Kshitij , his name suggested the horizon, a point where the sky meets the earth The existence of a horizon seems very evident when you look at the end of the sea, but it is atrociously fictitious and poetic to believe that the horizon exists..
Sky and earth never meet at any point ever and hence the very existence of the point where they meet is questionable
He had lived up to the reputation of his name by not earning any realistic growth in life, At the age of 36 , he had been a failure at academics by not been able to clear his graduation even after four attempts and hence absorbed in self pity he always made sullen expressions and looked a depressed shadow of himself living in despair.
Wearing a full grown beard at all times, smoking cigarette one after the other, he was a loner who had now got used to living this way
A perfectly disturbed Kshitij was irritated already as he had been woken up in the middle of the night to do his graveyard shift at a call centre located in Powai, Mumbai where he worked as an executive
Struggling to keep his bloodshot sleepy eyes open, he walked towards the pan beedi shop to buy a pack of his regular smokes
As he looked at his watch, the time was showing 1.30 am , he noticed some scrathes on his wrist which could possibly have been caused by brushing against some rough surface unknowingly he thought
The Shop owner gave some new brand of smokes and told him they give a tremendous amount of kick and they were only 50 rs more than usual, he decided to try them out with a mischeavious grin said “Let me try them”
The first puff made him realize that this was something very strong, he felt very light in his head and started feeling a bit tipsy. it hit hard on his throat too and he realized that it was not just an ordinary smoke
As he waited for the call centre cab to pick him up , he decided to take a stroll in the area whilst waiting and he walked towards the left in the direction of the main road and put on his headphones with loud music blaring into his ears as he walked in a slightly inebriated state singing the song playing in his cell phone in his own husky voice loudly
He saw a big four wheeler speeding towards him with the headlights glowing into his eyes, he thought it was the vehicle which had come to pick him up for his shift at the call centre,but the vehicle turned left .
he turned in the direction of the vehicle, thinking that the driver may have mistaken the road towards his house and taken a wrong route As he walked ahead, there was no sign of the vehicle and he kept moving ahead in a street which seemed completely isolated on a gloomy dark night,
He was spooked by the sound of night crickets which pierced through the silent street, there was no sign of any creature living or dead, it was him alone walking on this street well past midnight.
He stood there in silence, slightly scared to walk ahead, the possibility of a vehicle existing in that street was very low considering the fact that the silence was deafening, he decided to turn around and all the street lights went off in a row leaving him in pitch dark.
The fear of the unknown is far more scarier than the fear of a ghost. A Ghost is very blatant and predictable but the unknown can be fiercely unpredictable
He walked slowly ensuring that he made his way back safely considering the fact that it was completely dark,
the only source of light was his cell phone which was helping him find his way back. He stumbled upon something and fell flat on his face, in literal words breaking his front tooth.
” Bloody Hell” he shouted as blood flew out of his mouth, he immediately drank all the water from the bottle he was carrying in his office bag.
He wiped all the blood from his face and put his handkerchief on his face to control the bleeding
He realized that he had some scratches on his lower elbow too and it was bleeding too, as he angrily turned towards the thing lying on the floor which had made him stumble and fall , he was shocked to see what he saw, It was a dog that had been ruthlessly murdered, he shrieked as he saw the disfigured dead body of the dog..It may have been a street fight between two dogs he thought and decided to move on
He made it to the place he had turned from and decided to take a right and then left which would lead him to the pan beedi shop and then his building and he would go back to his house and sleep.
If eventful things start happening on a given day, they decide all happen at once on one horrible day.
There was an attractive woman waiting at the bus stop, she was wearing a knee length red dress and very dark red lipstick, her hair were neatly tied behind her head, he looked away as soon as he she noticed him. even though he felt attracted to the vulnerable looking woman he decided to ignore her and walk away “Excuse me” She said and his heart started pumping fiercely, he had already started construing various possibilities of what she could be from a witch, to a vampire, to a ghost he had considered all possibilities Do you think i will get a taxi to seepz at this hour? “As a human he felt protective about her for a moment, but suddenly he thought ” what was she doing there at that hour alone “He neglected her and started walking ahead in his own direction, he heard an excuse me again, his heart melted as he felt she was in the same situation he was and he could be her savior
He turned around to see absolute silence again, there was no one standing on that bus stop. the woman had disappeared into thin air, it would not have been possible for her to walk away so quickly
He looked around for her, not finding her anywhere, he called out, O Lady in the red dress , O Lady . As his voice echoed in the silence night, he felt convinced that the woman was his imagination
He thought to himself that these could be the hallucinations which were resulting due to the dope he had consumed in the cigarette earlier, he decided to take a breather near the abandoned water well stationed there This Well had a history,
The Well had belonged to the people residing in that bungalow, An Old woman living in that bungalow alone after her sons had migrated to overseas countries had committed suicide she had jumped into the abandoned well and had died as her head hit the rock inside the well, as children they were not allowed to go near that well of the fear of them being possessed .
