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Magnetic Forces… And Beyond

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Prologue :

“Don’t you dare ditch on me bro, I can’t travel those roads alone at night”, I was yelling at my friend Harry over the phone. He chuckled and confirmed that he won’t ditch and that he too was eagerly waiting for this trip. Harry was my childhood friend and I have always thought of him as a pillar of support, someone whom I can always count on in dire times. Harry was a media professional working as an event manager with a team of 25 reporting to him. He was a great company to be, a guy with a supreme sense of humour and a bag full of stories.

Part 1

We had planned for a road trip over the weekend to Goa, Maharashtra. The famous and most favoured party place in India. And since we both had recently bought us brand new Royal Enfields’ this was going to be a great experience. “Bullet” as the bikes are fondly called as is famous for comfort riding. Finally, the day arrived, this was a long trip and we had planned spending at least two weekends in Goa. The only worry was travel by night through the infamous ‘Kashedi Ghat’, popular for the haunted experiences many have encountered. I was assured by Harry that he has been through those roads before at night and he never encountered anything paranormal. However, with the stories I have heard and read about, I wasn’t as assured as he was. 

Since Harry was a media professional it was difficult for him to take such a long leave from his office, he was allowed only 5 days as against the requested 15! Thus we decided to leave from our place post-dinner on Friday as the city traffic subsided and we could make full use of Saturday evening too. Ideally, it takes about 14hrs to reach Goa from our place if one rides safely and with regular stops for a snack and break in journey. We left our place at 2300hrs expecting to reach in time for lunch at our destination. The route we decided to take was NH66, passing through the western ghats of Maharashtra. We had to take the much talked about Kashedi Ghat, and the ETA was approximately 0400Hrs. We planned to take a halt at a small temple just where the ghat begins, and then proceed towards Goa.

Our journey began on time. It was a chilling new moon night. Harry was as usual in his chirpy mood and very much excited about the next 2 weeks. We deiced the markers and where to take halts for tea and journey breaks, in case we missed each other and one of us lagged behind. We took our first halt just after 0200hrs to have some hot tea and light snacks. Here we were chit chatting with the stall owner and his wife; both of them were in there mid 70’s and happily serving us.

Just as the old lady served us the tea, she asked “So where are you two heading in this cold new moon night?”
Harry Replied, “To Goa Maushi (Aunt)”
Lady, “WHAT, by which route!!!?”
Harry: “NH66 Maushi, via Kashedi Ghat.”
Lady turned to the old man and told him, “Why don’t you warn them?”
Now, I jumped to my feet, “WARN THEM?”
Old Man advised, “Boys, today is New Moon night and it is notoriously famous for evil spirits to be in action to cause harm.”
Harry smiled. “Harm, what harm can a spirit do to us and anyways in this 21st century who believes in all this uncle?”
Old Lady still said, “Son, Kashedi Ghat on the western ghats is well known for haunted experiences, in fact, people avoid going through that route at night.”
But Harry wouldn’t listen. “Don’t worry folks we are going to visit the small Kalkai Devi Temple on the hilltop of Kashedi, she will protect us.”

On hearing this, they were slightly relieved and they told us to take a halt at the temple until day-break and then continue our journey onward. We agreed to their suggestions and left the place with a smile, pleased with the warmth of those elderly people, wondering how good and simple people of the rural area are. Life gives one a very different perspective on such rides where people to people exchange teaches you so much about the world and how it is still a wonderful place to be. I took their snaps on my phone so I can refer this wonderful couple to other bikers and help to give them some business.

Soon we left the eerie thought behind and were cruising along the road with hardly any traffic. For someone who encounters Mumbai-Pune traffic day in and day out this is by far the most relaxing ride one can get. We were very easily overtaking the one-off goods trucks and carriers we would meet as they were going in much slower speeds with the heavy loads they were ferrying.

We reached the said temple around 0430Hrs. The temple was very nice and gave a calm and peaceful vibe, I could hardly get the time to see the surroundings. Harry was in a hurry as we had another 9Hrs ride to cover the distance. I could see the place was well-lit up with Diyas and incense sticks, which gave the impression that someone had already finished the morning Pooja and offerings. However, I could not see the priest or anyone nearby. I chanted my prayers. Harry hardly waited for me to finish and told me to do some donation as he had no change. By the time I could finish the donations he was at the gate and yelling at me to hurry up. I got on to my bike and was about to start the ride when I saw at a distance towards the other side of the Temple. A couple of men were waving at me. With all this commotion they must have come to see us and chitchat, I thought. I waved back at them and signalled that I am leaving and can’t stop for them to reach. Harry had already left the premises.

