Monday, 10 December 2012

These are some tales which have been narrated to me by absolutely believable people. Similar incidents may have been heard of or experienced by some people. They cannot be termed as horror- ghost stories. Certainly not. But there are paranormal factors which we are sometimes aware of but we brush aside. Some stories reveal telepathic communication. Besides being a total believer in God and Divine plans, I did not really believe that such paranormal aspect existed. However, I have personally experienced a few situations which made me turn to the realm of the esoteric and paranormal. One cannot logically find answers or origins of these.

Two of the stories are in first person as I felt that they were more effective in that form. Names and locales have been changed to avoid any embarrassment.


Having come into this world on Mahashivratri day, our neighbours had insisted that I be named Mahesh. Though my family followed Jainism, mother had no objection whatsoever. I grew up in a suburb of western of Bombay with a large Gujarati population and by the age of 22 had become a civil engineer. My father, who owned a cloth shop near the local railway station and also stocked school uniforms, thought that I would soon set up a business of civil contracts. Instead I got a job with a known family-owned construction company on a fairly good salary. My work involved both site supervision and dealing with suppliers. Soon the bosses-two brothers- had taken note my competence and given me a raise. I enjoyed the work. My only other attraction was to see films-both Hindi and English. For the latter I didn’t mind traveling by train on a Sunday to Regal or Eros in south Bombay.

My younger brother, Jatin was content with being a commerce graduate and joining my father in his textile business. Occasionally, my parents made trips to holy places like Ranakpur and Palitana. On a couple of occasions, I had accompanied them. During the time that I was required to oversee a construction site near Andheri, I spotted this slender girl, her waist-length hair plaited loosely, taking a bus to some place. She was not strikingly beautiful but there was something very pleasant about her that attracted me.

Smita came from a Gujarati Brahmin family. Her father had retired as a professor of Philosophy from the University. Her only sister, Preeti was married to a government employee and was posted somewhere in Gujarat. Smita had graduated and done her teachers’ training and got this coveted job at one of the prestigious schools in Vile Parle. Our friendship grew with going for  movies together or walking on the shore of Juhu chowpati. After a brief courtship, I proposed to her and she gave a conditional okay stating that it should be approved of by both sets of parents. Her parents heard me out asked me for my office and home addresses. My parents were a little hesitant. The girl did not belong to our community as such. But soon everything was ironed out and Smita became my wife. Two years later, our son Mehul was born. Smita continued with her job and I too was making good progress. Jatin too got married a few years later to Manisha, the daughter of a wealthy businessman from Borivali. With her, she brought lots of gold and diamonds and also a shop of accessories in Andheri. She went to the shop everyday for a few hours. But, there was no friction as such. As the family was growing, my father bought the adjoining one room-kitchen flat at a premium and it was a well thought move. The new flat was joined to the earlier one by making a door and Smita and I shifted to the new rooms. The family kitchen was one and both the daughters- in- law took turns to cook. Jatin was soon the father of a lovely girl-Poonam. His second child was a boy-Jitesh. Barring a few differences of opinion which take place under every roof, the machinery of our family life was going smoothly-all seemed so synchroninised that there was little room for betterment. Smita, on her part took Mehul every Saturday afternoon to her parents’ place and returned on Sunday after lunch. It was a good break for the parents as well as Smita. On Sunday evenings Manisha returned late as her shop drew a lot of customers and Smita was ready to do the household chores

 As was customary, both Jatin and myself contributed to the household expenses. I told that my job was in danger but still gave my full contribution. Smita’s salary, though not an enviable sum, was still there to fall back upon. Smita was a very composed person- she took it in her stride and advised me to look for something else. I was nearly 34 years of age. ‘Would anyone take me as a suitable candidate?’ I wondered. I had really put my heart and soul in this company and really felt the wrench.  Nevertheless, I began applying to advertisements and meeting some recruitment consultants. Nothing positive came of that. My salary had become a trickle by now and there was no promise of any compensation from the company. To add to this was the cement shortage which had slowed the construction industry. I had a first class train pass and I went to some agents recruiting for Gulf too. Several copies of my bio data must have been dispatched but there was no response. I attended some interviews too. At times, there was a glimmer of hope but it turned out to be just another mirage.  I really wondered what was wrong.

