On the eve of Bengali New Year’s day this year I had three visitors in my office from a local corporate house. Of the trio, two were Marketing Managers of the firm, one out-going on transfer and the other his reliever. They were in their fifties and from out-side our State. The other gentleman was a local man, an aged person. He is a retired Revenue Inspector, presently somehow associated with the firm. He belongs to Manipuri community. They gifted me an audio cassette containing selected collection of eight devotional Tagore songs.
It was a courtesy call. As we sat down for exchange of a few customary words over a glass of soft drink, one contrasting aspect came into my notice. The two younger guests, especially the new incumbent had put on a number of rings studded with stones in their fingers while their senior colleague did not possess a single one. I don’t know if such rings constitute anything in developing the personality of a person, but instantly, the thought came to my mind that despite their rich educational background, the confidence level of two young scions would be less than their aged colleague. Both the Managers are B. Pharma. Besides, the out-going gentleman has completed his MBA from IGNOU way back. Without giving any hints of my feelings, I preferred to put a pet question which I don’t miss in such circumstances, ‘Have you ever come across any ghostly situation in your life?’
The new-comer nodded negatively, but the person to be relieved grinned and said, ‘Sir, have you ever been to the bordering areas of UP and
- Once, I had traveled from
to Mugalsarai by
- No, I am telling about Twiray Tola village of Ballia District in UP. It was late eighties. I was then a Medical Representative working in Ballia. It was winter and in those areas the winter drops very fast in the countryside. That afternoon, I was returning in a scooter to my place of stay. All on a sudden, my bike stopped near Twiray Tola village. I had still ten kilometers path to travel. I took my scooter to a local mechanic. But, in spite of all our efforts, the scooter didn’t start. In those days, there was hardly any means of public transport. Fortunately for me I got a cycle-rickshaw and the aged rickshaw-puller agreed to take me to my rented accommodation. So, leaving my bike at the work-shop I left the spot in rickshaw. The roads were vacant and there was no threat of dacoits, I tried to enjoy the every moment of impending winter evening. There was hardly any valuable with me except my folio-bag containing sample medicines. After covering a distance of two-three kilometers from Twiray Tola village, we met an aged person clad in Dehati dress with his face covered in a white cloth. The person spoke something in local language with the rickshaw-puller. The latter, in turn asked me if I would mind if the gentleman shared the rickshaw to a nearby village. I nodded affirmatively and so he sat down by my side quietly. There was not a single word or feeling of breathe from my co-passenger which led me to some eerie feelings. I brought out my lighter and cigarette for a puff. Just, as I turned back and thought to offer him a cigarette, he vanished. I asked the rickshaw-puller where the person had gone. The rickshaw-puller expressed his complete ignorance about picking up of such passenger, in the mid-way. Subsequently, I came to know that the place where the mysterious person availed the ride is a graveyard.
Pin-drop silence prevailed in the room as he finished his story and looked towards me in a bewildering face.
‘Do you suspect the rickshaw-puller as ghost, as well?’ I broke the silence.
- No, he was a man of flesh and blood. I had seen him after that as well.
‘Now, it’s not possible to explain the event. Such issues should be resolved at the nub itself. Only then you will get confidence in life’, this time, it’s the elderly man to react. Then he continued, ‘I was quite young when I joined government service as Tehsildar in mid sixties at a remote village in
South Tripura district. My
initial salary was sixty-five bucks which was quite lucrative considering my
poor family background. It was my first visit outside my native place at
Agartala. The villagers greeted me as if I were born at their place. In fact,
they arranged a small thatched hut for my stay till I got a suitable rented
accommodation. Half the portion of the room and kitchen was filled up with sawn
timber while the rest was furnished with a big wooden cot and its bedding.
Leaving the keys of the room with a local villager, the house owner stayed at
Agartala for his business. Occasionally he paid visit to his native place. I
was alone staying in the room with no other huts in the vicinity. It was after
mid-night on the first day of my stay, I woke up seeing a mysterious light
coming from the roof. The light vanished at the approach of dawn. There was no
electricity in the village those days. I was very cautious from the very
beginning. The uncanny light became visible before . I put on a
kerosene lamp to which it disappeared. I spent a sleepless night.
From next day, I decided to stay at my office with our night-guard though it was not so suitable. The villagers started murmuring, ‘So the hearsay is true that it is a haunted house. The room has some unholy soul. Earlier, there was a mango tree at this place which was removed following a suicidal hanging from it.’
After about a week, the house-owner came back to the village. He was very happy knowing that I stayed in the house for two days. He offered me to stay in the house free of cost and thereby guard his timbers. Whenever he visited the place, he would co-share with me. I did not give him word at first but decided to spend a few nights with him. He was sleeping undisturbed by my side but I woke up after seeing the mysterious light from the roof. At my nudge, he woke up and when I complaint about the mysterious light from the roof ,he focused his three-cell torch light upon the roof. Instantly, it disappeared. He went to sleep again. But, I was waiting for the mysterious light to re-surface. When it glowed again, I raised my comrade and asked him not to focus his torch. Seeing the strange light from the roof he said, ‘Sir, you are coming from town. You don’t know about timbers. Some timbers emit fluorescent lights in pitch darkness.’
Saying that he showed me the wood packed up close to the roof which was the source of mysterious light.
I continued to stay in that hut for more than two years. Only once, I had encountered an eerie situation. As a Tehsildar, I used to visit the interior villages for collection of tax revenue. For this purpose, I visited a tribal house twice but every time I found him absent. On the third evening as well he was absent. Just when I was to leave the house and return to my place of stay following a short route, one of the house inmates advised me to follow the longer route for the shorter route passes through a graveyard and there was reputation of moving around of unholy spirits in the area. I didn’t witness anything uncanny during my two previous visits, yet I decided to follow the longer route.
I came back to my hut and unlocked the door. Just as I was about to light a kerosene lamp I felt the touch of some cold fingers on my back. I became dumb-still as the fingers move around my shoulder. However, by that time I gained some courage and lighted the lamp. The finger touch came up to my belly. Under the light, I discovered that a lizard had accidentally come inside my wet clothing and it was moving all around my torso to get free and giving me the uncanny feeling.’
Everyone inside the room was impressed with the story. The new Manager then requested me to throw some light as the attendant came to pick up the empty glasses of soft drinks. Taking a cue from the soft drink, I said, ‘I can share a joke on soft drink.’
My guests agreed, as I continued, ‘It was during our college days in early eighties we were availing Bombay Mail from
in course of
excursion. Those days, Seven Up soft-drink was very popular. People used to
claim that after consuming the drink one would give seven hiccups. It had so
happened, one of our friends experienced five hiccups and two releases of gas. So,
our friend said that in stead of Seven Up, the soft drink should be better
named as Five Up, Two Down. Howrah
Life is like a Railway journey. In today’s ambience I would say two mysteries had been solved while one remained unsolved. It’s One Up Two Down for me.’