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Prologue :
“Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay”, I could hear Thapa uncle chanting his daily morning prayers in the pooja ghar. Thapa uncle was an ardent devotee of Mahadev, known as Shiva, the destroyer and benefactor. Uncle was a hard-working man putting night shifts in a chemical factory to take care of his family and provide them with his best. “Go and wake up your best friend, he must be in his dream world now”, he said with a smile to me and our paltan. He was a very friendly and jovial man, we loved him a lot as he would also join us in playing occasionally and that would invariably end up with lots of goodies and treats.
Part 1
Thapa uncle had his daily routine fixed. After he came back home, which was usually very early in the morning, he would take to sweeping the verandah of their house, prune the garden plants and water the entire garden after which he would happily spend his time with aunty at the same lawn and sip on to his Darjeeling tea. “If it’s tea it should always be of the 1st flush”, he would tell always with pride as he was from the hills, born and brought up amongst those tea plantations. After he was done with his favourite tea-time and cleaning routine, he would take his shower, do his pooja, have breakfast and go off to sleep. For years we have always seen the same old routine in their house.
Sumeet, on the other hand, was a different story altogether. He was always a lazy bone and won’t wake up unless we went to his room and kicked him up. We would invariably get late to play cricket because of him. However, he would always have a tale or two to backup for his wrongdoing. This time it was different, he sat up on his bed and said he won’t come with us to play cricket at this new ground. His granny had asked him to stay away from the road which has an old abandoned well on the way. The road to this new ground was not a typical tar road, it was more like a nature trail passing through the dense forest. We all had our eyebrows raised and to be honest, were stumped by his pretty weird reason. Granny told him that the well was haunted; it had bad spirits in and around it. She didn’t want us and our friend to encounter any such evil spirit.
At the age of 14, they say, adventure is your middle name. However, we were least interested to go out for playing that morning. Thapa uncle had finished his pooja and overheard us and to our surprise, he went to up to the kitchen and with the help of aunty and granny, prepared some tasty sandwiches and invited us to the dining table to help him polish the plate. We all ran out and in no time finished those tasty bites. We never discussed the instructions granny had given and happily decided to follow them without any reasoning.
During those days, summer vacations were fun-time and no restrictions were laid by parents for the time spent out with friends, making them very special. Also, summers meant a lot of power-cuts and load shedding, most evenings would be dark and we would stay out of the house until late in the night. This was the time we would indulge in all the interesting stories and dreadful experiences. All the elders would try to scare off the younger ones with horror stories and have a good laugh about it. Everyone was busy laughing, giggling and pulling each other’s leg when suddenly, Sumit said, “You know my granny is very scared of that well in the Jungle, she has heard stories of a woman who had committed suicide in that well, ever since, that well is abandoned.” Suddenly it became very clear to most of us, why the ground was sparingly used, why no one would venture through the forest road when it was a good shortcut and could easily save someone 45mins.
Part 2
Next day, we went to Sumit’s place. As usual, the lazy fellow had not turned up to play and we had to go over to wake him up. However, today was different. The garden was full of dried leaves; the usual hustle bustle of the Thapa’s was missing. The table for morning tea was not set. Everything was so not right… When we rang the door-bell, to our surprise it was Sumit who opened the door. He asked us to come inside. The house was quiet and as we entered, we saw it was Granny who in the prayer house and not Thapa uncle. This was a bit surprising. Sumit took us to his room, made us sit and locked the door.
