It was a sudden trip to the hill-station. We reached there at around ten o'clock in the morning. I was waiting with my brother at the railway station. Srinivas and Ratan went to find some cheap-yet-cosy shelter.

Within fifteen minutes my both friends came back in despair, ‘Rooms unavailable. Even mediocre houses are demanding five-star rents’

We four wandered a lot but could not find any agreeable room.

By afternoon a local teashop owner told us about ‘Sahib Kuthi’ — a few hundred years old bungalow. What he hinted thrilled all of us, ‘Locals avoid that premises. It is infamous for ghostly activities. Otherwise the place is grand’

We were adventurers. We did not hesitate, went straight to the housekeeper and got a great deal.

The bungalow was luxurious, though, worsened. We enjoyed an amazing evening, followed by a sound sleep. At about 4:50 a.m. I woke up, called mates. One objected, ‘It’s too early!’ another excused, ‘Ten minutes more please!’ and finally brother accused directly, ‘Why envying my comfort? Let me sleep!’
I headed alone for workout.

So hazy a dawn it was, impossible to see through. As I was stepping out carefully, I heard something mystic —
‘Chan-chhanat; chan, chhanat…’
— anklet’s sound. I stopped, immediately it stopped. I resumed, it restarted.

Taken aback; who’s that? I turned around, found none. I roared, ‘Hey! Hello, anybody here?’
My voice echoed.

I moved faster. The sound followed me in a matching tempo. Amidst those ancient mysterious surroundings, my thrill was turning to fear. I plugged my trembling hands into hip pockets.

The mystery was over! My pockets were full of coins. Knowledge clears all fears. I confirmed by percussing a relieving rhythm on my pockets

Photo: Author

Learn more about the author: Biswajit