Sunday, 13 March 2016

Was I Possessed..?

Was I Possessed..?

Possession by ghosts seems to have been a norm in my ancestry. I've already posted the story of how my mother was possessed. Now I will write about my step-grandmother. My paternal  grandmother’s sister, who was also my step-grandmother, was possessed on or about 1913. ( I cannot get the exact date because none of my relative want to talk about this phenomenon.) My grandfather and his family lived in a place called Madda, in a village called Cortalim, Goa, in Portuguese India. A feudal lord owned more than 10,000 acres of land,  he actually owned an entire hill, like owning a mountain , I suppose. A psychopath, who enjoyed castrating his slaves. Many slaves died at his hand. It is said that one unfortunate victim, a tall brawly slave was castrated, and he managed to break free, and ran down the hill screaming in agony, and dove into the Zuari River, that was adjacent to the property, and he drowned.

So every night at around 3 am, the screaming ghost of that slave could be heard as he ran, down the hill. Some even saw him. My step-grandmother was unfortunately, one of them. One night when she went out to relieve herself,( there were no toilets then) after giving birth to her son. Her timing  coincided with the running ghost, and the collision led to her possession. The ghost decided to jump into her instead of the river. No amount of exorcism, prayer or coaxing, would convince him to leave. He wanted his revenge, ignoring the fact that my grandfather and everyone else hated the landlord  just as much as he did. The ghost insisted on taking my step-grandmother’s life. After that he was never seen there again. I suppose she was the sacrificial lamb that saved the village.

My Godfather, John Fernandes, once told me how he was possessed. He was a young boy going to a wedding party at night, with his family. It was very dark, there was no electricity in the villages of Goa in the 1940s, and so they were not sure of the way. They saw a group of people with fire torches ahead of them, and rushed to join them, thinking that they were going to the wedding too. As they approached them, the people began to fizzle out and then, suddenly vanished. John, a very young child was petrified, and he got possessed! (The secret of not getting possessed is not to be afraid. It’s a miracle if that is possible!)

He began to have very high fevers and babbled consistently, like he was speaking in tongues. They called the doctor, whose medicines did work; they called the priest, whose prayers did not help. They finally called a witch doctor who announced that John was possessed, and the only way the ghost would leave, would be if John’s feet were dipped in fresh blood spilled on the night of a full moon. This was quite cryptic, because the witch doctor did not specify whose blood or what type of blood was needed. I can only imagine, the chaos, with family debating on which one of them  should slit his/her jugular vein, to save John. After a lot of deliberation, pleading, bargaining and even threatening, they concluded that no one was willing to make the sacrifice, so they should take him to a slaughter house instead, which was about 4 miles away.

Only the male members of the family were allowed to participate in this ritual. So, they carried John to the slaughter-house in the middle of the night, and dipped his feet in a freshly slaughtered pig’s blood. John said he felt the heat of the blood enter his body, and travel up to his head, and stream out, taking away the bad spirit and freeing him. John was saved, to live a very crazy life!

I too, have an experience. I was about 3 years old, in Nairobi, Kenya and I would get these really bad nightmares,(or I thought they were nightmares) like someone or something would carry me in the middle of the night and swirl me around very precariously, so fast I felt my limbs would come off. In the mornings the family would find the mirrors smashed and all the picture on the wall turned upside down. They say the house was haunted. Was I possessed?!!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

is it too late to be me

Is It Too Late To Be ME

Hello, old friend,
We've journeyed together around the world;
My cloak and dagger of fear and anger;
 The accustomed sweet pain of despair;
The ungrateful soul searching, waiting for the clouds to lift;
Forgetting all its accomplishment; the battles won;
The happiness and laughter that once was;
The blood spilt for friends and family;
Yet, I see the old familiar self defeat;

What about me!
I cry out in anger, how long should I please you?
 Above the clambers of demands and expectation, called obligations
Am I to be imprisoned till I’m old and aged;
Crippled and bent;
To see freedom only at life’s end?
I’m alive now, look at me;
I cry for help too,
Don’t you see?
I don’t want just platitudes, of how great I am;
Only, freedom, to be who I Am.

I am tired of carrying your pain;
To live the life you could not live, just to appease.
I’m tired of fear imposed by all, parent, churches and all;
Reality all a skewed, to hide behind the vicissitudes;
My dreams dim away.
The existential crisis creeping in, in the quiet moments of despair;
Is it too late to BE ME?

my mother was possessed!

