"THAT NIGHT" (part 13)
The thirteenth part of Lakshmi Raj Sharma's acclaimed ghost story set in rural India.
If you missed any of the previous parts, they are still available on my blog.
THAT NIGHT (Part 13)
She was Sonali no doubt but she was very different. The human body does make a difference. It provides the livingness to an empty soul.
Sonali had come to me after more than forty years and that too in a dream. I had been through the thick and thin of life, a chronic bachelor, and become an author of some kind. I was managing to get published but was still a minor novelist. The novel of my innermost being was still only half written and I felt all these years that if I could write the novel that contained Sonali’s story, it would be my masterpiece because it would help me to unfold my crumpled up soul. Time had stopped moving normally for me after that fateful night and my unfinished novel would capture this aspect of my deeply felt experience. It was, after all, closest to my heart. The mystery, however, was still unsolved. The dream could have been a prelude to my re-association with Sonali. But there was a problem; I had grown old, having crossed seventy, and the Sonali, who visited me in my dream was still as young as she had been at the time of her disappearance. If we were to meet now, it would be a rather incompatible relationship, as odd a relationship as could be imagined. The same dream again, and then again several times disturbed me. I saw her come repeatedly and invite me to follow her in a particular direction. She never said a word in any of my dreams but her silence was so deafening. I got totally unhinged. After some inquiry I was told by someone that in Bairana, a locality in Allahabad, there lived someone who was writing a book on spirits and could explain this recurring dream. I went to him and what this tantric told me opened my eyes to what was going on.
‘This spirit, it seems, is ripe for rebirth. But it is still stuck in some fold of time. It cannot extricate itself from this fold and is seeking your help to escape from there.’
‘What is a fold of time?’ I asked.
‘It is the moment of a premature death, a death that has occurred without fulfillment.’
‘But how can I help such a spirit?’
‘I am still not certain of that. Perhaps the spirit will lead you on to that.’
‘But the spirit comes in my dream. How can it expect me to help it in a dream?’
‘Ha, ha, ha, ha! You think it is a dream but actually it is not. Just go along with it to wherever it takes you. Why are you looking so shocked?’
‘You are saying something shocking. How can I go somewhere with a spirit? And how can I believe a dream to be reality?’
‘Ha, ha, ha, ha . . . nothing is the reality and nothing is a dream. They are all mixed up. It is the mind, the intellect that insists on separating the two into neat, distinct, parts. When she invites you this time, just get up and go with her.’
I was very confused by what the tantric had said. He seemed to be a loony. How could a dream and the reality be one and the same thing? I had probably wasted my time by visiting him. I went back thinking about the fraud I had gone and met and chuckled at his cheek to try and pull such a long one on a man as old as me. If he had to tell me about spirits he ought to have told me about them rather than telling me about life itself; I had read enough of that in philosophy.