Saturday, January 16, 2021

Horror story: Call of the Nishi

This story is about a Nishi bhoot or ghost. So, what is a Nishi bhoot? This is a type of a ghost found mainly in India’s Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar. This ghost will call you at 3 am, sounding like your father, mother, a relative or a friend. If you answer the call or Nishir Daak, you will be hypnotised by the evil spirit and never return to tell your tale. A Nishi can call you only thrice and if you do not answer, the spirit cannot harm you. But if you do so, the Nishi will lure you to a desolate place and you will never ever be found.

Anuj and his sister Mita were city lads going to spend their summer holidays at a small town Memari in West Bengal’s Burdwan district, where their maternal uncle Biraj lived. The fact that Anuj was going to a small town didn’t really excite him. But what did were the rumours associated with it. 

Anuj had heard from his mother Shyama and other relatives about an evil force or a Nishi bhoot (or ghost) that roams around the town at night. It gives a call and if the person responds, he is in for big trouble.

Anuj, being a rationalist, dismissed this as “rubbish” in front of relatives, but was quite curious about it. However, Mita turned frigid by the thought of encountering a Nishi.

So, on reaching the town early December, they were greeted by uncle Biraj who got an auto rickshaw to take them home. Even though the station area was well lit, a five-minute auto journey brought them to a desolate national highway, which was dimly lit, from where the residential areas are around 3-4 kms away. 

The houses in the town looked nearly a century old. Basically, they were dilapidated dwellings and took you back in time. Anuj’s mother told the driver, “Let’s go fast. The area looks like a ghost town.” On reaching home, Shyama heaved a sigh of relief.

Next morning, Anuj got up early and went to chat with his uncle. He asked Biraj, “Uncle, what is this ghostly thing I’m hearing about the town.” His uncle didn’t find the comment amusing. “Please stay indoors and do not venture out at night. Also, if someone calls you at night, never answer,” he told Mita and Anuj. 

While Anuj was having morning tea with his uncle, Ram Wachan, a resident of the town, came running to Biraj and told him that a man had mysteriously disappeared in a nearby village last night. Ram said, “His young daughter, who is five years, claims that someone was calling her father.”

“Oh, no,” said Biraj. This is the sixth such incident in a week.”

Some residents, who assembled around Biraj’s house, looked at each other as if asking, “Is my day also coming?”

But Anuj said, “rubbish.” when he heard all these incidents. “They probably were kidnapped,” he claimed.  

Night came and his uncle Biraj said, “No one is sleeping alone from today.” And he laid out a plan on that.

At night, Mita was afraid and could not sleep. It was around 3 am that she heard Biraj telling her, “Come here, Mita.”

Scared, she didn’t listen to him even though she was called thrice.

After that, she saw a figure pass by her door, and thought it was uncle Biraj. But it seemed that the person just disappeared into the door. Mita went to Biraj’s room and found that he was fast asleep.

Realising that she was targeted by the Nishi, she shouted, “Help!” Everyone in the house came running and, trembling, she told them what had happened. But Anuj smiled, as if taunting her.

Days went by and a few more cases were reported from the town and its adjoining villages. A vigilante team was set up to move around the villages and the town. But strangely, the incidents continued. 

A few days had passed when one of the vigilante members said that one of the guards heard his wife’s voice at night while on the fields. To this, the man replied and he mysteriously disappeared.

This way, the entire town was under the grip of fear. There was gossip that those who stayed awake at night were usually targeted. So, when it was nine in the evening, the entire town shut lights. 

This probably worked, and for about a week, there were no deaths.

Curious, Anuj wanted to find out what happened when a Nishi called. One night, he insisted on staying alone and sent his mother to his grandmother’s room.

Anuj put on the lights to attract the Nishi. It was past 2:30 am but the Nishi didn’t come. At 3:00 am, he heard his mother call him and answered back. He saw a figure nearby, which looked at him as if saying, “Come, follow me.” 

He followed it unconsciously as if sleepwalking and was taken to a dilapidated and abandoned government school building nearby. 

As Anuj entered the school gates, he suddenly realised where he was, sure that no one would rescue him, if that ‘figure’ tried to kill him. He ran to a desolate area in the second floor, but the ‘figure’ was gone. Suddenly, he saw an invisible force drag him to the wall and was banging his head against it. He was caught by the evil force and could not move. It seemed the force was moving towards his throat, as if to bite it. He shouted for help.  

Within 30 seconds, there was a thud. Biraj and some members of the vigilante squad came inside with big torch lights and seeing Biraj, Anuj heaved a sigh of relief. In the crowd, the figure suddenly disappeared.

“Thank you uncle, for saving me. My stupidity would have killed me today,” he said.

To this, Biraj replied, your mother alerted me that you could be trying do something foolish tonight. I got the squad ready from before, and when you left the house, we were following you.”

Well, after all, Anuj did live to tell his tale! 

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