I won the Challenge at Queen's blog. For some strange reason her Queendom calls me Merlin- The Sorcerer.
Those were school days, grinding math, late night - a medieval practice, evolved into a fancy verbal term called tuition. When some one like me, who used to score marks, less than the minimum Autorikshaw charge in math exams; has no choice but to be force fed math like they feed toddlers stupid vegetables.
In the math class, we were way down the food chain.
With my friend, we were Mutt and Jeff of problem solving in math, atleast that's what we thought of ourselves, making some meaning out of the oddest of the numbers and solve the problem in the notebook that resembled a crime scene.
So every night we walk almost 2 Kilometers to the Guru's home to soak up some numbers, while rest of the world, soaked up T.V. Walking builds leg muscles and also act as a credible reason for being late.
Guru was a good man. At times I used to wonder if he was the whole sale dealer of patience in our place. Studying under him was a real pleasure, there was no punishment, but only torture, which actually was a good thing, cuz my dad said it builds character.
If such a thing ever happened, I really wanted to know, how the character got into me through my thick skin.I could be a medical wonder.
That day began with a sick note. I always rush to get the newspaper in the morning. There used to be regular cartoon stuff those days, including the horoscope, which I used to read and have a good laugh at. I particularly love the horoscope because, everytime it predicts that "You would come out flying colors in exams.", I would royally screw up in the exam and would be flying out of the home, faster than a shoe thrown at an annoying cat.
Horoscope actually cautions me, as I take just the opposite of it for granted and used to hate the wickid humor sense of the person who used to write it.
It was a Friday and I opened the door , early in the morning to take the news paper and was shocked!
Let me tell you, a particular mallu news paper used to have this habit of delivering shocking news at your doorsteps everyday. In order to achieve the full impact, they put the sickening pictures of accidents, especially the dead ones in the front page, in full color. So anyone who sees the news paper gets his stomach upset, and the whole day would be spent with the nagging thoughts about it.
What a wonderful way to start a day.No?
Later that evening, we went to Guru's home to
waste time "study". After trying to teach us some equations, he asked us to work out another similar problem, which I suspected was his way of saying "I Give up!".
I just hate him when he steals my line and use it against me.I had no choice, but to "work out" the equations.
Anyway, after wasting some quality time productively and feeling happy about It, the Guru gave up on us for that day and asked us to go home and practice the exercises, which reminded me of the cricket match scheduled for Sunday.
It was almost 10:3O PM. We started walking back home. After we locked the gate behind us, our conversation changed to more realistic things like, cricket and upcoming science exhibition etc.
Soon, one conversation lead to another and we both were talking about the accident we read in the newspaper in the morning.
Kerala, has a rich folklore tradition filled with
fairies Yakshi and witches Yekshi's [Kiddo Slang]. Yakshi's in India are very creative and walk around singing old songs!They can be spotted by their BHD [Bad Hair Day]
Kerala Yakshi's are mostly found on palm trees.[It's not coconut trees] or Pala Maram, as it is the safest place to hang out in Kerala, during night time, if you are outside your home.
Unlike other ghosts and things around the world, Indian Yakshi's have uniform. They prefer to wear white Saree, unlike the Yakshi at Malampuzha Dam, who prefers to be bare to the elements of nature. Some bachelors prefer such Yakshi's to be their wife.
[This is the Yakshi In Malampuzha! Very Huge.No? The sculpture I meant you decent people!]
I hope so much background information and the harmless Mallu kutti didn't take your mind of us, two harmless math learning, school goers, who are now left in the dark , on their way home.
As I was saying, Kerala has a rich tradition of ghostly folklore.Amazing they are, and if you are unfortunate enough to have had a very knowledgeable grandmother like me, its natural that such thoughts comes haunting you at night, when you think of death and such things, like a house fly annoying an open wound.
We both were walking and discussion was about the accident and death, soon our discussion leapt on to ghost tales.Incidents that are made up in mind and spiced up according to ones needs and creativity and the listeners IQ.
As we talked on and due to the nature of the topic, we started becoming very aware about our surroundings. The road was empty. The street lights flickered. Some where our ears picked up the sound of a dog howling, as soon as it ended, many other dogs picked up the howl in its eerie off key harmony!! I felt that the skin was feeling bit more sensitive now and I felt the cool chill of the wind.
The hedges and bushes seem to metamorph into characters of folktale, we had heard but forgotten. Mind was really a terrible thing and was now playing tricks. Moving branches of trees animated the characters of folktale, in its frightening shadow play.
Our steps automatically quickened, but we never stopped telling the ghost tales we made up in our mind.C'mon the one who stopped would be considered feeble.
The moon was not shining that bright, not for my eyes anyway. Even nature was having its power issues. Dark clouds formed a carpet in the sky and rolled around. It started to drizzle.We hurried on. The edges of the dark cloud was bronzed by the moonlight.
Along the side of the road, there was a big tree. It was one of the oldest tree.Standing tall spreading with canopy, it resembled a beast on that ghastly night. We doubled our steps and stood under that tree, as rain picked up and the wind swept by, totally reclaiming the silence of the night into a total chaos.
There was not many good stories associated with that tree, which we had heard. This tree was standing in an old military compound, which belonged to the British when they ruled these parts. It's been said that this tree was were they used to hang people.
Trust me, History was such a boring topic for me, and I never really cared to check the truth about the facts.
To get the mind off the topic, finally we decided to talk about upcoming cricket match.
"Today is Friday"..only 2 more days!! He said
Gulp!! he said the word FRIDAY!!
Its on Friday's that Mallu Yakshi's party all night.
My friend, looked up at the tree and was standing like a statue...as if he has seen something scary.
We shot out into the rain and ran home, as soon as our legs could carry! We were steaming on the inside, but never stopped running.
"Did you see that?" he asked me.
Next day morning, I got out of my home, to the social setting called the school. Tagged along with my friend.
Unlike other days, we walked in silence. Nobody would believe us. Only we know that we had the closest encounter with the ghost.
We reached near the tree and was laughing hard...really hard, pointing at the torn Old Election Banner belonging to a political party, which was made out of white cloth.
So this was the ghost!
People looked and gave us strange looks.
"Hey! I thought someone had committed suicide." He said
"Lucky! you didn't have a grand mother like mine." I shot back
Read here: My encounter with a real ghost