He realized that he had been taking a breather on that Water Well and from the popular legends of his area this was the most believed one , most of his friends had seen that old woman around the Water well and confirmed the story that her spirit haunted the area around the well, he felt completely shaken as he looked inside the well, there were a layer of leaves and stones that existed in the deep water well
As he looked up at the banyan tree , he was petrified at what he saw, the old woman he feared all his childhood, sat there squatting on the branch of the banyan tree, his hair was completely messed and she laughed loudly to the level of insanity, the decibel levels of that laughter were extravagantly loud , he covered his ears, and cried inconsolably , he felt stiff, he had no power to move from that place The Woman than jumped from the banyan tree straight into the well and disappeared .
Everything fell silent again, as if nothing had happened, as if all that he saw was again imagination. His head was spinning, had he seen a real ghost, or had he been imagining so strongly under the influence of drugs that he actually saw what he had happened.
Nevertheless, he decided to run to his house he ran as fast as he could, panting for breath, sweating profusely, he ran uncontrollably and suddenly slipped and fell with a thud.
As he got up he realized he had not even moved an inch. He was right there, exactly where he had started from The Water Well, the laughter of those women although nonexistent was crystal clear echoing in his ears, he cried as he found no respite, no way out. He ran again , with all his strength , had towards a different direction , as his fate would have it today he fell again with a loud thud, stumbling on the same dead dog . He shrieked “No” and ran again .He was sprinting now, assured that he could reach his building this time, or at least the Pan beedi shop where he would wake up the sleeping pan beedi vendor and ask him for Help Yes Help clicked in his head and he started shouting ” Help ” Help ” Help” as he ran and stopped and waved his arms in disbelief when he ended up at the same Water well again.
He was stuck in a vicious loop of obscurity and he felt helpless. He fell to the ground thumping his chest vigorously, wailing loudly and asking for forgiveness for every insult he had made on the dead woman negating her existence as a child and mocking his friends who were scared to go near the Water well.He requested her to let him go, he told her that he had never caused her any harm. After a long time, he stopped crying and asking for forgiveness.
Sensing that he is still alive and that he can still try to reach home, he thought of breaking the loop by walking backwards with his face to the well .He kept looking at the Water well and started walking backwards slowly , he smiled as he was moving away from the well, he thought he had found the rescue, but it was very short-lived as he saw the same dead dog , he wailed ” Get lost” and continued walking back , his smile resurfaced when he saw himself moving away from the dead dog, but then he was paralyzed when he saw his bike lying on the ground it had suffered a mishap, the headlights were broken and it seemed it had been hit by a vehicle, he decided to keep moving back leaving his bike behind and then he stumbled upon something again.
It was the dead body of a man with the same height, same body structure and exactly identical clothes to what he was wearing, in shock and despair, his hands started shivering, he tried to see the face He tried hard, but the face appeared blurred, he rubbed his eyes and tried to see again but he could not be assured of the face. he slapped himself, rubbed his eyes again Was he dead? Was it his dead body? Then it became clearer, yes it was him. May be he had been killed earlier in the day when he was riding his bike but he had not realized, he decided to keep walking back and try to negate all this he thought by walking back he was breaking the loop of obscurity , as he walked back he fell again but this time he fell into a dark hollow , he was now assured that he had died as he saw the light at the end of the tunnel of life, he saw the bright light coming right into his face, he saw the disillusioned figure of god calling him into heaven, yes it was not as painful as he expected, death was such a simple process.
He decided to close his eyes now and surrender to his fate, tears dropped down his eyes when he realized that he had missed the opportunity to say goodbye to his loved ones
He felt that after leap years of travelling through space he finally had reached heaven, as he could hear some sounds around him, some birds chirping, some people speaking. He kept his eyes closed as the light from heaven was extremely bright, it would not let him open his eyes and then he felt something hit his knee very hard, He shouted in pain as that thing hit him again, it felt like a rod, as he slowly opened his eyes he saw a mustached man, looking at him. He became more aware of his surroundings when the man spoke “Why do you drink so much ?”
As he got up, he realized that he had been sleeping in a manhole, which had been dug in between a construction site; he had been hallucinating all night. He felt a strong headache as he walked towards his house. there was no dog, no bike, and then he looked at the Water well and the banyan tree in disbelief, what a nightmare it had been, The Pan beedi vendor was laughing hysterically as he walked past him
The Vehicle had come to pick him up last night but he had not been there below his house, they had waiting for him for quite some time before driving away, his manager told him.
© Jitendra Kotai