the time. Their saliva is a medicine for the melting skin. If applied like a Sandalwood paste.’ there I stopped and started thinking. I assumed that what Kali Baba was referring to as a curly haired person is a siddha, who used to live in the forests. What is meant by, ‘Their saliva is a medicine for melting skin.’ I searched and researched. Melting skin means Hansen's disease. May be what he meant to say was their saliva is a medicine for Hansen's disease and we have to apply it like a sandalwood paste.
In the village of Valluvanadu…
A petty shop in front of which, plenty of jack fruits were kept piled up. A bunch of Karpooravalli bananas were hanging there on one corner of the shop like a bat.
The car with Iyer and Sree screeched to a halt in front of that store.
Turning the windows down, Sree showed her makeup less face and looked at Kuttappan, the shopkeeper.
“Ma’am, do you want any fruits, all are fresh?” Kuttappan came outside and asked.
“No. we came in search of a person.”
A slightly disappointed Kuttappan asked, “Do you have the address?”
“We came in search of a Yogini here?”
“A Yogini here in this village no chance, ma’am!”
“Yes, we are sure that she is somewhere here nearby. ”
“No, ma’am, no one like that is here, but one woman is here who do black magic and all. ”
“Is her name Mayamma?” Sree asked.
“Oh, Mayamma, she does not live here”
“Where is she?”
“If you go beyond the bamboo forest you can find an old ruined bungalow ‘Black Rose’ it belonged to Bernard who owned a tea estate here in Munnar he died in an accident, now, no one is living there. Mayamma will be somewhere there in that area only.”
“Yes, you don’t know it, they say Bernard’s ghost is still there roaming around and in midnight one can hear the sounds of people living there. ”
“What is your name?” Iyer asked.
“Can you show us the place?”
“Ha, Ha, then who will look after my shop?”
“Don't worry. Lock it and come with us. I will give you two thousand rupees.” Sree said.
“Two thousand rupees?” Kuttappan opened his mouth wide.
“Ok...Why did you want to meet her?”
“Oh, do you need all those details to come with us?”
“Not like that Sir, she is a very problematic woman, till now people who met her had never lived a peaceful life.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ok. Why should I tell all this to you? I'll come with you.” Kuttappan locked the shop and got into the car taking a seat near Iyer. The car started.
“Kuttappa, why did you say that people who met her was never been peaceful?”
“Yes. She is an expert in doing something called black magic they say. She will be here in the forest for only for six months.”
“Who knows? They say she will go to the Pon Uthiyur hills in Erode in Tamil Nadu.”
“How do I know? But a lot of big people like you come here in search of her even film stars come. ”
“Is that so...do you know who I am? Sree asked.”
“You do not look like a film star but I remember seeing you somewhere!”
Iyer could not control his laugh.
“She is a film star Kuttappa. ” Iyer said.
“Oh! is it? Then I am very lucky, Ma’am in which film you have acted?”
“Kuttappa, even if I tell you the names of those films it is of no use as they are all very old movies.”
“Your name, Ma’am?”
“Nice to meet you, Ma’am. Why do you want to meet Mayamma?”
“I have lost a very valuable thing and I want to find it with her help.”
“Driver Bro, please take the right turn.” Kuttappan showed the way to the driver while chit chatting with Sree and Iyer.
The car took a right turn and continued its journey through a sand road and moved a bit slow. After covering some distance, that sand road went through a bamboo forest.
“Bro.. go.. go.. this way only” Kuttappan was giving directions to the driver.
The car went through the forest road very silently. On the way they passed through the place where Mayamma used to conduct her rituals. The skull lamp was lying there under the neem tree.
“Ma’am, normally we, the village people, don't come here. Only Mayamma and her group will come here. Sometimes people who come to meet her will also come.”
“Is she powerful?”
“Powerful means? ”Kuttappan asked innocently.
“I just wanted to know whether she could perform any miracles?”
“I don't have any such experience but once , she came to my shop and asked me for a tender coconut, I told her it is thirty rupees after taking it she didn’t give me any money and out of fear I never asked her too, but she told me that a person will come soon and will buy ten tender coconuts from me and like that it had happened. A person came and bought ten tender coconuts from me and gave me a five hundred rupee note, when I told him that I do not have change to give back he said to keep the change with me and left.”
“May be Mayamma has sent him to you to purchase those tender coconuts from you!”
“No Ma’am, I asked him that, but he said that he do not know anyone by that name and left.”
“Quite surprising”. Sree said.
“Mayamma often do this to people whom she likes.”
The car was swiftly moving through the forest road.
