Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Scary story in the backwaters of Kerala

Rishi and family have had a paranormal experience while in the backwaters of Alleppey. And, it came as a bolt from the blue.

Forty-year-old Rishi, wife Alka, who is 10 years younger, and their 10-year-old daughter Mini were going on a vacation to a village in the backwaters of Alleppey in Kerala. It was almost after a year that Rishi got a 10-day leave from his office and was longing for the big day to come.

Well, there was also another reason for Rishi’s excitement — the travel agent, Murli, who is also Rishi’s friend — had told him a very strange story that really excited Rishi.

The village Rishi was supposed to visit for a night apparently has many apparitions living among humans, and this had petrified the villagers.   

Also, Alka and Mini had never gone to a village before and were excited about the rural experience they would have. Spicing it up with some paranormal experience would make it a perfect holiday, thought Alka.

The big day had finally arrived and it was time for Rishi and family to catch the flight from Delhi’s IGI airport to Trivandrum. They had taken the early morning flight, and within a few hours, reached their destination and hotel, The Highland, which was a decent three-star stay.

Tired, Rishi and his family didn’t realise when they had gone to sleep in the air-conditioned comfort of their room. Evening arrived and the phone rang. “Good evening, sir. Reception calling. A man by the name Murli wants to see you.”

“Send him up,” said Rishi, who woke up Alka and Mini while scurrying to make the bed before his friend arrived.  

Murli came up to the room, said a “Hi” to everyone and immediately struck a chord with Alka and Mimi, who had seen him for the first time. “A curious Alka asked, “So, what is the itinerary?

Murli said, “Tomorrow in the morning, you first go to Alleppey, which is a three-hour journey by car. Take the boat from the Pamba river and head to the backwaters till you reach the last village Kainakary. It is a two-night boat ride.”

He went on to say, “Did you know that Alleppey is the ‘Venice of the East’?”

Alka wasn’t interested if it was Venice or Milan but was more curious about reaching the remote Kainakary as early as possible. And, she was awaiting to see if there was any paranormal activity in store for her.

Dinner was light with a typical bland vegetable meal with some chicken reshmi kababs to spice it up. Next morning, after a sumptuous buffet breakfast, the trio left in an SUV for Alleppey, and around 2:30 in the afternoon, they boarded their boat.

The boat was not a simple boat but actually a houseboat made of bamboo. There was a big drawing room, two bedrooms, a kitchen with two toilets, And, there was also an area for the boat staff to stay. Rishi, Alka and Mini were bereft of words when they saw how beautiful the houseboat was.

Mini immediately started moving around to explore it while her mother said, “Careful dear, make sure you don’t go to the edges.”

Nights gave a quaint feeling inside the houseboat, with a few mosquitoes infiltrating the rooms but the nets and repellents largely kept them away.

And, when Alka opened the window to see what it’s like outside at night, she immediately shut it. The darkness outside and the sound of the river sent a chill down her spine. She started imagining what it would be like in Kainakary.

Next day, a delectable breakfast, comprising a variety of fruits like watermelon, grapes and papaya along with cheese sandwich, ham omelette, paratha and aloo dum, arrived along with juices, tea and coffee.

The two-night cruise was to end at some point and from there Kainakary, the mystery village, was a 15-minute journey by road along with a 15-minute walk. Inside the houseboat, besides the motorman, there was a cook and a helper to serve the meals. The helper, Kukunoor, was very forthcoming and got Rishi, Alka or Mini whatever they needed. In fact, around 9 at night Alka wanted coconut water and Kukunoor said, “In a jiffy, Ma’am.”

Alka seemed to hear a splash as if someone jumped into the water but thought, “How, can that be — someone jumping into the river at night?”

Within a very short time span, Kukunoor arrived with a coconut well sliced along with a straw and some snacks.  

The motorman Murli, seemed a little strange and kept to himself while the cook, Raghavan, was one of the oldest staff members and regularly sought feedback from Alka and Rishi on how the food was.

“Splendid, especially breakfast,” said Rishi, while giving his thumbs up to the food. “Even the lunch (comprising a combination of chicken and mutton dishes along with fish fry) was one of its kind.”

Even on Day Two, Kukunoor — who was a resident of the mystery village — served to the best of his ability. At one point, Alka was so impressed with his service that she gave him a Rs 500 tip. “Thank you Ma’am,” he said, bowing before her.

A curious Alka called him again and asked about the mystery village. Kukunoor looked at her in silence and then warned her, “Ma’am, just stay away from Savitha aunty and don’t go out at night. You will be safe.” He then hurriedly walked out of the room.

Early the next morning, the boat anchored at a small town and Alka, Rishi, Mini along with Kukunoor deboarded. It was to come back the next morning to pick them up again.

Kukunoor made the transport arrangements, walked with them and reached the village. In the village, people seemed cold and unwilling to talk. Alka’s imagination ran wild. She started getting a feeling that zombies were moving around the village. “May be they are real people,” said Alka to herself.

Murli had made an arrangement where one of the villagers Karthik would organise a night’s stay for the family. Karthik made available a quaint but beautiful cottage for them as well as a domestic help Saritha, who could understand and speak broken Hindi. Saritha made delicious idlis, sambhar, vada and uttapam. 

In the evening, a strange-looking lady came to meet Saritha. “This is my mother Savitha,” said Saritha. Hearing the name, Alka immediately ordered Saritha to take her mother outside and not let her in. Taking her mother to the next hut, Saritha had a five-minute talk with Savitha and before leaving, Savitha came back to tell Alka, “If you want to see real ghosts, wait for me. I’ll come back at 10:30 in the night and show you.”

A terrified Alka remembered Kukunoor’s words, “Ma’am, just stay away from Savitha aunty.” 

Alka didn’t know whether to listen to Kukunoor or wait for Savitha. Exactly at 10:30, Savitha arrived and, according to Alka, she looked as if she was in a trance. 

Savitha held Alka’s hand, and reluctantly, Alka walked with her. Even Rishi and Mini were curious to see what was in store outside. So, they followed. About a kilometre away, they saw some people walking aimlessly.

Savitha told Alka, “These are the real zombies. Not me. Don’t let them know you are here. They could try to harm you.”

After a while, they walked further and saw someone climbing a coconut tree vertically, without any support. Terrified, Alka held Rishi’s and Mimi’s hands. Though it was pitch dark for them to make out who it was, the shirt seemed somewhat familiar to Alka. 

They came back to their hut around 2 am and hit the sack. After all, they would have to head back to their boat early morning.

The next day, as they were boarding their houseboat, motorman Murli and cook Raghavan were already there. And, after half an hour, Kukunoor arrived.

The houseboat headed back, and again, Rishi and family got to taste some delectable and sumptuous food. In the evening, Alka again asked for coconut water. Raghavan said there was no coconut inside the boat. A little later, Kukunoor came in and said he will get coconut water for her. 

Alka started trembling when she saw Kukunoor’s shirt. This was the same man who was walking vertically on the coconut tree last night. As Kukunoor left, Alka and Rishi followed him and saw that he had jumped into the dark waters. And, to their astonishment, he was back with the coconut five minutes later! 

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