Sidharth Kuruvila (mat_attack) wrote,
Sidharth Kuruvila
mat_attack

Shyamlal



Shyamlal was the village idiot. Not too bright, and always getting into trouble. He also had a defect. Shyamlal's mouth wouldn't open, it was like his jaw was locked shut, and he could not speak. He was easily excitable, and all he could do was make loud grunting noises. This was something that had led him to be picked upon. Children threw stones at him as he rode his rickety bicycle just to watch him stumble off it and chase them screeching. Even the grown men, at times, would relieve their frustrations on him.

The years passed and Shyamlal still weathered his beating. It would appear though, that he would soon have his revenge.

The village sarpanch's ten-year-old son stopped eating one day, he even stopped talking. His mother in panic tried forcing his mouth open to feed him but it refused to budge. When the father came home he tried talking to his son and when that failed, he whipped the boy for an hour, but that didn't work either. The doctor was called in, and he informed the father that it appeared the boy's jaw was locked. These things tend to go away in a few days, and to feed the child a liquid diet till then.

Soon more boys caught the affliction, including the doctor's own son. And it refused to go away. All the boys who caught it, and it seemed to be every child around the age of ten, stayed that way. It was obviously Shyamlal's fault; he was beaten up and locked up in a shed at the edge of the village.

The villagers, realizing that the doctor was worse than useless in the current circumstances, decided to seek the help of a famous tantrik. The doctor, who imagined himself to be of a rationalist bent, tried to feebly disagree. But having lost his own son to the strange affliction, he was willing to try anything. The tantrik was able to work out that this was a curse of some sort. The only solution would be to force Shyamlal to revoke it. The tantrik would return to the village the next full moon, when a ceremony would be performed to purge the curse.

That evening the sarpanch and a few other villagers met to discuss what should be done. The ceremony would cost the village dearly, but they had no choice. It was also decided that the only way to guarantee that this didn't happen again was to kill Shyamlal as soon as the children were cured.

On the eve of the ceremony a group of villagers including the sarpanch and the doctor went to the shed to bring Shyamlal to the tantrik. When they reached the shed they noticed that the door was open; someone had unlocked the door and let Shyamlal escape. They rushed back to the tantrik and told him what had happened. He told them not to worry. Shyamlal was obviously powerful in the ways of magic. But since he had run away his powers over the villagers would be reduced. The ceremony would still have to be performed and it would be the responsibility of the villagers to make sure Shyamlal never set foot in the village again. The tantrik performed the ceremony and was never heard of again. But the children were not cured. In fact, more children were catching Shyamlal's disease.

The case got so interesting that a doctor from the city came to investigate. He called on the village doctor. He had heard of a similar disease before, where the jawbone of the victim fused with the skull making it impossible to move. The problem was that that disease was a genetic disorder, passed on by the paternal side. The village doctor was silent for a while before bursting into a fit of giggles, which refused to stop. The visiting doctor, angry by this display, tried to get him to stop. Try as he might the village doctor couldn't stop himself. All he could get out of his mouth was

"Shyamlal!"

Thanks Gigi, for the spelling, punctuation and minor grammatical fixes.
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