 Many avoided me when I met them at the railway station or at the local temple. The news of a person’s bad condition spreads faster than fire, I felt. The only constant thing was Smita’s schedule of her school. Mehul was almost eight years old and enjoying being in the prestigious school where his mother also worked. Smita took up tuitions after her school hours and returned only after six. That was not going down well with my mother. Manisha was supportive in her own way. She got hairpins or purses from her shop for Smita and pencil boxes for Mehul. Jatin had changed his attitude. He was already considering me to be a parasite-occasionally he asked me to be a little more serious about finding a new job. Even if it was not a manager’s-it could be of a lower rank. I told him I was ready even for a few rungs lower but the industry at that time was in the dumps and people were not really recruiting. The misfortune that befell me was unexpected and had really shaken me. My savings too were waning though I had become a little tight-fisted. I had begun to withdraw into myself and ate very little as if to keep my body and soul together.

One afternoon, as I was going through some papers, my father called me to his room. Only my mother was there. “Mahesh, I know you are going through some trying times. But don’t you think you ought to work a little harder to get another job? If you think, it is not possible to get a job why don’t you help Jatin in the shop?” His words hit me hard. What would I do in a cloth shop? He continued, “You see, with the price rise, it is becoming difficult to sustain your family. It is better you find your own house somewhere. I am ready to give you a lakh of rupees.” God! Was this the same caring father who was talking to me in this fashion? I gathered myself and said, “We have not stopped our contribution to the family kitty even if it means buying a few clothes less for us. And for the flat that you bought I have contributed twenty-thousand rupees. Are you forgetting that?” By now I had raised my voice but father was calm. “That is why I am giving you five times that amount to go and live somewhere else. I don’t want panvati here in this house,” he explained. I was stunned. Was my bad luck bringing them bad luck with compound interest? Unthinkable. But, my father did not say anything further. He could not look me in the eye as I staggered to my feet. He only muttered, “ See that by March-April you move to your new house. Smita will also be free during vacations and Mehul’s studies also won’t suffer.”

When I left his room, I felt I was staring into a vacuum. My head was numb and I only saw darkness before me. I went to my room. No tears came down. I wished I had stopped contributing to the family expenses the day my salary had stopped coming-at least my savings would have been substantial. More than anything, I wished I had not been so honest and had taken the ‘cuts’ that suppliers had offered me when I supervised construction site. I would have had a good back up. One lakh rupees indeed! What do we get in that amount today? Yes, I could go to Vasai- or Virar and find a decent accommodation but what about Mehul’s schooling and Smita’s job daily chores?  When Smita returned to the room, I told her the whole thing. She was shell-shocked. She was pale with fear. For the first time I had seen her shiver like a yellow leaf. One lakh rupees! I almost visualized myself standing with a plastic bucket waiting in the long line outside the toilet block in some chawl. Gosh! How could this happen to a peace-loving, honest and God-fearing person like me? Hundreds of such questions whirred around in my head.

Instead of going to recruitment agents, I began to visit estate brokers. The options were clear- at least a lakh of rupees more to get a decent apartment around Borivali –Dahisar. I was willing to shift but where would that other lakh come from. Those days bank loans were almost unheard of. Besides, some agencies asked for salary slips to extend loan. And which ‘good’ friend would give a loan to an unemployed guy like me? All doors seemed to close tightly.

One Saturday, after I dropped Smita to her parent’s place, I decided to walk towards Santa Cruz station. I crossed the aero plane garden and walked towards the Ghodbunder Road. I was counting the number of days left for me to be in this area. Suddenly, I spotted Girish Kapadia, a childhood friend who now lived at Versova. He hurried towards me and hugged me. “After such a long time- good to see you,” he said. Girish had not changed much- the same jolly person whose laugh was infectious. We started walking on the footpath and I briefly told him about my bad luck. He patted and said, “I’m sure you’ll find a way. I had come to see Madhu Potnis- you remember- our college cricketer?  He’s undergone a cancer surgery and is resting for a month or so. Since I come here almost every week, I look him up also” Girish was passionate not only of sports but also of sportsmen- he always took pride in showing his autograph book with signatures of West Indian or English cricketers. But why did he come to Santa Cruz every week?

