03 September 2016, 18:55 IST
The breaks of the train screeched. It was the last stoppage of the day for the train DEE Intercity Express coming from Sadulpur (Rajasthan) to Delhi. Though the usual time of arrival of the train is 17:25 hours but due to connectivity issues the train was delayed and it was very unusual for the train to be so late. Unlike other passengers, Saurabh was in no hurry to get down as he came to Delhi to enjoy and he had plenty of time to take his luggage out of the train and get down.
He being a tolerant and cool minded engineer did not give a heap to those who pushed him while taking their luggage out of the train. He only uttered, “Bhai ghar kahi shift nahi hone wala, wahi rahega aap pahunch jaoge time pe” (Your house is not going to shift anywhere, you will find it on its place and you will reach there on time) but no one gave him much importance but an ogle look. Saurabh got down from the train tapping his feet on the platform. While carrying a college bag on his shoulders and a trolley bag in his right hand he moved towards the stairs and took his cell phone out of the pocket.
“Just reached at Sarai Rohilla Railway Station, will be reaching home in next half an hour” Saurabh texted to his cousin Aaryan.
“Ok bro. Waiting,” Aaryan replied.
“Ticket,” The TC demanded looking at Saurabh.
“Oh yeah, here it is,” Saurabh handed over the ticket to the TC standing at the stairs.
“Ok you can go out,” TC pointed out towards the exit handing over the ticket back to Saurabh.
Saurabh carefully kept the ticket back into his pocket and continued to move until he was stopped by someone who kept his hand on Saurabh’s left shoulder. Saurabh had his ear plugs on and was listening to loud music. He thought it must be a beggar who might have stopped him to ask for food or money. He moved his eyes towards his left shoulder to notice the hand but found none; he then turned his head to the left and then to the right and saw no one. Being puzzled he again turned his head towards the exit and saw a short heighted old man standing just an inch away from him. He had long white dreadlocks and wore a Rudraksh Mala around his neck, holding an Ewer in his right hand and a cane on his left, half naked and half covered by a tangerine piece of cloth. The long white beard hid his lips behind them. His face looked dark and pale.
“Do you need anything baba?” Saurabh asked the old man pretending to be generous but stopping his breath for a while to escape from an unbearable stink coming out of that old man’s mouth.
The old man said nothing and moved towards the opposite direction. Saurabh tried to be ignorant and exited the platform in search of a rickshaw so that he could reach the nearest metro station “Shastri Nagar”.
Om bhur bhuvah svah tat-savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat the doorbell sung and Aaryan unlocked the door of his house.
“Hi! Bro welcome” Aryan exclaimed. “It’s been long time we haven’t met each other, now we gonna enjoy” Aaryan continued while taking Saurabh’s trolley bag inside the guest room.
“A religious bhajan set for the doorbell, a nice way to welcome the guest but from when have you turned so religious bro?” Saurabh asked entering the bedroom.
“Ah. It’s just that, I like this way of welcoming the guests and nothing as such, but sometimes it keeps away the negative energies from entering the house isn’t it? Aaryan replied back.
“hahaha, A writer in you always has the answer to any question fired at your face haan”, Saurabh said smiling.
“So how was the journey bro? I hope the short journey did not bother you much” Aaryan asked Saurabh watching his favourite channel Investigation Discovery on Television.
“Nope until something strange happened while I was coming out of the platform” Saurabh replied checking his WhatsApp.
“Strange? What was that?” Aaryan asked.
“Nothing just…” “Hey how about visiting Lansdowne this time?” Saurabh asked looking at a travel programme while scrolling through the posts of a Facebook page of a Travelling Agency.
“Ahhan and what’s this place all about?” Aryan asked curiously.
“Everything… I mean Mountains, trekking, waterfall, greenery and most importantly peace.” Saurabh responded.
“Let’s Google and see what all places we can visit,” Aaryan said typing tourist places near Delhi on the web browser.
“How do you pronounce this place Mc…load…ganj” Aaryan asked showing a beautiful picture of a Church on his mobile screen.
