Aaina is one of the few clubs that undertakes major events in the odd sem, especially for first years. I too joined the production team as a freshie (never got the time to apply for writing, nor can I act). They make you work a lot. Their publicity at par with Dhol Baaje (personally think they publicise the best), demands series of late night poster sticking. We stuck posters everywhere around the MU campus, braving the galling rain.
Finally came the time to reap the harvests of our hard work. Our name in the ‘Production Team’, free tickets for the play and the much awaited Aaina theme party. The theme this time was cartoons. After much deliberation, I decided to become Superman. So I borrowed a pair of blue tights from a girl in class, put my superman T, wore a red underwear over the tights (I don’t have red underwear I covered one with red cloth K!!!) and took my roomie’s red towel for the cape.
The party, held at blues, was amazing. The high seniors (our head in particular, probably the biggest guy I have seen in college but nevertheless nice, getting senti and giving speeches), the not so sober girls and the wonderful make-up on everyone.
I came back with some friends who later had to go to Trigger, so they just dropped me at the MIT main gate. It was 12.30. As the guard did not allow me to enter, I had to take the parallel road to KC. No matter how old I get or how many horror movies I watch, I always get scared with total darkness and no human soul anywhere. I had just crossed the cricket ground (now just a jungle) when I saw a lady. Sort of reassured that there were living people on the street, I walked showing oblivion to her presence. As I came near, she appeared to be lost. She looked in her forties, was wearing probably a Lehenga (If that’s what you call the ones actresses wear in movies during poojas and shaadis) and was decked up as if was about to get married. She seemed to be relieved to see me. She approached me and asked in an unusually shrill voice, ‘Can you tell me the way to KC?’ I told her to walk with me. It was quite windy, rather for the first time in Manipal, I was feeling cold.
We walked for about a minute and not a word was spoken, just the sound of her irritating Ghungurus. I was really surprised that she had no questions about my attire. To my relief it was her who broke the ice by asking where I was headed to. I told her that I was going to my hostel and started to tell her about the party, but she somehow seemed uninterested. So after finishing anyway, I ask her about her plans. She told me she had to catch a bus from TC as she was getting married the next day.
I was confused so I replied, ‘Why are you going to KC then?’ She just smiled; after pausing for a second, she replied, ‘Who would accompany you then?’ She was looking straight into my eyes. She had a smirk on her face and I could see her eyes were greyish blue. The cursory glance I gave her somehow told me she was waiting for this moment. That was when a ghost story I had heard came to my mind as I immediately looked down. Her feet were turned, heels in front. The feet, the voice, the attire, the chill and the scenario all fell into place as I felt a gush of horror though my chest.
I was stupefied. I knew she was there, staring at me but I couldn’t move, nor could I look at her. Her high pitched laughter was now piercing my ears. As drops of fear came down my eyes, I ran, as fast as I could; I could hear the ghunguru, could feel her breath on my neck, but I didn’t stop. The noise stopped near SP, but I didn’t stop till I reached the 16 th Block gate.
I woke up the next day and was told I had collapsed on the entrance itself. I had heard a lot of stories of the ‘Ulte pairon Waali chudail’; people had told me that she normally appeared in deserted places all around the world. It is believed that they are the souls of women who died of some tragedy and are stuck on the mortal land. It is also said that they are attracted to fear, so the more you think about them, more the chances of them appearing. I knew people who had given me accounts of such real life accounts, but I never believed them until then.
‘It is when the sight proclaims, that you believe
For the horror is not the scene but the mystery.
The comprehension ne’er aright
As you refute what it conjures. ‘