The Revenge of the Dead
The Revenge of the Dead
My Mother left Kolkata on School duty. She was teaching In Loreto School. The Superior had asked her to accompany the students to Darjeeling where they had to do a project in Botany. As I was now in College, and was expected to be responsible, my mother left with instructions that I should keep a close watch over my Granddad, who lived a little distance away in a bungalow all by himself. As he was in his ninety’s and was a Cardiac patient, my mother was worried about his health. She told me that she had informed her father, that whenever he did not feel up to the mark, he should give me a call from his mobile.
When she left, I felt free at last. The perennial controlling hand on my shoulders, had at last been lifted, and I was free to breathe. I planned an outing with my friends. We would all take a trip to Bandel by train, and eat in the restaurants, and have undiluted fun, to our heart’s content. We enjoyed ourselves on the train, eating treats banned by our parents, from the hawkers selling ‘singaras’, vegetable chops, and ‘Jhaal muri’. In Bandel after visiting the Church, I received a phone call from my grandfather. I answered the phone but got no response. Then as we were enjoying ourselves in a posh restaurant, where we had ordered mouth-watering, delectable dishes, which were prohibited by our solicitous elders, again there was a phone call from my granddad, asking me to go over to his house. I looked at the train timings and knew it would not be possible for me to visit him that day. I told him I would do my best. We reached Kolkata very late. So I went to bed. Next morning when I checked my mobile, I saw that there were two phone calls from my grandfather, but I had slept all through the night, being too tired after the hectic outing. In the morning when I called him, there was no response. Thrice I tried to contact him, but failed. Then I decided to go over. As I opened the door, what a sight greeted me! There on the floor, my grandfather’s stiff body was sprawled out. His open eyes stared blankly, his teeth showed in a grotesque manner, from his mouth which was twisted in an ugly snarl, his limbs had contorted, all depicting the agony of death. He must have also vomited before he expired, as a yellowish, white mass covered the floor. Seeing the gruesome spectacle in front of me, I banged the door behind me, and rushed out.
My mother returned post haste after getting the news of the demise. Surprisingly she did not ask me how it had all happened. There was no complaint or recrimination. When my mother arrived, she took over charge and my grand- father’s last rites were performed smoothly. But my conscience was heavy. I knew I was to be blamed, and I could not forgive myself. The thought bothered me and gradually with the feeling of guilt always on my mind, I was becoming a wreck. In the end I decided that I would come to terms with my granddad by asking him for forgiveness. I would go to his house, and place a flower on the spot where he had breathed his last, and say a few prayers. I went to the market and bought a snow-white lily. But in my heart, there was a nagging fear, which I had not expressed to anybody. I was very scared of Spirits from the other world materializing, and according to what people around me said, if I had an iron object with me, it would prevent the Spirits from appearing, or coming near me. So I wore a steel bangle. With my heart beating the drum, my mouth drying up, I ventured out on my mission.
I opened the door noiselessly with the key that was still with me. But as I entered, the door shut with a click. I quickly tried to turn the knob, but it would not budge. It had got stuck for no apparent reason, and though I tried my level best to open the door, it proved to be impossible. Fear gripped me. What was I to do? How could I escape?! I froze. With my heart pounding, I said a silent prayer, and with shaking hands placed the flower on the spot where I ha last seen grandfather sprawled out. Immediately lightning went through the room. Then I heard the sound of a coming storm. My strength was giving way, and I felt as if I would get a black-out. Then a bizarre happening took place. First a wisp of smoke rose from the floor, gradually it thickened. It became thicker and thicker until it filled the air to such an extent that nothing was visible. I could not breathe. I started gasping for breath. I was asphyxiating for want of air. Then in that murky smoke, I saw two black hands taking shape, and moving towards my throat as if to suffocate me to death. I tried to scream, but sound would not come out from my throat. I tried to draw back from the advancing clutches, but I could not move, being paralyzed with fear. Then some muffled sounds came out from my vocal cord, and I fell on the floor in a dead heap.
I got up from my bed panting. I picked up a glass, filled it with water, and drank it. I had had a dreadful nightmare. I was so obsessed with the feeling of guilt, that even when I was sleeping, it was working on my mind.
I only hope my granddad, being my granddad, in his love and magnanimity, has forgiven me. Dead or alive, he would never take his revenge out on his own granddaughter!