“It’s Mc…leod…ganj not Mc…donald’s bro” Saurabh started laughing. “But this place is also an awesome place to visit”, he said.
“These pictures are tempting me to visit this place; let’s call Kartik as well and make it a group holiday this time. That gym freak will also get some rest from lifting those heavy weight dumbles,” Aaryan said looking for Saurabh’s reaction on his statement.
“Not a bad idea though,” Saurabh replied and started typing something on his cell phone.
“Okay, we will call that idiot tomorrow and make the plans accordingly,” Aaryan said dozing off.
04 September 2016, 11:00 IST
Both Saurabh and Aaryan had a telephonic conversation with Kartik and asked him to join them at Aaryan’s house. Kartik promised to join them in the evening after his gym as he never compromised his gym workout and well-maintained physique.
As promised, Kartik had to stay at Aaryan’s house overnight so just after his workout he walked out of the gym and rode his bike towards Aaryan’s place. When he was about to enter the lane of Aaryan’s house, he pulled the breaks noticing a black cat with a long tail and shiny eyes crossing his path. According to Hindu mythology, if a cat crosses your way, you should avoid moving ahead until someone crosses it before you. Being superstitious he waited for few minutes until someone crossed that path.
He thanked God and quickly moved ahead towards the building. Stepping inside the building he decided to go up by the lift. He entered the lift and pressed the button numbered ‘2’ to reach the second floor. The lift started moving upwards but suddenly the lights went off and the lift slid back to the ground floor. He somehow managed to open the door of the lift and came out of it. He then started climbing the stairs and meanwhile he recollected an incidence where the watchman’s daughter was narrating a story to Aaryan “This house is not good. We do not go to the terrace at nights. Someone is there who is invisible during the day and visible at the night. You can feel his presence but he never harmed anyone till date”.
Thinking about the instance, Kartik got afraid and started chanting Hanuman Chalisa while climbing towards the second floor. Hurriedly he reached the second floor, pushed the main door of Aaryan’s house, entered inside and locked himself. The lights were off and it was totally dark inside. He couldn’t hear anything but silence. He was about to move towards the switch board but suddenly he felt someone’s hand on his right shoulder. Kartik started breathing heavily and went dumbstruck. He did not have guts to move ahead or utter anything.
Before he could gather some courage to move, the lights went on and Saurabh giggled. “Bodybuilder you are supposed to be a strong guy and you are afraid of darkness! This is really hilarious”.
“Hahaha,” Aaryan laughed taking his hand away from Kartik’s shoulder.
“You guys never leave a chance to make fun of me. I will see you both” Kartik said throwing his gym bag towards Saurabh.
“Let’s See, who sees whom?” Aaryan replied moving towards the kitchen to serve dinner to everyone.
After having dinner they moved inside the bedroom and adjusted themselves on a double bed. While Kartik was busy chatting with Samaira, his best friend cum one sided love, Aaryan was busy talking to the love of his life, Shivanya. Saurabh being a nature lover kept on exploring more places to visit but none of those places tempted him more than the Triund Hill which is situated near Mcleodganj in Himachal Pradesh.
“Hey look at this picture guys, I want to go for trekking on this hill.” Saurabh said showing them the picture of the Triund Hill.
“Wow, such a beauty, I would love to visit this place once before I die,” Kartik Said.
“If you keep fearing from the darkness you will die before your honeymoon,” Aaryan laughed, taking the cell from Saurabh to see the picture of the Triund Hill.
“Isn’t this the same place we were talking about yesterday Saurabh?” Aryan asked.
“Yes the Church we saw yesterday in the picture and this Triund Hill both are in Mcleodganj,” Saurabh replied.
“Hey what if we take our girls along with us?” Kartik asked excitedly.
“Not a bad idea though, after all this idiot will get a chance to spend some time with his one sided love and who knows if he could get some courage to confess his love and propose her before he turns ninety hahaha,” Saurabh laughed.
“Ok then, this is final; we are taking our girls with us,” Aaryan said dreaming himself with Shivanya on the Triund Hill.
