Damsels in the Devil’s Playground: A Neighbourhood Chronicle from the seventies.
In my neighbourhood, young women seem to be going through some serious struggles, and I reckon it’s a mix of feeling lonely, boyfriendless, and dealing with bullying from their male family members.
As you wander through Mudiyansegewatta and the neighbourhood in the evening, you stumble upon gatherings in the homes of these distressed women. Picture this: mothers huddled together, draped in crosses, and clutching rosaries like spiritual shields. The anguished screams of these tormented damsels echo through the air, painting a poignant picture of their pain and fear.
Now, here’s where things take a twist: the young women are believed to be possessed by the devil. To remedy this, they engage in prayers and make regular pilgrimages to a Catholic shrine on Sunday to shake off that demonic influence. The hardcore Catholics love it, chanting about the greatness of their God.
As night falls, the village transforms into a suspenseful scene. Devotees flood the homes of the affected women — veiled ladies creating a spiritual fortress inside, men standing outside like bouncers, and young lads in the gardens, probably scratching their heads in confusion. Nobody’s seen the devil. Still, the tension is thick, especially for the young women not caught up in the demon drama. If the departing devils could land on them, they could be the next victims of this village saga.
Now, brace yourself for the weekend escapade: these damsels are packed into buses and sent off to Kudagama, a hundred kilometres away. There, hundreds of demon enthusiasts, mostly young gals, gather for what seems like a demon carnival in a Catholic shrine dedicated to chasing devils. It’s a wild affair — prayers, hymns, incense, candles, and a mud-rolling competition. They’re having a blast, seeking attention from the devout folks who, amid prayer, probably think they’re witnessing a divine magic show. After all, what says “trust in God” is better than a solid demonstration of the devil’s power? It’s a spiritual rollercoaster, and everyone’s along for the ride.
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