The Ghost and The Other Thing
Manga Naik, Maharashtra, India
The west side of India is covered by a mountain range called Sahyadri. This mountain range is a big one but is often ignored when compared to the height of the Himalaya range. Quite a few of these mountains had castles, temples and forts built on them during the 11th and the 12th century by the dynasties ruling at that time. It is a hilly area and is extremely poor one.
In the early 1980s searching for these unknown constructions was a very common hobby for the trekking group that I was member of. This entire region is covered by a very thick forest. The monsoon is heavy and it rains almost continuously from June to September. It was in the first week of August that my friend and I decided to try out an area which was not searched before. It does not mean that no one had gone there before. Some of these places have villages not more than a couple of mile from them. But these were completely ignored from historical point of view. Few of the places are really remote and the one we were going to visit was one of them.
We started from Bombay in the early morning. We reached the base village of the mountain area very late in the afternoon. The plan was to reach the top and search for any constructions of the old times. It is worth noting that some of the castles and forts can be recognized from the ground by looking at the typical side walls or sometimes outlines of the moats. But it is not always so. Sometimes you need to reach the top and painstakingly search for any of the remains of the old time construction by the times we climbed about 80-85 %, we realized that it was pretty late. We had spent a little more time in lunching at the villager's home and a short nap. It was late in the evening and getting dark. We had two strong torches and were experienced in this sort of stuff. So did not care much about darkness. All those who have done some serious trekking would know that the real danger is of loosing your balance and hurting yourself rather than being attacked by the wild animals.
Anyway, we continued to climb and reached a stage where there were two small hills like structures and we had to select one. We were short of water and would have liked to select one where there was some source of fresh water. Also it looked like the rain might start to pour in and we needed at least a small cave like structure to take shelter for the night. We never carried the tent as 9 out of 10 times you always reach some old time temple or the other. At this moment we took as decision to split and check each one out.
There was not much distance between the two and I felt that we could simply shout and make ourselves heard to each other when one of us finds something useful.
I started to climb and soon realized that the height was not as small as it appeared in the fading light. But there was not much point in turning back now. I hoped that my friend might find the climbing easy and would be first to call me. Nevertheless I continued to walk and slowly started to sense the breeze that generally one feels when one starts near the top of the mountain. It was almost quite dark now. The night was an average one and so was the moonlight. But heavy clouds were hiding the moon every now and then. It would then become quite dark. Please do no think that I am creating an atmosphere here. I had a very good torch and did not care about the light much. My only concern was tiredness and rare occasions when we had to sleep under a tree when our mosquito repellent would be of no use and we had to spend the night just like that.
Finally I reached the top. It was not a flat one and not a very small either. It should have been easily more than 1.5 square miles. I had still had to climb up and down few boulders and walk around the small bushes to find my way forward. On my way I spotted the remains of a wall which could have been an ancient temple or a warehouse of some kind. Period could be 1200 - 1300 A.D. but it was difficult to predict with such a little light.
I had to take a call whether to turn left or turn right. I decided to take right without any specific reason. Perhaps it was because the grounds look flatter. I must have walked for around ten minutes without much luck. I said much luck because I did notice few remains of human existence of the era I was interested in. But most of it was in complete ruins. I then turned around a huge mango tree that was blocking my view and came across a row of three small rooms built of black stone that is quite common on the plains of Sahyadri. The right most one was almost intact but the other two all that remained was walls around it. I was quite happy as it was going to be an important finding and also the place to spend the night in.
Water was still an issue though so I thought I would wait a bit before calling up my friend. I started waking toward the rooms, quite optimistic about my finding when all of a sudden it happened. Quite surprisingly it is not difficult to explain at all.
When I had reached about 50 meters to the nearest room, I was suddenly overcome with an acute sense of fear. It was not gradual and there was no logical reason for it. It was almost like one second before I was quite alright and scared stiff in the next one. The only thing that happened in that split second must have been that I moved ahead one step in the direction of the room. I describe it as fear because I do not know any other word for it. It was as if some remote and primitive part of my brain was impacted. It had received some kind of warning and was trying to tell me to be careful. The part of brain, use of which has been forgotten for thousands of years, but it still holds some ancient fear for the things it knew once.
