Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury
- Birth – January 18, 1955
- Education – MBBS (IMS/BHU)
- Publications – 4 books (2 in Hindi, 1 each in English and Bengali) and two are yet to come.
- Translations – Books and articles are translated in English, Odiya, Marathi and Gujarati.
- Awards – CBT awarded stories and novel, “Kamaleshwar Smriti Katha Award (2013, 2017 and 2019)” by Kathabimb.
- Honour – “Hindi Sevi Samman” by Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Wardha (December 2016).
☆ A GHOST स्टोरी – Part -2 ☆ Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury ☆
‘Now it was my turn to weep. And see an act of treachery by a friend. Brajlal said to me smilingly, ‘One must be kind / to a crying child!’ He had already scored four that is four laddus at a time sent to his inner world. The stomach.’
‘And I was clean bowled. Just like the glorious retreat of the British army during The Second World War, I had to accept the tragedy with a smile on my face. I handed over the rest to that unknown villain.’
Mama stopped. Probably reminiscing that past tragic incidence, he was feeling sorry again. Even after so many years.
But I grew restive. What was this? A ghost story? Where was that ghost? When would he appear in the story line? At least this could have happened – when the boy was yelling in the crowded bus, the driver turned his face and asked his mother to keep the child shut up. And then mamaji and his friend just fainted when they saw that the bus driver didn’t have a face. It was a headless body driving the bus. At least something of this sort of an unexpected climax could have occurred. A different story line! But here it was just a tasteless dish of a good for nothing ghost story! Out of frustration I screwed my eyes and murmured, ‘But the ghost? Where is he, mama?’
‘Wait, wait, a test match can’t be played merely in fifty overs? Haven’t you heard the saying – ‘if you can wait, you get the sweet to taste!’
By then ma had already brought tea and two plates of pakoras for three of us. Mama made an immediate capture of a plate and sipped his tea. His face brightened up with satisfaction. He started again …….
‘Rana and Chotku, you won’t believe me but at least in one thing Brajlal was more than one hundred percent correct. Oh, the dishes his dadi prepared that day – were all beyond any description! Pulao, fish curry, then dahi bada and above all her gujhiyas! Oh, even if my mind forgets them my tongue will never! My tongue is salivating again now that I mention it.’
‘But mama, the ghost -?’
‘Will you shut up? Or else I’m going to hang you from that toddy tree, and then and there you yourself will become a real ghost!’
I hung my head in disgust. I was in no mood to listen to this story of foodies. Pulao and gujhiyas are the things to be gobbled up. Not merely a thing to be heard about.
‘And the next morning, after the breakfast…’ mama, now full of energy, started batting again, ‘I and Brajlal went out to play cricket in the field, just outside their house. At first, I was bowling and Braj was at the batting end. After five or six deliveries he hit the ball and I ran after it. The ball went behind a big banyan tree. The moment I reached the spot to pick up the ball, I saw there ……’
Mama stopped again. He knew the secret of the art of storytelling. Sometime a silence is much more eloquent than a hundred spoken words. We two brothers jumped on the bed.
‘What mama? What was there?’
‘There was a man lying on the ground behind the tree. He was bleeding profusely. Blood was smeared all over his body. Blood was on the banyan leaves splattered all around him. He was groaning in pain, ‘Oh, is there anybody? Help, save me from this murderer!’
‘And a bearded man, with murder in his eyes, was seated on the chest of that hapless fellow. This second man had a dagger, smeared in blood, held in his raised right hand. He was repeatedly stabbing the poor fellow lying underneath.
‘And I? I didn’t have the power to yell even. Both my legs were as heavy as big black stones, seen in the movie ‘Sholey’, standing on which the villain Gabbar Singh would deliver all his famous dialogues, ‘They were two and you were six. What a mismatch! A gross injustice!’
Mama continued and now we two brothers were transfixed.
‘The man lying on earth yelled his last cry for help, ‘Babuji, please save my life! The killer is butchering me. Won’t you do nothing? Oh god! No brave heart throbs any more on this earth? Ah, ah!’
‘With each stab of the dagger he would let out a cry which could tear anybody’s heart. I stood dumb founded.’ Mama covered his face with both of his hands.
We two were pretty disturbed. Was he crying?
‘Ultimately the man died. And the murderer laughed loudly, ‘Yes, today I’ve done it. O god in heaven, see, I’ve taken my revenge. Ha, ha!’
‘And then I came to my senses. An awful thought suddenly struck me, that I was the sole witness of the murder. I must not be seen or caught. I fled the spot. Who could care to pick that god forsaken cricket ball after all? I rushed to Brajlal, breathless.
‘‘He asked me, ‘Why? What happened? Why your face is white as a sheet?’’
‘I was stammering, ‘B – Brajlal, a m – murder! There – he has killed a man. In front of my eyes. I just witnessed it.’
‘And just then someone laughed behind me. I turned to see. Oh, this time it was not the killer who had taken his revenge, but it was the murdered man himself. The dead man with blood smeared from his head to his toe. A ghost!’
As the event unfolded Chotku and I – both were shaking.
‘Pointing towards me the ghost yelled, ‘You, you a coward! You didn’t help me. You were simply watching the gruesome murder. Oh, I won’t let you go. Now you too will die in my hand. Ha, ha! You can’t escape the wrath of a ghost.
‘I turned to rush home, but he jumped and held my hand and then….
‘There was nothing but darkness all around. I fainted and fell on the ground. The ghost continued with his blast of laughter.’
Chotku whispered into my ears, ‘Bhaiya, I’m scared.’
I tried to assure him, but I too was nervous.
‘After that what followed’, mamaji said, ‘I don’t remember. How I was brought home, I can’t say. When I opened my eyes, I found dadi sitting beside me, waving a fan in her hand. She smiled and said, ‘Good god, I’m relieved that you’ve regained your senses. How are you feeling my boy? Want to drink some water?’
‘I nodded, as my throat was totally dry. She herself poured a little water into my mouth and then turned back her face to reprimand someone. Oh, both of them were standing there in the courtyard! The murderer and the dead man that is the ghost! Dadi said angrily, ‘Just see for yourself Rangnath, what you two have done to this innocent lad. He is from the town. How can he be aware that these sorts of practical jokes are common during the Holi festival in our village? No, no, you’ve not done a correct thing. After all he is our guest. If anything would have happened to him, what answer could we give to his parents? Just think this. It is Shiva who has saved our face from the humiliation.’
‘The ghost and his killer were smiling with their heads down.
‘And see the deception of a friend. Brajlal too was all smiles. It was obvious that he knew everything from the beginning. He simply enjoyed adding fuel to the fire. They all participated in this drama full of lies and deception.
‘Yes, like Shakespeare I too can say, ‘Betrayal of trust, thy name is friendship!’
We two protested, ‘But mama, it was not a real ghost at all. You just tricked us.’
‘Shh! What else do you want my dear nephews? Here too the dead became alive again. A real Resurrection. Then? Was it not a real ghost story?’
© Dr. Amitabh Shanker Roy Choudhury
Contact : Flat no. 301. Fourth Floor. Tower no.1. Mangalam Aananda, Phase 3A. Hajyawala Colony. Rampura Road. Sanganer. Jaipur 302029. Rajasthan. Mob: 9455168359.
Email: [email protected]
≈ Editor – Shri Hemant Bawankar/Editor (English) – Captain Pravin Raghuvanshi, NM ≈