The Female Odiyan Volume 2

A Duology on Kerala's Folklore

woman wearing red dress holding sword

Sreedevi gave all her gold to Maniyan in return for his service. Maniyan started procuring all the materials which were needed for the Odividya ritual. Sreedevi would spend some time every day, watching Maniyan transform into various animals such as a lion or a wolf or even inanimate objects like a lamp or a stick. Maniyan explained that a pouch of medicine was prepared and placed behind a man’s ear to turn him into an Odiyan. A special ritual was conducted for that. All the preparations were made subsequently.

Maniyan: All the preparations are done. We are missing only one ingredient from the pouch. But that requires a very heinous crime to be carried out. I do not think we will get that ingredient.

Sreedevi: What is it Mani, spell it out, and I shall get it.

Maniyan: Well, it is the unborn fetus from a pregnant woman. We don’t have many pregnant women in the village now.

Sreedevi: I shall see to it. Keep everything else ready.

Sreedevi overheard Govindan and Raman talking about Amba.

Govindan: Ah, my dear friend, is it true?

Raman: Yes Govinda my beautiful Amba is pregnant. She told me yesterday after consulting the physician.

Govindan: That is great!. The boy is going to be handsome and strong, just like his father.

Sreedevi kept quiet as the cart traveled to the Thamburan’s house. She smiled slenderly as she hatched a sinister plot. Maniyan felt that it was too cruel to kill Amba to retrieve her foetus, but was forced into the act.

And then came the day when Amba was found dead at Raman’s house. Raman wept uncontrollably for his wife. Maniyan could not hold back and confessed this crime to Govindan. Govindan was shocked at his sister’s cruelty. But he decided that she had to pay a price. He whispered some instructions to Maniyan as they attended the funeral.

The Odi puja was performed on the full moon day and Sreedevi decided to use her Odiyan form to transform into Amba. So that she could finally make Raman fall in love with her.

Maniyan: The preparation of the Odimarunnu is ready. Repeat the mantras and start the ritual to become an Odiyan.

He broke a twig that represented the soul of Sreedevi. Sreedevi underwent a puja to become an Odiyan.

But suddenly, the rituals backfired, and the flames of the puja were extinguished. Raman emerged from the darkness.

Maniyan: Hadn’t I told you that no woman could become an Odiyan. It is time for some revenge. Your atrocities end here, Sreedevi. A woman is incapable! I will enjoy the gold anyway.

Raman: Your place is in hell, which is as dark and evil as your twisted soul. As an Odiyan can only become animals and inanimate objects, your plans have failed. It will take a thousand Sreedevis to replace my Amba.

Raman strangled Sreedevi to her death. The marunnu was buried along with her, as all the cursed items had to be burned away from harming the villagers. Everything connected to Sreedevi’s mysterious death was hushed up by Govindan.

The story took a weirder turn here. Sreedevi was reborn as a beautiful girl to a couple in Kanjirottu. She became a beautiful woman seconds after her birth. She developed a strong abhorrence towards men. She could transform into a beautiful maiden to woo travelers and then kill and drink their blood to satiate herself. She started luring travelers and killing them without any remorse. She became a predatory sadist. She focused on exacting revenge on Raman, Maniyan and Govindan. 

Kerala folklore gave her the name of yakshi. She became the vengeful spirit that kept on roaming the forests in search of men to feast upon. She became even more frightening than a regular Odiyan. She was the first female Odiyan. But when we come to terms with embracing something in society, we tend to create stories around it.

Superstitions and myths are created like that. But the true horror is unleashed when we ignore reality and believe these superstitions around us. We turn blind and fear things that we do not fully understand. Ignorance is a deadly curse of mankind, and it stops when we decide to honor and acknowledge the difference.

The Kanjirottu yakshi is a famous myth in Kerala folklore. She is worshipped in various temples as a deity known for slaying womanizers. But we will never know the true story of what became of Sreedevi.


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