Nishir Daak: Haunting Legend
Nishir Daak: Haunting Legend15 mins 236 15 mins 236
You know I never used to believe in the supernatural or paranormal phenomenon. I am a man who believes that everything can be explained rationally, and through the scientific process. Until, I heard the story of a legend that is still very much active and prevalent in villages, districts, and small towns in the state of West Bengal, India.
‘Nishi Dak’, or ‘Call of the Night’, is a legend that has been prevalent in the small, outlying villages of West Bengal. It is something very similar to the ‘Banshee’ of Ireland, ‘La Llorona in Mexico, or even the urban legend of Philippines.
I heard about this legend from my grandfather, who used to live in West Bengal and was a retired school principal from Delhi, the main capital of India. Though it’s been a while I had heard this story, still, during that time my grandfather was as healthy and active as anyone could ever be. He was an old man of more than 80 years but his stiff erect ramrod posture always used to put me in awe and respect for him. When he learned that I was sceptical about all things unexplained and other-worldly; he just briefly gave smile and told me “ you still have a lot to learn and experience” When I looked quizzically at him as we were having this discussion, he said that he is going to recount a tale which he was witness to. He also said that “when I still remember about the incident, I fail to understand the reason, but it creeps me out” Naturally, I was curious to learn about his experience and after a lot of nudging; he reluctantly agreed to tell me about it. Before starting he said that “remember this happened around 50 years ago when the nation was still reeling under British rule” He was a young schoolteacher teaching in Delhi, and had gone to Calcutta for summer break.
I hope that you like this story.
Sujoy Chakraborty was returning from his work in the fields one day when he saw that it was getting dark and also a bit of cloudy. He thought while walking that “today I am going to get a good thrashing from my wife as I am very late”. Immersed in these thoughts as he moved through the fields, he heard a faint voice calling him from behind “Sujo, where are you going?” At first, he did not bother and went on walking; then suddenly, he could again hear the voice. This time it was a bit louder and the sound was feminine. It again asked, “Sujo, where are you going?” This time Sujoy was taken aback, as the voice belonged to his late aunt and she used to lovingly call him ‘Sujo’. It was her only who had raised him and taken care of him as his parents had died at an early age. So naturally, Sujoy was very much attached to his aunt and also was very close to her. So when she died, it had hit him very badly and he had gone into depression.
Anyways, coming back Sujoy was kind of surprised and also a little bit scared. Who would not be, if you hear someone’s voice a long time after that person has gone, you are going to be scared out of your wits. He decided to ignore this and walk straight on ahead and mumbling some holy chants to himself. He had walked only a few metres ahead when the disembodied, familiar voice again spoke out “don’t you recognise your aunt? Why are you running away from me?”
This time the voice sounded in hypnotic lullaby and Sujoy was rooted to the spot and completely entranced. The voice said “don’t you want to meet me?” and gave a sing-song laugh. Sujoy was completely in a trance mood and started running after the voice, calling out “aunty, don’t leave me, where are you?” The voice just again pealed in soft laughter and continued to evade him. Finally, Sujoy came running after the voice at a place which was softly getting covered in mist. As Sujoy went a little bit further, he suddenly saw something terrible and screamed at the top of his lungs. That was the last time Sujoy was seen alive.
Meanwhile, back home his wife was getting anxious as Sujoy had never been so late. So naturally, she was getting worried and anxious about him. When it was way past his normal time, his wife grew more anxious by the minute. Finally, not able to take it anymore, she decided to go out on her own and started her neighbours and passers-by. When nobody in the village was able to provide a satisfactory answer and there was still no sign of Sujoy, things started to look grim for her and she broke down. Hearing her wailing and crying, everyone rushed to her and asked “what’s the matter”?, “Why are you crying”? , “has Sujoy not returned yet”? When she nodded her at the third question people under understood there was something wrong. So they organized search parties and in the torrential rain went looking for him. Alas!, it was a futile search as Sujoy was nowhere to be found.
The next day some more people went in search of him but again they returned empty-handed. When three days had passed and there was still no sign of Sujoy; nor was, there any news of him, people started speculating that “he must have eloped with someone”, or, “he was frustrated and ran away from his responsibilities”. So on and so forth, but all this speculation and maligning of Sujoy’s character had a very unsettling impact on his wife. She was usually a vivacious and cheerful person, nut now she started to remain sullen and depressed. She even cut herself from the rest of the world and used to stare at the front door of her house; waiting for her husband’s return. Then one day she committed suicide. Incidents like these are remembered and mourned for a few days and then forgotten. The same thing happened here also.
After a few days of this incident, another Incident, similar to Sujoy took place in the village.
