I was driving through the Hoosier forest between Louisville and Evansville and witnessed one of the most beautiful landscapes in the recent months. The fog covered forest was incredible and took me to back to my childhood experience of being frightened over the witches and ghosts.
My friend and I missed the bus to our town and had to walk four miles to our home in Yelahanka. We had to pass by an abandoned house and a well near Allalsandra intersection, the legend had it that Rohini lived there, a disturbed girl who had committed suicide in that well and allured wayfarers as a good witch or haunted them as bad witch, sort of bipolar witch. We learned that she would glide over and put her teeth on the necks of the frightened souls and drain them of the blood, or seduced the brave and dissolved them.
Jameel and I had to walk through there, we had no choice but to go, we could not have stayed anywhere, so we walked. We were scared to no end and out of that fear we started singing loud thinking that we would drown every possible sound that surrounded us, at least we would not hear Rohini come towards us and die the slow death under her teeth.
We were wishing that we passed that area instantly in a hurry, it was very painful as the time seemed like eternity, it was just not moving forward. We did not dare look towards that well… and literally peed in our pants and instinctively ran for the next half mile, on the way Jameel tripped and fell flat on the road, we thought that was the end of our lives, we thought she had roped us in… and we both screamed aimlessly, fortunately we got up and ran the next half mile to the truck stop.
Years later, I was in a college dorm. The talk of the dorm was that a girl had committed suicide in the well behind our college building and her soul was searching for her lost mate, and she knew who it was after experiencing them closely.
The principal of the college had actually issued a notice that was posted on the bulletin board to avoid sleeping in the verandas and hallways in the night time. That girl had taken the form of Rohini, a woman wearing white saree with open long lose flowing hair.. and apparently wandered in the area searching for her soul mate.
My roommate Imti and I decided to see this beautiful thing regardless of her being a witch, we thought we would convince her to become human and may be date us. How dumb!
So we slept in the veranda, the open hallway and it was summer time. At exactly 3 minutes past midnight, we heard a huge scream, first we covered ourselves with the blanket sort of hiding, then we both looked at each other, it was the voice of the night watchman Sundereshan. We jumped and ran to him, he was on the floor with eyes open and breathing heavily… we poured water on him.. he woke up and with a troubled voice said that he saw Rohini pass by us towards him and that’s when he screamed. He said she glided in the air over the two of us.
I am still puzzled at it, Sundereshan had served Indian Army and had been in jungles and elsewhere, for him to be scared was puzzling to us. I still have difficulty in not believing him.
What Ghost or Witches mean to me now are the reflections of oneself; if we do wrong to others, we may have an imaginary witch, an acknowledgement of our wrong and sort of repentance or righting ourselves. Personally, I have come out of that belief, but certain para normal events still make me wonder.
There was an old man in my town; and when my little brother misbehaved, he was led to beleive that the old man had extraordinary powers and that he was going to extricate the evil from my brother, which was enough to frighten him... the old man was more like a behavior modification Icon.
My Aunt, until she passed away in 2000, believed in it, and burned the broom sticks that created a lot of smoke and chased the evil out of her grand son, every time he had a stomach ache. It worked for her and him.
As beautiy is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer.
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I am heading to India to speak at Aligarh Muslim University