Ajay was sitting quietly in the parlour of Colonel’s house while the latter was busy boasting about for 35 long years and had won various gallantry awards during his service. Ajay was bored to death ass he had a huge price to pay for being a ‘brave’ Colonel’s neighbor. Every evening the Colonel will bang into his house accompanied with his riffle to invite him over to his place for a drink. Ajay was as afraid of Colonel’s temper as he was of his rifle and he hence never dared o a ‘no to him.
“It’s all in the mind,” Ajay was finally able to open his mouth and uttered a few words, bringing about a temporary pause to Colonel’s monologue.
“Sorry….what?” Colonel asked, carefully scrutinizing Ajay with his mean eyes.
“Strength and courage are the qualities of the mind, Colonel and they have nothing to do with mind.”
“Oh!” Colonel said with a contempt painted face, “you mean to say that a person can lift mountains up only by thinking that he could!”
“Exactly,” Ajay said calmly as he slid back in his chair, “you can’t raise even a limb if you make yourself believe that you are paralyzed when actually you are not”
“I don’t believe this!” Colonel said flashing his enormous teeth.
“What if I prove to you someday?” Ajay said with a challenging smile.
“Then do it today, right here, right now.” Colonel snapped back.
“Not now,” Ajay said as he gulped down the contents of his glass in a single sip and placed it back on the table, “it’s already midnight and my wife will be waiting.”
“Well!” Colonel said as he snorted, “As you wish.”
As Ajay got up his eyes fell on a set of four fabric dolls placed a shelf right behind, where Colonel was seated.
“Do you practice Voodoo?”Ajay asked at once.
“Then what are these dolls for?”
“Oh, those are gifts from a dear friend of mine. They have arrived by courier this evening.”
“Colonel, I am having a very bad feeling about the dolls,” Ajay said as his face became pale.
“Why? What happened?” Colonel’s face was criss-crossed with concern.
“Do you know such dolls are used by people who practice Voodoo? May be….somebody is conspiring to harm you.” Ajay turned a deadly pale face towards the Colonel as he said.
Terror was obvious on Colonel’s face for a split second but then he deliberately suppressed it.
“No devil from the hell will ever dare to mess with Colonel Gajendra Singh Rathore, young man! You can be sure of that.”
After Ajay had left, Colonel went to change into a nightgown before retiring to bed. As he was about to turn off the lights of the parlour he turned to have a look at the dolls but then his gaze transfixed themselves on the dolls. They all were pierced with huge needles. As Colonel didn’t had any faith in things like black magic, the needles were not able to bother him much. But he was sure of one thing – that, someone has definitely broken into his house! He searched every nook and corner of the house but found no human form.
‘Then who did it?’ He asked himself as he bolted the windows of his bedroom.
He fortified themselves with additional pegs of drinks and drifted to sleep. A little later, he was woken up by a sharp sound. He opened his eyes to see the flower vase placed on his bedside table has crashed into pieces. The window of the bedroom was wide open and wind was blowing fiercely.
‘But I do remember bolting it!”, he thought as he bolted them again, ‘then how could be....?’
He felt thirsty and walked towards the kitchen. While he was midway through, the power went off. He groped in the dark and somehow made his way towards the kitchen. It was pitch dark there. Suddenly, a flash of lightening lit up the kitchen and he saw a black cat sitting over his refrigerator. Then it was dark again. He pulled out a candle and lit it with his lighter. He looked at the refrigerator in the light of the candle but there was no cat.
‘Am I hallucinating?’ He said as he moved towards his bedroom.
Suddenly, the whole house began to shake and things came crashing down from the shelves. Something hit his head and there was darkness again.
“Are you okay?” Colonel woke up from his bed and saw Ajay sitting by his side.
“You were right, Ajay!” Colonel said as he jumped up from the bed, “Somebody has done black magic over the house using those dolls. They have sent a devil to kill me in the form of a cat!”
“What?” Ajay asked in utter disbelief.
Colonel explained in detail about the supernatural things that had happened in his house last night. After quietly listening to everything and often chuckling in between, Ajay finally burst out laughing leaving Colonel absolutely astounded.
“It was me who has put those needles on the dolls after you had gone to change.” Ajay said sheepishly, “And that was the thing, which has laid the foundation in your heart for fear to build-up and carve a niche within you. As you were preoccupied with your fears, you didn’t bolt the windows properly. They opened when the wind blew and the vase crashed. The cat must have jumped in from the open window too. The rest of the trick was done by the nature. It was the stormy night which added on to the eeriness. And finally, the Earthquake came and played the part of the cherry on the top of the cake. You took it for supernatural things while they all were natural happenings. As I always say Colonel – it’s all in the mind.”
Ajay flashed the smile of a winner while Colonel lowered his eyes in silent acceptance of defeat.