We had both forgotten the advice of the good old couple to stay back at the temple until day-break…

Part 2

As I got out of the temple I had no choice but to accelerate a bit and as I was trying to catch up with Harry, all the while mumbling to myself and cursing Harry for being in eternal haste. Soon, about a mile away from the temple there was a bend which later got merged to the Highway, I saw Harry had missed a bump on the road as he had to take evasive action to check himself in time and pass it. I slowed down well in time for the bump and to my disbelief, it wasn’t a usual traffic bump. This was something different. I was in sheer disbelief when I closed in and passed over it. I saw that a buffalo had been buried in the ground and it’s back and was clearly visible which looked like a bump from a distance. When I crossed over it I saw the horns were out too, it seemed as if someone had buried the poor animal alive with an intent to hurt it. I was just trying to gather my thoughts on this cruel act and suddenly I saw a very old woman on the side of the road walking ahead. She was covered with a black blanket and was using a stick. She looked as if she must be in her late 70’s, and the first thought that came to my mind was what was she doing here at this hour! As I passed her, I slowed down and turned back to see her while still on the move. But I could see nothing but two glowing eyes from a dark hollow space covered by the blanket and then I heard that strange voice, this was as if two or three women were talking at the same time.

“What are you looking at, you #@*#$#$#@@,” she cursed. “Turn around and walk away… before I get to you…!”

Those words were enough for me to get petrified, I took the bend on the main road and started to speed up. I looked back once again to check if she was following me. I was a little relieved to see that she wasn’t. I told myself maybe she was some homeless woman and my fear of haunted thoughts got the best of me.

Out of instinct, I again turned back. This time I saw a couple of bikes far away, as if someone was waving at me. I was in no mood to stop for anything, I had to catch up with Harry. I could see him from a distance now, unaware of all this drama!!!! Suddenly my eyes fell on the side of the road and saw that old lady walking ahead again. I was sure that this was something abnormal and was going full speed to warn and be with Harry. As I was near Harry I started honking and shouting his name. All this commotion made him realise something indeed was wrong and he started slowing down, trying to go over to halt at the same side of the road. In a split second I saw Harry’s Bike skid away and he went rolling down the steep right behind his bike. I tried to stop myself but I could not. The last thing I remembered was my hands were off the bike and it was as if I was floating in the air.
My bike went straight into the dense bushes and everything blacked out…

I could smell fresh marigolds and Roses. The aroma of incense sticks. I opened my eyes and saw there were bells hanging from the ceiling.

“How are you feeling now son?” The Head Priest of the Kalkai Devi Temple asked me.
“Good, but what happened how did I come here?” I had just finished asking this and suddenly I remembered everything.
“When you were leaving from here, we tried to stop you. You just waved back at us and left in haste.” said the priest.
“You are a blessed child, you were saved. She has never spared any victim on Amavasya.” said another man.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked… “Where is Harry?”
“Harry, who? We only saw you and came running to prevent you from going alone at that time.” Said the Priest.

I sat up dusting myself and looked around, I was hoping Harry to be around somewhere and playing one of his dirty tricks. They all looked puzzled, they had not seen him as he had left the premises before they could register we were two riders, and since they saw me alone they wanted to warn me and if possible stop me from leaving until day-break.

“Don’t leave until Day-break,” they had told. I remembered them warning us. I remembered Harry and his smiling face. I ran to check on him and find out what happened to him and how was he after he took the fall. I explained to the Priest and villagers about the whole incident and we left for the spot where Harry had slipped. The search operations were carried out by locals and police all day. All they could find was his bike. I was nervous and shattered, waiting for our common friends and families to reach the spot.

“He is God’s Child, Kalkaai’s blessings saved him,” said one villager from the bunch standing behind me.

Another one said, “I don’t understand, they came to the temple. They believe in God. Then why didn’t they believe in evil?”

One old man who heard all of this said, “These are flesh-eating witches of NH66, he is long gone, they won’t find him again… ever”!!!

“Don’t you dare ditch on me bro, I can’t travel those roads alone at night”, I was yelling at my friend Harry over the phone. He chuckled and confirmed that he won’t ditch and that he too was eagerly waiting for this trip. Harry was my childhood friend and I have always thought of him as a pillar of support, someone whom I can always count on in dire times. Harry was a media professional working as an event manager with a team of 25 reporting to him. He was a great company to be, a guy with a supreme sense of humour and a bag full of stories.

