A promise!!

You must be wondering what is so important about this photo? No don’t bother reading the board there is nothing wrong with it (apart from being pathetically designed and featuring an utterly stupid product). This is the spot where I and my best friend Abhishek used to have our extra class for physics. Mad or what? I am not serious!! We used to chat for at least one hour before leaving for our homes. We attended Panth sir’s physics classes in class 12th. The class used to end by 8pm or so. After that, it was our time!! We used to talk everything from movies to politics to cartoons to the latest gadgets and of course cars standing right below the pole (the green bushes used be there at that time also). Neither did we ever run out of topics to talk about nor did we ever lose enthusiasm to stand and talk for a minimum of forty minutes. When I look back today, that was how we began our rock solid friendship which today I see as something that has been with me in all my highs and lows, something I will never want to lose come what may come, I can’t afford to lose actually. He is one friend whom believed in me, who stood by me and who made me believe in myself when everyone else had left me. I always say “Nobody wants a loser!” but he never cared what I am.

Let me take you back in time, where my friendship with him began. It was early 2005. The darkest period of my life so far. All my dreams and misconceptions about this sweet looking perfect appearing world were shattered. I was shaken to a harsh reality called failure. In fact, that was the time when I developed this belief in me – No matter how good a human being you are, how obedient you are and all that, if you don’t perform well up to everyone’s expectations, nobody has anything to do with you. As far as you get good marks, you get selected in colleges, nobody gives a damn if you behave well or not, you are cheerful or not or anything for that matter. (Please watch the movie Accepted! My serious recommendation to everyone)

I used to study for hours, learning again and again and again…the same thing. But when I saw the question paper it looked like a plain white sheet with ink smudged on it. I couldn’t write anything. And as a result, i never got any marks. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. My mother went for parent teacher meetings and every time teachers had the same thing to tell her “Your son seems intelligent, he is even very obedient and polite but I just don’t know what is wrong with his marks, he does not write in exams “.

In my final exams of class 11th, I hardly got any marks. They gave me one more chance – a re-examination. Only six students including me had to appear for it. We were taken to a very rarely used physics lecture hall and a very lenient teacher was appointed. Everything was clear, they wanted us to pass. The teacher even got up and shouted, “I am going to have some tea”. He didn’t come back for next half an hour. By that time, the others had finished the paper…they had the books with them (I too had). My ego, my values or whatever crap it was, it didn’t allow me to copy from book. After much battle, I finally could overcome it. I reached for my book and BANG!! the door opened, the teacher was back. I withdrew my hands.

The results came and they were horrible. I already knew that though. I hardly knew any answer. That was the time my father really lost hope for me. And that was the time I cried. I cried for like hours. Soon came April and all my friends (including Abhishek) joined 12th while I was at home waiting for some miracle to happen that will allow me to join my friends. Abhishek was my only friend who was truly with me all this time. He used to come and meet me, talk to me, make me feel really good. The school authorities were not ready to promote me to 12th. We were literally begging for it but they were just not ready. I had forgotten what smiling was, what having fun was. Life had become colorless, gloomy and dark. I saw “Look, here is a loser!” expression on everyone’s face (or at least, my mind assumed it so).

With time, I mentally prepared myself to leave the hopes of joining my friends. I was ready to join my juniors. I had kept aside all my ego, there wasn’t any left be honest. My view towards my life had changed. I was much more practical, closer to reality. That was the time when something happened! The school authorities agreed to allow me to sit in class 12th on probation. They would analyze my perform after the first exams and would then decide if I should stay or leave the school. I of course agreed.

When I joined school, one of my friend came to me and showed me a question of chemistry. He asked me to solve it. Like hell I knew it. I told him, “Dude, I just joined today, I don’t know a shit about this”. He explained some rubbish to me and said, “Remember this, it is important from exam point of view”. I felt really hurt. It was an alarm to me, “Dude, so what if you have joined, you are still lagging behind. Speed up.” I decided, I have to really pull up now.

With that, on Abhishek’s recommendation I joined Panth sir’s physics and Rajesh Gupta sir’s chemistry classes. I got new friends, got a new life altogether and most important I had a way now that I could look forward to. My life had some meaning now. My head was clear and focused. I and Abhishek became amazingly good friends. We were in school the whole day, then we waited after school and talked for a long time. We were always the last ones to leave the premises. Then we met in evening in coaching. Monday, Wednesday and Friday was Panth sir’s classes and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday was Rajesh sir’s classes. Two different coaching classes, two different groups, lots of fun and learning. My life was on track again and I was happy about it.

My performance of course did not improve drastically but by the end of first pre-boards (that is December) I managed to pass with good marks in all the subjects on the report card. Then came boards. They went off well. Soon followed the results : English, Physics and Chemistry – 80, Computer – 90, Biology – 66. Everyone was happy, specially my father. Since then, everything has been great in my life so far. Whatever I did, I always succeeded be it academics or personal life (touch wood).

However, I still have those memories deep inside, as fresh, as clear as they can be. I consider that incident as the turning point of my life, the point of new beginning that made me what I am today. And out of all this, what comes even more important to me is Abhishek. This post is to thank him for always being there for me. I love you my friend. And I would never ever want to lose you. May you achieve everything that you aim for. Wish you all the best. And come what may come, I will always be on your side. That’s a promise!!

You can find his comments on my posts. To read his blog, click here.

Where’s my fault in this…

I am describing two incidents that happened with me sometime back and I still can’t forget them. Don’t worry, they don’t have anything to do with ghosts or dreams. Just read and laugh!

“Platform kramank ek var aaleli local paanch baaju saat minitanchi borivali kareeta dheemi local aahe. Eei local sarv sthankan var thaambe”

I was with Eva and Chaitra. Eva was talking to her sister on phone who happens to be my good friend too.

“Himanshu, Garima wants to talk to you”

She flipped the phone to me.

“Hi bhaiya, kaise ho aap?”

“Main ekdum theek hun! Tum kaisi ho?”

“Arey aaj main bahut khush hun!”

“Kyon kya hua?”

Train ramming away from the platform with its usual loud electric humm. Not to mention the numerous laughs, howls and talks of the people on the train.

“Aaj meri behen ka pachka hua”

Now garima always shared such things with me when her sister, Eva, made a fool of herself. We laughed our lungs out. I assumed it was again something funny.

“Hain?? Kaise hua?” something in my head told me DUDE! SOMETHING IS WRONG!!

“KYAAAAA????? ” she asked me sounding utterly disgusted.

I was puzzled. Huh? What was so disgusting in that? All she told me was…aaj meri behen ka…..OMG!! WHAT THE F***!

“Oh sorry….i m so sorry. I thought you said pachka. Teri behen ko bachcha hua. That’s great. Kaun si behen?”

“Arey woh meri mausi ki ladki hain na, use. Itna pyaara sa hai, aap dekhoge to dekhte reh jaoge.”

Inside. I was dying of laughter. WHAT DID I JUST ASK!!

I mean just imagine –

“Meri behen ko bachcha hua hai!”

“KAISE??”

Oh Man…I couldn’t handle it. We started laughing out loudly. Eva turned her head towards me. Till now she was busy talking to Chaitra so had no clue. I gave the phone to eva who then listened carefully as her sister narrated the incident to her. And there she went…laughing out crazily. Very soon, everyone was laughing. Well, I know. It happens (I had to tell myself something yaar!).

————————————————————————————————-

I paid Rs. 25 to the auto driver and rushed inside Poptates Malad. It was Snehal’s birthday party celebration. Snehal’s brother had come with his girlfriend. I am straight away cutting to the conversation skipping the happy birthday wishes, cake and the usual party stuff…

“So Jayesh, Heena ke baare mein aunty uncle ko kab bata rahe ho?”

Both of them smiled, blushed a little and looked at each other. My God! These filmy couples I tell you. Suddenly, my phone beeped. I checked it. It was some long but stupid message. I deleted it instantly and raised my head to resume the conversation.

“31st January”

“What?? Why 31st jan??…..Why? Why only that particular date?? Why not 10th January since it is your birthday Jayesh…” I replied instantly realizing it was only october.

Everybody was looking at me as if I said something illegal. I thought WHAT?? WHY THAT LOOK??

