Thursday, 9 August 2012


This is the seventh part of Lakshmmi Raj Sharma's acclaimed ghost story based in rural India "That Night." The first six parts can also be found on my blog.

Lakshmi's book of short stories about Indian life can be found at


                                                                   That Night Part 7)

It was pointless trying to make Pran see sense. He just wouldn’t. Even I was disappointed to an extent due to the new affair that was developing, but I had my philosophical bent of mind to support me. Pran had no philosophical makeup to show him a way out. He was trapped in himself.

Manoj never took Pran seriously and that troubled him further. He would just laugh away every negative move initiated by Pran making him feel more and more chagrined. Pran was isolating himself from everyone and then seeking the friendship of a new woman, sometimes older than him because such a woman was easier to access. He found women who needed him as much as he needed them and spent a week or two with each and then got fed up of them and started abusing them. Of course Sonali was always in his mind; he tried to find her in these women. Manoj was a contrast also because of his consistency in his relationships. His love for Sonali grew slowly but steadily and then came a time when he would tolerate nothing against her. He would use his muscle power when necessary to keep the riff raffs away from her. He was becoming her bodyguard because he could sense that a girl as outstanding as her needed one. He was a little confused, though, whether to treat Pran as simply a riff raff. Pran was a year senior than Manoj in the Department, and could pose to be serious-minded when it was necessary to do so.
A football match between the University of Allahabad and the Delhi University was one of the events of that session. All eyes were focused towards that coming event. Manoj was the centre forward for his team and he put his life and soul into practicing for the match. Early in the mornings he was seen running with the ball alone on the field and in the evenings he would practice with the rest of the team. In the evenings Sonali came and sat in the stadium watching the practices. She had other friends who also wanted to watch their boyfriends play. This was a convenient place for Pran to tap Sonali. He came there and passed wicked comments on her, sometimes very damaging for her reputation. But she was cool and could manage him with little difficulty. In one of the practices Pran came and sat right behind Sonali. Then in the absence of anything better to do, he began to bark in her ear like a street dog, making funny sounds. Sonali’s friend, Neela, asked Pran what he was doing to which Sonali said, ‘Don’t bother, it’s only a dog.’ Everyone sitting there laughed at the remark and Pran got infuriated and said something very unpleasant, ‘Yes I am a dog and you are a bitch. Come I’ll tell you what a dog can do!’ There was a commotion among the students sitting there and Sonali got up to leave. Manoj noticed that something was wrong and he dashed towards where Sonali was. He soon discovered the exchange of remarks between Sonali and Pran and caught hold of Pran’s collar. ‘If you uttered another word I will make you an impotent dog! Do you hear?’ Pran rushed outwards from the stadium. He went straight to the liquor shop, bought a bottle of rum and tried to drown his frustration in it. This incident made Pran miserable and his desire to take revenge grew more and more.

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