All of us were very happy that day. Monday was off so we got an extended weekend. Doggy suggested we should get away for a weekend. The decision was unanimous that we would go for a drive somewhere outside the city. He suggested a nice secluded farmhouse which was about 200 Kilometers away from the city. The place belonged to his friend’s uncle and it mostly lays unused. Doggy was a resourceful guy, just like his name. Hardly anyone knew his real name, everyone would call him Doggy which became his identity over the year. However he also added that there was a rumor about the place that it was haunted. The word haunted added little spice to our sense of adventure, all of us seemed interested to know more. The decision was made, we were going to a farm house, to stay for the weekend, to a haunted farmhouse.
There were six of us Doggy, Raj, Paddy, Sheetal and Archana. The girls were little scared to go, the idea of being in a haunted house was little too much to ask from them. Though we kept encouraging them that there are no such things called ghosts or spirits, and that these are all stories made to scare people away from old properties. We assured the girls that it would be a good idea to go as we could all use some time away from a tedious, hectic and boring work schedule. It would be quite an adventure and it would certainly be fun. Little did we know that for next 24 hours the word “fun” was not in the menu.
“How far is this place?” asked Sheetal on our way to Mulshi, where the resort was.
“A couple of hours from here” replied Doggy. “But don’t worry!! Sit back and enjoy the drive”.
“I am trying to, you know I don’t enjoy long drives it nauseates me.”
“Guys please stop at the next shop you see, need to buy medicines for her” I said, “We need to keep Sheetal fresh!”
“Why is that you need to keep Sheetal fresh?” Archana asked me.
“So that we could scare the ghost’s away from there”. I said jokingly and we all had a good laugh.
The rest of the journey to Mulshi was rather enjoyable.
When we reached the farmhouse it was 1 in the afternoon. The place was deserted, it was in the middle of the paddy field, few meters away from another big farmhouse but it looked like there was no one there. What was good about the place was the fact that the lush green trees surrounded it. Close to the place was a small brook flowing, making a constant gushing sound, which was really soothing.
There was a small pathway leading to the main gate, which was a huge structure of rusted iron bars. Just as we entered we saw an enormous banyan tree in the middle of the very old and colossal garden. One look at the tree and everyone stopped speaking for a moment as if the time stopped and our vision zoomed into the dark corners of the tree, into every hanging extensions of it. It was quite spooky and for the first time a chill went down our spines.
The garden was so big that it took us a good 4 to 5 minutes to cross it and reach the farmhouse, while walking across we also noticed a small pond. The water had a layer of green moss creating an impression that a green blanket covers the pond. The place was full of all sorts of trees and bushes. We finally reached the main door of the farmhouse; it was just an ordinary looking door just like every other farmhouse. It was locked; we knocked on the door twice before a middle-aged man answered it. He introduced himself as a caretaker of the place and let us in half-heartedly. He looked like 40-45 years old man with some grey hair on his head, his name was Ramesh. He was well mannered; he led us to the middle of the drawing room and went to get a drink of water for us.
We entered the place and found a big drawing room with exceptionally large sofas and a divan. There were humongous paintings hung in the walls, mostly portraits of old and weird looking people, who were staring down at us. It was as if they were hung there purposely to scare us. There were antlers and trophies of dead animal heads hung on the wall as well. In the middle of the hall there was a wide staircase leading to the hallway with at least 8 rooms. Right opposite the staircase there was a fireplace, which probably lay unused for years. Just when we were busy observing the new place, Ramesh came back holding the tray with glasses on it. He said “Please sit down sahib”.
Taking a sip from the glass I asked Ramesh “Tell me Ramesh Bhaiya, do you stay here alone?”
He said “No, no sahib, I stay at the village nearby. I just come here once a month to clean the place up”. “So today was your scheduled cleaning day?”, asked Archana. “No! I was informed of your arrival, so I had to come and arrange food and other stuff”.