“Himanshu, her birthday is 31st January!!”

“Oh sorry, I thought that was the day he has decided to make her meet his parents.”

“He already answered that Himanshu, he has not thought about it!” snapped Sheric.

I went quite. How am I supposed to know that. I didn’t hear Snehal asking that question.

Then a roar of laughter went on. They all laughed out like crazy. I was feeling Ouch! I again managed to do something that stupid. It was fun when I think of it now.

The pen that was never exchanged (or atleast I think so)

“Children, only one hour left.”

Oh man, so less time? What will I do. I gave another look to the amazingly depressed looking question paper. Crap! I didn’t want to solve it. But alas! I knew most of the answers. My conscience will not let me live peacefully if I don’t write things that I know correctly. While I was at war with myself, I heard something.

“Miss, he exchanged his old pilot pen with my brand new pilot pen”

It was Kasturika. She was sitting in the front seat in the next row. I was sitting third from front. We used to give exams with our seniors. They thought this would help stop cheating. Little did they know that seniors are better help than classmates. This guy, about whom she was complaining was also a senior.

“No miss, I did not exchange the pen.”

I was getting distracted now. I was as it is not able to concentrate on my paper. And this girl was shouting on top of her voice.

“Miss it was my birthday yesterday. Himanshu gifted me this pilot pen set. See, this one is new and look at the one I am holding, its scratched. He exchanged his old pen with my new pen. Please get it changed”

She was almost…ALMOST about to cry. The teacher was dam’n confused now. She didn’t know what to do. The pens looked exactly same. She was trying her best to locate even one scratch. Then an idea hit her.

“Himanshu gifted you this pen right? Alright. Call him. He only will decide.”

No, NO….this was what I was dreading. I so much didn’t want to leave my paper and go. But I had to. I got up and reached her desk. I too got really confused because both were brand new pens.

“Its difficult miss. Both are new pens. I gifted her in packed condition. I did see the pen so closely that I can tell.”

I saw all the hope on Kasturika’s face getting lost. I had to do something.

Then I suddenly realized something even worse had just happened. Oh God! I was holding both the pens in one hand. Now I couldn’t make out which one was whose. Brilliant Himanshu! I told myself. There must be some way out. I thought of matching the pen with the other one in the set. Something would definitely look similar.

“Give me the other pen!”

She obediently gave me the other pen of the set. I compared. OH MAN! All of them are new and of the same shade. I still tried hard to find the nearest match as far as the body color was concerned. I gave her a pen and then gave that guy a pen. None of them said anything. I was glad it was over. It took 10mins. Grrrr…..I hate it. I ran back to my seat and finished my paper.

I and Kasturika used to stay in the same colony. And we used to commute to school by a special bus run by PAC for officers’ kids. The pick up point was very near to my house. We all gathered there early morning and got in the bus together.

I was walking towards the bus stop and I could see Kasturika telling something very seriously to Pratyush bhaiya (yes, for a class fifth kid, anyone elder is bhaiya or didi. Moreover, the guy was really sweet). The moment she saw me approaching, she got furious and starting moving towards me. I got shocked (NOW WHAT HAPPENED!!).

“Youuuuuuuuuu….you gave me his pen. I called you so that you can do justice but you too give me that old pen only. Couldn’t you see this pen is so old and scratched. How could you not see? I checked it at home last night and found it to be that guy’s pen. I thought you would be able to see it that which is my pen. But no, you have buttons for eyes! I so much loved my pen. That was my birthday gift. How could he exchange it from me? And you couldn’t do anything!! Now look, my pen set looks so incomplete and weird. Two brand new shiny pens and this…old, dirty, scratched pen.”

And she went back again and started crying. Mummy!! Why do girls start crying so quickly?

I went to her and tried to explain that I couldn’t see a difference so it was very difficult to decide. But who listens to a boy who has buttons for eyes! I even suggested that why don’t you exchange it again today. How does that matter? But NO! She disagreed. Girls I tell you. We heard the bus hooting at a distance and we all prepared to board the bus.

On the way, she was angry for sometime but Pratyush bhaiya and I managed to cheer her up.