We stopped at an old building. Girish told me that every Saturday between five and six pm, he came here to Bhupenbhai. An elderly gentleman who had worked as a lawyer in a famous solicitor’s firm for many years had a small group of people who read a religious book for an hour each Saturday and Girish was part of that group. Girish and religious book? Something did not match. It was 4.45 and Girish still had a few minutes to walk into the building. He elaborated, “Bhupenbhai lives alone. Both his daughters are settled in the US. His wife died a few years ago. Occasionally, his sister from Rajkot comes to his house and spends a week or so with her brother. Twice a week, he still goes to work to south Bombay. A day or two he spends for charitable organizations which help the poor with medicines. On Saturday, he, with this group of about 10-15 people, reads this book which contains the essence of the Gita. It is in Gujarati. No personal matters are discussed. I came here with my friend and  liked it so I come here every Saturday. The only time, it is not held is when Bhupenbhai goes abroad for a month or so or goes out of town. Even if no one lands up, he reads it!” Girish laughed loudly. He held out his right hand to me to say bye. “May I come in today?” I asked hesitatingly. I was so used to denials by now that Girish saying “Yes, yes, why not?” came as a splash of cold water on a sweaty face.

Bhupenbhai was in his seventies but had a glow on his face that only pure souls have. He folded his veined hands as Girish introduced me as his school friend. Bhupenbhai pointed to a notebook and asked me to write my name and phone number. Near the book were two silver bowls-one filled with sugar and the other with variali. In two corners of the room were steel water jugs with some tumblers. The living room was spacious- enough to hold about 40 people. There were three large sofas and a few single sofa chairs. A carpet covered the central area and another durri lay folded at one corner perhaps to seat more people. I sat next to Girish while the host sat on a chair. He closed his eyes and asked us to meditate silently for a minute. Soon thereafter, he opened the book. That day, there were about 12 people of various age groups. Each one was given a copy of the book. All began to read in audible tones. I held the book but was unfamiliar so I only put my finger under the lines as they were being read. At the end of the session, all recited Hanuman Chalisa. When the group members got up, it was just about six in the evening. A few while going out took a pinch of either sugar or variali folded their hands and went out. I told Girish that I had felt good after this session and would try and make it again next week. He waved out with a loud chokus and went away. I turned to go back to Smita’s father’s house and pick up the car.

I became a regular at Bhupenbhai’s Saturday sessions. I somehow liked the man’s demeanour-friendly and still not too close. By the end of about ten sessions, I had come to know the regular group members. Girish rarely missed unless he was away on work.  One Saturday, after our reading session, Bhupenbhai announced that as he was going to Kutch to visit the Ashapuradevi temple, the following Saturday, there would be no meeting.

It was November and the days were getting shorter. Smita took Mehul to Juhu Chowpati at five or even earlier. Since I did not have to go to Bhupenbhai, I too went with her. I sat on the sand and watched Mehul draw a house, a cat and a teddy bear with a dry twig he had found nearby. Smita too sat silently. She had sensed my anxiety.  A few women walked towards Smita-evidently they were the parents of her students. They smiled and got talking. Their children joined Mehul. I got up and told Smita that I’d buy some groundnuts and take a walk. She nodded.

I saw the singdana fellow a few meters away. A couple of people were waiting to be given their conical packets. I too waited after telling him to pack two rupees worth of groundnuts. A man in his forties came walking from the sea side and waited but did not ask for anything. He was grey at the temples and a few strands of grey were visible in the front locks. Well-built and clad in a white shirt and black trousers, the man moved forward. He smiled at me. I had never seen this person, I thought. Or, was he one of the suppliers who knew me while I worked on the building sites? I took my packet and he brought his hand to his heart and said, “You come to Bhupenbhai, don’t you?” I nodded. I tried hard to recall if this gentleman was there in the group. “I have not seen you at his place,” I retorted. “No. I don’t go now. I don’t stay there now but sometimes I come there to meet my old friends. That’s how I have seen you,” came his explanation.

He had already started walking with me. “Bhupenbhai –ekdum gentleman. I have the highest regard for that man. So well-read, so calm. He is a rare specimen,” he went on in a typical Gujarati accent. I slowed my pace and asked his name. “Ratan Shah but jokingly they call me Ratan Pillay. You see my mother was born and bred in Kerala. She spoke fluent Malyalam and she taught me the language. So, many times I spoke to my Keralite friends in Malyalam like a native and hence the name Pillay,” He laughed loudly. I introduced myself. I noticed that he was wearing brown canvas shoes just as the Scout masters do. I offered him some nuts but he declined. “I heard that Bhupenbhai has gone to Ashapura?” he queried. I replied in the affirmative. Ratan was silent for a moment then he spoke again, “Bhupenbhai was always fond of going to this place. Some years back, I had also joined him. In fact, he went on this pilgrimage every year. Each time his group increased. It was when my friends invited me to join that I had accompanied the group. Wonderful experience! Very powerful Goddess. Have you been there?”  I shook my head. I turned my head to see how far I had walked away from Smita. Not much. She was still busy with those parents and kids.