On the way, at a distance, they could see a very old building in a dilapidated condition.
“Bro, please stop the car. ” Kuttappan told the driver.
“Ma’am, can you give me my money?”
“Have we arrived? Is it that bungalow?”
“Yes…but I am not coming inside.”
Sree opened her purse and gave him a two thousand rupee note.
He stared at the note as if he was seeing it for the first time in his life.
“Hey, It is not a fake note, it is original only.” she said furiously, so he immediately left the place without saying anything.
They got out of the car and started walking.
It was a very old bungalow in a dilapidated condition.
A fully ruined bungalow, the seeds which were lying in the bird’s shit had grown up in to big plants covering the entire place making it fully green.
The place was so silent except the sounds of some birds roaming around.
Iyer got a little scared and said,
“Ma’am, what is this? It looks like a ghost bungalow in the movies.”
“Iyer, these kinds of people prefer to live in places like this only. Mini already told me about this so I expected this. ” Sree said.
Both of them walked silently. Iyer saw, Sree Latha grabbing her saree’s pallu and pulling it around her waist tight, her short blouse exposed her sandal coloured waist line which made Iyer to lose his mental balance for a moment. Sree who noticed this and thought that ‘there is no one in this world without lust’. Inside that ruined bungalow there was a large hall. Sree looked all around that dark hall. At last, she found Mayamma who was lying down on the floor in a dark corner of the hall.
“I think she is the one” Sree pointed her hands towards Mayamma.
She walked towards her slowly.
The sound of their footsteps echoed in that empty hall. When they came close, Mayamma stood up.
“Mayamma...?” Sree asked.
“Come, Sree!” Mayamma called her by name to her surprise.
“How do you know my name?” Sree Latha asked.
“I do also know why you are here.”
“Sree, I know that someone is behind that Zamin of yours, for the sand underneath his feet?”
“Yes, you are absolutely right!” Sree nodded her head with a smile. Iyer was standing there speechless like a statue as he was not able to digest what was going on there.
“Don't worry, Sree. I will take care of everything, but this will cost around twenty-six lakhs. Can you afford it?” when Mayamma told her fees directly, she looked at Iyer. A shocked Iyer asked with his wide open mouth, “Twenty six lakhs?”
“This is not a very big amount for that Zamin, otherwise what will happen is he will go nuts ripping his shirt and will live like that for his entire life...is that ok?”
“Oh, No, we have come here to avoid that and to save him!”
“Then, why do you hesitate?”
“Ok, Mayamma we will give you what you ask but nothing should happen to him.”
“If I said, I will take care means, after that nothing will happen to him and remember no black magic will work where Mayamma works!”
“That's what we want.” Sree expressed very strongly.
“We haven't brought that much amount with us.” Iyer said.
“It's ok. I will come with you. I will do the needful, give me what I demanded once we reach your home” Mayamma said.
“Of course, so, are you coming with us now?”
“It is your wish. Whether I should come with you or not!”
Mayamma said very casually. Both Sree and Iyer looked at each other.
“What are you thinking? Are you afraid of taking me to your home?”
“To be frank, yes” Sree replied.
“I am not a witch. I am a Yogini, who knows how to use magic for good purposes. If I come to your home, your home will only prosper, and you will succeed in all your endeavours in your life.”
“Ok, Mayamma, we agree for your conditions let us go.”, Iyer said.
Mayamma got ready with her worn out shabby white cloth bag and wooden staff.
“Come on...” she said.
They started walking through a narrow and muddy path.
“Mayamma, why are you staying in this ruined bungalow?” Sree asked.
“I love silence….”
“Don't you have a home?”
“Whoever comes to meet me, their home is my home.”
“Ok, Mayamma, in the rainy season, how can you live in this old dilapidated bungalow?”
“Rain, wind, even fire, won't harm me. Do you want to see that?” Mayamma asked. Both Iyer and Sreelatha stood a bit confused.
“Hey, Iyer, take out that lighter from your pocket and light it.” Mayamma said.
Iyer took out his lighter and lit it.
Mayamma showed her index finger in the fire for a while nothing happened.
To Iyer and Sree it seemed like a magic show.
Seeing their reaction Mayamma laughed.
“I control my lust by eating nux vomica, I eat the leaves of the milk weed plant and the poison never affects me, the heat of the sun never touches me as I eat the crust of the ‘deepa jyothi tree’.”
“What is all these? ” Sree asked with curiosity.
“Herbs. You can also eat it and become immortal.”
“Is it?" Sree asked.
Before Mayamma answered that, Iyer asked the driver to bring the car and they started their journey towards Cochin.