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Since I came into this world — let me rephrase it — since the day I was born in India, I’ve come across dozens of fears and blind faiths that I’m expected to believe. I’m a common Delhiite with uncommon incidents taking place around me. I’m a witness to all the drama, anxiety, hysteria (and nonsense, maybe?) that takes place in the national capital.

In case you missed it, the last two weeks have been chaotic owing to a mysterious ‘hair chopper’ in Delhi, who goes around chopping off women’s braids when they’re asleep. From Delhi Police to mental health experts, everyone’s out there to catch the culprit.

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While some believe this could be the work of a crazy person, many others believe it could be a ghost, a witch, or an evil spirit! I feel bad that year after year, we see it coming, and still do nothing to stop it. I feel sorry that the avalanche of blind beliefs spares none. But then, there are some really bizarre incidents that leave me confused and get me questioning my scientific mind. Can there be smoke without fire?

My first encounter

In 1995, I was in school when suddenly all my teachers wanted to take a leave in the middle of school hours; many parents came to fetch their wards and there was a kind of hustle-bustle going on. Amidst all this, I heard someone say, “kahin se doodh nahi mil raha, puri market me stock khatam hai”. Apparently, idols of god were drinking up all the milk. Seriously? Yep, I get it, summers can be brutal in Dilli, who am I to stop anyone from a nice cool drink? But I wonder, didn’t the gods feel thirsty all these years?

Unbelievable beliefs

It was in 2001 that I got to know that blind faith is existent even outside religion. That’s when Dilli fell victim to a big black ‘monkey man’. This was strange enough to attract even Bollywood producers, who chose this incident to be the subplot of the movie Delhi 6. Call it a fact or a rumour, a monkey man was supposedly doing the rounds of the city and attacking people. Many people believed it was a supernatural being and for the first time, I learned that leaving an impression of henna-clad hands on the door can ward off any kind of evil (so simple!).

My first question — what if it’s an alien or may be an advanced being who has time-travelled? And my second question to end the discussion — if you already have a solution that’s so simple and affordable, why is there so much panic? Of course, there were no answers. And soon, this monkey too either got bored of his play time or actually got scared of those henna hands. Good riddance, eh?

Several other rumours and blind beliefs also did the rounds of the city — from an ominous face scratcher to the mysterious sweet water of Mahim creek, to the onion witch!

The latest menace

Coming back to the recent issue in Delhi, this time a mysterious being is cutting off women’s braids. Strange, isn’t it? So, why is she (she, because some woman took the onus of all the happenings in the beginning of this incident calling herself a witch) doing it? That’s the basic question on everyone’s mind. Let me take a guess. Maybe she hates or is jealous of long hair? Or maybe she is the ghost of a hair stylist?

As per victims’ account, they felt unconscious and had a bad headache after they woke up and found that their hair has been chopped off. As soon as this news spread, the famous henna hands started reappearing on people’s doors. Do you think it will work this time? Well, I hope it does.

Better safe than sorry

Many mysteries couldn’t be solved, like the monkey man incident that pretty much took care of itself. We still don’t know if the hair chopper is for real or is just a rumour. But there’s no harm being cautious, right? By the way, the next time you visit your salon, observe your hairdresser for crazy eyes. You never know!

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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