Saturday, 25 August 2012

THAT NIGHT (Part 21)

Part 21 of Lakshmi Raj Sharma's acclaimed ghost story based in India.


                                                              THAT NIGHT (part 21)

The people of Gaipura were simple and kind. They were hospitable to me because a much respected class fellow of mine from this village had become a country farmer there and had offered me a room in his house. I did not tell anyone here about the real purpose of my visit. I just said that I was writing a novel and needed absolute peace and solitude to write it in. The people cooperated and I would walk out of the house every evening and walk to where the spirits were. I walked there daily at the risk of never returning, being killed by Pran or any one of the other two. I knew that without risk nothing could be achieved and with a little risk I could become the author of a best seller novel.

I had gone to Gaipura on Manoj’s invitation, not Pran’s. What on earth could I have done to help spirits? Why was I needed in the world of the dead even before my time was over here? I thought a lot about this question and realized that the answer to this question would be very valuable for my novel. I would be telling the world something about the other world which was new and revealing. Of course I could have been killed in the process. But there wasn’t much point staying on in Allahabad and being traumatized by the spirits there.

The first evening in Gaipura was very distressing. 

I asked the people of this place where a broken down, lone, isolated, and now almost unused road led to. They told me that it went straight into ruins of the haveli of the erstwhile raja of Gaipura. The place was said to be haunted and no one dared to go there after sunset. I wanted to know about the raja and no one seemed to know much about it as no one had inhabited the building since about a century. There were contradictory and strange stories told about this place by the people of the region. But most of the facts were covered with layers of dust and rumour. I thought this was a wonderful place for me to visit as this could give me something interesting for my novel. I took the road to the haveli and walked with all my ears and eyes open. I needed many more than just a pair of each. I was probably the only one who had ventured that side in the evening for years, and that against the advice of the local people. I had hoped that Manoj would notice me there and would come to me and then inform me why it was so necessary for me to enter the world of the dead before my own death.

The birds sitting on the trees were very suspicious of me and would screech out a disturbed shriek and then settle down silently as I moved ahead. Then there would be the howl of a hyena followed by the howls of dogs. The howling dogs would suddenly yelp and squeal as though someone was hitting them for howling so loudly and pathetically. The sounds of the dogs were so terrible that I felt like returning rather than proceeding. Every minute it seemed as though someone would catch hold of me. I could not bear the tension much longer and decided that I’d go back that evening, and start my journey much earlier the next evening so that I could cover much of the distance in daylight. Just when I was turning back . . . .

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