BY BASHIR AHMAD DAR
Recent Raantas rumours kept social media abuzz with different real and fictitious stories and anecdotes. Raantas became the focal point of different media houses. People remained obsessed with the term for many days. A kind of horror and ruckus was created by some unscrupulous elements. Raantas is actually an important mythological character of our folklore. I vividly remember the snow clad evenings when my mother or grandmother would make us to visit the world of fantasies. Raantas has become an inseparable part of our jargon. But, people should desist from creating ruckus on social media platforms by attributing fear with the sweat stories. I pity the electronic media sections who gave unnecessary hype to some sounds. Here, I am going share a tale attributed to Raantas with my readers.
It is said that one day during winter season, a man of our neighbouring village had climbed a tree and was beating leaves from heap of willow branches to feed his sheep. The heap was kept by him on the tree, in the early autumn days. He had climbed there using an indigenously made ladder. His wife was accompanying him to accomplish the task. But, while the man was beating the leaves out, he felt hungry, and asked his wife to bring something for him from home to eat. His better half went back to her home to carry out her husband’s order.
However, the wife returned back very soon. To the utter surprise of her husband, she came back empty handed. When her husband enquired from her that why she had returned empty handed, the wife replied, “ There was nothing cooked at home. The cauldron was empty, so was the basket of bread. It angered the man. He hurled some invectives on his better half. After receiving a mild bashing from her husband, the wife tried to elate his mood by cracking a few jokes.
The couple began to laugh. It was quite unusual and an odd thing to happen between the couple. The wife by nature was a moody woman who would never joke or laugh, not even the slightest. She was known for her grim looks. When the man was done with the job, he asked his wife to place the ladder against the tree so that he may come down.
But, to his surprise and shock, there was no ladder to be seen, and the wife grew taller to the height of the tree, where her husband was. The wife in her tender voice asked her husband to sit on her shoulders so that she may bring her down to the ground. This done he may not require the ladder. As the wife went near her husband, he saw a golden comb in her hair. Next he bent little and saw her tilted feet. He understood that it was not his wife but a Raantas. The man was in trap. He was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. The golden comb and tilted feet meant that it was a Raantas. The man had learnt from his mother that the golden comb was the secret of power of a Raantas.
Once you snatch the comb of a Raantas, she will be ur at ur feet.” The man recollected his mother’s words, from the canvas of his reminiscences. Nevertheless, he didn’t lose his composure. He kept his cool, and without getting unnerved, he passed a louder smile to the Raantas, and asked her to bring her head closer to him, so that he may climb on her shoulders. As she came closer to him, he pulled her comb out of her hair. In a jiffy, she turned to be woman of normal size, shape and behaviour.
The man came down. She begged for and adulated the man to return the comb. He categorically denied and went home. She came after him. The man reached home and saw his wife feeding the kids. He narrated the whole story to his wife. The couple thanked God for saving him from the monster. Since that day, the Rants became his unpaid servant for years. One day, after seeing her working hard for no payments, his heart melted. He called the Rants, took a promise from her that if he returns her the magical comb, she will never hurt any human. The Rants promised, took her comb and vanished in a dense forest. So, Raantas has promised not harm the humans. It is man who murders the innocent creatures of Allah, to satisfy his ego and selfish interests.
Bashir Ahmad Dar is a Teacher by Profession