My niece Harpreet (name changed) was born a day after her mother witnessed a horrific road accident of a young woman hit by a speeding bus who died later that night in the hospital.
My cousin shocked by having witnessed the accident immediately went into labour and was rushed to the hospital. She delivered my niece Harpreet a day later.
When she was born Harpreet had extensive blue and black bruise like marks all over her body.
Fortunately for Harpreet now 41 years of age, most of the blue and black marks began to fade starting from age 4 and almost disappeared by the time she was 8. She still has some light marks on her thigh and stomach.
A strange thing happened when she was three years of age. She kept on crying 'longing for her children', often saying "My children are hungry, they are missing me. I want to go to them."
At first Harpreet's behaviour was cute and entertaining, but soon the parents grew concerned and seized by panic.
Her parents were religious and deeply concerned. They thought that she had become possessed by some evil spirits.
All sorts of prayers were offered. Harpreet was taken on various pilgrimages, but Harpreet kept on moaning and wailing. When Harpreet turned four, a wise old aunt came to visit. She counselled the parents not to dismiss Harpreet's utterances. Maybe they should probe further.
The aunt began interacting with 4 year old Harpreet and tried to make sense of her frequent crying and wailing.
Surprisingly, Harpreet was able to describe the area and landmarks near her so called 'home' where her children lived.
A bit of clever detective work and persistence with some pointers from the child they located Harpreet's 'home', a small house in the old part of Pune city.
Speaking to neighbours and the residents of the house. It emerged that the house was indeed that of the young lady that had died in the bus accident which my cousin had witnessed the day before Harpreet was born.
At the home of the deceased woman, Harpreet fawned over the 3 children that resided there. The husband and the in-laws of the deceased young lady confirmed that she had died after the horrible accident because of a lot of internal bleeding making her entire body black and blue.
Harpreet's father could not reconcile himself with the contradiction with what he had witnessed and what he had grown up learning and believing. After they returned home he decreed that the family would never discuss this matter again.
As our families are close, my parents and I have been privy to these events. Details of this incident are narrated, with permission of Harpreet.
Indeed 'Truth is stranger than fiction'. Fiction has to conform to some rules laid out by human society and thought, but the truth is not obliged to. preprocess