My Mother Was Possessed!

My mother was possessed by a devil spirit when she was 11 years old. She was coming home from school, at lunch time, and she squatter down behind some bushes to pee. Suddenly she saw a pig she got scared, making her vulnerable to being possessed. In Goa, there a myth that sometimes,  pigs with 20 piglets suddenly appearing and then, disappearing right before your eyes. You are not supposed to get scared, because if you do, the ghosts will possess you. Who wouldn’t get scared if a pig suddenly appears as you are taking a pee.

So my mum went home,(apparently possessed) and she happened to be on her period, at the time. Her menstruation continued for 2 months, continuously. My grandmother’s homeopathic  remedies, including trying to scare the blood away, by using very dirty , soot stained pieces of cloth as pads. The doctors could not cure her, and my mother kept withering away. She was in and out of consciousness during that time.

 My grandmother believing in both science and spiritualism consulted a doctor and the most powerful sorceress in the land. The doctor injected my mother with medicines, when the illness had climaxed, and said that if her fever did not break by the next morning, there would be no hope for her. The sorcerer, also, came the same night and did some ritual, which included splashing my other, face with some very stinky concoction of herbs, and putting a red hot sword under my mother’s bed. She said, that my mother had to battle the demon or parish that night. It was a fitful night as my mother battled for her life. My grandparents and the neighbours stayed up all night praying for God’s mercy and help.  By dawn she had overcome the demon of sickness and she awoke, fully conscious. 

The neighbours celebrated her return, by beating my mother with garlic leaves and questioning  her, about who she was, when she was born , the name of her parent, things like that. They then asked her to pray, to recite the” Our Father” and” Hail Mary”, to see if she accepted God. Or whether she would spew green puke at them and start levitating and making her neck twist 180 degrees! She was fine. And no one ever spoke about it again.

Soon after that incident, my grandfather allowed his niece to build a temporary structure on one of his properties and he provides her and her son with food and supplies, for the rest of his life. My mother says that his dead sister had possessed her, and blackmailed my grandfather into agreeing to support her widowed daughter and grandson, or she would take my mother’s soul to hell with her!  Later, after my grandfather’s demise, my mother kicked them out of the property, and no one has been possessed so far!

Interesting as it the story is to me ,I still have several questions about this that I don’t have the guts to ask my mother, because she will disinherit me!

One, do ghosts lurk around during the day? I thought they only come out at night? My mum was coming home from school, when she “met the pig”.

Two, was my great aunt waiting for the opportune time for my mother to pee at that particular spot and got a pass from Satan to possess my mother during the day, instead of night?  My mother would definitely not wonder so far from the house in the night to pee. How long did she wait for? Why would the ghost come as pigs, a snake would be more scary!

Three,  her continuous bleeding. I had that problem about 7 years ago. My period would not stop, and I remember thinking of my mother’s possession, and wondered if I should go to the priest for an exorcism or the gynecologist. I opted for the latter, and thought if that did not work; I would go to the priest. My gynecologist prescribed some hormone tablets and I was fine. did the doctors not know about this in 1946? Why was she not hospitalised and put on blood transfusion or something? Or were her parents so poor that they could not afford to take her to the doctor? It was a period when India was going through a major famine.

Four, if it did happen, how come no one recalls the story it today. I mean, would my mother not be stigmatised by the fact that she was possessed by the devil? Wouldn't the villagers have created myths around her? I have never met anyone, even her peer in the many travels to Goa, who spoke about my mother being possessed. People love to gossip, it’s amazing that this is not one of the legends!

Or, did the ghost threaten everyone in the village to be silent or else she would possess everyone who spoke about it?

Five, or did my grandparents just make up that story out of shame, for not taking her to the hospital, thinking it was hopeless and that she would die Instead, she survived miraculously.

Six, was it the doctor’s medicine that cured her, or was it the sorcerer’s magic?!!!!
What is the actual story here? I wonder.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

The EMO question

To be EMO or Not to be.....

An existential conversation with my daughter:

Me: why do you dress like a Goth.

D: I’m not Goth! How dare you! I’m Emo!

Me: Emo? Like some animal?

D: Huh! (Rolling her eyes) short for EMOTIONAL!

Me: Emotional about what?

D: Everything!

