Friday, July 6, 2012

Bakki : Our own homegrown Oracle

Like other Asians, we too are a paradoxical lot; in part tribal, in part urbane perhaps a little more tribal than others. Think about the tradition of ‘parnaam’, the touching of feet of elders and the toll it takes on a child.  Marriage or other social gathering; a child is submerged in a crowd of old people mechanical touching feet of anybody who has wrinkles on his face. There is absolutely no sense of recognition nor respect, it is just a chore for him and the immediate urge is to get over with it. We have no compunction adopting western attire, eating habits, table manners blah blah but wouldn't let go our tribal mannerism. This tribalism manifest is several ways; existence and awe that a ‘Bakki’ evokes is one such instance.

Bakki is gender neutral i.e. it can be male or a female. Given the power they have on our psyche you would think they are a successful people like the doctors leading an economically successful life but you would be surprised. There is always a caveat in our system; good things come with a price. Bakki probably is corrupted derivative of ‘bak-bak’ or ‘bakwas’ having an Arabic-Persian root meaning idle gossip. Bakki as you can guess speaks, speaks rapidly, sometimes coherently sometimes incoherently which then is left to others to interpret. Bakki lets you into secrets of past and tells in advance future outcome of some tricky issue very important to you. If the outcome is not favorable then they also suggest means to amend the outcome suitably. In essence Bakki is a witch doctor providing remedy for sometimes unexplainable diseases or persistent issues that bother us  etc.   

There is a Bakki somewhere near Kotdwara, a Kala woman you can access her services through the courtesy of Manyawar Diwakar. Sir Prabhakar, Master Brajesh are regulars there. If you ask me, I am skeptical about this whole thing, I doesn’t quite gel with our rational thought.    

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