Head hunters, p.1
By Hiranya Borah
Copyright 2017 Hiranya Borah
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When I was posted in Nagaland, I heard many stories on ‘Head Hunting’ by different tribes living in the state. I do not know whether there was any truth of those stories or not. But definitely those were very fascinating. Recently when I visited another North-Eastern State on an official visit, my room where I stayed overnight at Aizwal, is facing a cemetery. During the night, I enjoyed the calmness of the cemetery. On that night, the story, I am narrating here, got evolved.
Even after my repeated assertion that I do not have any special power to communicate with souls, many people start thinking that I have that special power. Though I repeatedly told in many fora that I personally have never come across any ghost so far in my life, many started doubting my assertion. I again repeat my assertion that I have no power to communicate with souls and personally I am yet to meet any ghost so far.
Therefore, I need not have to repeat again that this story is also a story far from reality.
If, however, my story resembles with some reality, it is pure coincidence only, nothing to do with any reality nor any real person. Some traditions, I am mentioning here are probably not followed anywhere in the world. Thus, I have no intention to showcase any real tradition in the story.
Chapter I: Tour to a Remote Hilly State
On an official visit, I had to travel a few districts of a state of North Eastern part of our country recently. As a part of official duty, I, along with some senior officers, met many villagers to know about supply of drinking water in the village and construction and use of safe toilets. This was part of my present assignment as I am now working in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India. To elaborate it, let me explain about the mandate of our Ministry.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India is mandated to provide financial and technical assistance to the States to help in achieving the vision of Swachh Bharat and provide drinking water to rural population of the country. With the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014, India has embarked upon a journey of cleanliness transformation in rural landscape. As 2nd October, 2019 is the target date for making entire country open defecation free (ODF), the Ministry has taken all necessary steps to achieve this goal. However, this is possible only if all the stakeholders are coming together to make the entire country ODF. As a part of this noble cause, I went to this particular state to know about the ground reality of progress in direction of declaring the state/ districts ODF (Open Defecation Free).
To my pleasant surprise, I found the State extremely clean compared to many other states and cities, I had visited for the same reason.
Chapter II: Extremely Tedious Journey
Journey to this state was extremely painstaking for me. On the day of journey, I left my residence at 5 AM to take a flight to Kolkata. Then I had to wait at Kolkata airport for four hours to take the only connecting flight to the state capital from where I had to take a long ride of six hours in a hilly terrain to the district Hqs. I had to halt for the night. When I reached the circuit house of the district Hqs. I was feeling like dead fish.
A wide range of dishes were waiting for me at the circuit house. But I was so tired, I could remember only the taste of two pegs of whiskey which I took as if they are holiest drink in the world.
Next day, at 7-30 AM after taking my breakfast, I started my journey to some of the remote places of the hill state. To my utter satisfaction, I found most of the villages are ODF and they are going further to achieve ODF plus status (with proper management of solid and liquid wastes). I visited as many as nine villages in three districts of the state in the next fifteen hours.
When I returned back to the State HQs for my night halt, it was already 11 PM. After taking supper at half past eleven, I could go to bed at 12-15 AM only. I did not know when I fell asleep.
Chapter III: Drops of Blood on My Face
I could not remember at what time I was awoken by some drops of sticky material on my face. When I opened my eyes, I saw a person was standing with severed head in one of his hand and a sword with blood in the other hand. I was about to faint. I did not know how to react.
Before I beg for my life and his mercy, the ferocious person thundered, ‘You, ba—d, we heard that you are not only after beautiful girls but also beautiful ghosts. We heard, you helped many beautiful ghosts to attain freedom from ghost lands, is it true?’
I nodded. The moment I nodded, a good number of persons, either without head or persons having heads in their hands appeared before me. The whole room was flooded with blood.
I do not know the exact word for ‘fear for the sight of blood’ (like hydro-phobia or crometo-phobia etc). To see so much blood everywhere I felt dizziness on my head. I murmured, ‘I promise to help you. But first remove your blood from here. It gives me dizziness.’
I did not know, whether they became happy or unhappy; but they dragged me out of the room with some war cries. Then they lifted me and took me to a nearby jungle. After reaching the jungle, they dropped me before a heavily armoured person sitting on a decorated chair. All the persons carrying me bowed to him and said, ‘Oh, the benevolent one, he is before you.’
I understood, he must be the king of the persons who were carrying me and I was brought to this place on his instruction only.
The King was apparently kind to me. He said, ‘Do not worry. We are not going to harm you. We came to know that you can communicate with dead people. We heard, you helped many persons, I mean ghosts to achieve the eternity after suffering many years in the ghost land. We also suffered in the ghost land for last two hundred years. We want to communicate with living people so that they can help us. But very sight of us, either they run away or faint. You are neither ran away nor fainted and already talked to some of my subjects. Now I see a ray of hope. I pray to you, you kindly help all of us.’
Chapter IV: Head Hunters
The king started his story.
I was the eldest son of a king of a small clan. God had given me lot of physical power and skill of using sword, bows and spear. In our times, even a son of a king cannot be the next king unless he was able to bring maximum numbers of severed heads of enemies. There was fierce competition among the contenders of throne. In the process, some used to win and some used to lose even their own heads to the fighters of the enemies. We used to call ourselves as head hunters.
A king was called lucky and brave if he was killed in a battle field. After his death, he was praised for his bravery; but if a king died due to some natural causes before attaining the age of forty, his dead body was given to stray dogs. The dogs who ate the king would also be killed and the dog meats were distributed among the subjects. If, however, a king died after attaining the age of sixty without losing a battle, he was worshiped as a demigod and his dead body was buried along with his throne.