Me: What do 15 year olds get emotional about? Apart from being liked and accepted. What’s everything? Are you emotional about how to earn money to feed yourself, pay the rent, pay the government? What?

D: Why are you asking me this, its weird!

Me: I’m interested. Is that why you like these grays, blues and black clothes?

D: Yah! That is also why I like the bands like Bastille, twenty one pilots, Atlas Genius, Death Cab for Cuties etc. Their song ask the existential questions. It’s not just about falling in love.

Me: Did I fail you in life? Have I not given you everything you ever wanted?

D: Mum stop it, I don’t want to talk about being Emo with you.

Me: Why? I’m being Emo too.

D: What?!

Me: Emotional, about the existential question of parenting.

D: What, you are so weird.

Me: Isn’t that cool?

D: No! It’s weird for you!

Me: I Googled "EMO" and the urban dictionary says that Emo girl like to watch Emo boys make out. Do  you do that?

D: Yuck! Mum. Stop! I don’t like watching anyone kiss, why would I like watching guys kiss. Yuck!

Me; That is what I was wondering? Did you suddenly become “kissing tolerant”?
D: OMG! Mum!... OK. I am not Emo. I just like the bands, and their music. I like wearing grays, blues and black. That is about it. Now leave me alone. I don’t want to talk about this!

And that is how you get your child to stop being a true EMO!

confessions of a crazy mother pt.1

Confessions of a crazy mother. Part1

I have been a mother for 15 years now. I've read many books on how to bring up your child. I swear to god I tried to follow them, until I decided to throw it out the window and just play it by ear. My role model, my mother, just do the opposite of everything she did, and hope that works.
I take credit for my daughter’s intelligence, not because of my genes but rather, I played classical music to her when she was a baby! I had read somewhere that stringed classical music and piano music is good for a child’s logic. After 2 months I found it so boring, that I stopped playing the music for her. I must say, it worked.

 But, the music had its own side effects, on me. Every time my child would wake up for a feed in the early hours, I would play the music while I breast fed her. One night I did that and I suddenly woke up because my baby had rolled down my lap. She had almost rolled down to the floor had she not got caught at my feet. She looked quite confused as to why the breast was fading away from her! I stopped playing the music.

Sometimes I would put her down next to me on the bed and feed her. It was a miracle that I did not smother her with my boob, which was bigger than her face; I really believe the Angels protected her from me, because I would suddenly wake up, to find that my boob had covered her face. Crazy, right?

Another time, I needed to go to the loo, and I kept yelling for someone to come and take her, but no one was there. I put her in her rocker, strapped her in and put the rocker up on basin table. I didn't put her on the floor because I felt it would be too unhygienic. She was very restless; I think she was about 6 months old. She kept moving so much, and the next thing, the strap unfastened and she lunged from the seat and was falling down head –first. I squealed and dove forward, grabbing her just in time inches from the floor. She looked startled at first, and then began to giggle. I was so shocked, I was just imagining her hitting the floor and her skull splitting open. I was so furious with myself. I almost killed my child! I never told anyone about this.

I am the sort of mother that believes in a child sleeping comfortable during a long flight. I used to give her a cough syrup and she would sleep for a good 6 hours. At least the one year old would not disturb other passengers!

I thought that I would be environmentally conscious. I would use cloth nappies, which would get soiled quickly, and sometimes my baby would be in the damp nappy for a long time , causing  rashes. That is when I thought, screw it! I began to use Pampers. So much for the environment!
I wanted my child to be able to read early, so I put her in school at 20 months. She didn't like it, and although we lived 5 minutes away from the school, we were always the last to get there. She would be so unhappy to go, and it broke my heart. A Montessori  School. She rebelled, and refused to learn how to fold napkin and pour water in cups, etc. Till today, she cannot do it, the experience traumatized. She did learn one thing though, was to defend herself against bullies. She learnt to fight back when a boy began to ambush her and beat her. I told her never to allow a boy to hit her, she should hit back. She does that till today!  Yeah! I then changed her to a Waldorf School  when she was 4 and she was so happy there.
To be continued........