We had planned for a road trip over the weekend to Goa, Maharashtra. The famous and most favoured party place in India. And since we both had recently bought us brand new Royal Enfields’ this was going to be a great experience. “Bullet” as the bikes are fondly called as is famous for comfort riding. Finally, the day arrived, this was a long trip and we had planned spending at least two weekends in Goa. The only worry was travel by night through the infamous ‘Kashedi Ghat’, popular for the haunted experiences many have encountered. I was assured by Harry that he has been through those roads before at night and he never encountered anything paranormal. However, with the stories I have heard and read about, I wasn’t as assured as he was. 

Since Harry was a media professional it was difficult for him to take such a long leave from his office, he was allowed only 5 days as against the requested 15! Thus we decided to leave from our place post-dinner on Friday as the city traffic subsided and we could make full use of Saturday evening too. Ideally, it takes about 14hrs to reach Goa from our place if one rides safely and with regular stops for a snack and break in journey. We left our place at 2300hrs expecting to reach in time for lunch at our destination. The route we decided to take was NH66, passing through the western ghats of Maharashtra. We had to take the much talked about Kashedi Ghat, and the ETA was approximately 0400Hrs. We planned to take a halt at a small temple just where the ghat begins, and then proceed towards Goa.

Our journey began on time. It was a chilling new moon night. Harry was as usual in his chirpy mood and very much excited about the next 2 weeks. We deiced the markers and where to take halts for tea and journey breaks, in case we missed each other and one of us lagged behind. We took our first halt just after 0200hrs to have some hot tea and light snacks. Here we were chit chatting with the stall owner and his wife; both of them were in there mid 70’s and happily serving us.

Just as the old lady served us the tea, she asked “So where are you two heading in this cold new moon night?”
Harry Replied, “To Goa Maushi (Aunt)”
Lady, “WHAT, by which route!!!?”
Harry: “NH66 Maushi, via Kashedi Ghat.”
Lady turned to the old man and told him, “Why don’t you warn them?”
Now, I jumped to my feet, “WARN THEM?”
Old Man advised, “Boys, today is New Moon night and it is notoriously famous for evil spirits to be in action to cause harm.”
Harry smiled. “Harm, what harm can a spirit do to us and anyways in this 21st century who believes in all this uncle?”
Old Lady still said, “Son, Kashedi Ghat on the western ghats is well known for haunted experiences, in fact, people avoid going through that route at night.”
But Harry wouldn’t listen. “Don’t worry folks we are going to visit the small Kalkai Devi Temple on the hilltop of Kashedi, she will protect us.”

On hearing this, they were slightly relieved and they told us to take a halt at the temple until day-break and then continue our journey onward. We agreed to their suggestions and left the place with a smile, pleased with the warmth of those elderly people, wondering how good and simple people of the rural area are. Life gives one a very different perspective on such rides where people to people exchange teaches you so much about the world and how it is still a wonderful place to be. I took their snaps on my phone so I can refer this wonderful couple to other bikers and help to give them some business.

Soon we left the eerie thought behind and were cruising along the road with hardly any traffic. For someone who encounters Mumbai-Pune traffic day in and day out this is by far the most relaxing ride one can get. We were very easily overtaking the one-off goods trucks and carriers we would meet as they were going in much slower speeds with the heavy loads they were ferrying.

We reached the said temple around 0430Hrs. The temple was very nice and gave a calm and peaceful vibe, I could hardly get the time to see the surroundings. Harry was in a hurry as we had another 9Hrs ride to cover the distance. I could see the place was well-lit up with Diyas and incense sticks, which gave the impression that someone had already finished the morning Pooja and offerings. However, I could not see the priest or anyone nearby. I chanted my prayers. Harry hardly waited for me to finish and told me to do some donation as he had no change. By the time I could finish the donations he was at the gate and yelling at me to hurry up. I got on to my bike and was about to start the ride when I saw at a distance towards the other side of the Temple. A couple of men were waving at me. With all this commotion they must have come to see us and chitchat, I thought. I waved back at them and signalled that I am leaving and can’t stop for them to reach. Harry had already left the premises.

We had both forgotten the advice of the good old couple to stay back at the temple until day-break…

To Be Continued in Part 2….

