A ‘ghostly’ encounter
N J Ravi Chander
I do not believe in spirits or the afterlife, but this incident that I am about to narrate must give you the creeps. It was the summer of 2006, and after completing the mandatory rural assignment – a must for any bank official – I was posted back to my hometown in Bengaluru.
I reported to the NAL branch on the Old Airport Road and performed a system administrator’s job. The work entailed troubleshooting whenever the computers refused to function, besides performing ‘Begin Day’ and ‘End of Day’ operations, which consumed considerable time.
Those were the days of crippling power cuts, and with no generator in place, the systems frequently crashed. What followed was the arduous task of restoring lost data and bringing the computers back to life. The work would stretch well past midnight. After one such system breakdown, I perforce left the Branch in the dead of night. I navigated my way on the dimly lit roads atop my Yamaha RX 100. An eerie silence descended on the streets, save for the engine’s roar and nocturnal sounds.
En route to my home, I had to pass a burial ground. I had whizzed past the graveyard umpteen times earlier after my late-night duties at the Branch with no drama. But that day was different.
As I neared the cemetery gates, a girl in a white dress appeared out of nowhere. With a wave of her slender hand, she implored me to stop and then asked to be dropped off at the bus stop, a kilometre away. Her grey eyes had mystique associated with them. My heart skipped a beat, but I summoned up enough courage and asked her to hop on.
As I sped on with my mysterious lady passenger, several questions crisscrossed my mind. “What was a pretty young thing in skirts doing at the cemetery gates at this unearthly hour?” “Why was she dressed in whites?” “Who was she waiting for?” “Did I encounter a ghost and did she have feet?” It was too surreal and spooky, and a chill had already set into my bones. The drive to the bus stop was short but appeared to be the longest. As she disembarked and expressed her gratitude, it dawned on me that there was no bus service at that hour. When I rode on the fear of the unknown gripped me. Curiosity getting to me, I turned back to look, and the lady was still hanging around at the bus stop.
When I reached home in one piece and narrated the incident to my dear and near ones, they were aghast and castigated me for taking the road less travelled. Many even went to the extent of telling me I must have had a brush with a ghost. In the following days, we hopped to the nearby temples to pray to the deities and seek redemption from this scary encounter. It has been more than a decade since the incident took place, but whenever I recount this experience, it sends a shiver down the spine of my family members.
(The author is a former banker who has taken to writing as a past time. He contributes to various local and national news organizations and is a regular contributor to Kashmir Vision)