The stranger asked me where I worked and I told him that I was out of a job for more than a year now and was looking out for a small apartment up to Borivali. “Terrible thing to feel that one is useless and so helpless. I think everyone goes through troubled times. Some face more trouble than others.” He was now talking philosophy. Then he paused for a moment as if trying to remember something. “You stay in Parle, you said. You know there is this duo Pishu and Bipin- partners or something like that who are brokers. These days, they have got sole selling agency of a big builder in Borivali. At least, I was told like that. May be, they could help. They may have some old property to suit your budget also,” Ratan explained with both certainty and uncertainty at the same time. “Should I give your reference?” I asked eagerly. “They may not know me as I was a resident of this area long time back.  In fact, I don’t even know their phone number.” He tried to put his hand in his hip pocket but found nothing. “Anyway,” he continued, “Since you have tried so many brokers, this is one more.”  I took the directions from him once more. The shadows were now getting longer and when I turned, Smita was waving her hand. I told Ratan, “I think I have to go. It is getting dark. It was nice to meet you. I’ll go to this broker tomorrow itself.” Ratan stopped and took his hand towards his heart, bowed a little and started to walk again. I turned and hurried towards Smita. When I told her about the new reference I got about some broker, she was unhappy that I opened my mouth a bit too much to strangers. The usual complaints of wives, I guessed.

The next day, I got out early and proceeded towards the address that Ratan had given me. After a bit of searching and enquiries, I found a small board displayed outside a cottage like structure. I entered and found a middle-aged man reading something. I cleared my throat and he looked up. “Pishu-Bipin?” I asked. “Pishu” came the answer and he beckoned me to take the chair opposite him. I introduced myself as someone looking for a small apartment. He kept the paper down. He said, “Now we are agents of this builder who is building about five or  six buildings. If you book at this stage, it would be cheaper. The possession will be after 18 months.” I couldn’t wait that long as the D day seemed to approach fast. Was there any old flat which was going cheap? He shook his head. His partner, Bipin entered the room and lit an incense stick in front of a deity. He settled in a revolving chair near his partner. After a brief repetition of what I needed, Bipin asked me to leave my contact number. He too tried to convince me to book a flat. Till its completion I could rent a place which they would help me find. I told them that they could come to me with some offers and that I could consider the booking aspect a little later. Pishu asked for tea. All three of us sipped from small thick glasses. When I put down my glass, Pishu asked if I wanted Borivali only and I said, “No. As a matter of fact, I don’t mind moving into a barrack type of structure like the one you are occupying!” Pishu smiled and then nodded. I left as usual with a mixed feeling. I had to double up now.

The next day Pishu called me and asked me to meet him in Vile Parle on the eastern side. He gave me the landmark of a shop. I met him at the appointed hour. We stood at a tea stall and had tea. I thought we were waiting for the owner to come. After a few minutes, Pishu started to talk. “Maheshji, it is like this. Your budget is very low.  Even for rental, you would be spending more and not creating an asset,” he sounded dissuasive. Then why had he called me? Pishu spoke again, “There is one bungalow type structure here. There are four tenants. Two on the ground floor, two on the first. Two rooms on the first floor are vacant. The second floor has four rooms and the third one has just one room. Old tenanted property is up for sale for quite some time now. But the rumour is that it is haunted and that’s why the owners have gone to stay at Bandra. Away from the house. There is a garden and a garage. Whoever came to even inspect the property had some misfortune. Some builders have also contemplated on taking it to house tenants from other properties which they may be developing but they have backtracked. There is something in there though the tenants say that they have not seen any ghosts nor have they faced any problems. The harassment is only for the owners! But mind you it is a distress sale. The owners really want to get rid of the house as soon as possible. I know, what I am saying may not be believed by you but for a long time I have been pursuing this deal but nothing has worked. If you wish to see it, I have the keys to the place. I can show you just now. But I have warned you!”