As I got out of the temple I had no choice but to accelerate a bit and as I was trying to catch up with Harry, all the while mumbling to myself and cursing Harry for being in eternal haste. Soon, about a mile away from the temple there was a bend which later got merged to the Highway, I saw Harry had missed a bump on the road as he had to take evasive action to check himself in time and pass it. I slowed down well in time for the bump and to my disbelief, it wasn’t a usual traffic bump. This was something different. I was in sheer disbelief when I closed in and passed over it. I saw that a buffalo had been buried in the ground and it’s back and was clearly visible which looked like a bump from a distance. When I crossed over it I saw the horns were out too, it seemed as if someone had buried the poor animal alive with an intent to hurt it. I was just trying to gather my thoughts on this cruel act and suddenly I saw a very old woman on the side of the road walking ahead. She was covered with a black blanket and was using a stick. She looked as if she must be in her late 70’s, and the first thought that came to my mind was what was she doing here at this hour! As I passed her, I slowed down and turned back to see her while still on the move. But I could see nothing but two glowing eyes from a dark hollow space covered by the blanket and then I heard that strange voice, this was as if two or three women were talking at the same time.

“What are you looking at, you #@*#$#$#@@,” she cursed. “Turn around and walk away… before I get to you…!”

Those words were enough for me to get petrified, I took the bend on the main road and started to speed up. I looked back once again to check if she was following me. I was a little relieved to see that she wasn’t. I told myself maybe she was some homeless woman and my fear of haunted thoughts got the best of me.

Out of instinct, I again turned back. This time I saw a couple of bikes far away, as if someone was waving at me. I was in no mood to stop for anything, I had to catch up with Harry. I could see him from a distance now, unaware of all this drama!!!! Suddenly my eyes fell on the side of the road and saw that old lady walking ahead again. I was sure that this was something abnormal and was going full speed to warn and be with Harry. As I was near Harry I started honking and shouting his name. All this commotion made him realise something indeed was wrong and he started slowing down, trying to go over to halt at the same side of the road. In a split second I saw Harry’s Bike skid away and he went rolling down the steep right behind his bike. I tried to stop myself but I could not. The last thing I remembered was my hands were off the bike and it was as if I was floating in the air.
My bike went straight into the dense bushes and everything blacked out…

I could smell fresh marigolds and Roses. The aroma of incense sticks. I opened my eyes and saw there were bells hanging from the ceiling.

“How are you feeling now son?” The Head Priest of the Kalkai Devi Temple asked me.
“Good, but what happened how did I come here?” I had just finished asking this and suddenly I remembered everything.
“When you were leaving from here, we tried to stop you. You just waved back at us and left in haste.” said the priest.
“You are a blessed child, you were saved. She has never spared any victim on Amavasya.” said another man.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked… “Where is Harry?”
“Harry, who? We only saw you and came running to prevent you from going alone at that time.” Said the Priest.

I sat up dusting myself and looked around, I was hoping Harry to be around somewhere and playing one of his dirty tricks. They all looked puzzled, they had not seen him as he had left the premises before they could register we were two riders, and since they saw me alone they wanted to warn me and if possible stop me from leaving until day-break.

“Don’t leave until Day-break,” they had told. I remembered them warning us. I remembered Harry and his smiling face. I ran to check on him and find out what happened to him and how was he after he took the fall. I explained to the Priest and villagers about the whole incident and we left for the spot where Harry had slipped. The search operations were carried out by locals and police all day. All they could find was his bike. I was nervous and shattered, waiting for our common friends and families to reach the spot.

“He is God’s Child, Kalkaai’s blessings saved him,” said one villager from the bunch standing behind me.

Another one said, “I don’t understand, they came to the temple. They believe in God. Then why didn’t they believe in evil?”

One old man who heard all of this said, “These are flesh-eating witches of NH66, he is long gone, they won’t find him again… ever”!!!

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6 Response Comments

  • Aparna Mondal01/04/2019 at 10:03 AM

    Very interesting from the beginning.waiting eagerly for the next episode.

  • Kheya Baidya01/04/2019 at 5:29 PM

    Gripping…wish to know the next

  • Bishakham02/04/2019 at 8:33 AM

    Interesting story and a gripping narrative. Though the end for me was a little abrupt like rounded up fast. Nevertheless, it is a good story.

  • Saisharanyadash02/04/2019 at 10:54 AM

    What a wonderful story!
    Wishing to know what happens next!

  • Nidhi Jangid02/04/2019 at 3:40 PM

    Story holding my attention to the very end of it! Truly horror and interesting too! Liked reading it!

  • NANDANA DASGUPTA21/04/2019 at 11:02 PM

    I really hope this has a second part! This can’t be the end! What happened with Harry? You beautifully managed to write such a gripping short tale. Even if it didn’t have too much ghosts & blood but still the effect you created the subtle effect of horror. Amazing work keep it up.

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