That Night17 mins 54 17 mins 54
He was sleeping. The fan in the ceiling was not spinning. He kept his window opened so the wind could flow through it...... GAR...... GARR......... On hearing the horn sound of the vehicle, he turned other side in the bed, as half of his brain always wake. Someday he felt very exhausted in the morning because of the abnormal sleep pattern. He could work in a big city and earn lot of money, but he preferred to service village people. Although there was no electricity, he had slept this like for this way for several night.
He dreamed about the intense phone conversation he had with his mother that night. She pestered him to marry the relative girl, as they were rich and belong to the same community. He was never interested in the girl, as he felt there was no connection with her. He told her even if they got married, she would not be happy with him. His criteria for marrying a girl definitely not based community and caste.
She shouted him, at that age he should be a father for two kids, but- Again, another horn sound from the vehicle shut his mother complain ....... GAR......GAR........GARR.............GARRR............... It was not like a horn sound. His mind gave signal, so he turned the blanket down. He checked the time. It showed 2 a.m. His sleepy eyes irritated, and he walked slowly in the dark towards the door. Who would be there? Why would be someone disturbing at this time?
He thought that it would be someone from that village, who might be in an emergency condition. He opened the door, to his surprise he stepped back, it was a girl, wearing white saree, low waist, and a black jacket, whose age might not be more than 20 year of age, and her eyes were sparkling like crystal. He raised the eyebrow thought a girl like her would make any men head over heal. Her face was very oily, and she was sweating all over her body. Her hairs not tied, loose past her shoulder.
He thought of asking, "Who are you", but before he talk, she blurted "Doctor. Rajesh". He nodded "Yes". She cried "My mother is sick, and she is having breathing trouble, and looking me as a stranger" and added "Please. Come doctor" wiped her tears. He thought she must be educated, as she had used the word, please. It was more than six month, he had started this clinic in that village, but he never seen such a girl who would use, please, word.
Rajesh questioned her, "Where is your house?", looking at her from head to toes. She murmured , "Doctor, I live in vellalur village", she cleaned her oily face with the border of her saree. He fixed his gaze on her face, which was beautiful part of her body, and it was shining as the moon light.
Rajesh's father dead, when he was young. His mother was a tailor, who worked day and night and paid his fees. Unlike other students, he didn't play in the holidays. He helped his mother and go for part time job. His mother was very happy when he got the medical seat. He was a highly knowledgeable student in his class. He made a pledge to himself that he would service poor people in the villages.
vellalur village is 6 km from the clinic. He asked her, "Dr.Nair is from the same village. Don't you know him? ", he saw a glimpse of her low-neck blouse through the transparent saree. She replied him "I went to his house, but I was told that he went to a marriage function in Chennai, and so "-before completing the sentences, her saree slipped from her shoulder blouse. She immediately adjusted her saree and plastered a silly smile at him. He felt bit of naughty inside.
Rajesh asked "What is your name?". She murmured, "Lakshmi. Doctor" and stood silently. He advised her not to come alone, especially at night times and asked her to come along with her family member. Lakshmi cried, "My dad passed out five years ago, it's now me and my mother alone. Because of my father's inter-caste marriage, the village panchayat abended my family, so no one will help us". He was aghast by her story, and felt anger towards the society for rejecting them because of inter-caste marriage. He thought about the trouble she could had faced while growing up in that village?.
Rajesh said, "Let's go. I got a bike, and I think you don't mind travelling in bike with me" and waited for her response. Lakshmi hesitated, "Yourrr wife ?". Rajesh responded "Do I look like a married person?" and showed his teeth to her. Lakshmi cannot hide her shyness, hung her head down, "Sorry ! Doctor. We will go". He locked his clinic after taking the medical kit.
Rajesh was 5'9 height swing his leg and kickstart his bike. He veered the accelerator, adjusted himself, and told her to hop in the back seat. She stood on the foot peg and hoped her big curvy butt in the back seat of the bike.
Rajesh rode the bike on the lonely road and very calm. There was no streetlight on either side of the road. And there were tree on both side of the road. Beyond those trees, it was full of dark. He heard animal growling sound from the dark side of the area, which really gave him the chilling all over his body. He never doubted whether he had taken a wrong decision by travelling at that time?, but instead he doubted how could she travelled at that time?.
