My engineering days weren’t as dull as I sometimes may have tended to make everyone believe.
I lived in a room rented out by Mr. Asthana, which was one of the rooms in a complex consisting of 2 other rooms, attached to the main house. One of these rooms was upstairs beside the roof while the other 2 were slightly below the ground floor, about a foot down.
He lived in his house constantly supervising our activities so we maintained cleanliness and order around his house complex. We parked our bikes right next to one of the huge windows of the first room. This passage between the garage and the window also acted as the only way into the complex, the entrance taking the entre a foot below the ground and then up to the rooms. Strange as it may sound, this foot below the ground was to make the owner available, a small and yet effective storage right underneath the stairs that led to the room on the first floor. The storage room also did store rats though!!
And all of this resided within the confines of a boundary and a huge gate which was the only way in or out for any vehicle.
2 years had passed and now also included a roaring affair. Me and my building mates – My brother Salil, and 2 guys who shared the same room on the ground floor – Debu and Ghosh – decided to watch a drama and action movie named ‘Gangajal’ starring Ajay Devgan.
It was the night of ‘TEEJ‘ and in Chhattisgarh, it’s celebrated by worshipping ghosts and spirits or so I’d heard!
By 11:30 pm, when the show ended, we rode our bikes back home, Salil pillionned me while Debu pillionned Ghosh on his bike.
It was quite dark that night when we reached the main gate. No gate lights were on, no veranda lights too. It was so dark, we had to keep the lights on our bikes on while I unlocked and opened the gate. I turned my bike on again, illuminating the passage to our complex and rode slow to the parking. The lights on our bikes were still on, when me and Ghosh saw something.
Right at the entrance of the complex door, came running or rather floating a man wearing a white hat and a white kurta. He looked at me, swerved and then looked at Ghosh and calculated what he should do next. And then he floated back in.
I thought something else was going to happen so we waited. Meanwhile Debu and Salil had locked the main gate and arrived from behind and saw our pale faces. Debu chuckled.
Ghosh looked at me while I was already looking at him when he asked me – “Did you just see what I just saw?”.
I asked – “What did you see?”. I was too confused to ask an intelligent question when he replied – “A white man. He came out and then ran inside”.
A whole barrage of questions ran through my head –
Was he a thief?
Was he a friend cracking a joke?
OR WAS IT A GHOST?
Salil and Debu just stood there in silence when I spoke – “Give me that bat”. Salil gave it to me and we went in. My first priority was to turn the lights on which I did rather swiftly. Now with the lights on, Debu went ahead and ascertained that there was no one around. He unlocked the door to his room and we checked the cupboard, under the table, under the bed and found no one.
We went out and checked if there was anyone else out there and there was no one.
We then decided to tell Mr. Asthana about it. This was when it turned the spookiest. I went to his door to knock and tell him that there may be a thief in the house. Instead, what happened next scared the hell out of me. I saw his daughter floating towards me from inside the room. YES! She wasn’t walking, She was floating!!!
I called out her name but she didn’t respond. She came to the door did something and went back, doing all of it, mortifyingly slow. And it was very dark. We couldn’t see her face, only her form. She lit a candle and went in while we stood there watching with our mouths open through the front windows. We ran back and into the room.
After some time, it was time to check upstairs. We started slow, climbing every step carefully. Right when we reached the top, Salil noticed that the broom was lying inverted, the bathroom was wet and so were some of the steps on the stair.
No one could tell what may have happened. The complex door was closed and no one could have entered as we had locked the entrance. No one else had the key and yet the door was open. I opened the door to our room and we checked the closet, under the bed and under the tables. Nothing!
We sat at the bed. While I was tired and ready to sleep, others decided otherwise and started chanting prayers. An hour into the night and into my sleep came a loud “THUD”. They scampered for their lives. And then came a “Meeeoooowww”. And they sat relaxed and it was prayers again. They say, they slept at 5:30 am in the morning and I can surely believe them.
It was a night none of us can ever forget.