Friday, March 19, 2021

Abandoned bungalow in Lonavala

Jaibeer Panwar and family moved to a house near Pune where no one wanted to stay as people felt it was haunted. So, does the rationalist Jaibeer encounter anything paranormal?

In Lonavala near Pune, the Patros family home had grabbed eyeballs for the wrong reasons. It had been abandoned for some years (since 2009) as the current owner of the Patros bungalow was living in the United States and keen to rent it out.

But there were many tales associated with this house, forcing people to shy away from the property.

According to grapevine, there was a story about an innocuous door, which is believed to have a supernatural presence. And, there were also stories about a malignant spirit moving around inside the house.

Months went by and the Patros family found no takers. Finally, a former financial expert with Fannie Mae in the US (who worked around 2002 to 2007), Jaibeer Panwar (40), along with his wife Roshni (35) and daughter Chandrika (7), was keen on taking the house on rent.

For over two years, Jaibeer was staying in Mumbai with his parents but wanted to move to a place where there was tranquility.

Upon hearing these rumours associated with the Patros’ bungalow, Jaibeer and Roshni were hardly moved, dismissing them as “baseless.” But Chandrika was reluctant to stay there after hearing stories associated with the house.

After some tough negotiations, the Panwars’ finally managed to clinch a good deal — that is, a 20 per cent discount on the rent demanded by Sean Patros, now a resident of the Bay Area in San Francisco. Sean was the only surviving descendant of the Patros family, who left India in early 2005.

Soon after the deal was struck, Sean had the house repaired and painted, and a few days later, the Panwars were getting ready to move in.

The Patros family house was a two-storied bungalow, having 10 rooms and four bathrooms along with a kitchen on the ground floor where there was a grand drawing room and a fireplace.

It had a quaint look and the store room on the mezzanine floor near the staircase along with the two bedrooms on the first floor often made residents feel that someone was hovering around the place.

More so because even during a bright sunny day, this part of the house would still remain dark, sending shivers down the spine.

When Jibesh Malkani, a stock broker, who came to see whether he could rent this house a few weeks ago, left without even taking a look at the first floor, there was buzz about him encountering something in the house.

About a month later, Jaibeer came to see the house with broker Ramesh and he felt a presence. But Jaibeer shrugged off any paranormal angle and blamed his imagination for this eerie feeling. He decided to move in with his family.

Ramesh, thought, “Maybe, this house is handing out an invitation to Jaibeer to come and stay...”

Jaibeer, Roshni and Chandrika finally moved in during July 2010 with their dog Nash and domestic help Sonali, who was in her early twenties.

Jaibeer was now doing freelance consultancy from the comfort of his home. Sometimes he would be required to visit his client’s office in case some big investment plan came up. 

In the first 10 days of stay in the new house, there was nothing unusual. Roshni would make some delectable breakfast, a sumptuous lunch and for tea she would rustle up some snacks.

Jaibeer and Chandrika enjoyed the food, especially the evening snacks, which they had outdoors in their small garden.

Sometimes Sonali would help in cooking but she mainly cleaned the rooms and utensils, keeping them spotlessly tidy. One day, Sonali was cleaning the main bedroom on the first floor.

Like she always did, she made the room spick and span. