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Friday, 17 August 2012

"THAT NIGHT" (part 14)

Part 14 of Lakshmi Raj Sharma's acclaimed ghost story  based in rural India.


                                                                                               THAT NIGHT (Part 14)

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 fast one on a man as old as me. If he had to tell me about spirits he ought to have told m
e about them rather than telling me about life itself; I had read enough of that in philosophy.

When I reached my place I was stunned to see that there was a photograph of Sonali, the beautiful and young Sonali, kept on my table. It was a black and white picture that I had taken in the Philosophy Department, on a day when she had come to ask me to give her some time and help her with some problems in understanding Axiological Intuitionism. I was seeing this photograph after so many decades. Where had it been all these days? And, how did it come to my table? The next thing that happened was even more disturbing. There was a note from Sonali, written on my pad that had been lying on the same table. On seeing the note, I trembled with fear.

‘I need your help. Follow the tantrik’s advice. Walk out of your dream and step into my world. I need you.

I could feel my hair stand on end and my blood felt as though it were freezing. What was happening to me? All of a sudden I had no guts left in my stomach. I ran out of my house into the sunlight. Suddenly I developed a phobia of solitude. I had loved being alone but now I felt an inexplicable need for company. Even a child or an old woman would have been like a police force to protect me at that time.

My newspaper man was standing outside when I opened the door. He asked me why I was looking so terror-stricken; I failed to say very much to him. The only words that could come out of my mouth were: ‘Please don’t go away. Stay with me.’ He had come to give me the monthly bill and to take the payment. I promised to pay him five times the bill if he agreed to stay that day and night with me.

‘Stay with you? I have lots of work at home. I’m sorry,’ he said, looking at me suspiciously.

I was left alone and without the courage to go back into my own house. Suddenly the place felt uninhabitable. I don’t know where my strength had disappeared. My legs began to feel as if they were made of rubber and would not bear my weight. The same Sonali that I had always craved to meet had made me virtually wet my pants.

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