Of guns, blasts and sirens!!

I have had lots of dreams but these three dreams are the ones that I don’t think I will ever forget. I had these dreams within a span of three months starting May 2008.

 

Dream 1-

 

The sun has set. The atmosphere is dull and has last few remains of twilight. It is a very narrow street with mostly two storied row houses. A typical Gomti Nagar locality of Lucknow. I am standing in front of a big white bungalow with grand, heavy metal black gate. Somehow, as the dream began I already had some information in my head. It is the house of a well known rich person whom I know. I have somehow agreed to let in a gang of six people in the house by some means. It’s not clear though as what exactly I do to let them in.

 

The moment I let them in, I run to my own house. My house is even more poorly lit. It seemed there was an electricity failure. I am on the first floor waiting for the blast. Yes, those people were supposed to blast the place. This information also came to my head somehow. But even after a long wait, I don’t hear any sound. Suddenly, there is a desperate banging on my door. I open the door and all the six people are inside my house. Now I actually see those people. There are two girls also (Sometimes, I am totally startled to see the level of details some dreams have). One of the guys, the leader, has a sturdy bearded look.

 

“Our plan has failed and we didn’t know where to go. So we thought lets hide at your house till everything settles.” 

 

“No, you cannot stay here. My job was to only let you in and nothing further. I have nothing to do with all of this. Please go away right now. I don’t want any trouble here.”

 

“Well now you have (pointing a gun at me). Keep shut and let us in. We’ll stay here only.”

 

I keep shut and let them in. They cozily settle down in my dark house lit only by some kind of oil lamp (I remember the orange/red dim light in the room). They are talking stuff which is like gibberish to me. All the time I am just sweating and shivering by the very thought of the consequences of this. I am cursing myself for indulging into something like this. What will mummy say? Papa will kill me any case! What if police gets to my house and arrests me along with these people? I am totally heavy with all these thoughts when I hear a series of approaching sirens. Police! They are finally here. There is a knock on the door…

 

I wake up, shivering and with a severe headache. I had no idea what triggered this dream. I had slept very peacefully and nothing much was happening in my life (may be that was the answer!!). This was my first dream. I can’t exactly recollect the date but it was somewhere in May last year. Whoa! It’s been one year and I still remember it frame by frame. I can shoot it or sketch it if I could sketch).

 

Dream 2

 

It is a beautifully designed crossroad, with a high fountain and tall glossy towers around. The area is very posh. It’s evening time with bright yellow sun in the extreme west of the sky. The roads are busy. The signal is red to the side I am standing with a shiny gun in my hand. I have to shoot the guy sitting in that black E class Mercedes Benz which is a couple cars away from me.  I point it at the guy who is sitting in the passenger seat and I shoot a couple of bullets. But something tells me, none of the bullets touched him. Instead, two three people start shooting at me. 

 

I turn and run. After a short distance, I abruptly enter a residential tower. I quickly get in the elevator and press the button for 20 something floor (I don’t remember the exact floor but a strange thought in my head told me its somewhere above 20). I enter my apartment which is brightly lit with big clear glass windows and a mesmerizing view of the city. The sun rays are making my apartment very bright. I have a terrace also beyond a glass wall. I go and open the door to the terrace and at that very instant, three guys climb in. Neither am I surprised at their appearance nor afraid. As if it was the part of the plan. They grab the chairs kept in the terrace and fall in them. One of them takes off his shirt and throws it at the table revealing his clean white vest. They all take out their guns and keep them on the table (I still remember the clang of metal and glass). Then I hear sirens…

 

I woke up. No sweat or headache but definitely shocked. 

 

Dream 3

 

The sun is bright and right above my head. The air is humid. I am standing near some dock. I can see a ship at some distance. It is not too big but big enough to be called a ship. I have diamonds in my hand wrapped in a magenta cloth. I have retrieved those from the ship. There are five other people standing near me. One of them has some kind of a small rocket launcher. The plan is blow off that ship.

 

But suddenly sirens are heard and one of them orders everyone to scatter and save their lives. I run amazingly fast from the scene. Upon covering some distance I reach a sort of colony. I take an extreme left and I am into a very narrow lane with lots of small houses on each side. I keep walking swiftly. I see a small door open on my left. I enter it to find that it is my house. There is my grandma, grandpa, uncle and mother. They all are happy to find me back home at lunch time. They serve me lunch and I have it quickly. I even remember hearing my grandma’s scolding for eating so fast. I go upstairs in my room and lock it from inside. The window in my room gives me a clear view of the main gate. I am looking at the gate and wondering who will reach me first? The police or my gang members who would be desperately searching me now since I have the diamonds

? I open the packet once again and have a look at them. They are shiny, small and lots of them. I pack it again and hide it in a plant in my room. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. I turn to see who it is…

 

I get up, sweating and again with a splitting headache.

 

These dreams are seriously strange. They have some similarities but still they are three unique dreams. I have not understood why I got these three dreams. All my friends whom I had told these dreams also know that when these dreams came, it was very peaceful time in my life. Nothing was bothering me; I was not at all tense. If anyone who has read this post can analyze dreams, then please let me know what these mean.

Felt bad…

It just happened that I sent a text to one of my closest friends that I got my passport. Not that it was a special message; it was general message in conversation. I got no reply. Today, I spoke to that friend and told him again that I finally got my passport. He (lets just assume ‘he’, though it may not be true, I want to be discreet about it) snapped me saying, “I know but big deal, mujhe to koi aisi khaas khushi nahi ho rahi yeh jaan ke. While reading your message also, it came to my mind, what should I do….yeah, so what should I do”. I was kind of speechless. I was definitely not expecting this kind of a reply. I mean AM I ASKING YOU TO DO ANYTHING?? 

 

I also know, what is so big about it? Passport?? Well, everyone can get a passport. Its not that I got into PRINCETON or HARVARD, its just a passport. I any case had to get it sometime. But then for me, its a small step towards my dream. It marks a beginning. It makes me realize that I am moving ahead, there is some progress. Talking about how does it matter? Or what should one do?? Well, nothing. Nobody needs to do anything. I have got my passport, I will get my college acceptance letter, then visa, then tickets and finally I will go. Then I will study, upon completion of my course, I will look for projects, assignments, (JOB to be simple). Nobody has to do anything for me to do all these things. And I don’t need to share any of my progress with anyone. I have even lost the whole purpose of why am I writing this?

 

What is the whole point of being friends when your friends have to snap you that SO?? WHAT SHOULD I DO?? DANCE?? Instead of sharing that little joy. Its just that when we achieve something, let it be something really small, petty, silly, we like sharing it with our best friends. That hooting “ooooohhhhhh…….kya baat hai!!” or “Cool man!” is all that we expect. If we see it technically then nobody has anything to do with anyone. We all can peacefully live independently without sharing any bit of our lives, thoughts, experiences. But that is not how humans live. Humans have this gift of expression, of sharing, of celebrating.

 

I didn’t know what to say. I went silent over the phone. He asked me, “Hey what happened?? Why did you suddenly go serious and all?” but I didn’t have any answer. I lost the whole point of conversation. Luckily some work came up right at that moment and I got an escape from the phone call. But it was going on in my head all throughout this evening. I finally couldn’t stop myself from writing about it. I wanted to vent it somewhere. It’s that I love that friend of mine ALOT!! And this thing is not really going to change anything, its not going to affect anything. But I needed to share it.

Its extremely hard to believe…yes, its the passport!

Ok. Let me breathe for a moment. Ahhhh! Ok. Here I go…

I GOT MY PASSPORT!!

My God. Yes, I got my passport. Within 7 days of my application. Looks like a dream come true.

Now, I am giving away exactly what all I did to apply:

1. Documents to attached – PAN card copy, Driver License (best if you have a voter id card) copy, Ration card copy, Electricity bill copy, A verficiation cerfiticate as per their Annexure ‘F’, A non-judicial affidavit as per their annexure ‘I’, Copy of 10th marksheet, 12th marksheet, graduation final marksheet. Make sure you carry all the originals to passport office and keep them in your custody all the time. Also, carry two sets of photocopies of all the documents I mentioned above.

The verficiation cerfiticate needs to be on the official stationary of the official who is attesting the certificate. A photo also needs to attested on the certificate. Make sure, you sign all the pages of the affidavit and two places at the last page as ‘Deponent’.

Don’t get confused by the language on the passport site (given below). YOU HAVE TO GIVE ALL THE DOCUMENTS. There is no choice between verfication certificate and three proofs from the list. They want EVERYTHING!!

2. While filling up the form, be extremely careful and fill it correctly. Also, for options that are not applicable on you, write NA there. DON’T LEAVE ANY FIELD BLANK. Sign on the photographs on the two Personal Particular forms. DO NOT SIGN ON THE PHOTO on the MAIN FORM.

3. Find out what is the time of distribution of tokens for tatkaal in passport office of your area and be there earlier than the opening time. You will get a token if you are early enough since they only distribute 100 tokens a day that get vanished in no time. Get your form checked at the checking counter and if the person accepts your form, move to fee paying counter and pay the fees.

4. For passport in 14days the fees is Rs. 1000 + 1000 (normal application fees) = Rs. 2000 total!

For passport in 7days the fees is Rs. 1500 + 1000 (normal application fees) = Rs. 2500 total!

5. Do some hardwork and you can avoid the agents who will charge you Rs. 5000 or more for your passport. Nobody at the passport office asks for any extra money (at least not in the Lucknow office).

All the information is available at http://passport.gov.in/cpv/TatkalScheme.htm

P.S. All the information given above is generic and based on my personal experience. It does not take into account any special cases like a person having a criminal record or if the person doesn’t have all the necessary address proof or photo id documents. Also, the above procedure will ensure that a passport is ISSUED to you and does not include POLICE VERIFICATION. For tatkaal applicants, POST ISSUE POLICE VERIFICATION is done. If any problems are found in the documents later on, you can be asked to surrender the passport to the department. You can fill up a form at the passport office for police verification and submit it along with the fees of Rs. 300 to get police clearance. You will not be allowed to travel abroad if police verification is due on your passport.

The last in the haunted trilogy!

Okay guys, just a last one to share with you all. This happened with me when I was in Mumbai. I used to stay in a 1BHK flat all alone. It was on fouth floor in a brand new building. Nobody had ever stayed in the flat before me. The owners had just rented it out as soon as they got the possession from the builders. I used to sleep in the hall with my head towards the door.

Its an incident of those days when even Nandu uncle wasn’t there with me. I was actually all alone. I was in deep sleep and started dreaming that I am lying in the room as I was actually lying. I could see the wall and light falling on it because of opening of door on the opposite wall. I could see outline of a person peeping inside. I was trying hard to wake up and turn my head to see who is that but I was just not able to. As if I was paralysed. All I could see was a person who was looking into my room from outside and I was not even able to shout. I kept trying harder and harder to get up.

After few minutes, the man went and the door closed. I suddenly woke up with my head splitting in pain. Unable to balance myself properly, I instantly got up and ran to the door. And then I was shocked, horrified, stunned…can’t put the right expression here, it was way too intense. The door was actually unlocked!!!!

I opened the door and ran out. I stopped and tried to hear any footsteps. It was silent. I ran to third floor and to fifth floor (I don’t know why…). I checked the lift. It was on my floor only. I came back in, locked the door and sat on my bed. I checked the time in my cell, it was 04:02AM. I didn’t know what had just happened. I fell asleep again and got up at 7 to get ready for college. On the way to college, it again came back to my head, the dream, the helplessness, the door, everything. I was bloody scared!

I still can’t forget what happened that morning. I assumed it was a way of my sub-conscious mind to make me realize that I had forgotten to lock the door. But its a damn bad way of reminding I must say.

A ghost that believed in castism!

Well, since the mood is set for ghost stories, I am adding another true incident from Gonda. I used to stay in a very old house. It was so old that the bricks used it in were not the modern ones but those thin, heavy and long ones. The area was huge. We had a big garden in the front with a mango tree, three guava trees, a peepal tree and a room at the other end of the plot. The room had shade over its entrance all the time because of some weird kind of tree. It was some cross between a mulberry tree and God knows what. This shade made it an ideal spot for gatherings and fun activities during evenings. The room had some furniture, a computer and some wood kept in the corner.

There was a fellow called Rambhavan. He used work in my dad’s office as a National Service Volunteer. He was from the OBC quota (why this information is important?? You will understand later on). Once it happened that he had to stay at night. It was obvious that he was given that room to stay.

Early morning he started banging the door. I and mom got up and mom opened the door. Rambhavan was all scared like hell. He sat down and said he was going right away. Mom asked him what happened.

He said, “I was sleeping soundly at night when someone came in my room. She was beautiful. Dressed in a magnificent white saree with lots of jewelry and flower in her hair, she looked from a royal family. She asked me the reason for staying there at night. I told it got late and my village is far away so I stayed back. She slapped me very tightly and warned me if ever I stayed over again, she would kill me. She left and I followed her but couldn’t find her. No idea where did she go. I won’t stay here anymore. I am leaving”

He finished and left. My mom was worried. She was worried more because I had listened to everything and she didn’t want me to get scared. She gave me some kiddish explanations to divert my attention. And kid I was so I too forgot about it soon.

Then, Prem uncle came over. He was my father’s friend and had come to take care of a new project. That room was prepared for him to stay and he stayed there for over a year without any complaints of anyone visiting at night. So, the matter was totally labeled as insanity of the guy.

Then it happened. We had to go to Lucknow. My father always preferred to drive. So my driver was told to stay back at home and guard it. We had a great time in Lucknow and returned after 3 days to find my driver sitting at our neighbor’s place. Our nearest neighbor was at a distance of around 150meters considering the garden and the wide road in between. It was officer’s colony so all the houses there were BIGGG!!

He came running to us seeing our car halt at the gate. My dad asked him the reason for staying at the neighbor’s place instead of our home. He said he would explain once we are inside the house. As we reached inside the house, he began his story,

“The day you all left, I was lying in the room, wide awake. It was around 7pm when a lady walked into my room. Beautifully dressed in white with lots of jewelry she looked from a rich family. She was a married lady though because she had sindoor on her forehead.”

The description alarmed me and mom because it matched with that of Rambhavan.
He narrated the conversation between him and her.

“Who are you?”
“I am Dubey ji’s driver and since they are out of station, I am guarding the home.”
“Ha ha…Foolish! Who are you to guard the house?? This house doesn’t need a guard. I am here to protect it.”
Slap! That too a tight one.
“Get lost as soon as you can or I will kill you”
….
I and mom looked at each other and shared a horrified look.

Dinesh continued his story, “She left the room and I followed her. But right outside the door she disappeared. Without any delay, I locked the room, then the gate and ran to Ram ji’s house. I told them that I would just stay in the porch and keep a watch at the house. They agreed and even gave me a pillow and bed sheet.”

Dinesh never stayed back ever at our house. Rambhavan as it is never returned. The two people never knew the other existed. Also, the incidents happened after a gap of around one and a half year. Yet they had the same story to share. It had to be true. Henceforth, my mother ensured that nobody from a lower caste stayed in that room for overnight.

We stayed in that house from 1994-2000 and then I and mom started staying at our new residence in Lucknow. Dad used to come whenever he got time. Dad left the house in early 2007 when he got transferred to Lakhimpur Kheri (he is presently posted there only).

All the time that we stayed there, we never ever felt anything wrong. In fact, we had a strange sense of protection. We a great time. Our financial conditions improved, nobody ever got hurt in the house and nothing unfortunate ever happened like a theft or robbery. Though we didn’t own the house, we never had the feeling that we had rented the house. The owners were really sweet. They stayed in Canada and visited the house rarely, once in a year or something. We paid the rent to one of his friend. While leaving the house, we felt very bad. We felt as if we are leaving someone very close to us.

I would never forget the spirit who stayed there even though I never saw her. She definitely didn’t’ like people of lower caste.

A story you won’t believe…

June 2000.

My father’s friend was selling his house and my father had planned to buy it. All talks were over, things had been finalized. He didn’t want money urgently. He was okay with everything. The whole deal was costing for around Rs. 20lakhs (A 4000sq. ft. house for 20Lakhs?? even by the prices of that time, it was too less.)