In my life time, I never lost a battle and died at a ripe age of sixty-five due snake bite. As per the tradition, I was buried with all fane fare and along with the throne I used to sit.
All the subjects who you see now, were my followers. The persons whom you see without heads, were killed in different battles and their heads were taken by our enemies. The heads which are seen in the hands of my men were the heads of the killed enemies. If you count, you will see number of
Chapter V: Why We are in Ghost Land
‘As I understand, if somebody dies in a war, they can get eternity immediately, then why you are not getting eternity after death?’ I asked the king.
‘You are right. We should have got eternity after death. Unfortunately, one of the queens of mine, whom I forcefully married after killing her husband, took revenge on the day of my death by poisoning all my warriors. She fulfilled the last wish of her husband by taking revenge for killing her husband. On the next day, on her tacit support, the rival force attacked our clan without a single warrior and killed all the young males of our clan. The rituals for death can be conducted by the males only. In our case, as all the male children were killed by the rivals, no rituals could be performed. However, as my rituals were conducted on the previous night, I could have attained eternity. But I preferred to stay back with my warrior followers in the ghost land.’ He concluded.
‘Now, how can I help you?’
‘After few years, we came to know that, one of my wife was only one month pregnant when the rivals took away her. She gave birth my child after eight months. Incidentally, it was a male child. But child did not know who was his father. He thought his father was the king of the rival group. In due course of time, he became a very powerful king like me and led the rival group. Unknowingly he performed all the rituals for his adopted father and his subjects. Therefore, they all attained eternity and we were left out. His descendants are still powerful both, financially and politically. You pass on our message to perform the necessary rituals for us so that we all can also attain eternity. I hope you can do that.’ The benevolent king requested me.
‘OK, I shall pass on your message. But I cannot guarantee whether, he will do accordingly or not.’ I said.
‘I understand that. The message may not be believed by them. Only I can request you to try to convince at least one of them. If anyone performs, that is enough for all of us.’ The King pleaded for his subjects.
I promised to help him as I already became a fan of the benevolent king who sacrificed his own salvation for his subjects. He gave few names of his descendants.
Chapter VI: New Dawn
As dawn of a new day emerged, I left the jungle. When I reached my tourist bungalow, sun had risen with full bloom.
My flight was at 2-30 PM. So practically, I had four to five hours to meet some of the descendants who are living near to state capital.
My escort officer joined me at my breakfast table. Handing over a list of names, I told her, ‘I want to meet at least a few of them before I leave your state.’
Looking at the list, the young lady told me with a beautiful smile, ‘Sir, the list contains my father’s name and the names of my all uncles. Where do you get it?’
‘Will you believe?’ I asked her. Then I told her everything on my last night’s experience.
After hearing, everything attentively, she asked me, ‘Are you sure what you are saying?’
I nodded. Then I said, ‘Otherwise, how can I get the list of persons with whom I have no personal or official relation and they all are related!’
‘Really it is surprising. A few months back, my father and an uncle of mine saw something similar in their dream. Let us go and meet my father and the uncle before they go out for their duties.’
We rushed to their house and told both of them my story of last night. The father of my escort officer told me, ‘I do not know whether there is any truth in your story or not. But there is no harm if we perform the rituals for those souls.’
After taking tea in their house, I straightway proceeded towards the airport. The escort officer took me to the VIP room as I reached the airport much before time of departure of my flight to Kolkata. She took my ticket to issue my boarding pass.
In the VIP room, I was alone for some time. During that time, the benevolent king appeared before me once again.
‘I am sorry, while bringing you to my ghost kingdom, you were misbehaved by one of my warriors. I admonished him. Please forgive him for his unruly behaviour. I pray to God, He gives you more power to help suffering ghosts to attain eternity. I shall try to meet you before I leave the ghost land forever.’ Saying these lines the benevolent king vanished into the thin air.
The author is a Government servant and a man of vivid experiences derived from his official postings across the country, travels across India and numerous visits outside India. He is presently placed at New Delhi.
His earlier publications are:
1.Random Thoughts through a Coloured Prism
2. Dilemma of a Young Mind
3. Funny Statistics and Serious Statisticians
4. Melody of Fragrance
6. Few Cities through the Lens of Hiranya Borah
7. Guilt: Gift of Winter Spring
8. Beautiful Ghost
9. Great Fighters: Grace of God
10. All Blurred
11. Putting kids to sleep
12.How to become unpopular
14. My grumpy Face
15. Love and Worries
16. Discussion of own Birth: A Taboo
18. Indecent Love Affairs
19. My Fair Lady
21. Two Stories
22. My Mother: Dashami Borah
26. First Attempt
27. A father
28. The Portrait
29. Snapped Thread
30. Only He Knows
31. The Stupid Mother
32. The Same Old Story
33. The Old Scoundrel
34. Third Attempt
35. Some of my First Days and First Nights
36. Snubbed Twice
37. Have You Met the God
38. Frequent Flier
40. Forgive and Forget
41. To Win or to lose
42. Call Girl
43. Beyond Blood Relation
44. Lady with a Black Car
45. My wife
47. Diwali Gift
48. Romance with a Lady
49. Open Heart Surgery
50. My First Love
52. Pebbles on My Way Home
53. My First Bengali Book
54. Murder Mystery
57. Make a Habit to Thank God
58. Killing of A Bird
59. The Hero
60. Fantasy versus Reality
62. Road Rage
63. Death of a Friend
64.Cannot Live with Memory Only
65. None Cares for Me
66. A Tribute to My Guru
67. Two Professionals
68. The Choice
69. The Elusive Spouse
70. First Encounter with A P
71. Plane Crash
72. Plane Crash Part-II
73. Plane Crash Part-III
75. A Bag of Currency
76. Suitable Groom
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