The mysterious Englishman wouldn’t interact with the villagers. There was no point; the villagers wouldn’t have understood him. The man remained aloof but respected village ethos, would not intrude in temple activity. The disinterest suited the villagers, who were anyway in no condition to challenge him. Only once he came to the temple, watched the deity curiously for a long time, then walked away without bothering to look at the worshippers. Once he came out of the house and fired from his gun in anger when villagers were performing some noisy ‘Puja’. Gun shots quietened them. Thereafter the villagers were careful not to make too much noise in their celebrations. Villagers always had fanciful stories about the white man mostly painting him in bad light. But the woman, the Bakki, wouldn’t come out of house. She was the butt of their ire yet evoked a sense terror being a clairvoyant. The mysterious woman remained aloof, talked only to Madan Bhai. Some years after the Englishman’s marriage the villagers began to hear noise of violent quarrels emanating from the mystery house. Much they would have liked to hear the details but the fear of the English man kept them away from the house. Then the quarrels stopped altogether instead complete silence greeted them.
The Englishman came out one afternoon. He was a changed man, a poor copy of old self; a mere skeleton around which a layer of skin was grafted, eyes sunken into its sockets altogether a ghostly image. He briefly walked around the house then disappeared into the house.
Then children from villages began to disappear……………
Will be contd.