A scary story that was shared by my friend in her own words…
This was the time when I used to stay in the suburbs of Bangalore during my college years. Our hostel was approximately 1.5 kms away from the college and the path joining them was lined by thick green cover. The local auto drivers would not venture through this path after sunset and students often had to walk through it in groups.
I was a worthy student and so, often the responsibility of my other batchmates projects was handed over to me. My scary story belongs to one such time. It was 8 in the evening and I was still in the college library working with my batchmate, when the guard announced the closing time. I packed my stuff and prepared to leave. My batchmate, who stayed in the men’s hostel, offered to drop me… But… No…. How can I take help…I manage things on my own…
So, there I was… on that dark path, which didn’t even have a single street light… I walked with my head held high… without giving a vibe that I was even slightly scared. My shadow walked in front of me, but it was scarier than usual. As I reached a T-point on the path, I heard something… Probably a rustling of dry leaves from behind the trees.
I kept walking… with a faster pace… I turned to the left… The rustling happened again… and again… and again… synchronous with my steps… Was someone actually walking through the trees??? With me…???
My shadow… I observed, developed a parallel image. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t have diplopia. I looked up to the sky, there was only 1 moon. Then how come 2 shadows?
A cool wind blew past me… sending shivers through my body… but I didn’t stop… I ran till I reached the hostel gate. When I reached my room, I was freezing cold, drenched in sweat.
My roommate was out of town so, it had to be me alone through the night.
I kind of overlooked this incident, I was not supposed to be afraid of such mind games you see… I had dinner… worked… watched an episode of HIMYM… switched off the lights and slept.
I slept facing the wall on my left, with window towards my feet and my table and chair on my right. I am usually a sound sleeper, but that night… I opened my eyes… The air was heavy, my breathing was heavy, there was a certain disturbance to the environment, I was feeling uneasy and uncomfortable… the room was dark….I slowly turned to my right… And as my gaze fell to the floor, next to my bed… I saw feet.
Dark feet… I kept looking… My gaze didn’t budge… I slowly tried to raise my eyes up… A robe… Black blue in colour….and up… a face hidden under a black robe…. I shivered with fear… I immediately sprang up and switched on the light… I looked again… and Phew…there was nothing!!!! Ha… “Am I mad?”, I thought. This must be a dream. It was 3:10 am on my mobile screen. I drank water… mocked at myself, switched off the lights and slept again…
Didn’t know, how much time I slept, but I woke up again… The same heavy air, the same heavy breathing… I felt a chill… This time I felt really scared to turn again… But I did…. And there she sat… On my chair… Laughing… Her face dark as if smoked… her hair long curly black with tinge of white, shining…. flowing all around her head.
I remember myself shouting at the highest pitch ever… I switched on the light… It was 3:45 am.
I didn’t sleep that night.
Came next day, I returned early to the hostel… Slept with lights on… nothing happened… 2-3 days passed… I had almost forgotten about that incident… When I saw her again… In a dream…
Usually, I get many dreams about Rajasthan villages. Had never been there though. This dream was placed in a similar terrain, but was more vivid. I saw a woman burning in flames in the dark of night… I saw people pelting stones at her… I saw people running after her with lathis in their hands…. I saw a child dead… And I saw her standing under a tree… old, wrinkled, in her dark blue robe. She had an old cloth bag in her hand, from which she was distributing oranges to children playing around her. She looked happy, I saw a mother in her eyes… I woke up. It was 3:10 am in my mobile.
I wrote this dream in my diary. But couldn’t sleep… Next day as I read my dream again, I realized, it was running in reverse order… By now I was convinced, something was wrong. I cannot be making all of this up. But still it was hard to believe…
Some days passed again… And there was another episode. She was younger… in bright coloured clothes… I saw her sitting next to a well… staring into space with swollen eyes…. I saw her in her home being beaten up by a woman… I saw her playing with her neighbours daughter…. and I heard someone speaking “she will never bear a child”…. I woke up and saw the time… yet again 3:10 and yet again the reverse order.
I didn’t know why I was getting those dreams… was literally in a pathetic state. I stopped sleeping at night. Till 4 I would work or watch movies and then sleep till 7. My mind was being played with and I didn’t know why. Then one day again I had to stay back in the library. This time again I opted to walk up to my hostel alone… I didn’t hear any rustling, I didn’t see the split shadows, but I could sense something weighing over my head. I didn’t run. I wished strongly that whatever it is, should be relieved. I prayed. Suddenly, I noticed, that I was crying… And that night I cried… I kept crying and I slept crying.
And there I saw her for the last time… A gauna (tradition where bride leaves her fathers home)… A young girl of around 12 running through the courtyard of her house… A five year old girl insisting on playing with a doll…. A mother calling out to her…. “Bhanwriiii”.
I still don’t know, what was that, why it happened, but I did understand the story she wanted to share… A girl who was married young… considered infertile… beaten up… thrown out of village… declared as a witch and burnt alive… A girl named Bhanwri. I never saw her again. I never wish to. But I hope she found the solace she was looking for.
It was a dream or a real story but this made sense when we look at few traditions that are still being followed in some corners of this world…