At the same time, my body refused to stop. It was as if the entire personality was split into two parts. One wanted to respect the warning it had received from something unknown and ancient and wanted me to go back. The other one, which was more modern did not care unless it saw something wrong and wanted me to go ahead. I went ahead. I must have walked for about two minutes before I reached the left most room. Nothing much remained of it and the floor was covered with leaves and dust. I moved forward and for the first time sensed that the light had increased somewhat. Also there was a very faint but distinct and pleasant smell of "dhup" . Something that is burned during any sort of pujas. This time my courage started to give up. The rational person in me had sensed something. It was something that it could understand. It was wrong to see any kind of light at this hour and at this place. I shivered a little. But the curiosity got better of me and simply bypassing the second room and I came to the third one. I entered it without thinking. That was the good thing otherwise I could have never had the courage to go in and check it out. I will explain what I saw in plain simple words without adding any of my thoughts.
There was a man sitting the middle of the room. His age must be around 35-40 and he looked strong and dark. He had a very kind face. He was wearing a bright purple cloth around his waist. The cloth looked very different. His hairs were done using beads which was a popular style on 11th century. He wore armbands of fine red cloths and had a beard. Around his head was a circle of small laps of dhup. There was nothing scary about the man itself. He looked like any average artist who was playing role of a citizen of one of the prosperous towns that existing in the region in 11th century. Only that this was no drama and it was not the theatre make up room. In front of him and outside the ring of lamps there was something. I cannot describe it completely. It was transparent, was around 3 feet tall and was made up of mild pink jelly like stuff. It was like a solid 3ft rectangle of a jelly that can move. It moved very slowly. Almost like a dumb animal which has just enough intelligence to move around. But it was the jelly thing that had given my mind a warning. I am quite sure of that. Whatever it was, it was not good. It might be dumb, it might be slow but it was capable of immense destruction. The person sitting in the middle had noticed me. He looked as astonished as I was but unlike me did not look scared. I don't know how he did it but he beckoned the pink jelly thing to go away. For the first time that thing noticed me or so I imagined. I do not know how the man sitting in the middle of the room was communicating to that thing, but he was doing it somehow and it started to move towards the door. The basic overall shape was rectangular but it changed somewhat as it started to drag itself forward. It moved slowly towards the door. It had seen me. That is, if you can call it seeing. I am sure about that. The sense of fear that it gave was not the ordinary one. It came near the door where I was standing. I tried to back myself into the wall as much as possible. It crossed me and went stumbling out blindly into the dark. But when it crossed me for a brief moment everything around me changed. The view was of four tree tops pointed towards the sky. It was as if I was looking at all this lying on the ground. There was one brownish bird that was sitting on one of the tops, moved up and flew into the air. It had something in its mouth. That's it. The sensation lasted for a split second and then I came back to reality. The man was still sitting in the middle of the floor. I was breathing hard and had cold hands and had every possible physical and mental reaction of being scared out of my wits. But numbness that I had in my mind was gone. The man smiled and his kind face lit up.
I do not remember much after that though I was fully conscious and awake at that time. He blew away the lights and there was total darkness. I put my torch on but there was noting in the room except for some worn out leaves flown by the wind. I guess the figure slowly dissolved in the room. He did not leave by the door that much I am sure about. I will not write anything about what happened to my friend and how we met. He found the shelter, called me and it was business as usual after that. I was shaken but kept quiet. I am quite clear about two facts about the incident. The person I had seen in the room had been a ghost. I am not sure how and why, but it had invited the pink thing in the room for some purpose. But what he had invited is beyond me. In the normal circumstances I would have been quite scared by the sight of this ghost. I am not sure if I had dared to enter the room. It is also possible that if the ghost was not involved in what it was doing, it could have manifested itself so easily. The shape of the thing I saw does not matter. Languages can not explain each and very thing. I think at that time it held that shape but it does not matter really. It was very old. As old as the nature around us and had extreme air of dumb arrogance around it. I do understand that in this entire incident, all it did was to drag itself out of the room. But something in us is as ancient as nature as well. And it recognized it for all it was worth and was scared. It was not the kind of fear that one would feel when seeing a ghost or facing a death. Only thing that I can think of is that the thing could affect your soul and not the body.