I thought about it. What misfortune could be greater than what I was going through? I told Pishu that I would see the place. Both of us proceeded into some by-lanes. Vile Parle at that time was full of old-type of houses with lattice work and the roads were tree lined. We entered a narrow lane and there it stood. A totally neglected building in a state of disrepair. It would mean spending more money. My meager budget would only get the roof over our head with the liability of four tenants and impending costs of repairs which could easily cross a lakh of rupees! Was it worth it? Pishu entered the premises and took me around. The compound was uneven. The overgrown trees made the place look worse. When we entered the building, I was taken aback by big water drums and rubber pipes spread all over the passage. Clothes were drying outside. The staircase was made of wood as was found in most old houses in the city. We went to the second floor and Pishu opened the creaking door. The living room was big and stark. The windows too were barely holding on to the hinges. There was nothing attractive but the price. The owner was ready to sell it for a lakh and I would need a few thousands more to complete registration, etc. I did not find the place frightful as he had described it but then I asked Pishu to give me some time to think. I would want to show it to Smita too before I took the decision. My belief was that once I have a roof of my own, how I live inside was my personal business and not others’. But then I would have been left with no savings. For the first time, I had heard that in such a big city houses were occupied by ghosts. I rubbished it and told Pishu that I would bring my wife in the next two days or so. But as regards the price, see if he could bargain a little more. Pishu was surprised.

Two days later, I brought Smita straight from the school before the light faded. Nights must be scary here, I thought. Smita was game but she said that I should think once more. She was fed up of living in a house  where hardly any one talked to each other. It would be a real fatalistic move I thought. But then I had decided to go ahead and would ask for that lakh of rupees from my father in a week or so as he had promised. Pishu was taken aback but tried to be normal. He said he would contact the owner and get the papers for my verification. I knew the owner too would be in for a surprise. The process of getting the papers and documents began soon as Pishu did not want to lose time.

It was Saturday and I called Girish to ask if Bhupenbhai was back and he said yes. On that Saturday, I was near a grocery shop when I saw Bhupenbhai holding a small bag and walking towards his house. It was 4.30 pm. I caught up with him and offered to carry the bazaar bag. “It is not heavy,” he replied, “Just came out to buy agarbattis and a few things. I returned only yesterday.” We both walked towards his house and he  asked me to come in. He asked his sister who had come from Rajkot to make tea. For the first time Bhupenbhai was talking to me individually. I asked him about his trip and his face lit up. “I used to visit each year when I was younger. Now our group has very few people who are able bodied so now it is very rare that we undertake such long journeys. Those days a lot of other friends also would join and it was like a whole bus full of people going to Ashapura,” reminisced the old lawyer. The tea arrived in beautiful cups and in another plate, there were some nankatais. While sipping the masala tea, I suddenly thought of Ratan Pillay. “Incidentally, Bhupenbhai while you were away I met an acquaintance of yours who had accompanied you to Ashapura a few times. He said he lived in this area only,” I said.

“Really? What is his name?” asked Bhupenbhai. I told him about Ratan Shah and how he was mockingly called ‘Pillay’. Bhupenbhai kept the cup on the table. “How old was this gentleman?” “In his forties or so,” I quickly answered. He was silent. It appeared that he was trying to recollect. “I met him at the beach-Juhu beach,” I added. He was still silent. At that moment, some members of the group entered and wished Bhupebhai who got up and sat in his usual chair. During the reading, I could notice from the corner of my eye that Bhupenbhai was not his usual self. His mind was obviously somewhere else. At the end of the session, he sat in the chair. Unusual, because he always stood up and folded hands and smiled. He must have been tired after a strenuous journey, some thought.