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Birthday Blues

Birthday Blues

It’s my birthday today. Wow, am I feeling OLD! 52 years old! This means I am unmarketable, undateable, I should be put out to pasture in the dating front, correction- in all fronts. In my head I still see myself as a medium size 35 year old. With good skin, and pretty, in a bland way. When I walk I imagine myself walking briskly and attractively. In actual fact I walk like I’m carrying a ton of food in my arms, trying to balance it! Having successfully avoided full length mirrors for years, barely looking at the mirrors over the basins, one day I literally scared myself, when I  saw myself in the mirror. What?!! When did that happen? Was I abducted by aliens who did beauty experiments on me, failed and sent me back all wrinkled and fat and grey haired? That is not me! Give me back my face  and body, aliens!

 I then decided to get some cheap black hair dye. The one that is so black that it makes your hair look like a wig, in contrast to your wrinkly face?- I had lost a lot of weight during a very traumatic period in my life.- I bought new clothes, and bought some make up to hide the wrinkles. I have since put on weight and I am less wrinkly! - By the way, that is the solution to not having wrinkle! Put on weight- All the fat in your face makes most of the wrinkles disappear. So if I lose weight I will have this extra   skin under my chin hanging down like turkey skin. That is my dilemma, if I lose weight, I will look old because of the turkey skin, if I stay fat I still look old. Don’t tell me to get a face lift, I can’t afford it. Also, what if, the surgeon stretches my face out so tight, that it seems like I am being electrocuted all the time. No, cannot take that risk.

Besides my looks, what do I do at 52 years? I cannot practice law here, in Goa. I am not an Indian citizen. All I do is ward off potential thieves from trying to steal our properties; and this blog, criticising the Indians. To my detriment, of course,  just waiting to be arrested on sedition, for being anti nationalistic in the so called biggest “Democracy in the world!” it reminds me of the terrible days when, I witnessed my fellow university students and lecturers being detained by the Moi regime in Kenya, on charges of sedition. It only made the government more unpopular, and the people more adamant to be heard no matter the cost to their freedom. The government was ultimately democratically removed, by people voting overwhelmingly for the opposition. This government should learn from the history of other countries too, especially Africa, and not just focus on India’s greatness”.
Another problem is, I am too old to go to a developed country; they will not accept me, anyway. I cannot contribute to their economy as a strong worker; I certainly am not made to work in a sandwich factory in England, with the monotony of packing food I cannot eat! Or, too weak to push trolleys at the airport. Too, stupid to be a teacher. Actually that is not true, I find teaching boring! I tried it once; I take my hat off to all the educators out there. It is truly a calling. Children are scary, always judging you!
I was always interested in doing psychology, I have met so many, who have tried to keep me sane, and when they could not, I went to psychics. Sometimes I went to both. The psychologist tried to make me believe in myself and that I had the power within me to over-come my issues, while the psychics saw all these dark forces around me destroying my life and how I had to turn to the forces of the light to fight them. It was like being on drugs- I think, never did it- either way, I escaped reality! So if I combined psychic practice with psychology, I could make a ton of money. Right? (I want to be a billionaire, oh so bad!-Bruno Mars) The clients want solutions to their problems. It’s all about believing!  I looked up online courses and there are none available in India. Or maybe the forces do not want me to do it!

So, I realise that I have become a recluse. I don’t like mingling with people who give me unsolicited advice about what I should about my weight, or my life. I know I want to do something from home. I need to figure it out, and really quickly, because my daughter is growing up really fast, and she will need to go to university, and I need to find a way to pay for it. She is really talented, unlike me, so I have been trying to get her to make some funny (ha-ha) videos that could go viral and she could pay her own way through college and support me at the same time. I don’t know why she keeps ignoring me! Perhaps if I tell her, it’s my birthday wish, she might listen?

I remember once watching Oprah, and she was talking about her experience of being in her 50s. She said it was the period when one has found oneself, and you are peaceful and calm. That is a load of BS, maybe so only if you are a F...g Billionaire! To “normal” people like me, it’s a time when you are too old to get a new job and too young to retire.

So that is where I am at 52 years old: Fat; old and LOST! HELP!!!!

Stop Calling Me Stupid, Stupid!

 Stop Calling Me, Stupid, Stupid!!

The worst insult you could give me ever, is call me stupid! The next is to call me old and the other is to call me fat. I know I am all those, but only I can call myself those adjectives. I become like a raging bull, -internally- I can feel my eyes turning fiery red and my nostrils snorting out smoke, like in those cartoons. But civility prevails, most times, and I ignore the comment. Not always though.
Why do I feel that way? Aren't we all stupid in some things and smart in others? What do people see in me? Am I wrapped in a blanket of stupidity that make me look obviously stupid? I speak English better than many here in Goa, because that is the only language I know fluently. Does  speaking in English make you seem smart? I have done law, out-smarted con men in Goa, saved my family, and yet people think I am so stupid!  What the F...? Or perhaps I do look so stupid that con men come after me in the first place?

