(Note: This is based on a true incident as claimed by my Mama. I, however don’t take the responsibility of the authenticity of the story)
Do you believe in ghosts? Some might say “Yes” , some “No”. Personally I don’t believe in anything that I haven’t seen or felt. So unfortunately, I don’t believe in ghosts. “Unfortunately” because I want to believe in ghost. The ghost stories are so exciting, so thrilling… Being from a village I have heard numerous ghost stories right from my childhood. People say there is a ghost residing in the big peepal tree at the village high school compound, located about 2 minutes walking distance from our house. There would be rumours about how wayfarers, who reach home late from work at the nearby town, are scared by this ghost. Sometimes when I used to take a stroll in the evening with my dad on the road going through that school I would stare at the top of the peepal tree and wish that the ghost jumps out and grab us! Unfortunately that never happened.
Also people would say that souls roam around at a place by the road connecting our house with our mama’s house. We live in the same village. Actually that is the place where dead people are burnt. Not exactly a samsaan but it’s just barren land used occasionally for cremation. So, people usually are afraid of walking alone through that part of the road during late night. If they carried some food stuffs during the night they’ll take some chillies along with it. They believe chilli scares the ghosts. Hilarious! Sometimes when I would carry some edibles at night from my mama’s house they’d try to persuade me to take some chillies too along with the food stuffs. Hahahah.. I’d never listen to them. Sometimes mock them. Still most of the times they’d put it along with the food stuffs without telling me. While passing through that part of the road I would have the same desire of experiencing a ghost. That has never happened till today.
Anyway, the story I am going to tell is about my mama (maternal uncle). His name is Ghanashyam. We call him Ghane mama. He is the youngest of three mamas. He was quite young when this incident happened. Strong. Brave. Like a wild bull. As I said we live in the same village. Our village is like any other village in Assam. Surrounded with paddy fields, ponds, kaccha roads, trees , greeneries. Most of the people had mud houses then. The farmlands were generally low-lying lands generally away from human settlements. People were mostly farmers. In the midst of the fields people would have small ponds where fishes are cultivated. The fishes would shelter these ponds when water level goes down during summer. The ponds would then be pumped off using water pumps and fishes are caught. My mama though strong and brave was very superstitious. He was also a firm believer of ghosts and souls. He would also speak of a number of ghostly water creatures, the name of which I don’t even remember. Maybe ‘jal-kubir’ was one such creature he told.
It was one such occasion. Our mamas were pumping off their pond in the field to catch the fish. It takes 8-10 hours depending on the water content. They were to finish pumping by early morning so that they could catch the fishes and take to the market in the nearby town in the morning. While pumping the pond someone had to be there- to look after the machine and to chase the birds and foxes that came to prey the fishes. They were pumping the water taking breaks in between.
By the evening most of the water was pumped. It was decided that Ghane mama would guard the pond during the night. There was a tent made of plastic . After having his dinner a little early and packing his betel nuts and his khainis (Bandar sadha– you’d know it if you’re an Assamese), he headed towards the field. The route to the fields went through Manab Kaka’s house. (“Kaka” means elder brother in spoken Assamese). He walked a few minutes and reached Manab kaka’s house. It is the point from where the farmlands started. People go through their courtyard to the fields. Manab kaka’s family is also somewhat related to us. When Ghane mama reached there manab kaka was feeding the cows in the guhali ( cow ranch ).
“Manab, not going?”, Ghane mama asked him.
They were also doing something in their pond, which was near to our mama’s pond, so he too was to spend the night there-in the settlement made by his pond.
“Coming, after feeding these cows and having dinner”, he said. “ You go, I will take some time”.
So my mama walked through the fields towards his pond. The wind blowing over the tall wind grass made a humming tune waving the grass. He reached the tent. It was a nice weather. The sky was clear with no sign of clouds, eliminating any possibility of rain. To cool soothing breeze was like a lullaby to his ears in a hot summer day. He made his bed and lied down. The day’s hard work took him into deep sleep in no time.
After some time, in between his sleep he heard some noise. He thought Manab has come. He ignored it and concentrated in his sleep.
He was not sure of the time when something woke him up. He was not sure what woke him up. He was sweated. He felt something unusual; maybe some voice or someone’s touch. The sky above had turned dark. The gloomy moon peeking from behind the blurred clouds told it was still time for sunrise. The wind had transformed from soothing to eerie. The macabre sounds of animals howling at a distance filled the ears of my mama. My mama was a brave man but that he could not resist a weird scary feeling. He decided he should go home. He started walking through the narrow dirt road in between the fields…he didn’t run as it is believed that if you show your fear souls get encouraged. He passed Manab kaka’s pond. He saw there Manab Kaka was lying asleep. My mama woke him up.
“Manab, wake up. Let’s go home. Something is not right. I feel something” he said.
Manab Kaka said groggily, “Ehh!! Ghane Da.. Nothing’s wrong..you’re just having some kind of illusion.”
A sense of irritation was evident in his voice for disturbing him in his sleep.
“No need to go home now. In few minutes the sun will rise”, he continued.
“No I’m going home”, Mama said with conviction.
“Sleep with me if you’re so afraid”, Manab Kaka said him.
“No I’m going. Stay if you want to stay”, Mama said and marched towards home. Manab Kaka continued with his sleep ignoring my Mama’s words.
The whistling sound of the blowing wind started terrifying my Mama. The howling of the foxes far away had stopped but he could hear a growl every now and then. The dark clouds had entirely engulfed the moon making it practically impossible to see anything. The old torch lit by batteries which were overused was barely good enough to guide him. His house was still 10-15 minutes away. He felt as if someone was following him. He looked back using his helpless torch but could not see anyone. But he could feel its presence. All he could see was darkness all around him. He could control his fear no longer and started running. He could hear the sound of his own heartbeat.
When he reached Manab Kaka’s house he nearly had an heart attack of what he saw. There was Manab Kaka taking out the cows from the guhali!
“Manab” my Mama uttered in bewilderment, “how come you are here?”
“I didn’t go to the pond last night Ghane da”, Manab Kaka replied with a perplexed look.
“What!!!”My Mama’s heart was beating like a drum.
“Yes, I felt too lazy after having rice so decided to go early next morning. That’s why I woke up so early” Manab Kaka explained.
Ghane mama could not utter a word for some time. Manab Kaka brought some water for him. After having the glass of water mama described everything. Manab Kaka was shocked to hear this. He decided he’d go to the fields only after sunrise when all goes to the field. Both of them stayed in their house till sunrise.
I don’t know if the story is true or is just a creation of my mama’s mind. But it sounded interesting to me. I still am looking for an experience with ghost. Unfortunately I still don’t believe in ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts?