Thursday, July 19, 2012

On that rainy night!


It was raining cats and dogs and I could hardly see the road ahead.

The only other soul in the vicinity seemed to be the driver of the lorry around 300 m ahead, whose tail lights were now serving as my beacon to move on.

Sheela did warn me after seeing the overcast skies.I should have listened.

I wanted to surprise Ammamma, my grandmother, and had started off as soon as work got over that Friday. I could rest the whole weekend once I reached her place.

I had thought that I would reach by dinner time, after the three hour drive.

The first 80 km, consisted of well lit roads and hundreds of other cars gave me company.

Once I hit the road leading to Gauthamapuri, our native village, it was totally deserted. Except for the swish-swish of the whipers and the noise of the incessant downpour, there was nothing but an eerie silence. Not one streetlight was present and I found no shelter where I could temporarily stall.

Now I was midway and turning back was also not a wise option.

Suddenly the engine started giving some wierd noises. I tried to change the gear and with a jerk, my white Alto came to a halt. My repeated attempts to get it started were in vain. I looked desperately ahead, hoping that the lorry driver would notice and stop, but he proceeded on his way and vanished into oblivion.

My cellphone was not receiving any signals and was of little use. I sat in the car for sometime hoping that some other vehicle would come along and get me out of this predicament.

The rumbling noises from my stomach reminded me, that I had not stopped to grab some dinner.

After an hour or so, the rain transitioned to a faint drizzle. I got out from the car and scanned my surroundings. I was in the middle of a jungle area and all I could see were tall trees on either side of the road. It was a full moon day and since the clouds had started clearing a bit, I had some visibility.

I thought I saw a light at the distance in the middle of the woods. I moved in its direction, hoping and praying that someone would offer me some help. May be a house?

When I neared it, I realized, it was not a building; just a sort of a brick tower with a lightbulb hovering over a dilapidated board. The first half of the writing had faded away and the second half sent a shiver down my spine. 'CEMETERY' !

A branch cracked nearby and gave me a jolt.

I turned back and hastily started walking away when I heard a voice .

'Hey'

I kept walking

'Hey, Dont go!'

I hastened my pace.

'Dont be scared. Stop, Please!'.

The voice sounded harmless and my curiosity won over my fear. I slowly turned around.

A  girl who seemed to be in her twenties was standing near the tower, smiling at me. She wore a light blue Capri, a flowered shirt , white sneakers and her dark brown hair was in a boy cut.

'Hi' she said and extended her hand.

'Who are you?' I asked , rooted to my spot and not daring to move.

She came towards me and thats when I saw her eyes. They were a turquoise blue, and had an unnatural gleam about them.

'Ok, Let me not beat around the bush.I am a ghost! I died two years back and I was buried here' she declared in a matter-of-factly tone pointing towards the cemetery.

I dont know if its the way she said it, I felt more stupid than scared.

'What? I dont believe you' I said.

'Okay, See this' she said and her body glided up from her sneakers and two feetless legs dangled a few metres above the ground.

'Aah' I screamed and there was total darkness.

********************

When I became conscious again, I found myself in a seated position leaning against the wall of the tower.

'Welcome Back!' , the same voice! So it was not a dream!

She was sitting next to me, playing Sudoku on what looked like an IPAD floating on its own.

'Hi, Now don't faint again! ' she said. 'I am Namratha. I was not joking earlier. I died two years ago and thats a fact. '

'What?' I asked in a shivering voice staring at her in disbelief. My voice refused to come out at first but somehow I managed.

'Yes, Madam' she said with a smile.

I had always heard about scary and horrifying ghosts. Here I was with a fashionable one that was good looking . There was a sort of warmth about Namratha. She appeared friendly.

She held out her hand again. I took it in mine and shook it. It felt like ice.

'Dont be scared of me. Treat me like any other friend you have' she said.

She narrated about her own life before her death and how she had died.As our conversation developed, I relaxed. I told her about my job , my home and my family.

'Are you not lonely here?' I asked.

'Only at nights. We are five of us here.Every night my friends wander off into the depths of the jungle to scare people. They dont scare the good folks. Only those indulging in illegal activities like poaching, smuggling, etc.We are a bunch of socially responsible ghosts you see'.

'Why are you not with your friends then? '

'My looks!' she said with a tone of frustration. 'Do I look scary to you? People get scared of ghosts only if we come in white sarees and with long hair let loose. I can manage a white saree, but my hair simply refuses to grow!'

'Your hair grows?' I asked in bewilderment.

'Of course, the way it grows for the still-alive folks like you. My hair is totally lifeless and dull and hence I sport this boycut. We ghosts can change our looks at will. The hair is an exception. We need to take care of it like you guys and we resort to the same kind of stuff that you living things use.  You know, Shikakai, Henna etc. I have tried so many things , no use at all. Who would get scared of a ghost in a boy-cut? Tell me!'

Saying this she touched my head and ran her fingers through my hair. 'Wow!! You have gorgeous hair. Simply beautiful! Can you please tell me what you do for this length , lusture and shine? I can use your tips and then I can join my friends on their nightly tours. '. Her frustrated expression turned into one full of hope.

I felt sorry for Namratha and said 'Do you know there is a company called Dove?, They have some really amazing products. My hair used to be horrible till a few months ago. Pollution, stress etc had caused a lot of damage.  Then Sheela, my roommate got me this gift containing some amazing hair care products from Dove and that was the end of my hair problems! It has done wonders. I found so many wonderful hair care products at their Dove hair aware app! You should give it a try'.

'Ok! Dove!' she declared smiling.

'But you are a ghost. How will you get it?' I added in a worried tone.

'No big deal, girlie. We have our own ways.Thanks a ton for that piece of advise. If this really works, I will see to it that no ghost ever comes near your family or harms them in any way.'

'It worked well for me. I think it should work for you too' I said.

We continued talking about a whole lot of other things and soon it was almost dusk.

Namratha lifted me up and flew back to my car. I had a new Dove shampoo bottle in my handbag and I gave it to her. It was funny to see her holding it with her translucent fingers.

Nammy ( I had started calling her that by now) touched the car and Lo! the engine sprung back to life. I gave her a goodbye hug and started on my way. I promised to visit her every time I visited Ammamma. What a friend I had found on a rainy night!


This is my entry for the contest ‘My Beautiful Hair Story’ by Dove and Indiblogger.

68 comments:

  1. goodone, wish you all the best for the contest

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  2. for a long time into the post, i was under the impression that there was some error in your post description on indi. thanks to the smooth narration, i was reading along, letting your story make my hair stand, when all of a sudden it was the end of my hair problems...

    that is the strangest and most unique post i have read in a long time. what a wonderful way to turn a contest into a post that brings out the best in you. wish you all the best for the contest.

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    1. Thanks for that wonderful comment Subhorup.I guess the post did succeed in giving you a surprise .I am so glad it turned out the way I wanted it to :) Thanks again for stepping in :)

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  3. Oh My! This is such a different post to write for a beautiful 'hair story' competition :D :D Enjoyed reading it :) You are indeed full of surprises!

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  4. Goodness me....what a take !!I had goosebumps reading this story!!Great imagination, vivid and neat narration, Jayashree.
    This is a winning piece :))
    All the best...

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    1. Hi Panchali

      Dunno if its a winning piece but being described so makes me so excited and thrilled. Thanks for the comments :)

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  5. Wow Jaish, just wow! The way you built it up, amazing. And give me that tech-savvy ghost's number if you have. Maybe we can hit it off!

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    1. Maybe you should try driving to Gauthamapuri ? :) ha ha Thanks for the comments Abhyudaya :)

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  6. wow ! This one is so diff from the other entries.... So next time you see Nammy check out if dove made any difference ... All the best ...this should be a winner !!!!

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    1. Thanks a lot for that wonderful and encouraging comment TTT :)

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  7. wow! what a post, what a climax! :) best of luck!

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  8. Hope it works , that way you wont have ghosts nearby BUT in case it doesnot work we can always blame DOVE he he hehe :)

    all the best for the contest..

    I dont have much hair so dove or no dove .. it doesnot matter :)

    Bikram's

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    1. ha ha ha...Good One Bikram. Thanks for stepping in :)

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  9. wow that was amazing ,,,really enjoyed reading yr post...was it real?? did u really met nammy :P :D, anyways happy lively hair to that poor lifeless soul....and really yr post was unique//all the bst...may u win :)

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    1. ha ha Saikat, Nammy lives in my imagination as of now :) Thanks :)

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  10. Hahahahah......you are one creative person jaishree. Didn't you get anything else other than ghosts? Lol....my god...when I read the line, My hair simply refuses to grow...I thought, this must be for th Dove contest....good luck girl!

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    1. Thanks FIF. Ghosts have hair too, dont they ? ;) You know what, I am actually scared of watching horror movies, but for this one, I guess I just could not control my head ha ha

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  11. So now your imagination runs wild - Socially responsible ghosts, huh :):) Great inventiveness, Jaish!

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    1. Thanks Suresh . Yes this time it did go a little wild ha ha :) Thanks for the continuous encouragement.

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  12. There had a sort of parallel thinking. I too was amused to learn about the "socially responsible" thing. Hopefully Dove will follow suit.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for the comments PNS. I am glad that you liked it :)

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  13. A creepy hairy tale and what an imagination !Best of luck Jaishree:)

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  14. lol! Couldn't help laughing how you brought out it at the end... lovely story! Had me reading till the end!

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    1. Thanks Danny. Glad that it gave you some smiles :)

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  15. fantasy, fiction and a dove add merged together. Naratted simply and interstingly, that is a good one. All the best for the contest.

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  16. fantasy, fiction and a dove add merged together. Naratted simply and interstingly, that is a good one. All the best for the contest.

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  17. totally off beat track to weave the contest story...lovely imagination!
    All the best :-)

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  18. he he..now,ths is what is one hair-raising story in all sense..:)great post J!! All the best for the contest..

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    1. ha ha...I never thought abt the hair-raising part...Thanks :)

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  19. Wow what imagination:) and a wonderful story:) a great work, Jaish!
    All the best:)

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  20. Like the unique concept! If you dont call it hair splitting, may I point out that the name Namrata suggests she was a Hindu hence cremated, not buried.
    Else, lovely!
    Best wishes!

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    1. Well, I guess the people who buried her had no idea who she was and thats why she is not at peace and roaming around? :)

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  21. A different story !!! All the best !!!

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  22. That is lovely, Jeyashree! Loved your innovative story telling. Wish you the best.

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  23. Fantastic, I had goosebumps when I read a ghost, was laughing when she played Sudoku and was nodding when she said she scares off only bad people.

    Mind Blowing Jayashree. This is brilliant. I never expected this kind of entry. Too too too good.

    This is a winner for sure...:) :) :)

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    1. Thank you sooooooooooo much for that wonderful comment Saru :D my feet are off the ground like namratha's now ha ha :)

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  24. wow!! i don't think i have read such contest posts before!! i was initially scared but then the ghost turned out to be a nice ghost with a little hair problem. 1419 words but i finished it in one go (i usually don't do that) and then i remembered that you write for magazines; no wonder the narration was so amazing!! all the best for the contest.

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    1. Thanks Debajyoti. You sound as if I write a regular column or something. ha ha....Thanks a lot for the comment...Glad that you liked it :) ...How did you arrive at the word count?

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  25. Beautiful Narration... And loved the idea of a socially responsible ghost :) Good luck with the contest!!!

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  26. Wow. I've never come across a more interesting plot. hats off to your creativity. And Good luck :-)

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  27. hahahahah Jaish... It can't be more humorous than this :)
    Awesome idea. Even the devil ghosts will not stop you from winning this contest i guess :) all the best.

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  28. Thanks for reminding me that ghosts can be cool too. That was one breezy post. And very different and intriguing narrative! One that I have never encountered before. You had me smiling all the way with your nice little sense of humor. A great attempt and all the very best for the contest!

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    1. Thank you Raj,Glad that you liked the post :)

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  29. Wowwwwww just wonderful..I was reading but in total disbelief..i was holding my breath until the story of the hair came..lovely post with such a flow and written in ease..all the best for the contest..

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    1. Thank you for that lovely comment Ranita :)

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  30. What an imagination! I had goosebumps when reading the post.. All the best to you.. Keep writing..!

    Someone is Special

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    1. Thank you so much Sis ! :) twas great to see that comment :)

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  31. hahaha....... Ii was over the top and -- hahahaha... :D

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  32. As always,super cool.
    All the best!

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