Fantasy Horror Thriller
Guru Raj, I know you are well travelled and you would have met many interesting people.
Is there any interesting incident that you would like to share? Asked Ben Rogers, the famous American T.V. host to Raj, who after living the most materialistic life in the Big Apple had given up everything and became an ascetic, living a peaceful life by the Ganges.
Ben had read about him in a magazine and was so impressed by his thoughts that he flew all the way to Banaras to interview him.
Ben, there are many such episodes but I would like you to listen to this one. I am sure this will definitely surprise you.
Once, I was travelling from Rishikesh to Banaras, it was a last minute booking so he could only manage to get the seat in a State run bus that was leaving in the evening, the small seats, uncomfortable and bumpy ride wasn’t good enough to keep him awake.
The heavy dose of paranthas and sweet lassi had done the trick; such was the magic of a heavy north Indian lunch that it could easily beat all the marijuana of the world.
I dozed off the moment I boarded the bus and his lifelong dream of entering the Billionaires club came into play.
The brief moment of virtual success celebrating a big corporate deal with a few fortune 50 honchos in Bahamas was ruthlessly broken by the sudden breaks applied by the bus driver.
It was pitch dark outside and a single front light of the bus made it almost impossible for a human eye to spot the landslide but the driver was drunk and now he had the extra-terrestrial powers to see the invisible.
By now everyone was out of the bus and thanked the bus driver for applying the brakes just in time, a few seconds of delay and the bus would have fallen down hundred meters below into the valley leaving all of them dead.
Looking at the gorge, I thanked God once again for saving their lives and started walking.
The landslide had filled almost the entire road with rubble leaving a foot of space which was only good enough for a motorbike to pass.
This was so uncalled for, it was dark, they were stuck in the middle of nowhere, the road was completely deserted and staying their waiting for some help wouldn’t have been a wise decision.
He thought of hitch hiking my way to the nearest town which as per the driver was some twenty kilometers away.
Had only walked for ten minutes that I heard a bombarding sound coming from far and the very next minute saw a high beam piercing his eyes.
It was a motorbike and I was praying that it didn’t' have a pillion rider on it.
Started waving both my hands in air and the next moment the motor bike was standing next to me, the high decibel noise of a Royal En-field never sounded so melodious.
Interestingly, the rider was an ascetic, scant with matted locks and a long grey beard.
‘Namaste baba ji,’ I folded my hands and wished him bending at an angle of 30 degrees before the sadhu.
‘Namaste beta!’ replied the baba as he switched off the motor bike and lit his marijuana filled chillum.
‘Tell me, why did you stop me?’
‘Baba, my bus got struck because of a landslide and I shall be really thankful to you if you could offer me a lift to the nearby village.’
The baba took a long drag and pointed towards the sky, ‘Beta be thankful to the Almighty, who is running this show and we all are actors.’
‘I can drop you till my home which is half a kilometer before the village and from there you will have to manage yourself,’ said the baba as he put out his chillum and kept it in his bag.
I controlled my laughter at the Shakespeare inspired dialogue of baba as I didn’t want to offend him and he was the only ray of hope in that deserted place.
Without wasting a minute he jumped on the pillion seat as he couldn't have expected a much interesting company than a marijuana smoking baba riding a motor bike coming out of nowhere.
The baba kicked his bike and off we went.
A few miles down and I thought of starting a conversation.
Baba, why do you smoke marijuana?’
Had to scream his lungs out, the firing of the motorbike was no less than a rocket launch.
‘Beta, we are the devotees of Shiva and have renounced the world.
We smoke marijuana and meditate to attain nirvana, there is no prohibition on smoking in our Sect.’
‘And what do you eat, baba?’
Beta, we do not eat like other sadhus as our food is special,’ said the baba as he looked behind and gave a gleaming smile.
I was feeling thirsty and asked Baba, if he had some water.
Baba immediately stopped the motor bike, pulled out a black plastic covered bowl and gave him some water to drink.
I gulped down the water in one go, thanked baba and carried on with his questions.
‘Baba if you don't mind me asking, you said you have renounced the world, then why have you kept a motor bike?’
I have heard stories of sadhus traveling all the way to the Himalayas on foot but never heard of a motor bike riding hermit, I giggled.
‘What is wrong in riding a motor bike?’ eh?
Babas’ are not humans? He replied in a furious tone.
‘There are so many sadhus who proclaim to be sanyasi but live a five star life, travel in air jets and own a fleet of luxury cars?
I am only using a borrowed motor bike to cover some distance.’
I soon realized that the baba was feeling offended by such personal remarks and decided to keep quiet for the rest of my journey as he didn't want to jeopardize the ride.
After ten minutes of silence, the baba stopped the motor bike and asked me to get down.
I asked him, ‘Baba why are you dropping me here? You said you will drop me near your home.
Beta, this is my home and remember I told you the village is just twenty minutes from here and you can walk down till there,’ replied baba.
‘But this is a cremation ground, no one lives here,’
The baba replied, Beta, I am an Aghori sadhu. Haven’t you heard about us?
We live near cremation grounds and feed on half burnt bodies or dead bodies floating in the river.’
I was already scared to death and the next sentence of baba sent shivers down my spine.
I fainted when the baba told him that the round bowl from which I drank water was nothing but a human skull.
The next morning I woke up with the sunrise and found myself alone in the cremation ground, the baba was long gone. It was hard to believe that I had spent a whole night at a cremation ground lying among burnt corpses.
This episode was scary as hell.
Any other day I would have boasted off this incident to everyone, but that day I just wanted to reach the nearest village and catch the first bus to Banaras.
This was undoubtedly the most unforgettable day of my life or shall we say the most unforgettable night.