Bibhuti Roy, another farmer was returning with some of his friends from the fields one evening, when one of his friends joked “Bibhu, this is the same route that Sujoy took and today also the weather is dark and ominous”. With that, all of them laughed, but Bibhuti was a timid man and got scared of small things. So naturally, he went pale and said: “don’t say such things so loudly, as it is we are very late and it looks like it’s going to rain heavily again”. His friends laughed a bit louder upon hearing this and teased him for being such a coward. Still, he endured these comments and continued to walk with them through the fields. When suddenly Bibhuti heard a deep baritone voice calling out his name “Bibhu, where are you going?” He was naturally taken aback as this voice sounded like his long-dead father, but he didn’t bother much and kept on walking amidst his friends still ribbing him with bad jokes. When again he could hear the voice asking him “why are going with them?”, “don’t you know that they are always making fun of you and are not good for you?” This time Bibhuti was truly surprised and scared as this was his father’s voice. When his friends saw him suddenly stop they went up to him and asked “hey, what’s the matter?” why did you stop all of a sudden?” When they saw that he was trembling head to toe and his eyes were darting here and there with fear. They were surprised and again asked him “Bibhu, what’s the matter, why are you trembling?” He looked at them and said “hush………. Can’t you hear the voice?”.
His friends were taken aback and said “what voice”, he then said that “it’s my father and he has come back to punish me for being friends with you”. Upon hearing this, his friends were truly shocked and surprised as all of them knew that his father had passed away a couple of years ago and all of them had gone to his funeral. One of his friends even said “what rubbish! Your father passed away 2 years ago, how can he return?” Still, Bibhuti looked here and there and suddenly said “father, please don’t be angry with them, they are naïve. I will scold them.” With that he started running on the opposite direction shouting at the top of his lungs “ father, please don’t leave me, I am coming with you” His friends now were truly scared and worried for him and started running after him trying to restrain him. But he could not be stopped. It seemed as if some otherworldly force had taken control and with unusual strength, he brushed off his friends’ efforts to restrain him.
He swatted them off as easily as if they were flies. There was also something very strange; it seemed as if his eyes were burning balls of ember and he was maniacally running and shouting. As his friends tried to collect their bearing and go after him, by that time Bibhu had left them long behind. By the time they caught up with him in a densely forested area, all they could see was the thin outline of Bibhuti and a white mist enveloping the whole area. They tried to call out to him but he was indifferent to them when all they could see was Bibhuti raising his arms upward and there was a scream, and then nothing. All of a sudden the mist had cleared and there was no sign of Bibhuti anywhere. The friends looked here and there but could not find any sign of him. Scared out of their senses they rushed back to the village and recounted all the details. The villagers quickly organized search parties and looked for him throughout the night but again to no avail.
Such incidents continued for the next three-four months when someone mysteriously vanished and there was no sign of him or her. There was one common factor in all of these disappearances; that the intended person who responded to the supposed voice was familiar with it, and it seemed that the voice belonged to some long-dead family member of that person. At least it was the most common assumption and people were scared as the local police were also unable to help in this matter. Despite regular patrols by the police party, this phenomenon continued unabated. This led the villagers to fear the worst, and according to village elders; the Nishi had returned. When asked, the village elders only used to say “hush….. keep quite. You should not enquire about the Nishi or the Night creature. Otherwise, it will come for you too!” If someone still used to pester, then they would reluctantly tell about the legend that has been prevalent in the village and other villages since so many years now.
This legend was so famous and scary and as per my grandfather, he even witnessed one such incident. As he was staying in the city when one day he got a telegram from his ancestral home in the village that needed his immediate attention. At first, my grandfather was a bit surprised and wondered that out of all these years, nobody had ever written a letter, but now someone has telegrammed him. Anyways, he went there and this is what he had to say of his experience.
One thing is for sure that my grandfather still cringes at the memory of the experience had, but somehow, bravely recounted the tale from the deepest recesses of his memory. In those days, it was a tradition that all the visitors were welcomed with great honour bestowed on them. So my grandfather also had to undergo this ritual and everyone was happy to see him in the village, especially his family members and relatives. They had a huge palatial style bungalow with lots of servants and helpers in those days. Anyways, one day when he was taking a stroll through the village with his friends, he heard sounds of wailing and commotion coming from one of the houses. He naturally stopped and grew inquisitive and asked his friends that “what was the matter?” His friends just tried to divert his attention from the house and urged him to continue. Still, he was determined to find out the root cause of the grief. Then one of his friends said “you stay in Delhi and you are not accustomed to such things” When my grandfather persisted to know, then his friends said, “it is the work of Nishi”.
Naturally, he had heard it for the first time and his curiosity grew and enquired a bit more. His friends started giving furtive glances at each other not sure of whether to tell him or not. Still looking at his rigidity they reluctantly told him about the legend of Nishi Dak or call of the night. According to them, it was an age-old legend and it occurred every twenty years or so and continued for six-seven months. When he asked, “what happens after seven months?” They said it stops all of a sudden. Hearing all of this my grandfather, who was a sceptic in those days, and just laughed and scoffed at them saying “all of you have got higher class education, and you still believe in such things?” His friends just looked at him and said nothing.
Then one day when he was sitting on the front porch of his house with one of his friends having evening tea. When suddenly his friend Aveek Bose, got up from the chair and started murmuring “mother where are you?” “See who is here and pointed at my grandfather” My grandfather was naturally taken aback by this sudden change in his friend’s behaviour. So he too got up and said: “hey, who are you talking to?” His friend just gave him a stern glance and continued “I am sorry mother, actually he can’t see you, that’s why he is saying such things” Now my grandfather was anxious. Even I would be if I am in this kind of situation where your best buddy starts behaving abnormally and in the most unusual way.
Meanwhile, my grandfather’s friend kept on talking to that voice which could not be heard by anyone else. This was similar to the earlier cases also, where no one else could hear or see anyone or anything. However, my grandfather was unaware of this. So the more he tried to rationalise, the more he was stunned by situation unfolding before him. His friend, when all of a sudden, started walking up to the main gate and it seemed that as if he was in conversation with someone. My grandfather could only hear snippets of conversation like “mother, I am sorry to have left you”. Also, “I will stay with you now forever and never leave your side” My grandfather rather calling for help tried to restrain his friend all by himself. He was in for a surprise. As he tried to restrain his friend, my grandfather recounted that “I felt that my friend was in some kind of trance and he had gained extraordinary strength”. “He even swatted me away like as if I was a fly”.
Anyways, returning to the story, he now realized that there was something not right and instead of trying to restrain his friend; he decided to follow him. When my grandfather’s family members asked him where was he going, he just asked them to be quiet and not tell it to anyone. He said that he is following his friend and will see where he is leading to. Though the family members were a bit upset by his decision, however, they promised to keep quiet.
Meanwhile, his friend kept on walking through the village at a breakneck speed and not responding to anyone’s greeting. All of the village people were surprised at this behaviour but my grandfather urged them to be quite. After maybe walking three miles away from the village into the forest, my grandfather witnessed something so terrible; that he still trembles on the very remembrance of that incident. As they entered the forest, all of sudden, the entire forest was covered in some kind of thick mist. You could not even see the front of your hand even if you wanted to. So he started calling out his friend’s name, but there was no response. After taking maybe one or two steps, he reached the spot where he had seen his friend come to a halt and talking to someone who was not visible to my grandfather. Here he saw his friend being enveloped by an entity that was all white and it had the form of a human outline. Before my grandfather could register the scene before him and respond, this entity looked directly at my grandfather and leered. He still does have those nightmares, and I could visualise his terror and frustration of being unable to do anything at the moment. This is how he described the entity “his eyes were burning red lumps of coal and it seemed that he was going to swallow my friend alive, and I could not do anything as I was rooted to the spot paralyzed with fear”
The way he described the terrible scene sent a chill up my spine also as I could virtually see the entire thing right before my eyes. The next moment my entire grandfather could remember was that his friend gave a terrible scream and he fainted. The next day, my grandfather was found lying unconscious on the ground in the forest. He was found by a search party organized by his family members. When he came back to consciousness, the first thing he asked was about his friend. But the village rescue party just looked at him with bewilderment and he chose to keep quiet about the whole incident. As he knew that being a city guy, it was something which no one would believe back in Delhi. However, he developed a strong respect and fear for all things supernatural and paranormal. He even researched on these topics later on in his life and became an expert.
So this was the story and legend of Nishi Dak, or ‘Call of the Night’. I was still a bit sceptic and wanted to enquire about it when suddenly we heard loud voices calling and people wailing urging someone not to go. When I asked what all the commotion was about. My grandfather just cautioned me to keep quiet and took me downstairs.
The next day I heard that someone from the neighbourhood had died early in the morning. When I asked my grandfather about it, he only said that “Nishi had claimed its victim”. This was something odd and I wanted to enquire more about it but my grandfather refused to say anything more about it. Only one thing which was a bit odd about this that even I seem to have heard a faint voice calling out to the neighbour in the evening; and this is what sent a chill up my spine once again. Though I chose to keep quiet about it still it is an enigma which remains unsolved to this day. Many people still people this legend till this day and so I decided to write about it.