The folklore was that the call always came through the wind. The sound of the wind changed to a weird hissing when the call came, they said.
Dr. Rudra was new in this village. Private hospitals offered him lucrative remuneration to join them however his father wanted him to serve a remote village for at least 2 years before coming back to the city. Reluctantly, Rudra landed in this small government hospital with basic facilities. He hardly considers this a hospital. It is more like a dispensary.
There are hardly any patients. Throughout the day, Dr. Rudra sits alone in a creaky chair playing Sudoku, or crosswords or reading medical journals. He is the only doctor and there are two male nurses. The male nurses are irregular about reporting to work and most of the days Dr. Rudra work alone. Considering the lack of patients, he often wonders if the village indeed is free of diseases.
Dr. Rudra lives in an adjoining room to the hospital. The room is small and it has a single bed, one cupboard, one reading table and three chairs. There is a bathroom with Indian toilet and a tiny kitchen. A lady come twice a day and cooks ‘pathetic’ food for Rudra. There is no place to eat out so Rudra has no option but to stay happy with whatever the lady cooks. He realised he has lost a lot of weight in last few months, since he came here.
He hardly goes out of the hospital premises and so far interacted only with a handful of villagers. One afternoon Dr. Rudra was sleeping in his room when the compounder came and informed there was a patient. Rudra rushed to his doctor’s room and saw a young lady sitting on the floor with her baby. The baby looked dehydrated to him. Seeing him the woman started saying something in the local language. Rudra couldn’t understand a word and he helplessly looked at the compounder who translated that the baby had high fever and her family thinks it is the ‘jin’ that caused it. They wanted her to go to the local ‘ojha’ but she wants medicine, so she secretly came to the doctor.
Rudra checked the baby and it was a case of viral fever, he gave paracetamol and antibiotics and told the lady that the child should be fine in couple of days.
After she left Rudra asked the compounder about the ‘jin’. The compounder said that there is a very bad ‘jin’ that lives at the edge of the village. Nobody has ever seen the jin or knows exactly where it lived but it was somewhere at the edge of the village. Each year the jin called a person for sacrifice through the wind. The sound of the wind turned into a hissing sound and it was loudest near the house from which it wanted the sacrifice. Within couple of days someone in that house fell sick and died even after being treated with medicine. Dr. Rudra curiously interrupted the compounder and asked ‘what kind of medicine?’ The compounder said that they usually took herbal medicines given to them by the local ‘ojha’ and if the ojha felt the case to be too serious he exorcised the victim. The compounder went on and said that people here do not believe in allopathic medicines and this woman secretly came here.
Three days later, Dr.Rudra was sitting and playing Sudoku when the woman walked in with her child. Today the child looked better and it had come walking holding the hand of his mother. The woman gave a broad and genuine smile to Rudra. There was gratitude and relief in that smile. She looked at him and said in her language, which Rudra couldn’t understand but he did get an idea of what she said. She said that Dr.Rudra was God’s messenger who had been sent to rescue the village from the jin and now even if the jin called through the wind, there was a saviour.