“Papa is not well, he had a very terrifying experience last night.” Now, we were all on the edge of his bed, nothing was making sense to us. He started telling us more about what happened with his father. “Papa was feeling unwell last night, so he took permission from his boss and left early. His shift gets over usually at 0600 or 0700. Since most of his friends travel on motorbikes, as they stay far away, papa never has to walk down from factory to home. He has always been fortunate to have many friends at work who would happily drop him to our house and then carry on with their journey. Last night, he left at 0300Hrs. None of his friends could drop him off as there was a shortage of staff. Summer is always like this at the factory, most workers go on a long leave as schools are closed for long vacations too. Papa assured his friends that he would be fine and just wanted to rest. So he was taking a half-day. Granny had always warned all of us not to take the shortcut in the jungle even during day-time. She was extremely terrified of that place. Yesterday Papa decided to take that road, he felt it will save his time and he can reach home early. For a second the creepy thoughts did cross his mind but he decided to ignore them and take the road. Granny’s fear was going on in his mind but then again, he is a strong believer in Shivji and mystic powers.”
Suddenly, Sumit’s Mum started banging on the door we all got frightened with the unexpected disruption. “Your Papa is calling you, he is feeling fine now. Go see him, all you boys go with Sumit”, she said and went to inform granny.
“Boys, come inside I have a story to tell you all, a story which is true, a story which will make you shudder, but you have to know this. I want to prepare all you for such instances.” Thapa uncle was not his usual smiling self but he looked relaxed. We were all happy and relieved to see him so. He started unveiling the suspense and a near tragedy of the previous night.
“Last night I took the dreadful shortcut through the jungle. I was feeling a little unwell so I wanted to come home and rest. I decided to take the shortcut as I thought, by the time I will pass the old well, it will be almost day-break. Then again my lord Shiva is there to protect me. As I neared the well I could hear some strange noise. It was very scary and creepy feeling. Suddenly I felt a cold breeze on my cheeks. I stood my ground and started chanting, “Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay”.
Part 3
As I reached the well and was just a few feet away from it, I heard a lady laughing hysterically. I moved my torchlight in the direction from the which I could hear the laughter. I almost had a heart attack when I saw a lady draped in white saree sitting on the edge of the well with her back to me. I started trembling, my hands were shaking and my heartbeat was so loud, I thought it will explode within. However, in all of this, I never stopped chanting the name of Lord Shiva. I suddenly remembered your granny had always told us since childhood, ‘if you ever encounter an evil spirit, stand where you are, keep chanting God’s name and make a circle around you. As long as you are praying and inside that circle no spirit can harm you.’ I did exactly what she had told. Now, I realized I had to be calm and keep praying non-stop, this would be my fight to survival. Else I stand no chance and shall be overpowered by this evil woman. I sat down in a yogic posture, which is what Lord Shiva does when he meditates and kept saying my prayers. I could feel the lady circling around, outside the ring. It gave me the courage and assurance that your granny’s trick was working. Once I happened to open my eyes to see where she is, I was shocked to see she was just a couple of feet away from me at the edge of the circle I had drawn. Draped in white, standing a few feet off the ground, looking straight at me in the eyes, her face was covered with her hair. I started praying even more loudly and closed my eyes.”
There was pin-drop silence in the room. We all were holding each other’s hands, gripping them tightly. Thapa uncle smiled for the first time that day and said, “Children don’t be scared. I am telling you this because I want you to be as strong and firm if you ever find yourself alone in such situation.” He took a deep breath and had a glass of water before he started again.
“I was too afraid to open my eyes again and decided that I will stay here till the dawn breaks. Suddenly, I could hear a dog barking from far away and was nearing the well, the poor animal had sensed the paranormal activity and had come to my rescue. He was barking at the woman continuously. I wanted to drive him away to save his life but I couldn’t stop my prayers neither could I leave my circle of life. I started praying for both of us. Within moments the dog stopped barking and before I could realize what was happening, I heard him squeal and cry. There was loud thud. That is when I realized that she had lifted the dog up in the air and throw him down in such force that the poor soul died on impact. After a brief silence, I heard the hysterical laughter again.”
Thapa uncle had tears in his eyes for the poor animal was slaughtered and he was helpless. He could not save it. He looked at us and said, “it was only after I could feel the sunlight on myself, I opened my eyes, checked all around, stepped out of the circle and stopped chanting in the end.”
He took a long pause and said he could never forget those last words said by the woman before she disappeared.
‘Aaj bach gaya tu, maine mera bali le liya…Agli baar nahi jane dungi!!!”

“Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay”, I could hear Thapa uncle chanting his daily morning prayers in the pooja ghar. Thapa uncle was an ardent devotee of Mahadev, known as Shiva, the destroyer and benefactor. Uncle was a hard-working man putting night shifts in a chemical factory to take care of his family and provide them with his best. “Go and wake up your best friend, he must be in his dream world now”, he said with a smile to me and our paltan. He was a very friendly and jovial man, we loved him a lot as he would also join us in playing occasionally and that would invariably end up with lots of goodies and treats.

Thapa uncle had his daily routine fixed. After he came back home, which was usually very early in the morning, he would take to sweeping the verandah of their house, prune the garden plants and water the entire garden after which he would happily spend his time with aunty at the same lawn and sip on to his Darjeeling tea. “If it’s tea it should always be of the 1st flush”, he would tell always with pride as he was from the hills, born and brought up amongst those tea plantations. After he was done with his favourite tea-time and cleaning routine, he would take his shower, do his pooja, have breakfast and go off to sleep. For years we have always seen the same old routine in their house.
Sumeet, on the other hand, was a different story altogether. He was always a lazy bone and won’t wake up unless we went to his room and kicked him up. We would invariably get late to play cricket because of him. However, he would always have a tale or two to backup for his wrongdoing. This time it was different, he sat up on his bed and said he won’t come with us to play cricket at this new ground. His granny had asked him to stay away from the road which has an old abandoned well on the way. The road to this new ground was not a typical tar road, it was more like a nature trail passing through the dense forest. We all had our eyebrows raised and to be honest, were stumped by his pretty weird reason. Granny told him that the well was haunted; it had bad spirits in and around it. She didn’t want us and our friend to encounter any such evil spirit.
At the age of 14, they say, adventure is your middle name. However, we were least interested to go out for playing that morning. Thapa uncle had finished his pooja and overheard us and to our surprise, he went to up to the kitchen and with the help of aunty and granny, prepared some tasty sandwiches and invited us to the dining table to help him polish the plate. We all ran out and in no time finished those tasty bites. We never discussed the instructions granny had given and happily decided to follow them without any reasoning.
During those days, summer vacations were fun-time and no restrictions were laid by parents for the time spent out with friends, making them very special. Also, summers meant a lot of power-cuts and load shedding, most evenings would be dark and we would stay out of the house until late in the night. This was the time we would indulge in all the interesting stories and dreadful experiences. All the elders would try to scare off the younger ones with horror stories and have a good laugh about it. Everyone was busy laughing, giggling and pulling each other’s leg when suddenly, Sumit said, “You know my granny is very scared of that well in the Jungle, she has heard stories of a woman who had committed suicide in that well, ever since, that well is abandoned.” Suddenly it became very clear to most of us, why the ground was sparingly used, why no one would venture through the forest road when it was a good shortcut and could easily save someone 45mins.

To Be Continued in Part  2….

Next day, we went to Sumit’s place. As usual, the lazy fellow had not turned up to play and we had to go over to wake him up. However, today was different. The garden was full of dried leaves; the usual hustle bustle of the Thapa’s was missing. The table for morning tea was not set. Everything was so not right… When we rang the door-bell, to our surprise it was Sumit who opened the door. He asked us to come inside. The house was quiet and as we entered, we saw it was Granny who in the prayer house and not Thapa uncle. This was a bit surprising. Sumit took us to his room, made us sit and locked the door.
“Papa is not well, he had a very terrifying experience last night.” Now, we were all on the edge of his bed, nothing was making sense to us. He started telling us more about what happened with his father. “Papa was feeling unwell last night, so he took permission from his boss and left early. His shift gets over usually at 0600 or 0700. Since most of his friends travel on motorbikes, as they stay far away, papa never has to walk down from factory to home. He has always been fortunate to have many friends at work who would happily drop him to our house and then carry on with their journey. Last night, he left at 0300Hrs. None of his friends could drop him off as there was a shortage of staff. Summer is always like this at the factory, most workers go on a long leave as schools are closed for long vacations too. Papa assured his friends that he would be fine and just wanted to rest. So he was taking a half-day. Granny had always warned all of us not to take the shortcut in the jungle even during day-time. She was extremely terrified of that place. Yesterday Papa decided to take that road, he felt it will save his time and he can reach home early. For a second the creepy thoughts did cross his mind but he decided to ignore them and take the road. Granny’s fear was going on in his mind but then again, he is a strong believer in Shivji and mystic powers.”
Suddenly, Sumit’s Mum started banging on the door we all got frightened with the unexpected disruption. “Your Papa is calling you, he is feeling fine now. Go see him, all you boys go with Sumit”, she said and went to inform granny.
“Boys, come inside I have a story to tell you all, a story which is true, a story which will make you shudder, but you have to know this. I want to prepare all you for such instances.” Thapa uncle was not his usual smiling self but he looked relaxed. We were all happy and relieved to see him so. He started unveiling the suspense and a near tragedy of the previous night.
“Last night I took the dreadful shortcut through the jungle. I was feeling a little unwell so I wanted to come home and rest. I decided to take the shortcut as I thought, by the time I will pass the old well, it will be almost day-break. Then again my lord Shiva is there to protect me. As I neared the well I could hear some strange noise. It was very scary and creepy feeling. Suddenly I felt a cold breeze on my cheeks. I stood my ground and started chanting, “Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay… Om Nammaah Shivaay”.

