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Kunal Hariani



Kunal Hariani


The Haunted Psyche

The Haunted Psyche

11 mins 348 11 mins 348

Vivaan stood at the window of his parents’ apartment, sipping coffee from his favourite mug while watching heavy rainfall outside. It was the year 2009 and was a monsoon evening in the suburbs of Mumbai, where he lived with his parents in a flat on the 9th floor of Gokarna apartments. The wind outside was whirling furiously and there was little traffic on the road below. He could see people running for relief from the rains, some carrying umbrellas and some not.

He was thinking of his father who worked for a corporation in Dubai. His father was usually far away from him for months. He missed him whenever he heard his friends speaking about their fathers. His mother was also working at some firm on a part-time basis, but nowadays she worked for long hours for she was passionate about her work and dedicated her off time to finish off the tasks she was given. In short, she was workaholic. Her son never liked this attitude for he rarely saw her at home for about two months, and craved her presence for she was the only parent who was with him most of the time.

His phone rang, it was a call from a friend. He picked up and spoke with him while entertaining the thought that his college will reopen on next week and he could escape from this lonely house. They chatted for a while. He could see darkness looming outside the window and it was time for the re-run of his favourite TV show. So he bade goodbye to his friend and sat down on the couch, took the remote from the front table and switched on the TV which was on standby.

The TV was an old Videocon connected with the cable. They didn’t have digital TV during those pre - digitization days. Usually, Vivaan watched his favourite reality show every evening and that evening was no different. Before watching he is used to the habit of preparing snacks or meals like popcorn, sandwich or salad, but that evening he was busy speaking with his friend so he forgot doing it. The reality show had begun before he could even switch on the TV, and so he sat empty-handed.

It was interesting, he thought while watching the show. But more interesting would be the real college where he can form real friendships, hang out with them and not this reality show where he cannot interact. It is the substitute for real life, he thought. But no matter what uncles and aunties think, this is awesome. He dreamt during the commercial break that he would one day become a celebrity. People would love him, girls would ask for autographs, they would mob him wherever he went. Girls, he thought, who want them anyway? He would instead have affairs with many heroines. He would see his friend’s faces, all of them would seem red and jealous of his lifestyle. People would cheer him everywhere, in parks, in theatres, at 5-star hotels and wherever he went. Nobody will hate him. Nobody will insult him. Wherever he went people will drop their jaws. His enemies would kill themselves in jealousy. The whole world will watch him on every reality show he would participate in.

The power goes off, his room is now filled with darkness. He cannot see anything. All gone. All fame and power and popularity. Only darkness is left. Now he had to go to the kitchen and light a candle. He missed his reality show halfway. He missed all of his friends he made in college.

“Aww! Shoot!” he forgot that his mom will not come home early today. She had told him she will come late at night. Now he had to prepare dinner and what about power cut? He forgot that too. Now he had to cope with it. Now he had to survive on his own.

The sound of shower outside reverberated throughout the home, the rain seemed to be intensifying. Vivaan was in the room, trying to figure out how he would walk through the hall and towards the kitchen in such darkness. It resembled his life when he was lonely during his boarding school days when he was going through dark periods of ostracism and bullying. His chest felt heavy when he thought about it. All of his memories surged through his mind like they were waiting for a chance to escape the bondage of the subconscious and harass him till he starts harming himself but, to their dismay, he remained still. He has coped with his memories all the time whenever he was alone, sad or gloomy. He forced himself to be busy all the time. Forced himself to wake up every new day, month, and year. Forced himself to study during exams, for which he was bullied during boarding school days. Forced himself to learn new things, and now he has to force himself to be alone at home throughout that night and deal with his feelings and memories without TV and electricity.


Somehow, he reached for the candle in the kitchen, walking through the dark hallway. He scanned all the way throughout the house with his hands. It reminded him of a blind woman he once helped. Now he is in a situation similar to hers. He took matchbox and candles, or he assumed they were matchbox and candles, without seeing them clearly and placed it on the nearby kitchen table. Still, he needed his eyes to light the matchstick-

-he flinched. Apparently he heard something. A kind of noise that came when, he thought, a cricket bat hits the ball. “What the hell!” he muttered. It was repeating, again and again, it seemed to be coming from the living room. Now what he would do? First, he cannot see anything and now some strange noises! He-

He shuddered. The sound was coming towards the kitchen…

Somehow, he turned towards the kitchen door. But there was nothing.

The sound stopped…

He quickly went to the table where his candle was placed. His eyes tried to adjust themselves in the dark and now he can see the faint shape of the candle. He lit the candle and took it with him in his right hand. He turned towards the door and found no one there.

Still, he was alert. Something was wrong…

He went to the living room. Nothing wrong was there that he could see with his eyes, smell with his nose or listen with his ears. But it felt odd.

He felt someone was watching him from behind…

He turned to look behind. No one was there. The home was quiet except he can hear the pitter-patter of rain echoing throughout the home. He can hear his own breathing, loud enough to scare anyone in a situation like he is in now. There was no one except him. Everything was normal, except the feeling of someone – was – stalking – him – in – this – empty – apartment increased. His breathing increased with it. In no time, he was breathing faster than before.

