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ALPANA GHOSE

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 9/15/2015 |




From childhood days we use to hear that my aunt, who is single, has a big double story Bunglow in Ranchi. Aunty spends her summer vacation in that Bunglow. Some of our relatives spread the rumor that aunt’s house is haunted we thought it may out of jealousy. My aunt never complained .She enjoyed her stay there. Last summer   I finished my higher secondary board examination, I had some leisure time; I decided to visit my aunt‘s house at Ranchi. I did not tell my aunt about my visit to her place ,it was a surprise visit, thought she will  be enthralled by seeing me.

It was May 23rd I took the train to Ranchi and reached there early in the morning. I took a taxi and went straight to my aunt’s house. I was really amazed to see such a   huge building surrounded by beautiful garden. Aunt greeted me at the gate. After a long time I met her, she has grown old but she was happy and steady. We went to her drawing room; it was large drawing room with big windows overlooking some hillocks. After pleasantries aunt showed me the guest room in the upstairs, where I am to stay for my short leisure time. Quickly I changed, freshen up and went to dining room for breakfast .By the time my aunt had made breakfast and was waiting for me. We were talking about my father’s health, brother’s exams etc and finished delicious breakfast. Aunt brought a tea pot and three cup saucers. I was surprised and asked her about the third cup .She plainly said this one for Gonzu. I thought someone has dropped in when I was in washroom. Aunt poured tea in all three cups; we took ours and went in the veranda outside. I was looking at beautiful flowers in the garden. Suddenly a strong aroma of Cigar covered the whole atmosphere. I surprisingly looked at my aunt; she ignored the smell and started showing me the latest variety of summer flowers she had collected. We took a round in the garden, there was a kitchen garden in the backyard one gardener was working there, mending fences. I thought this fellow must be Gonzu of whom aunt was talking. After a while we were back in the drawing room sat on the sofa and our endless gossip was going on. I was totally surprised when again the same aroma of cigar filled the room and the news paper which kept on the center table was now on a side table kept by the side of a big easy chair at the corner of the room as if someone just finished reading the news paper and sat on the easy chair, the ashtray on the side table was filled with fresh ash of cigar, but no one was there, I looked at my aunt with surprise, again aunt said “it is Gonzu”. I could not stop myself, asked “Who is Gonzu?  Where is he why can’t I see him?” Aunt answered “He is Gonzales; he was the owner of this house and stays with us.” I cried out   “What did you say!! He was…..? That means he is……. And you are staying with a ghost? How can you”? Aunt became angry “don’t abuse him, he is a very kind person and cooperative with me he keeps this house safe when I am not here, he is a good spirit not ghost. Now I could know why our relatives talked about a spirit staying in aunt’s house and it is really haunted.

Aunt came near to me said “don’t be afraid nothing will happen to you, you are my own, he will not harm you, be comfortable.” My face whiten with fear I thought how I can stay with such thing in the house, I must go back right now. While thinking about going back I felt a cold feeling at my back as someone kept hands on my back as if to assure me a cold wave ran down my spine. My heart started beating faster; I was just frozen with the feeling at my back.  

Immediately I decided that I must leave the house or I shall be killed. I ran to upstairs guest room and started gathering my clothes but as I started gathering those, someone forced me not to reach out my travel bag. As I go near my bag, it drifted away as if it is floating in air. I was totally puzzled and scared to my bones; I didn’t know what to do! I waited a while no one was seen only the strong aroma of cigar filled the room, then  stopped trying to gather my belongings and ran  to my  aunt and  told her that I remembered an important, urgent  project to be completed I have to  run home today itself. Aunt became unhappy she said “you have arrived just now and you haven’t even seen the picturesque beauty of Ranchi and you want to be back? This is unfair! You are my close one, my only brother’s son, you have come to my house for the first time and you want to be back so early? I murmured “it is not me going back; it is due to her Gonzu, the Gonzales who is present everywhere like omnipresent God. I don’t like him or his smell of cigar.” Aunt gave me permission with broken heart, said “My gardener will take you to station “. I said “it’s ok’. Tell him to bring my bag pack from upstairs as I didn’t want to face aunt’s Gonzu again.  To my utter surprise I saw the gardener was already standing at the entrance gate with my bag pack in hand. I thought who might have told him to bring it and how could he arrange my bag? I hid my surprise, acting normally to my aunt said “Bye aunty, I will visit again to this beautiful house of yours.” Saying this I started for station. The gardener accompanied me to station. I got into the train compartment, seated and felt relieved. I send off the gardener, he went away. I arranged my belongings and seated comfortably feeling relieved, as I got away from aunt’s Gonzu. I took a cold drink and ease myself. Suddenly I felt someone intensely staring at me, I looked around but no one was there, I thought I am still scared   of that Gonzu and I tried to be relaxed. I was looking at the passersby in the busy platform. Some passengers trickle into   my compartment also. Suddenly I looked at the overbrigde and my eyes froze! A tall well built man, having a burning   cigar between his fingers, wearing a special type of hat which is usually not seen these days, is looking intensely at me, as our eyes met he weaved at me. “Who is this person”? Never seen before! I thought. By the time train started, my compartment started moving, I saw the man with hat till then weaving his hands. Was it really for me? Was it aunt’s Gonzales? I could never know as I never visited my aunt again.

After ten days or so post man brought a brown envelop with Government stamp in the name of my father. I handed it over to him. Reading the letter everyone in our house was totally surprised. The letter was from civil court. It was written in that letter that his elder sister expired four months ago and she has gifted the house at Ranchi to her only brother, my father, now he has to complete  legal formalities. I was dazed! I met my aunt barely ten days ago and the letter says she expired four months back!!!!!. 


[ALPANA GHOSE]

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