Rajesh veered the accelerator and asked, "How did you reached clinic? You cannot come by walking ".He thought that the clinic was in very dessert place and transport facilities was not available at that time. She answered, "No. Doctor. I got a lift in the lorry. They have dropped me nearby your clinic, and they drove to Chennai".
He changed the gear to the 3 rd level, suddenly his bike bumped in the speed breaker that gave a jolt. She leaned on his back and grabbed his chest. He immediately halted and apologized," Sorry. I didn't see the speed breaker. Are you ok Lakshmi?", she released her hand from his chest. Lakshmi confirmed him "I am ok. Doctor" smiled at him. He said, "If you are comfortable, you can hold me". As he kick started his bike again, she adjusted herself. She sat as close as to him and held his shoulder, " Ok.Doctor" signed a smile.
Rajesh saw the green board that showed him, Vellalur village was 2 km distance. He veered the accelerator to the 4th gear, which was the top most gear in the bike. She leaned on him purposefully. He felt the caressing of her body against him, hairs in his hands straightened, and he felt electricity all over his body.
As they reached the village, the entire village was very calm. Lakshmi told him to halt his bike in front of the temple, which the entrance of the village.He scratched his chest unintentionally. There were few people slept in the temple. Rajesh Shouted "Where is your house ?" . She gruffed, "Few more distance. Doctor" and kept her finger in the lips. He said " Ok. I won' t speak loudly" liked her childish behaviour.
The light from the moon showed the path into the village street. Rajesh followed her, as Lakshmi walked into the streets of the village and houses were on either side of the path. There was no single house, which had light switched on. His heart danced as he saw curvy hips moved in zig-zag motion infront of him, but his mind told him to see her only as a soulful person who had difficult up bring.
After few more minutes, she entered in to wet furrow. Sugarcane cultivation, which was about 6 feet tall and was planted on the rigid surface. He took his steps carefully without tripping. She walked ahead without uttering any word. He felt appalling as she talked a lot while they travelled in the bike, but here she was silent. He was jerked by change of her behaviour, and he decided to break the silence.
Before he opened his mouth, his nose assailed by jasmine smell. He saw the black curly hair and there was no flower on her head. His doubted, "How does I smell jasmine flower ?". She responded "Jasmines are planted in the middle of the sugarcane cultivation that was reason"- before she completed the sentences, he looked around him the place. His eyes were wide open, as the place was dark and so loomy.
The light from the moon in the open field gave him glimpse around surrounding area. Rajesh asked Lakshmi, "How long it would take?". She starred at him, "We are about to reach home. Doctor". After passed the sugarcane cultivation, they walked on the fields. Rajesh looked around the field, there was not any house around him. He confused, "There isn't any home here ?", and expected a reply from her. She did not utter any word, but walked briskly forward. He felt slight odd about the situation and stopped in the middle.
Lakshmi did not sense his walking, turned back and said with a concerned look, "What happened. Doctor?". He irritated, "How long we have to go? ", and looked around the place. She smile flat, "Don't be sacred. We have to past the coconut grove and then my home". He managed a silly smile, "I thought that I stamped on a nail, so only I stopped" and hide his scary face.
After few more distance she walked through the coconut grove, she showed him her house.It looked a old house. Rajesh smirked " you told it would 5 mins but it has taken more than 15 mins ".Lakshmi ignored his comments and walked towards her home. He felt relaxed, as at last they reached the house, and he followed her towards her house.
She unlocked the old rusty compound gate and marched few steps towards the mansion. Rajesh stood before the compound gate and looked at the old broken house. It looked exactly like a dark house as shown in the movies.It could fall at any moment. The house had no light illuminating as the electricity was shutdown. There was no house around it........ooowhooooo.........ooooowhoooooo............oooooowhooooo..... He heard the howl sound of various various dogs. Lakshmi turned towards him and invited him to her house.
Rajesh got her attention, holding the medical kit on the left hand, and dropped his other hand into his pocket.There was no pavement between the compound gate and the front gate of the mansion, but it was covered with the decomposed leaves. He thought will they ever clean this place?.
As Lakshmi walked slowly, he measured his steps...WHO.HOO..WHO..HOO..The sound of the owl made him to clutch the shirt in center chest. As they reached the front door of the house, she pushed the door. The door opened with the cracked sound. DDDAP...DDAP...DAP..DAPP...DAPPP... When birds moved towards his face, he obstructed his face with the right hand.His eyes slightly squinted.
