As I stepped over the leg bone, I laughed. I’m no bone doctor, but it looked human to me. Orthopaedist, is that what it’s called? I’m no orthopaedist.
Must be from a cow, or maybe a dog. Do dogs get that big? Not a human. Definitely not a human.
But then I tripped, and I stepped on a skullcap, that really nailed it for me.
This Bangalore graveyard was covered in human bones.
“Maybe the dogs dig them up,” suggested Kaveri, as she led the way to the high priestess of the graveyard. “Or the rats.”
Several of the graves had ditches that looked like dogs had gone scurrying, but all of the graves were riddled with what Kaveri insisted were rat holes. Those must have been some rats.
I’ve written about Hindu graveyards before, but those were just graveyards. This graveyard was filled with black magic.
The Wishing Tree
I’d seen wishing trees around the world, tied up with prayers and aspirations. But this was no wishing tree. This was a cursing tree.
“If a coworker has been causing you trouble, or if you think you’ve been cursed, you can use this tree,” she told me. “You can weigh the person down.”
It was covered in borrowed bangles, thefted shirts, overdue bills and eggs. Eggs scrawled with victims’ names, like poor cursed Kiran.
The Rat Shrine
There were no sacrifices, today. Had there been — chickens, lambs, goats, perhaps — their bleeding corpses would have been thrown onto this blood-stained holey mound.
The mound, of course, is a rat nest. The holes, of course, are rat tunnels. And the rats, of course, are many.
I quietly stepped away from the mound when Kaveri told me this.
The Kali Locks
I’ve seen more heart-lock bridges in China than I’ve ever needed to. But these padlocks were actually requests to the fiery goddess of death (okay, “goddess of time and change”), Kali.
My only question is: what kind of requests does one make of Kali? And what kind of payment is expected?
The Curse Cleanse
When we found the priestess, she was wearing a flowery sari of purple and yellow. She offered to cleanse me of curses. Just in case.
And just in case, I accepted.
She grabbed an egg and a lime in one hand, and then used them to tap my head, my chest, my shoulders, my back. And again, my head, my chest, my shoulders, my back. And again. And again. Then she lunged back, and threw the curse-filled egg into the trash-filled graveyard. A hovering hawk swooped down and snatched it up.
She dropped the polluted lime to the ground, and squashed it with her bare foot.
My curses were cleared.
And a week later, everything at work became wonderful again.
Lakshmipuram Graveyard, Old Madras Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore