The Conditioned Ghost, a short story by naveen. Date added: 2012-02-11. Times viewed: 1010.
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- Intro: Experience of a friend...
THE CONDITIONED GHOST
G.C.BHATTACHARYA ‘NAVEEN’, VARANASI, U.P., INDIA; 09452003290
‘Spirit or ghost often found strongly conditioned with day to day routine of past human life may be categorized as the conditioned ghost who try to perform their daily activities sometimes with or without having any perception about their physical existence’, said my friend Kallooji.
‘If I cite an example, perhaps the matter may become more explicit to all’, he continued.
‘After a long period, when I received a letter from my old friend James on 1st of January, tried to make a contact with him on phone but failed due to non connectivity’.
‘Winter vacation was going on so I decided to go to Rishikesh. The house of my friend was located near Sisham jhari, a bit far off place from railway station and at the end of habitations’.
‘I send a telegram intimating my travel plan to him but it came back and this raised my doubt about his well being’.
‘The letter I received was written about two months ago but due to the well known quick and prompt services of our Indian Postal Department, I received it just after one and half month but with an invitation to visit his place in December, positively’.
‘I reached Haridwar in early morning from Varanasi by Janata Express train originating from Varanasi Cantonment station itself and going up to Dehradun, the capital city of recently originated state of Uttaranchal which was previously a part of U.P. or Uttar Pradesh, originally known as United Provinces’.
‘But the connecting train to Rishikesh was not available immediately after my arrival there, before 12.15 P.M. and auto rickshaws were asking me for rupees one hundred to go merely 45 kilometers and I refused. It was too much.’
‘I took my launch in a nearby hotel and stayed in waiting room but the midday train was cancelled due to technical fault to enhance my misery’.
‘Now, only one train was there at 5.10 PM and I had no choice but to make a long wait. It was a winter season and Haridwar is the worst in January due to severe cold wave from north. Up to five, it was completely dark outside and visibility was poor due to intense fog’.
‘The train started moving at right time and reached the place at about quarter to seven when there was no trace of a single auto rickshaw outside the railway station’.
‘It was a terminal station on the Haridwar-Rishikesh branch line and number of passengers was meager in that cold evening’
‘I was in dilemma after coming out of the station when a paddle rickshaw which is often not traceable now here around, came to me. The person, old rickshaw puller was ready to go but asked me for rupees thirty and I had to accept his terms. He started paddling slowly and in an hour managed to reach my place but there was none in the house and door was locked’.
The rickshaw puller said-‘ Give me money and don’t make me late as it is none of my business to trace out your friend or relatives but mind it that this area is not good and safe for you in this late evening hours of winter’.
‘He went on his own way and none was there around me’
‘All of a sudden I noticed that a shadow is approaching towards me’.
‘Who are you?’ a voice came from distance.
‘My name is Kalloo Ram and coming to meet with my friend James. Can you let me know that where the person is? This is his house but locked.’
‘Who said it is locked?...’
The gate is open wide for you, if you are having a torch, can check’
‘But there was no torch with me and he laughed at this unnecessarily saying…’what a brave man on travel even without a torch…very good, I dislike it too…just follow me now’.
‘Are you James?’
‘Yes, you can say me so.’
‘What for you called me upon here?’
‘To help me in saving my house from some intruders and forced occupiers who are having a good approach and connection with high officials but I had transferred the ownership to you and there will be no problem in claiming the property at all…you stay here and a lawyer will approach you in morning who will let you know everything …the documents are ready in my iron chest …’
‘But to stay here I need light, dinner and a bed too’.
‘Everything is ready for you …see this is a candle... we call it blue candle and it is easy to light for me too without any match box’ said the
‘Just then a blue light came from somewhere to replace darkness but no candle was visible’ …
He said-‘ I have brought your dinner and placed on the table , the water heater is working and in a couple of minutes you may have hot water for wash. So, take
rest..O.K. Bye …’
‘And there was none before me’
‘I surprised enough but went to the attached bath and found that a tap is running hot water but no geyser was visible …perhaps some central one may be there. After wash, I took my dinner and rest’.
‘In morning, really a lawyer came and took me to registration office to transfer the property of James in my name for which I had to pay his fees and required charges. By the evening, my papers became ready and a copy was given to me, on request. Now, the properly was mine’.
‘But some evil minds perhaps were working there and following me while coming back in an auto by evening at around five’.
‘It was going dark and no co passenger was there for me to share with. So I had hired it because I have to go back soon and enough money was there with me obtained in the iron chest of James…’.
‘Suddenly a Bolero came with high speed and gave a fatal side stroke to my auto to ensure turning it down’.
‘The driver screamed in fear but a nearby ordinary looking street parson stretched his hands to stop our auto from taking a turn over and pushed the Bolero with a heavy stroke’.
‘I do not know who the person was. His face was covered with a muffler and woolen shawl due to cold but perhaps strong enough like Hercules. He saved our auto but the Bolero turned its upside down at the other end of the road after being stroked on the roadside wall’.
‘I asked the auto driver just to escape out of the place of accident to avoid police enquiry and he did it’.
‘A shadow was waiting in darkness at the gate for me who said-‘oh Kalloo Ram, you did it. Thank you, now my house is saved and you may come here to stay at any time and I shall be here to help you. Your dinner is waiting now for you inside.’
‘Will you not come with me to join at dinner?’
‘No, I have to go for another job but don’t be afraid of anybody. If they try to cause any harm to you again, I will teach them a good lesson, my friend…’
‘He used the word ‘again’ which was highly suspicious and I could not follow how he is knowing about the first attempt and using this word but I entered the house opening the door locked by me in the morning and entered in the drawing room . Suddenly, the blue light appeared and on table, my dinner packet was ready which was brought from a good restaurant…it was difficult for me to know who and how it was brought inside’.
‘I took a wash and enjoyed the good dinner, alone’.
‘Due to be tired, I felt asleep soon but in midnight I woke up hearing some sound around’.
‘There were some persons perhaps outside and a sound of pumping was heard by me’.
‘All of a sudden, a flame of fire appeared outside and I followed well that perhaps locking from outside somebody or some group of people showered petrol over the house to set it on fire with myself’.
Yes, the door was locked from outside… I tested it with a scream’.
‘But immediately, clouds started roaring upon the sky and it started raining …it was a heavy hail and thunderstorm and soon started pouring down ice balls of big size with high speed like bullets and some people got injured who were around in open. They started screaming and running here and there to find out a safe place …but the main gate was locked’.
‘So they attempted to jump out to cross the boundary wall for an escape from the house premise but shower of water with heavy ice stones was so strong and powerful that none could save his own head and body from its heavy blows. Some tried to climb on the verandah but slipped down as some one gave a heavy blow to throw them out to lye down under open sky again. I observed all these happenings peeping outside from the window in the light of sparks of natural electricity of cloud in the sky’.
‘I could not sleep over night due to fear and terror of sure death crept for me but
in morning, it was found that about five people were stone dead and their bodies were lying scattered outside the gate and boundary wall of the house showing that anyway they had managed and succeeded to jump out over the boundary wall of the house to escape but could not save their lives’.
‘Police came and enquired but due to heavy rain there was no trace of their trace passing or entry in the house and misdeed except a pumping machine and empty jerri canes of petrol on a trolley, lying around . But where the liquid was used, it could not be traced out though it was known to me well’.
‘But I could not know who had opened the door which they had closed and locked from outside to burn me alive in the house with it’.
‘When all the enquiry was over, I tried to find out a local person and employed him as a care taker of the house to look after it because in the iron chest I found a heavy amount in cash sufficient for maintenance of the house and even for its repairing, on need ’.
‘He told me that James was shot dead last month by some terrorist who wanted to seek his house capturing for their own purpose and he was not ready to sell it out at any cost. The house attracted them due to its location, a bit away from the dense colony and market place, very much suitable to serve their purpose. So, even a property of a lonely person may charge his life in these days. Having a serious doubt over those people, perhaps, he had invited me writing a letter but could not post it due to this mishap’.
‘Now, again it was a good question for me then who had posted the letter after his death and who served me for these two days and saved my life twice’.
‘Though remain unable to know the answers, I gave some money to the care taker in lieu of his one year salary and taking the rest of the amount and papers of ownership, with me keeping in my bag, I left the house in next morning to catch the train at around eight’.
My friend Kallooji stopped, quickly finished his cup of coffee after the snacks and left the Basant Bahar Café saying me goodbye and goodnight without making wait for me and pay the bills.
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