I am a doctor. A dermatologist to be precise. I run a clinic in Amritsir Punjab, India. This is a story about a peculiar patient I met a few months ago.
It was a Sunday the time was sevenish. Normally my clinic is open till nine. But I was to close it early today because it was my niece's birthday.And I had to buy a present. I have a habit of waiting until the last minute. It is something I am not proud of. So just when I was about to close the clinic three men had arrived. The one in the middle was wearing a black cloak, it was quite torn and dirty. His body was completely covered. He looked weak and could barely stand.The other two were well built and muscular they had beards and were wearing turbans I could tell they were Sikhs.
As they were about to enter, my receptionist apologized and explained that the clinic was closing early today. The men ignored the remark and demanded to see me. I quickly greeted them. Upon seeing me they fell on their knees. One of them spoke in a humble voice, "Please don't turn us away. We have come from a remote village our young master needs your help. Please cure him!"
First I explained that I was a dermatologist a 'skin doctor' in simple terms. And could only help them if it was an illness related to the skin.Then the other man said, "We are aware sir."
I thought I could look at the patient before I left.
"Very well follow me." I replied.
I led them to my chambers and sat on my chair. I told them to take a seat. The men half carried the cloaked 'young master' to a chair and then sat for themselves. There was silence for a few seconds.
Until I spoke. "How may I help you?" I said as I normally do to my patients. None of them spoke for a while. Then the two men began to take the cloak of the young mans head revealing the face of the man. The man was quite fair, he was bald and there were bags under his eyes.
"My name is 'Gurkirat singh bajwa'" he said in a frail voice.
"Nice to meet you Mr Bajwa. Now how may I help you?" I quickly replied.
He looked at the two men and then looked at his arm.The two men acted immediately. They began to modify the cloak so it could reveal his arm. His arm was covered with small lessons. It's state was so poor you could never guess it was an arm unless someone pointed it out. I was utterly shocked.
I quickly examined the lessons. Upon closer examination I could identify the lessons. The lessons are ant bites. Mere ant bites but so many of them.
I was confused. Why would they come here? He might have fallen in an ant hill.Ant bites at such a high degree could be fatal. They should have gone straight to a hospital. But he isn't in a critical condition. The whole ordeal was odd.
I told them, "These are ant bites." Bajwa said.
"You are correct."
"You should go to a hospital. Some ants are mildly poisonous. You should stay in a hospital for safety."
"I am fine." he replied.
"I have been suffering from ant bites for four years."
"What do you mean?" I asked him.
"They come for me," he began, "where ever I go whatever I do."
"They always find a way."
"Who do you mean by they?" I asked.
"Ants! Ants! Ants!"He shouted.
"They come for me, crawl on me, bite me. Again and again and again" .
"They don't stop!"
"I can't sleep!"
"Please! Save me!"
"What is the meaning of this!" I shouted." are you mad?" "GET OUT OF HERE."
"I am a doctor."
"Do not mess around."
"You people have wasted enough of my time. get out!"
And then I saw it rows and rows of ants coming closer and closer to him . They began climbing him they went under his cloak and more followed.I was shocked he was actually telling the truth.The events unfolding in front of me was so unheard of, so odd.I froze for a while.
Then I looked at the man he wasn't agitated. It was as if this was a part of him.As if the invasion of ants upon him was normal and not noteworthy.
I knew I couldn't help him.But I grew curious. I had to know what happened to him.
"When and how did this happen?" I asked.
"It is a long story" said bajwa.
"I have time" I replied forgetting about my niece's birthday.
And thus began his story:
"I (bajwa) am the son of 'Mughat Singh Bajwa' the richest landlord in the village.I had everything money, power,influence. What I wanted was mine.That was the law of the village.Same would go for the women I wanted. There was one woman whom I wanted most of all.
Her name was Mina.But she was the one the only one who rejected me.I told her that she was 'the one'. That I would change for her.But she never listened to me.
I begged her to be with me.
But nothing worked on her.
I went as far as proposed to her but she rejected me again.Her attitude enraged me.I was giving her the honor to be my wife. Yet she still refused me?
I was becoming obsessed. I didn't want her anymore, I needed her.
One night I was drunk.I and a bunch of my gang went to her house.We burned it.While her mother was in it.She begged.Begged for us to stop but we didn't.And I...I did the unthinkable to her.
The next morning I saw her dead in front of her burnt house. She had taken poison.
All the villagers surrounded her corpse. They all stared at me the look of disgust didn't bother me.None of them were brave enough to do anything.
Insects,ants were eating her she was decomposing.I kicked her as a show of ultimate triumph.
And then it happened all the ants on her came to me they started climbing me biting me sometimes eating me.
And they never left since.
My father had bribed the police. He framed the whole thing on my companions. I was safe from the law. But who will save me from them?"
"There you have it doctor."
"You are my only hope."
"I have done horrible things. But I don't deserve this. I just want to sleep.They are on me constantly. I can't escape. My skin burns my inside burns. I feel it I feel the poison. But it doesn't kill me.The poison numbs my senses except pain. As they bite I feel The burn. Their bites keep me awake."
Every where I go they find me they come some how. I put nets on my bed they get through it. They cover my room. I used repellents they have no effect.Pesticide harms me more than it harms them.I took a boat and tried to sleep in the middle of a river.
BUT THEY WERE WITH ME!"
"I have seen many witch doctors I have done many things.
One told me to never eat sweets I have never done so since
another told me to wash my self with To give offerings to the ants.
- another told me to sacrifice 20 cows i did that too.
- I even rolled in bad feces because it was said to help"
"I am going mad. Now I see her.
Looking at me.Laughing at me.Pitying me.
I don't NEED your pity!!!"
I (doctor) was frozen for a while.I looked at him with disgust and pity.
I politely told him that I could not help him.
He didn't look surprised.I could tell he had been turned down countless times.
He said nothing.
A few seconds later they left.
Such a story of unknown power. Of such untold justice makes me both appalled and frightened.