To Be Continued in Part 3….

As I reached the well and was just a few feet away from it, I heard a lady laughing hysterically. I moved my torchlight in the direction from the which I could hear the laughter. I almost had a heart attack when I saw a lady draped in white saree sitting on the edge of the well with her back to me. I started trembling, my hands were shaking and my heartbeat was so loud, I thought it will explode within. However, in all of this, I never stopped chanting the name of Lord Shiva. I suddenly remembered your granny had always told us since childhood, ‘if you ever encounter an evil spirit, stand where you are, keep chanting God’s name and make a circle around you. As long as you are praying and inside that circle no spirit can harm you.’ I did exactly what she had told. Now, I realized I had to be calm and keep praying non-stop, this would be my fight to survival. Else I stand no chance and shall be overpowered by this evil woman. I sat down in a yogic posture, which is what Lord Shiva does when he meditates and kept saying my prayers. I could feel the lady circling around, outside the ring. It gave me the courage and assurance that your granny’s trick was working. Once I happened to open my eyes to see where she is, I was shocked to see she was just a couple of feet away from me at the edge of the circle I had drawn. Draped in white, standing a few feet off the ground, looking straight at me in the eyes, her face was covered with her hair. I started praying even more loudly and closed my eyes.”
There was pin-drop silence in the room. We all were holding each other’s hands, gripping them tightly. Thapa uncle smiled for the first time that day and said, “Children don’t be scared. I am telling you this because I want you to be as strong and firm if you ever find yourself alone in such situation.” He took a deep breath and had a glass of water before he started again.
“I was too afraid to open my eyes again and decided that I will stay here till the dawn breaks. Suddenly, I could hear a dog barking from far away and was nearing the well, the poor animal had sensed the paranormal activity and had come to my rescue. He was barking at the woman continuously. I wanted to drive him away to save his life but I couldn’t stop my prayers neither could I leave my circle of life. I started praying for both of us. Within moments the dog stopped barking and before I could realize what was happening, I heard him squeal and cry. There was loud thud. That is when I realized that she had lifted the dog up in the air and throw him down in such force that the poor soul died on impact. After a brief silence, I heard the hysterical laughter again.”
Thapa uncle had tears in his eyes for the poor animal was slaughtered and he was helpless. He could not save it. He looked at us and said, “it was only after I could feel the sunlight on myself, I opened my eyes, checked all around, stepped out of the circle and stopped chanting in the end.”
He took a long pause and said he could never forget those last words said by the woman before she disappeared.
‘Aaj bach gaya tu, maine mera bali le liya…Agli baar nahi jane dungi!!!”

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2 Response Comments

  • Bishakha Moitra20/06/2019 at 12:36 PM

    Wow. The ending is superb. The story is scary and tragic(the dog part) and the last line is icing on the cake.

  • Swetha Amit21/06/2019 at 7:34 AM

    This was really scary! A gripping and a compelling read. Felt bad for the dog. 🙁

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