The moon light passed through the open window lighted the big hall.The room was full of dust, the floor was not clean,and wall paints were peeled off. There was a round table at the center of the hall and beyond that, it had a stair case connecting the first floor . The hall is the center of the house as it connected to the other rooms.
She pleaded, "Get-in doctor. I will come back". He walked few step. Then she told him to wait and then she entered in to north- eastern side room which was dark. He waited for her. One minute passed.. Two minutes passed...Three minutes passed...
The room was so silent and dark that increased his anxiety. He looked at the stair case. He walked slowly towards the stair case. He heard with his shoes scratching the floor. He keep his hand on stair case rail. He waited for second and then before he keep his foot in stairs, she appeared with a lamp and said with a flat voice "Doctor. This way". He jerked " I thought upstairs. Sorry".
She entered into another big room with the lamp. He followed her with sheer curiosity. She kept the lamp on the table beside the cot. And then there was a women in the bed. The women slept in the bed without jerking. She gave space to him so that he could check on her mother.
He could not see her face clearly. He took the lamp close to her wrinkle face of the lady, and his eyes moved his eyes side to side. He finds something very odd about her.He checked the sleeping lady and confirmed her pulse rate is normal. Fixing his gaze on her, he said,"She is Ok. Only".
Lakshmi concerned , "Breathing trouble has stopped for now. But it will come later.Can you give her any medication .Doctor". He turned towards her. Her words showed concern she had for her mother, and her face expression was so pleading to him. He started to like her after seeing her love toward her sick mother. He thought person who marry her would be lucky because girl like her treat their mother-in-law as if their own mother.
He looked around the big room, he sat on the chair beside her, and opened the medical kit. He loaded the medicine in the syringe and injected it into the woman's shoulder. The old lady gave a low sound with pain and turned her head towards the other side. He saw a cotton blanket near in the end of the bed. He assured her, "She will be alright. No more breathing problem" and closed his kit.
They were silent for few more seconds. She looked stunningly glistering to him in the lamp light as he was admiring her beauty. oooooowhoooooo . Another howl sound interrupted him brought him back to senses. He said"Sorrry" to himself and looked around the room.
He casually said "Are two alone in the house ?". Lakshmi said "why ? Doctor". Rajesh hesitated, "It is not safe for an old lady and a girl to stay alone in the big house". She giggled displaying her shiny white teeth, " Don't worry. There is no ghost in the house". He looked down and hided his smile.
She offered him money, but he rejected it, " I am just doing my job". "I got to go" as he got up from the chair, she protested him not leave without cup of tea. She thanked him, for coming all the way without any hesitations. She asked him to wait and then went to the kitchen.
Rajesh, who was alone with the diseased women, checked the room, and the room looked very damaged, as the paints were ruptured from the wall. He saw a wall mirror infront of him. He adjusted his black hair, and scratched his shin strap beard with symmetrically trimmed. Something got his attention like a photo frame, which was at his back side.
He took the lamp in his hand and turned back. He moved towards the photo frame, the image in the frame became brighter. There a girl face in the frame.
It had a girl's face looked exactly like lakshmi except the nose pierced with gold ring. It looked like a much young version of her. There was a name written on the below the frame. He opened his mouth, before he could the process the reaction, "That is my grandmother" interrupted lakshmi with a cup of tea.
After sipping the tea, he covered the mother with blanket. His heart ached him to propose his feeling for her, but , "Thank you for the tea. I am leaving", and picked his medical kit. She came to the front door of the house, electricity were switched on.
He slowly walked towards the compound gate with half -hearted. As he reached the gate his heartbeat raised, he turned back and shouted, "Let me know once your mother got better". He locked the compound gate and waved at her.
She stood by front door of the house, looking at him. She told, "Thank you. Doctor", and nodded him. He felt that she wanted to say something to him. She face expressed a disappointed look and gave him fake smile
He kick started his bike and veered towards his clinic. He did not focus on the riding. He let out a quick breath, as his mind flashed the scene of her sitting in the back seat lean on his back towards her village.
