Friday, 20 June 2014

Mahesh And The Haunted Cowshed

Yesterday, on the dinner table, the family and I had that rather overdone but still interesting conversation about ghosts, spirits and the rest of the supernatural beings that we have come to know through popular myth, media and movies.
One of our house-help, Mahesh, a young boy of sixteen, came traipsing down the stairs with freshly roasted papad for us from the kitchen. He is packed with enough energy to set off a small explosive, and is as uncontrollable as an untamed circus animal when it comes to playing loud/ terrible Kumar Sanu songs on his mobile phone. Yet, I have always liked the kid because he has a good sense of humour and keeps the kitchen lively and a little less uninhabitable during the heat that has been plaguing our land recently.
Mahesh is also quite a storyteller, and although he has some trouble conversing in Hindi and often uses some Bihari terminology which isn't very easy for me to understand, his stories always leave me thinking, and I suppose that is the greatest sign of good storytelling.
His stories about how his bhabhi makes the best mango pickle he's tasted, how he plans to settle in Calcutta for good because he loves the big city, and how he has been beaten up by bullies in his village and consequently avenged his thrashing by beating them up with sticks, have always managed to capture my attention and imagination.
Last night, while we ate our papads, Mahesh recounted another captivating tale about how he once encountered an evil spirit.
Back in his native village, his family has a farm and livestock. One night, a few years ago, as Mahesh was in the cowshed feeding his three cows, he suddenly noticed that the cows became abruptly restless and stopped eating. Their incessant mooing alarmed him, and while he was still trying to calm them down, he noticed a big black shadow rising in front of him. He said he could have sworn that there was no one anywhere near the cowshed for miles. The cows panicked, broke free from their harnesses and ran away; so did Mahesh. He ran, and he ran, until he reached home. No one in his family chose to believe his seemingly ludicrous claim of having this close encounter with-what he was sure to know was-a ghost. In fact he was ridiculed and scolded for having let the cows stray away from their shed.

"But believe me didi, it was a ghost. I'm glad I'm not there anymore. But now that I know I've seen a real-live ghost, I'll never be scared again!" and he laughed a giggly little laugh as he said this to me.

He turned on his heel and left the rest of us on the dining table a bit spooked and discussing the possibility of ghosts and spirits being a reality in our modern, mechanical world.
If you ask me, I do believe in ghosts. I believe that there is life after death and that this circle goes on for as long as it takes for a soul to learn every lesson it has been instructed by The Maker to learn.
I admit that I've had certain experiences-not many, but enough-to know that there is a definite supernatural realm that exists parallel to our universe, and sometimes, the inhabitants of both realms tend to mix and mingle. But I'll save those experiences for another time.
Right now, Mahesh's story and his mysterious lingering giggle is still fresh in my mind, and I feel suddenly transported to his little village and that haunted cowshed.

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