On 30th June, my dad left for Lucknow to get the house cleaned and check everything because we were supposed to shift within next few days. A local fellow Diggaj who ran the well known Sharma Hotel in Gonda, had some work in Lucknow too. So he asked my dad if he could get a lift till Lucknow. My dad knew Diggaj from a long time now since he often had to arrange events and lodging for visitng officers in Gonda and Sharma hotel was a good deal.

When in Lucknow, my dad asked Diggaj if he would like to see the new house he was planning to buy and Diggaj agreed. They reached the house. It was a beautifully designed house in white with two grand gates, good quality marble flooring and very exquisite furnishing. My dad often wondered how come the guy was giving such an awesome house with all the furniture and a generator for such a small price.

As they entered the premises, Diggaj felt a little hitch and he suddenly started to look around with suspicion. By the time they reached the drawing room, Diggaj’s eyes had become bloody red, he was sweating and shivering. My father was scared.

“What happened Diggaj?”

“Who is selling this house to you?”

“A friend of mine. Why?”

“Can you call him here, RIGHT NOW?”

“Alright.”

My father spoke to him and he instantly agreed to come right away.
Diggaj was very restless for all the time they had to wait. Finally, after 20mins, the owner arrived. They sat in the drawing room and Diggaj asked him,

“Where is your wife?”

“She is not here. Why?”

“Not here? or NOT ALIVE????”

My father was shocked. He didn’t know how to react. I mean it was embarrassing as well as shocking. How could Diggaj speak like that. At the same time, what made Diggaj ask such a silly question? Meanwhile, the owner was sweating now.

“Yes, she passed away sometime back”

“Passed away?? or committed suicide?”

“ahh….yes…she committed suicide!”

My father’s mouth fell open. He didn’t know what to say now.

“She shot herself in her bedroom, right in this house. Didn’t she?”

“Yes. That is correct but how do you know all this??”

“Can I see the room right now?”

“Yeah…sure!”

They reached the room. The room was untouched since her death. Everything was there as she would have left. In the corner, there was a small worship place that scared the hell out of my father. It had a skull and two bones with lots of weird things kept.

“Your wife practiced black magic. And she killed herself in this room. She got fed up of you. She killed herself because she believed you had extra marital affair.”

The owner was now looking really sick.
With tears in eyes he began, “Yes, she did not trust me. That night we had a fight over the phone. By the time, I could reach home, she had killed herself. Since then her ghost is staying in this house. I can’t stay here at night. She would kill me. And that is precisely the reason I want to sell this house. People who come and stay here complain of a lady crying all the night. Some even claim to have seen her near the staircase. Dubey ji, wanted to buy a new house. I thought this is a great opportunity to sell it off.”

“And you didn’t even think once what she will do to Dubey ji’s family? He has a young son (ME!!) and he is shifting his family here for his son’s studies. Most of the time, his wife and son will be the only people staying since he is still posted in Gonda. What kind of a friend you are?? “

My father was speechless. He just didn’t know what to say.

Diggaj continued, “I too practice black magic. Though i don’t do it commercially. The moment I entered your house, I felt the presence of a spirit. Upon entering the house, she whispered everything to me. And right now also, she is near us.”

This was the point my father lost it.

“Ok Diggaj, I think I have had enough. Look Mr. Singh (I forgot the name of the owner), I don’t believe in all this ghost and black magic stuff. But today, whatever happened in front of my eyes, I have no intention of buying this house now. I just want to leave right away.”

My father and Diggaj left. Later that day, when they were to return to Gonda, my father asked Diggaj if he can check out a semi finished house, that he had already bought, for presence of any such thing. They halted at 1/306, Virat khand, Gomti nagar and Diggaj felt really good. He said, “Dubey ji, this place is very sacred and alive. Go ahead and build your house, you will have a great time ahead. It has very positive vibes.”

My father narrated the complete series of incidents to my mom at night. He even offered that we can get all the puja done there and the spirit will go away. But my mother simply refused. Finally, my father gave up the idea and went ahead with the small 1250sq. ft. plot. By August end, the basic construction was over that made the house fit for staying.