He went back to his bed, thinking about her. He cannot sleep that night, as he dreamed about Lakshmi. Next day he kept thinking about her. He dated so many girls in the college , but never intended to marry them. He waited for the right girl. He thought that he wait was over as he met the right girl.
Next few days he thought Lakshmi would show up. Days passed. That day he was talking to his mother, " I love her Mom. I am sure you also like her". His mother screamed " Is she rich ? Is she belong to our community ?" . Rajesh got angry " I love "- before he complete the scentences someone knocked the door. He whispered " I will talk to you later".
Dr. Nair came to his clinic. Dr. Nair said, "Next week my marriage. You have to come compulsory" gave the invitation card. He said, "Sure! Thank you" and checked the invitation cards. Imaging his wedding card, Rajesh weds Lakshmi, he smiled.
Rajesh had wrinkled under eyes, mouth slightly opened and felt butterfly over his stomach. Dr. nair, "What happened .Doctor".He sat back on the chair comfortably and said, "I came to your village for treating an lady" added casually "in the mansion", for some reason, he avoided bringing Lakshmi name.
Dr.Nair with the narrow eyes," What are you saying. Doctor?". He said with firm voice and narrow eyed, "The girl lived with sick mother in the mansion.Doctor". Dr.Nair replied with eye widen and his mouth slightly opened in shock,"There is no one in that mansion. Doctor". Rajesh,shocked, moved forward and kept the both hands on the table, " WHATTTT. What are you saying?". Dr.Nair saw the disbelief in his eyes and said, "The mansion has been closed for more than 100 years" with a lower tone. On hearing it, Rajesh eyebrow slightly raised, eye contracted, lips parted, and his fingers interlocked on the table.Dr.Nair said," I came in the wrong time and I think you need to take a break" got up from the chair.
Dr.Nair said, "Doctor. I am sure. There is no one in the mansion" and walked hesitantly toward the door.
Rajesh sat back in the chair, alone in his clinic. His mind became numb. He believed the whole world stopped from moving. And thought who exactly came to the clinic on that day ?
Rajesh eyes widened,mouth opened and his heart might be exploded. His thought narrowed on the photo frame as he had seen in the mansion. His mind flashed back and forth about the image of the girl in the frame and girl, who came to the clinic.
There was something odd about the picture in the frame. Rajesh spoke to himself, " Think properly. you are missing something". He thought there must be some connection between the girl in the frame and the girl who came to clinic. Rajesh shouted, "OH! MY GOD. It was the ring". In the frame the girl pierced her nose with the ring was the same the ring he saw in the Lakshmi finger when she gave him a cup of tea.
The name written in the photo frame should be the name of girl who came to clinic was " NIBUNA".
After a shocking revelation, still one more question haunting his mind. If the girl is Nibuna, Then who the hell was the old lady in the bed ???He thought for few more seconds, suddenly he stood by pushing his chair back and uttered,"NO..NOOO.... NOOOOOOOOOO"
In 1750. Ramanna drinks along with his friends and slept in the field. As the night grows darker all his friends left the place, except, Ramanna who could not open his eyes. After the hangover, he find hard to stand on his legs.Out of nowhere, he smells the jasmine flower, he turns his head and spotted a woman in a white saree and black blouse.
He walks towards her with bottle in one hand. As he walks closer towards her, she begins to cry and tell him that her brother has breathing problem and ask his help. Ramanna looks her ravishing beauty, and accepts to help her. They both enter the mansion. She asks him to wait and gets the lamp from the kitchen. He enquires the other room in the ground floor. She turns toward him and tells him that her grand father is sleeping.
She walks past across the round table and walks toward the stair case. As she walks the stairs. he saw something glittering in her legs. He also walks in the stair case behind her. There was a cot in the middle and a boy is sleeping in the bed. She tells him to wait in that room and she enters the kitchen. Ramanna takes the lamp closer to his face and looks at him, his booze eye turn to wide. The boy opened his eye, as Ramanna jerked in horror. Before he screamed in fear, the boy bite his face. THE BOY IN THE BED EXACTLY LOOKED LIKE HER except his boyish haircut.
There is a photo frame in that room. It has a picture of men with an eyebrow raised, mouth opened, his teeth exposed and an eye fixed at you. He looked exactly like her except over grown beard and mustache. When you looked at the frame, and you had already guessed the name of the witch.