“My wife is pregnant by twelve months,” a neighbour’s friend told Sheru two years ago. Sheru received a shock, but burst into laughter. “Your wife has decided to have two gestation periods,” Sheru replied. The friend was not impressed. Another person accompanying him took Sheru to a corner to narrate their tale of woe.
The person accompanying Sheru’s neighbour belongs to a school of thought that does not approve of going to faith-dealers…sorry, faith-healers. But both of them were forced by circumstances to approach a faith-dealer in the peripheries of Srinagar.
“I am married for nine years now. My wife could not conceive. I went to doctors and faith-healers but nothing happened. Then somebody told me about a peer, and I rushed to him. He demanded Rs 10,000 in advance that I paid. Then he gave some powder for my wife which she took with a glass of milk. She started showing signs of pregnancy, and I was delighted. I told my friend (pointing to the person accompanying him) who has a similar problem. He also paid Rs 10,000, and got the powder for his wife. Both of us were very happy. Meanwhile, seeing my wife’s inflated stomach, my mother advised me to consult a gynecologist. I obeyed. The gynecologist told me to get a USG done. I was shocked to see the report. There was nothing inside. The powder given by the faith-healer had caused the false pregnancy. I did not disclose the shocking news to my mother. I waited a month and then sent my wife to her parental house for delivery. Then one day I woke up early in the morning and rushed out of my house and called my mother that the baby was born dead.”
While Sheru’s neighbour managed it, the other person was not so clever. He waited and waited. Nine months passed, but his wife did not deliver. He went to the faith-dealer who told him to wait and he waited. The wait ended when his wife was pregnant by twelve months. His patience finally ran out and he informed the police. The police raided the faith-dealer’s residence, but he was missing. The police saw a number of women waiting for the magical powder. The police informed them about the fraud, but nobody listened. Finally the faith-dealer was taken into custody and the drama ended.
The person was not concerned about the money he wasted on the `magical’ powder. He was concerned for a genuine reason. “What if my people come to know that I had gone to a faith-healer and spent money only to get a shock in the twelfth month of my wife’s pregnancy?”
Sheru feels sorry for him. Both victims urged Sheru to write about it. Sheru looked at them and murmured: kuem lukh che insaan