This morning I was at the pharmacy, which I have been going to for the past 4 years. They've decided to go online, and now the customers will be able to order via email, and the drugs will be delivered to your home! Wow! Probably,  the first in Goa. The pharmacist gives me this card to fill out. Then he has the nerve to ask me if I knew how to fill the card, which entails me filling out my name; address; email and phone number. How hard is that?  So I grabbed the pen and filled out the form grudgingly. Then the SOB says,” do you know how to use an email?”  I wanted to flip him, but then this is the only pharmacy that gives me sleeping pills, without a prescription. Does he think I live in a cave? Even a child knows how to use email! I curtly said yes, and walked out in rage. That was so offensive to me!
So, here I am wondering why would he think I was so ignorant. Was it because of the way I look? I am over-weight, and that makes me look older than my 52 years. Then I think that if he thinks I look 62 years old, let’s say- and I probably do, but I do not want to admit it- then does he think that at 62, I would not know how to use a computer? How insulting and biased, is that? Or is it because I am a woman and “I am old”, that he automatically assumes that? Is it the culture here, or do the educated assume that everyone else is stupid? It’s very condescending, I must say.

I've struggled with that image all my life! I've been overweight t since I was 12 years old. I was one of the smartest kids in primary school. Then when I went to secondary school, it was so competitive; my peers seemed smarter than me and socially better than me. They joked about my weight, and I just wanted to hide. I felt shy and stupid. The teachers would favour the very smart students and ignored the others. I was ignored. Yet, I got into university, while some of the one who were not ignored, never made it to university. But by then my self-esteem was so battered that I wondered if I deserved to be there. Worst of all, I did not get in to do law, which was my main goal. I was not good enough.  That is why I am so sensitive  about being stupid, I suppose. So I completed my B.A. and found a way to get into law school, while I articled at a law firm in Kenya. It was tough but I made it. Sometimes I felt I was really good at what did and other times I didn't. I loved the law and the validation it gave me. I loved helping people and the power that came with it. And yet, today someone asks me if I know how to fill out a form?
The reason I am over-weight is - yes, I love food- but I love food more when I am stressed.  I am stressed all the time. Yeah, I know about Yoga and meditation, but I don’t want to do it okay? At that moment I want to eat! Yes, I suppose it’s an addiction! This in turn has resulted in me suffering from Candida, which is a yeast infection, that causes me to become blotted, and I get skin problems, caused by this yeast growth in the small intestines. This also affects me psychologically. I become depressed and moody, and then find it difficult to do things. This leads me to emotional eating, again because of the guilt.  At its worst, apart from the torture of the skin sores, I have joint pains, and sometimes it is difficult to walk, or bend. I tend to forget things at times. Making me stupid!

The only treatment for this is to stop eating sugar completely, no gluten products, no processed food, and no caffeine. I have to exercising. But I am too depressed to do it. There are very few times I have been disciplined enough to go on that diet, and I have seen the weight just shed away. Then something stressful happens and I begin to binge again, and it recurs. It’s reached a point where I am so tired, of all the shit around me that I want to give in to the depression and hide forever.

My Candida has gotten worse in Goa, because I am always angry. I am constantly dealing with men who think that women are stupid and inferior. I want to slap the shit out of them, but I can’t, not if I need to get things done, and stay out of jail! Instead I eat. What makes me even more angry is when some person talks to me about how unhealthy I look because I am over weight and how I should go on a diet and how I should exercise every day. Otherwise I will die and my poor daughter will be alone. Then I wonder how stupid do these people think I am. I am 52 years old, I am educated, why would I not know the dangers of being obese or how to diet and exercise. Why would they think that I have never dieted or exercised before? I want to yell at them, and say “I AM NOT A F...IDIOT, NOT TO KNOW I AM FAT! I AM FAT BECAUSE EVERYONE THINKS I AM AN IDIOT, AND THAT MAKE ME SAD AND ANGRY AND I CAN’T YELL AT YOU, SO I HIDE MY EMOTIONS BY EATING!! HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF THAT YOU BIGOTED IDIOT!!”