05 September 2016
Kartik being a person who used to get overexcited on anything and everything couldn’t stop himself from texting Samaira and telling her about the Mcleodganj trip. He invited her to the trip and asked her to join him at Aaryan’s house if possible. Samaira being a reserved girl couldn’t assure Kartik whether she would be joining them or not. She said that she would be able to confirm them about her joining a day before the trip. Kartik was worried and wanted Samaira to come because without her, his purpose to be on the trip would be meaningless. He texted Shivanya and asked her to convince Samaira to come.
Shivanya assured Kartik that she would convince Samaira anyhow and Kartik had not to worry about her. Kartik took a sigh of relief. Shivanya also told Kartik that she hadn’t received any message from Aaryan yet, neither did he inform her about the trip. Kartik replied to Shivanya that Aaryan was still sleeping and it might be that he would inform her as soon as he woke up.
“Good morning baby! Whatsup?” A message popped up on Shivanya’s mobile screen.
“Good Afternoon Aaryan, you always forget me when your friends come to your home,” Shivanya replied.
“Nothing like that sweetheart; I was busy planning a surprise for you,” Aaryan said.
“I know about the trip Aaryan,”Shivanya broke the suspense.
“Shit… It must be that thick headed idiot Kartik who ruined my surprise,” Aaryan replied frustrated.
“Don’t you say that Aaryan. He just wanted me to help him in convincing Samaira to join us and I will be joining you tonight,” Shivanya replied.
“Ok. If you say so my love, I can’t wait to see you now. Inform me once you leave from your office. I will pick you from the metro station,” Aaryan replied.
“Sure! See you.”
It was already very late and Shivanya had to rush to board the last metro of the day to reach Aaryan’s house at Pitampura. Shivanya being the Manager and Administrator of the media house Damick Productions had a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders. It was very usual for her to be so late. But Aaryan being an over caring person always insisted Shivanya to leave the office on time and to complete her pending work the next day.
Shivanya hated being late specially when Aaryan was waiting for her and she quickly slid inside the metro without noticing people around her. She texted Aaryan that she would be reaching Pitampura metro station in next 40 minutes.
While interchanging the metro at Kashmiri Gate, she noticed that the first coach of the train which was reserved for ladies was totally empty. She moved to the second coach but she could barely see anyone inside the metro. She adjusted herself on a seat which was just next to the exit door of the metro. She started giving a quick look at the unread messages on her Whatsapp and the doors of the metro closed and it started moving towards the destination.
While she was busy reading the messages, she heard someone crying. She moved her eyes to the coach to her left and saw a little girl sitting on the floor and rubbing her eyes. She thought her mother could have deboarded the metro and the girl must have been left behind. She quickly moved to the next coach and asked the girl, “Where is your mom sweetie? Did she leave you behind?” The girl did not reply and kept on crying.
Shivanya decided to pick her up and ask her for her mother’s cell phone number so that she could contact her. She was about to touch the girl’s shoulder but suddenly her cell phone rang and her dream broke. She found herself sitting on the same seat where she was seated since she had boarded the metro.
“Hello. I am at Kohat baby. Will be reaching there in five minutes,” she picked up the call and informed Aaryan.
“Okay,” Aayan replied.
Shivanya once again looked at the next coach and saw no one to be there. She considered the whole scene to be a nightmare and deboarded the metro. She moved towards the exit of the metro station and saw Aaryan waiting for her outside. While she was moving towards Aaryan, a woman and a little girl passed by her. She felt something familiar and turned her eyes towards the girl. To her surprise, it was the same girl whom she saw crying inside the metro. She couldn’t believe it and her face turned pale and red. She started running towards Aaryan and wanted to describe to him the strange thing that happened to her. But she decided not to discuss as that could spoil Aaryan’s mood. She greeted Aaryan with a broad smile and hugged him.
“Sorry for being late baby,” she said adjusting herself on the rear seat of Aaryan’s sports bike.
“Never mind sweetheart you are always late and I am used to it,” Aaryan winked starting the engine of his bike. Shivanya patted on Aaryan’s shoulder and tied her hands around his shoulders while Aaryan rode the bike towards his house.