Friday, November 26, 2010

Dzongri and Ghost Stories

The trek to Dzongri was a nice walk through Rhododendron forests. There was a lake that was covered by mist. It was almost  like a dream. I walked by. My Right knee had started cribbing. The old German guy was keeping pace with me, occasionally waving his ski pole at me.

All of the climbers had already reached Dzongri and were sipping tea. It was very cold. Mangesh pointed to a room in the Log hut to place my sack. The mist was getting dense. I pulled out my watercolor kit and started sketching. Shantanu joined me as well.

The watercolor came out good, but would not dry as it was very cold. As a drizzle started, we retreated to the log hut. Our cook was arranging for a dinner.

We had few rounds of a card game as we discussed the next day’s plan. The Dzongri top would give us the first view of Mt Kangchenzonga and the other tall peaks in Sikkim.
The mist was thick and we could not see them.

The dark room was soon lit up with a gas lantern. Post dinner, we had time to kill, before the night set in. Sada was interested in ghost stories. He wanted each of us to narrate one.

Shantanu’s story was about his lonely trek. Ghosts that the village folk talked about. He was indeed spinning an interesting story, that ended up with an objective explanation of the Ghosts actually being monkeys. Few thieves, who used the fear factor to steal things from the village.
I like prefer palatable Ghost stories.

It was my turn and I said, “I do not believe in ghosts. Yet, there is one strange story, when my great grandmother was on her deathbed.”
She often used to tell us about a woman used to sit besides her close to her feet in the middle of the night. They used to engage in common talk.

She talked about it so often, that one of my cousins interrupted her once, to suggest.."You already have good company. Why don’t you ask her to give you a foot massage, as you talk?”

This was not interesting enough to Sada. It was Mangesh’s turn.
Mangesh expressed an opinion, that ghosts were not real and he did not believe in them either.
Yet, he would like to narrate a strange experience, that might interest us.

Mangesh had been to a small trek and the group decided to seek shelter in a village school.
The guard had no objection, yet, he mentioned  that villagers had strange experiences at night in the school premises. He did not give details.

The driver was scared and wanted to sleep in the Jeep.
Few guys in the team chose the school veranda, while Mangesh and his friend slept in the open ground.
At around one o’clock in the night strange things did happen.

As Mangesh woke up, he saw his friend sitting right next to him staring at him with his eyes in a trance. As he slapped him on the cheek, the friend recoiled back to sleep.
In the group that was sleeping on the veranda, one of the guys, 6ft tall, was pulled out of the line by 3 feet. He started a commotion waking up the rest.

The driver woke up at around 1 o’clock as he was slapped around by someone. He was dead scared as he had locked himself in the Jeep.

Mangesh ended the story by saying, he did not think that ghosts had anything to do with it.
It must have been the initial narration from village folk, which might have left a fear factor that eventually started the commotion.
It did not explain the shifting of the 6 ft guy or the driver getting slapped.

Mangesh had delivered the best story that was asked.
Sada was petrified and he talked of moving his sleeping bag next to my place to the opposite end of the room.
Perhaps Sada was terrified by the gaze Mangesh gave him as he spun the tale.

It was a story well told. Mangesh indeed had a nice way of engaging everyone.

I recoiled in my sleeping bag hungry for warmth.

Friday night 26 Nov 2010.

I am sleeping on the ground. An aged woman sits besides me.
She looks familiar, but I cannot place her.

I do not remember, why she is here, but both of us are waiting for someone, we know well.Did I ask her for this experience regardless of my belief?
The wait is long almost like 'Waiting for Godou'.

She wakes me up at night, shifts her eyes to the corner of the room. The gaze means.
“He is here and looking at you, please do not look.”
She is caring and does not want me to go through an unpleasant experience. 

Should it be unpleasant? We used to know each other so well. Buddy!
Am I not here just because I want to talk to him again?

I look upwards, but the space is empty.

I wake up and its almost 6AM.
Ghost stories! What Larks!