Doggy said “We are going back tomorrow evening, so you are going to be with us till then right?” On hearing that the expression on his face changed from being pleasant to anxious, he said “NO!! I must go back home before dark”. “Why is that?” asked Doggy again. “Because its not a safe place to stay at night, this place is haunted.” The girls almost jumped out from their skin on hearing this and I asked Ramesh “Why do you say that? Have you seen a ghost here?” He said “No, but I’ve heard lot of stories about it, and in the night some people have seen the silhouette of a lady walking behind the windows and heard voices, very strange voices, as if some girl is crying, crying in pain.” With some hesitation he also added that whoever had come to spend the night had not gone back alive. The girls were really uneasy now, one could tell from the look on their faces. On the other hand the guys looked quite excited. We wanted him to continue the story. I said “Tell us more about it”
He continued, “Well rumor has it that a long time back a man had come here for vacation, he was a compassionate and fine man. Villagers started liking him and he got along with everyone around this place. He would get up early morning and take a walk through village to the nearby river, after the walk he would sit in the garden, have breakfast and read a book till noon. After few days he just disappeared. The villagers didn’t see him in the village any more. He wouldn’t come out for the walk, neither did anyone see him sitting in the garden reading his book. So the villagers grew inquisitive and went to the farm house. They knocked on the door. On not getting any response they broke the door down and went inside. They looked for him everywhere. Finally he was found in his bedroom, dead. There was no sign of blood, no marks on his body, there wasn’t any sign of theft or robbery. The police didn’t find anything. His death became a mystery to everyone. Since no one claimed his body, he was buried in the garden” There was a long pause and then he added “near the banyan tree.”
“After that incidence many villagers claimed to have seen him in the sitting in her garden reading a book.”
No one in our group spoke for a long time. Ramesh slowly uttered “I request you people not to stay here in the night, rest is your decision” and then he left the room. All five of us looked at each other blankly but no one spoke. The girls announced that they were not going to stay here and that they wanted to go back, and to my surprise the guys concurred with that notion. I was flabbergasted!! I said “What! Really!! Do you guys believe in all those things called sprits and ghost? Common guys they are stories and myths. There’s no such thing called ghosts. Let’s stay back it’ll be fun, we have not come so far for nothing.”
Sheetal finally broke her silence by saying “I wanted to say this before and I don’t have a good feeling about this place.” I said “Common Sheetal how can you be modern and believe in ghosts at the same time?” I said. “It’s not a question of being modern or not it’s the question of belief, I just believe that they exist, that’s it” she said. I tried to peruse the guys in vain; they had made up their minds about going back. I ended up taking the challenge of staying back and proving to them that there were no such things called ghosts.
As planned my fiends left and I stayed back in the so called haunted house, wanted to prove a point desperately though I was little scared myself. At 5 in the evening Ramesh also left, and I was all alone in the house, but was I really alone?
Though I looked confident but I know how anxious I was. Even the slightest of the sounds scared the hell out of me. I was sitting next to the fire place and reading a book “The Kite Runner” when I heard a loud thud. I almost jumped out of the cozy sofa. Heart beat reached 180 in 1.65 seconds, I gathered all the courage in me and followed the noise; I thought it came from the kitchen so I slowly crept towards the kitchen. As I reached the kitchen I switched on the lights. I was expecting a black cat to jump in front of me with the milk bowl on the floor and the milk spilled just like clichéd Indian horror flicks, but nothing of that sort happened. I noticed that the window was open which probably made noise because of the wind. Why is it that some how or the other windows are always open and make noise because of the wind in haunted houses? As these thoughts were crossing my mind I closed and locked the window. Turning around I felt that someone had just rushed away from the kitchen door. My mind went blank for a moment I didn’t know what to do. I picked up a knife from the kitchen and walked towards the kitchen door. That walk from the window to the kitchen door was so slow that it took me full minute to reach the door. Finally when I reached the kitchen door I found no one, I examined rest of the drawing room for my satisfaction. No one was there. Still scared and sweating, I came back and sat next to the fireplace. I tried concentrating on the book, but it was difficult. Every sound made by the wind blowing outside made a spooky noise; even the flickering flames in the fireplace were making weird shapes. Once I definitely saw the flames making a shape of a burning monster and coming out of the fireplace to attack me with his burning trident. I tried to duck and in the process I fell down from the sofa and woke up from the sleep. Sweating, shaking I had not recovered from that shock when I heard another noise. This time I knew I wasn’t asleep and it wasn’t a dream. The noise came from the hallway upstairs, I tried to ignore it but it came again. I took out a candle from my bag and decided to go towards the noise. It’s an interesting phenomenon of human inquisitiveness, which makes one venture towards anything unknown no matter how dangerous or scary it is. As I was climbing up the stairs I had a weird feeling that someone was following me and climbing up behind me. I turned to find nothing except darkness.
