• anjali mohapatra

The Figure

After 58 years passed, now also my blood run cold if I recollect that incident! It scared me so much!! It seems as if it happened yesterday!!!

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I was around twelve years old that time. It was a carefree time for all of us- me, my three siblings and two cousins - as we all lived in a big joint family in the same house. It was a big house, with a beautiful terrace and we used to spend all our time running around that. We used to play fun games like puchhi, rumal choir and so many other funny games on the terrace every night. Once our mandatory two hours study time at the evening got over, we were free. No pressure, no stress from our parents side. Play all you want once done with your studies, they'd told us. In all our games we were always laughing, shouting, and again pulling each other and finally would lie down on the bare terrace floor, gazing at the starry night sky. This was our usual routine.


That evening, we all were playing a rope pulling game. We were completely engrossed in it. Suddenly my sister noticed someone was standing on the terrace of our neighbour’s building, watching us intently. To give you context, in those times these buildings were made in such a way that you could basically do a short sprint and jump across each other's terraces. She felt little awkward, but went about playing, brushing aside any sense of worry. After a while, she saw the same figure was still standing there at the same spot. Not moving an inch. A constant gaze, and an unclear face due to the dim evening sky. She stopped the game and whispered, ‘Hey guys, we’ll not play any more. Somebody is watching us.’


My cousin though, was a bit naughty. She turned around to look at this figure on the other terrace, and walked over to the edge of ours. Grinning at him she questioned mockingly, ‘Hey! Hello! Who are you? Want to play? Come - jump over!’ And we all laughed. Our giggling and loud laughing filled the air but that figure had no reaction, no change. You couldn't see if it had any expression, any laugh or anything else on its face. It was just a dark, shadowy figure, and it remained still as if there was no wind touching it, and none of our banter affecting it in any way.


Almost immediately, we all started feeling very queasy. My sister joined my cousin , hand in hand and screaming aloud, ‘Can you say something? Anything? Cant you hear us?!’ 


As they came very close to the fence, the figure that had stood there for more than half an hour vanished instantly in front of them. Not ran away or turned or anything else. Just went away in thin air. The moment that happened, my sisters started both yelling at the top of their voices, ‘Bho- Bhoot! A ghost - run, run!’


We all cried, screamed, tumbled and ran for our life! We dashed off, stamping each other to save our life! My cousin stumbled on the staircase and eventually fell on the ground of second floor. We were breathing heavily, eyes widened like tennis ball! Our voices were chocked, lips trembling with fear. We all were shaking like an autumn leaf, right before falling to the ground. We all tried asking each other, telling each other what we saw or didn't - but all we ended up doing was vehemently stammering.


After fifteen minutes, we settled down, trying to be rationalise the situation. We decided to inform about this to auntie- our neighbour and maybe get our fears done with. Again my sister took the leading role. She marched forward, we were by her side. The six of us left our house, all hand in hand, and knocked on our neighbor's door. It creaked open after what seemed like the longest wait in the world, and out came Auntie, surprised to see us all. With a bated breath my sister asked her, ‘Auntie, anyone had gone to your terrace half an hour before?’


Unclear with our question, she asked, ‘Why?! What happened?’


‘Nothing auntie! We saw someone on your terrace. He stood still for more than half a hour at the same spot, watching us play our games. We called out to him but he wouldn't answer.’


Her eyebrows pulled up. In a very serous voice she said, ‘No- no, nobody had gone to terrace! Who could be there?! We are only two of us living here- me and my daughter-in-law. My newly married son", she said with her voice trembling with a deep pain ", died due to tuberculosis not so long ago."


‘Wh- what?! Died? When, auntie?!’  We felt as if the sky was falling upon us. 


‘Two months back.’


‘Sorry auntie, so sorry for disturbing you like this. Please take care of yourself," we apologised and scurried back to our home.

Our faces changed their colour though in these short 2 minutes! Our body shivering, hairs on the skin pulled up with fear! We started stammering again, together, ‘Then, who was that?! Was that the ghost of his son?!!!’


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