Part four of a few jinn stories from the life of a Pakistani exorcist that’ll keep you up at night. This part deals with a churail who falls in love with a man and gets married to him against his will. These stories have been taken, with permission, from Abus’ Jinns official book.
The Unmarried Man
Ayesha, when I was traveling to the rural areas of India, I met a rather interesting man. Even the locals knew that I was Adnan, the Muslim exorcist, because it wasn’t my first time there. Anyway, that man just stood behind one of those – kya kehte hain unhe – lamp posts, haan, and he examined me from head to toe. When the Muslim community had paid their respects and no one was in sight, he stumbled towards me. He was very handsome, I tell you. Even more handsome than your Zulifqar chacha. Great height, uff, and figure and all.
But, I sensed his tension.
He came to me and said that he had heard of me, while I nodded and smiled. He wasn’t keen on ‘small talk’, so just told me straight away that he needed my help. We decided to head over to his nearby parked jeep to talk over masala chai – the kind I’ve taught your ami to make. Khair, I sat behind him and he said that he wanted my help in getting married again, and I corrected him forun hee that bhai, I don’t do all this. I don’t pray, and I don’t help with finding rishtas. But, nahin, he refused to listen. He said that he had been engaged once, back in 1995, to his cousin and that she had committed suicide. His date was almost fixed and that woman – Palwati was her name – jumped into a well. After that, he told me that he never went to a temple to get married.
‘Where do I step in, sahab?’ I asked, irritated, of course. He said that in order to get married, he needed to leave his wife and I could help.
‘Hain? Bhai jaan, pardon me, but you just said that you aren’t married?’ I interjected. He turned his head and sighed, ‘Jee, I am not. But she wedded herself to me one night and because of her I’ve never been able to marry a real-life woman’.
That is when, Ayesha, I realized that the man had been married to a jinni for the past 19 years.
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I looked at Abu in utter delight. ‘Abu?’ I asked, ‘Was he married to a genie? Because genies grant wishes and I’ve heard that they’re really really pretty.’ Abu nestled me in his lap. He didn’t blame me for being naive and gullible. I was ten, after all.
Nahin, Ayesha, Abu continued. She wasn’t a genie. She wasn’t even a good jinni. She was a churail. But, not like a pichal peri or any kind of churail I had regularly come across. She was a dayan. Khair, I’ll tell you the history of dayans later. Coming back to the story, the man and I were now seated at a dhaaba, and we were both quiet till I broke the silence.
I asked him when all of this happened. The man didn’t look up. ‘Main koyi 17-18 saal ka tha, aur yahan ka aik illaka hai, Namwitpar, wahan kay khaet say guzar raha tha…’
The man spoke about how, during a fine afternoon, he met a rather astonishing woman, in a saree who wanted him to accompany her to her father’s tribe. She spoke in a different accent
‘…lekin main bhi us juga ka nahin tha tou maine dehaan nahin diya.’ But, when she suddenly stopped midway and grabbed me by my chest, I knew something was wrong.
‘Aap na chor kar jaien’ – that’s all she said and that’s all she’s ever said.
‘Adnan babu, main wahan say bhaag tou gya, likun jab maa k pass ghar phoncha tou ajeeb si dard tha poore tun badan main.’
The man told me, Ayesha, that he had a high temperature and that’s about it. His life changed. He told me that she didn’t visit every day, but on some nights, she came and talked to him and even brought him food. Food that you and I can’t imagine having. Food that he said tasted like holy food. And, he could never ever say no to her. He asked her to leave but it only resulted in his mother’s death and sister’s miscarriage.
She even carved lines on his chest. When he asked about the lines, she said that it was her name.
‘When can you feel her? How do you get to know that she’s there?’ I asked.
The man placed the tip of his finger on the rim of the empty tea glass and with damp eyes, answered, ‘Kabhi kabhi darwaza khatka deti hai, kabhi kabhi peechay say aa kar pakar leti hai aur agar maine kuch galt kiya ho tou mujhe bukhaar ho jata hai.’
I placed my hand and tasbeeh on his coarse hand and he pulled away. ‘Kuch galt main kya kya ata hai?’ I questioned. ‘Kisi aurat say baat karna, kisi aurat ko dekh kar khush hona – bus yehi.’
We talked about his life for seven more hours, till I assured him that Hindu or Muslim, bus yakeen karo kay Khuda hai. I told him that I didn’t know a relevant religious cure, but if he listened to me, he could get rid of her. For the first time in our meeting, his eyes shone with anticipation and hope.
With his will and consent, as I carried out certain religious tasks, I saw him start to tremble in fever. He despised me at that moment, but I waited for her arrival and I told him to say what I had said, and do what I had told him to do. He was obedient.
She came and I watched him talk to thin air in a room full of people, but I, of course, saw the shadow of a hideous woman, and from around him came the smell of rotten potatoes and trash.
It was a long wait but when she left, he could hardly move, and there were bruises all over his body. He had told the dayan that he had converted. And that she couldn’t do anything against the will of Allah for she had been a Muslim when alive. She had screamed and his ears had bled. But she said that she couldn’t leave him.
‘Kyun?’ I asked.
‘Kyun k Adnan sahab, wou kehti hai k wou meray buche ki ma bun rahi hai aur kuch mahinoun main wou zaroor wapis aye gi’. The man wept in my lap till my shalwar was wet. And, I wept with him. But, she was indeed gone for a year and a year after that too. And, after that, I didn’t go. But I wish to check upon that man whose name I still don’t know and whose face I still can’t forget.
Cover image via MTV Films