The next morning I was surprised to receive a call from Bhupenbhai. He asked me if I could come over at about 10 o’clock and I agreed. I presumed it was to continue our talk which we had left incomplete the previous evening. Once there, Bhupenbhai came straight to the point. He asked me to describe this Ratan Pillay again. I did so and also mentioned how I noticed his brown canvas shoes. Bhupenbhai who till now was reclining in his chair sat up. He was quiet for a few moments. Finally, he spoke. “Mahesh, this man you met at Juhu, I used to know. He had come with us to Ashapura on a couple of trips. I remember his brown shoes because he was involved with the Scouts. A very vivacious person, always light-hearted. He lived a few lanes away. You said he was in his forties. But, my dear man, had he been alive, he would have certainly been in his sixties!” I gulped in disbelief. Bhupenbhai elaborated, “He had a flourishing business. His partner was someone who at that time stayed in Vile Parle. But it so happened that Ratan was too simple and the partner had looted him. They went to court and Ratan won and received some compensation. He then decided to quit Mumbai and proceed to Kerala where his mother’s side had a lot of business. He sent his wife and three children ahead while he wound up from here. Then, once he was called by his friends to spend a weekend in Khandala. On his return, the brakes of his car failed and his car slid into the valley. They found his body and the car after a long search. He was alone in the car. While going to Khandala, he had two friends with him. They say, mind you, it was not established as proof, that his deprived business partner had arranged for the ‘brakes to fail’.  I have myself attended the funeral. So if you described this Ratan just the way I knew him, I feel he may be either a bogus man or there is something more to it.” Bhupenbhai was visibly shaken and at a loss for words.

Bhupenbhai’s narration had unnerved me. I gathered myself and told him about the reference he gave me about Pishu and the property-supposedly haunted in Vile Parle. Bhupenbhai asked me the owner’s name and I told him the details. He was even more shocked. “That is the property of Ratan’s partner! They say after Ratan’s unnatural death, the house was haunted. There were scary episodes. The partner had left the premises and after selling his other flats elsewhere in the city, he had bought an apartment in Bandra. He was not very successful in the new business he had started. He had been desperate about getting rid of this tenanted property. But those who tried to buy it also faced some problems. Well, I was uneasy when you talked about Ratan yesterday and hence I thought I should talk to you.” I told Bhupenbhai about my problem and that was the only property that I could afford at that time. “Have you paid any advance?” I shook my head. “Before you enter into any deal please bring the documents to me. I could do the verification of the title, etc. I won’t charge you for that. But, think again before you take the final step,” Bhupenbhai had offered help. That Sunday morning’s meeting with Bhpenbhai had sent me in a tizzy. It seemed to be a complicated jigsaw puzzle. Was my luck really running out and that buying this would be my death knell? With a heavy head and a confused mind I went home and straight into my room. Only two months were left for me to vacate this place. I called up Pishu to ask if he had got the documents and he said, yes. I went to his office and picked them up and after phoning Bhupenbhai went to Santa Cruz and dropped the papers at his place. He too was a little surprised at the urgency with which I had acted. It would be at least a week till he got back to me. On Saturday when I went for the reading, neither Bhupenbhai nor I spoke about the Sunday’s meeting.

A few days later Bhupenbhai asked me to come and collect the papers. When I went there, he gave me some tips about the deal and told me that I should involve Pishu to see that the deal was registered and the title was transferred to my name. In March, after the exams, we shifted to the new premises amidst skepticism and criticism. There were more brickbats than bouquets. I knew many would be afraid to continue any association with me-specially my own family. Let the divide be complete, I thought.

We shifted into the house and initially only cleaned up the place. There was a set of two rooms still vacant on the first floor and I asked Pishu to find me some paying guests. Since the place was near the airport, airline crew would be the best bet. It worked out. At least there was some income for myself. Once, when a municipal assessor came to visit me, he suggested that I could be  a sub-contractor to municipal contractors. He told me that for small jobs, one need not have a big establishment. He gave me the idea of converting the garage into an office. I took his advice and small contracts started coming in from major contractors who appointed me as a sub-contractor. Slowly, I carried out the repairs of the building and restored the water supply to the tenants. The ugly drums were removed. Smita was happy to do up Mehul’s room. The room on the terrace was made into a guest room.

I made it a point to invite both Bhupenbhai and Girish to my place. Both were happy. The former blessed me and presented me with some books. I continued to go to his house on Saturdays till he had passed away without any illness. I had felt a personal loss but I felt that both Girish and Bhupenbhai were God-sent messengers. I even went on a trip to Ashapuradevi.

This property which was worth lakhs those days and crores today was just sold for a song.  I did not face any ghostly situation. In fact, I prospered after coming here. Smita took early retirement from school and joined some hobby classes. Mehul too finished his engineering and a master’s from the US. Today, he is married and lives in Bangalore where he is holding a top post.

After almost three years of slow poisoning, I was myself in this so called accursed house. In my mind I often thought of Ratan Pillay and thanked him for his divination. He perhaps wanted to take a revenge on his nasty partner  and had haunted the house so that he faced more losses. But, why he chose me as a