Waghanpalli

Waghanpalli

5 mins 260 5 mins 260

Aisha was going to a place, which she had only heard about. It was a lost town near Dandeli in Karnataka. Among the rumours, one was that it was haunted. Her parents had resisted but she convinced them. She took a train till Londa. When she reached at the railway station many autos and rikshaw drivers approached her. 

“Where do you want to go mam? I will take you.” Every auto guy was asking the same and the situation was chaotic. Aisha replied, almost shouted, “Waghanpalli”. Something froze the guys for a moment and without uttering a word they moved aside. Aisha was surprised but relieved. She found her way outside the station and was looking for a public transport that could take her there. She observed that one taxi driver was taking passengers on sharing basis and he was shouting, “Dandeli, Dandeli”. Waghanpalli was on the way of Dandeli from Londa. Aisha went to him and asked, “Bhaiyya, will you drop me to Waghanpalli?” He gave her glance, then moved face and cleared his ears with a key in his hands. Then turned back to Aisha and asked in a Kannada accent, “Where?”

“Waghanpalli.”

“It’s a lost town in middle of the Jungle. No one goes there.”

“Ok, then drop me on the road near by the town.” Aisha pleaded.

“I won’t” He replied as if he would slap her, if she kept insisting.

Aisha was disappointed and irritated because of this behaviour. She knew no one would give her ride because of the rumours about the town.

‘Let it be, I will go on my own. After all its 6 to 7 kms and I am a frequent Marathon runner.’ She thought to herself. She walked for 1 to 2 kms and someone shouted from back, “Hey, hey.” Aisha turned and saw a girl coming on a scooty. Aisha waited, and the girl stopped by her.

“Where do you want to go?” the girl asked.

“Waghanpalli.” Aisha answered presuming the reaction.

“Ok, I am going to Dandeli. I will drop you off.”

Aisha was surprised to hear that. “Are you sure because no one was ready to take me there.”

She moved her hands in dismissal and said, “Oh, they are all illiterate, superstitious people. Don’t take them seriously. Come sit.”

“That’s great! by the way, I am Aisha.” She said by moving her hands forward to shake.

“I am Tanya.” The girl replied with utter simplicity. 

Aisha sat on the scooty behind her and the journey started. It was around 10 in the morning and weather was cloudy. As they were getting closer to Waghanpalli, the weather started to change. The cold breeze was calming down her heart. The moisture in the air was soothing her skin. Nature was playing its music through bird’s chirping, breeze and movement of leaves. Aisha was relaxed, happy, light as a feather. She did not realise when her eyes got shut and she fell asleep.

An odour of a rotten meat snatched her out of a sleep. She looked around devastatingly, it was a droughted land. A dead camel was rotting near her. She crawled away from it. The heat was burning her inside out. She was thirsty, tired and full of the dust. It was hard for her to stand up. No one was around except the bushes and cactus. Gradually, she started walking.

Aisha was soaked in sweat completely; she could not believe that she had just walked few steps. The silence was much more dreadful than screams. She thought her legs are drifting apart from her body.

‘keep walking, keep walking.’ She was telling herself. Every inch of movement required a strength of lifetime. She realised that there was a road and a dense jungle few meters away across the road. It was hard to believe but worth taking a chance. She accumulated her strength and started walking.

A few minutes later, a sound of vehicle fall on her ears. She looked everywhere but no vehicle was present although the sound was becoming clearer. Aisha turned back again and this time the white Bolero was right behind her. She was confused, the Bolero was no where a moment ago. It was still a relief; she could ask for a help now. Aisha dragged herself a bit towards the car only to realise that the wheels were covered with blood. The red, fresh blood drops were drenching the cactus below it. A shiver ran down her spine, she started running towards the road. Her body was heavier, the vultures were crying and roaming in the sky. The Bolero was coming closer, faster.

Aisha had increased her speed too. The vultures disappeared as she reached the road. She saw back, the Bolero came faster, took a round turn and stood in front of her. Until then she could only see the bloody wheels but now the Bolero was close enough to see through the glasses and much to her horror the car was vacant. She got froze, drenched in sweat, her body was immobile. Though there was no one in the car, she could sense someone’s presence. She felt a hand on her left shoulder, turned back and screamed her heart out.

1 month later

Neha was surprised to hear that. “Are you sure because no one was ready to take me there.”

She moved her hands in dismissal and said, “Oh, they are all illiterate, superstitious people. Don’t take them seriously. Come sit.”

“That’s great! by the way, I am Neha.” She said by moving her hands forward to shake.

“I am Aisha.” The girl replied with utter simplicity.  


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