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15 Nov 2019, Edition - 1585, Friday

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Columns

`Nightmares’ you see when you are still awake

Uma Ram

Since aeons, there have always been opposite forces that have kept everything going on. Might it be God and Satan, goodness and evil, virtues and vices, the poles of our globe, contrasts and enmity have been balancing everything to make life move on in this universe. When there is God naturally Satan exists. This is the universal belief that makes people pious or fear ghosts.

Willow the wisps, ghosts, blood thirsty vampires, witches, creepers and all that freeze your blood…..How many of you have experienced paranormal activities? How about the idea of recollecting them again and again? Will it be a horrible or foolish one to remember your encounters?

It was one such chilling experience. Being the mother of two children and always the last to go to bed, I naturally am the one to switch off the lights too. It was on my usual routine that I had this terrifying experience that keeps me puzzled till today.

Often people experience such paranormal activities mainly due to recollections from stories they have heard. It was one such story or incident that gave me this chilling experience.

Our previous abode at Harur was within the forest complex comprising the forest office and staff quarters too. The tribal watcher in our residence had recollected many a times about the spirit of a former forest staff who had committed suicide while on duty.

He used to recount how it was haunting the entire campus of dense vegetation of 16 acres like a small forest amidst the town. He recollected how it used to sit beside him on the bamboo bench under the tamarind tree weeping bitterly. But all that he could see was a thick cloud of black smoky figure by his side.

With all the stories embedded firmly in my subconscious mind I used to always peep out through my window every night before going to bed. It was during one such night that when my husband had gone on a two-week training to Dehradun that I had this chilling experience.

As I switched off the lights and peeped out of my window I saw this creature sitting on the bamboo bench under the tamarind tree in our garden near the main gate. I could not see the face but the shape was visible. Suddenly a small light flashed from within and I screamed waking up my kids, but didn’t utter a word to them not wanting to frighten them too.

I rolled and rolled impatiently reciting all the sacred slokas and mantras till almost dawn with all the lights switched on. The day being a Sunday, I slept at 6am and woke up at 9.30 am. The entire day crossed with hangover as I could not concentrate on any work due to lack of sleep. That night though I restricted myself from peeping out through the window curiosity killed my cautious instincts. Again I peeped out only to see the same black figure sitting right there in the same place.

I locked the windows and switched on all the lights irritating my kids who started yelling to switch off the lights as they too couldn’t sleep the previous night. With no other option I switched off the lights and pulled up my blanket to cover my face. Every now and then with my android flashlight I kept checking under the cot, in the cupboards, behind the doors and inside the toilets as all I could recall were such stories about hideouts of boogeyman, ghosts, vampires and what not.

Awaiting dawn like an early bird, I entwined the blanket and the same hangover from sleeplessness engulfed me for the next few days. Nauseating, my appetite went down and headaches caused by stress and strain became almost permanent. Analgesics and pain balms went futile.

I waited for my husband’s return and didn’t want to confuse him over phone. It was on the 10th evening at around 7 pm that I saw the dreadful creature in close quarters, returning from the temple. It was there in the very same place on the bamboo bench, under the tamarind tree.

Yes….it was our watchman’s hooded raincoat he had hung over the supporting pole hanging on the bench that had seemed like someone or something in a sitting posture. His mobile was lying there safe in its pocket – the flashlight from the chest of the creepy smoky creature or spirit whatever I dreaded.

I could neither laugh over my stupidity nor shed happy tears in relief. It was a kind of mixed feeling that was running in my mind. But whatever it might be the horror I experienced then is inexplicable. I could hear my own heartbeat and was panting for breath. The series of emotions that went across my mind were not just because of the very sight of the black figure but the stories associated with such instances.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own.

(The author of the column is Uma Ram, freelance writer from Coimbatore)

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