On resuming the climb for an instant I had the same feeling that I had experienced in the kitchen. I felt that someone rushed passed in the darkness in the long hallway. I went up and reached the landing. On top facing the hallway was a long narrow corridor with rooms on the both sides. As I approached the first door and I was about to open it, I heard someone whisper in the next room. I slowly approached that door I again heard someone whisper. I couldn’t understand what it was. It was like the soft voice of the wind. I slowly opened the door and peeped in side. I was surprised to find that it was empty besides a huge cupboard. The room had huge glass windows and moon light was falling inside the room with the trees outside forming shadows on the wall. As I was busy noticing the details of the room I felt someone standing behind me. I quickly turned around and in the process fell down inside the room and dropped the candle. It rolled slowly down towards the opposite wall. Looking up at the wall I found a huge oil painting of an old man. It seemed that he was staring at me. While I was staring at the painting, the door slammed shut. I wasn’t sure someone pulled it close from outside or was it the strong gush of the wind from the window. But it was good enough to scare the shit out of me that I curled myself at one corner of the room.
I could still see the candlelight from the space under the door. Then suddenly I heard the same whisper and along with a footstep, I froze, I was petrified, stupefied but I keep on looking. Footsteps came very close to the door and stopped, and suddenly there was silence, no sound of wind, no whispers and no footsteps. Then I saw from the space below the door that someone picked up the candle, the light grew away from the bottom of the door till it completely disappeared. There was again silence and then I heard the footsteps again and this time very close to the door, I was almost panting with anxiety.
Someone grabbed the lock from outside and tried opening the door. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to disappear, I wanted to hide under something but there was nothing. Then I noticed the cupboard, I jumped towards it and to my utmost joy it was not locked, I opened one side of it, climbed in and closed the door behind me. I was certain whoever it was outside the room was there to kill or harm me. To my horror I heard the door of the room swing open the now I could hear the footsteps inside the room. I kept both hands over my mouth so that my breathing could not be heard. Footsteps came close to the cupboard, I stopped breathing absolutely. It waited there for some time and again there was silence the only sound I could hear inside my head was my heart beat.
Then I heard someone say “Doggy lets go he’s not here as well”. On hearing that I realized what an idiot I was, of course it were my friends came to look for me. I was about to open the door to step out is when I felt somebody else is there with me. Somebody else is in the cupboard. I felt someone breathing very close to me. I was close to shitting on my pants. Nor could I go out now neither could I ignore it. Somehow I managed to mutter a meek “Hello!!”
“Hello” someone said from the other side. I was flabbergasted. But I continued the conversation, I said “what… what… are you doing here?” My voice trembling.
The voice came again, almost as a whisper… “Hiding!!!!!”
“From whom” I inquired.
“I don’t know, there’s someone in the house” he said
“How do you know?” I asked
“Well when I woke up at sunset I went to get a drink of water in the kitchen, I saw him there so came back up here. Then I gathered some courage to go there again to check, he was sitting by the fireplace, but like an ass I made some noise and he noticed me again. Then I saw him coming up towards me with a burning torch in his hand; I knew he was coming behind me because he saw me in the kitchen”… so I was trying find a place to hide. I came here to hide.
“Who are you anyways” I asked.
He replied “I am the ghost, who are you?”