He heard a whisper.

Someone was continuously whispering. He guessed whatever it was, it was either whispering to him or someone else. Slowly and quietly he moved his legs, he wanted to go towards the source of the whisper. He quietly moved towards the direction from where it was coming. He reached outside the bathroom door. The sound of whisper magnified. Whoever was whispering, he thought, was in the bathroom. He opened the door, slowly waved the candle inside and before he could go inside, the whispering stopped.

No one was inside, at least no one that he could see through his eyes.

He heard a bang!

He flinched for a moment. His eyes were full of tears. He wanted to cry but not a sound came out of his mouth. He has to man up, instead of worrying he should fight. Yes. He will fight.

But fight with whom? A ghost? He started to shiver. In no moment he heard another bang. Then another and it continued till it apparently became loudest of bangs he had ever heard.

It stopped… Vivaan felt someone was standing outside the bathroom door. He could swear on his mother, that someone was there if somebody asked him so. But who? Who was there except him alone in the house… and the ghost...?

He heard a knock on the door. Vivaan shuddered as he realized someone was near him knocking the bathroom door. He placed the candle near the basin, quickly closed his eyes shut and opened the door. He opened his eyes and took his candle. No one was there. No sign of any visible person. His mind became disoriented. What was out there? Who was harassing him, and at the time when he is alone? Is this should be the cause of his concern, or going down and sitting somewhere outside the building like a restaurant, where no one can scare him like this? What about locking the house until his mother comes back? Why hasn’t she come? Did she leave him forever to make him more desperate of her? Is he now an orphan with a ghost as his companion? What about the house? Will the building fall?

He took a deep breath and, with it, his mind calmed down. Now he has to gather all of his willpower and get out of the house and for this, he has to pass through the living room. He has no other option. Rather than closing himself in this bathroom, he has to go out or else he would suffer consequences. But what kind of consequences? No one is there. It might be his mind which is playing tricks on him. Instead of being stuck in a rut like this, he has to clear his mind like cleaning a slate board with a duster. He has to do something.

He held the candle tightly in front of him, he slowly opened the bathroom door and went walking towards the living room. While passing through the sofa, he saw something unimaginable.

The TV was on…

How it can be? How can TV be switched on when there is no electricity? But it is there. But he didn’t know why. The TV showed nothing, just white noise and disturbance. As he moved further to investigate how the hell it was running, something stopped him abruptly-

 “Comme too mee

-someone whispered through the TV set. He froze. His mind went blank. He couldn’t move even if he had intended to run, he couldn’t.


-someone whispered again. He felt like he was melted away. His eyes wide open, his mouth gaped and his body vibrated. He couldn’t shout, he had no guts left to take action.

I promisse yoou famme, monney and everything you desssire. Comme to mee.

Someone was playing with him. Someone was reading his mind but who?

Doo nnot worree. Eet woon’t huurt… ” it hissed.

Vivaan cannot take it anymore. His knees got weak, his eyes were almost closed, and his legs loosened. He collapsed on the sofa.


Agrima took a sigh of relief when the doctor came to her and said, “Now he is fine and awake. But he needs rest.”

“Thank you very much doctor,” Agrima said with some relief. “But I still don’t understand w-what happened to him,” she shivered a little.

“It seems to me that he had a mental trauma. You need to see a psychiatrist for this.”

Still, she didn’t understand how. The doctor assured her that he is in a safe place and that she can meet him and talk to him. She went inside the ward and placed herself beside his bed. He was quiet and didn’t react to her presence. She asked him what happened but got no response. She thought that somewhere on the line he hated her for not talking to him during long office hours and also that he craved for her as he used to before. She thought she was responsible for all this mess and she apologized him for that but he didn’t respond to this either.

He was still like that for two to three weeks. He wouldn’t talk to anyone, wouldn’t eat properly and even skipped his early week of college. His father, who took a leave after he heard his son’s condition, was worried when he saw his son who seemed to be lifeless. So a doctor was consulted and he suggested therapy.

After months of therapy, he finally recovered. He was now energetic, fit and fine. All trauma seemed to disappear. But what about Agrima? Was she okay after all this? What happened to her?

She remembered everything that happened on that fateful night when she returned from her office around midnight. She could recall everything easily whenever she entered the home from outside. The first thing she saw that night when she arrived at home, was her son convulsing on the sofa. The sofa was wet. When she gathered strength and touched him lightly, he growled and hissed. His pupils were white. He started to clench his teeth together and in a hoarse voice said, “Leave him alone!” It was not him, it was someone else. She flinched and went inside the bedroom to call for the ambulance. She never talked about this incident ever, not even with his doctors or even with his therapist. She kept it to herself. People won’t believe her, she thought. It was so scary that whenever it came in her mind it repeated again and again like a tape recorder being rewind and played again and again. It tormented her but she kept calm. Today nobody knows what was occurring in her mind whenever she harmed herself. Nobody knows for sure that she was losing her mind and was becoming insane. Those words, “Leave him alone!” crept her from her subconscious and tortured her until she would take her last breath. It will never leave her alone till her end.


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