Thursday, January 14, 2021

Weird ghost story: Meeting Meera

Hari has a weird tale to tell after his official visit to Bastar district in Madhya Pradesh, where he meets Meera and her family. But was she actually a spirit?

My friend Hari is an active member at an NGO, which works for the impoverished. His job involves going to villages and small towns to look after and implement development projects. 

In one of his assignments, he happened to be working in a remote village in Madhya Pradesh’s Bastar district, whose name he doesn’t even remember. Well, kind of a village that would be a horror story writer’s paradise.

Hari was engaged in a teaching assignment at the local school, where all adults at the village were told to attend classes for two months to learn Hindi alphabets and basic words.

It was a misty December 2019 and school started around 3 pm and got over by 5:30 in the evening. By six, the village would turn dark and as the roads were dimly lit, it definitely gave an eerie sensation. 

But the villagers were very forthcoming. They often invited Hari for dinner and as he started mingling with them, he soon became popular. 

After dinner with the village families, Hari often did not go back home. He instead roamed around the area well past midnight almost every day, and was reprimanded by Madhur Lal and his younger brother Pawan Lal, who told him, “Why do you move around so late at night. Don’t you know the village has an evil force, which becomes active after midnight.”

“Evil force?” Hari said, scoffing at Madhur and Pawan. Snubbing them, Hari still ventured around the village at night almost every day. “In fact, I like the tranquility of this village at this time,” he said to himself.

One night, he was sitting on the village meadows, when to his surprise, he suddenly noticed 15-year-old Meera, the daughter of Pawan Lal, who he has been teaching to read and write. Noticing Meera, he went near her and asked, “Why are you out at this time of the night?”

She told him that her exams were approaching and she wasn’t able to sleep and had come out to refresh herself. 

Hari had seen Meera last week when her parents called him over for tea. But today, she looked rather frail. He was wondering – how come this girl became so frigid within the span of just a week. Even her way of speaking was diametrically different. She was cold and not willing to talk, unlike last week. She just answered the questions Hari had asked.  

Meera told him about how she was teased in school and felt suicidal and how her maths teacher had insulted her last week because she was not able to do an algebra equation. “I just want to die,” she said. This left Hari wondering. 

Just last week, when he visited Meera’s home, her parents seemed so proud of her because of her academic achievements. 

This way, the conversation went on for an hour. Then, Meera asked Hari to go to the river bank with her. Initially, Hari agreed but when he got up to walk, he remembered that he had an official assignment, which he had to complete by morning. Politely, he refused and told her to be careful. An angry Meera then went away in a jiffy. As she left, it seemed that she just disappeared in the fog.

Two days after this incident, Hari met Meera’s dad Pawal Lal in school, and as usual, he was invited for tea with the family again.

Around 4:30 pm, Hari arrived at Meera’s house, where he was greeted by her mother Geeta, who offered him some snacks. A little later, Meera came in and greeted Hari. Her father Pawan came in a while later. Then a plate of sweets and samosas arrived along with some flavoured tea. Picking up his cup, Hari asked Meera, “How are you feeling today?” 

“How am I feeling?” she asked to her surprise. “I’m absolutely okay.” Then he said, “But that night, you said you felt suicidal.”  

Surprised, she replied, “That night?” I never stay awake after 9:30 pm.” Surprised, Hari said, “Then who was it, if it wasn’t you.”

Then, Pawan said, “I told you there is an evil spirit that moves out after midnight. Please don’t go out any more. People had gone missing from the village and their bodies were found near the river.” 

Meera made a gesture to Hari and they went outside. She told Hari about an incident, which left him bewildered. She said she had a sister called Heera, who was two years younger than her. 

Heera had fallen in love with a boy from another community and her father as well as her community disapproved of it. Heera and the boy got married and were welcomed back to the village. But this reception was a just ploy to get them back. The villagers, with the approval of the elders, murdered them and dumped them on the river banks. And, this way, it is believed that Heera tries to take revenge on all who venture out at night.  

This incldent left Hari baffled. He was wondering why he was spared. Perhaps, because he was not a party to the crime! Or, may be because he didn’t go to the river banks.

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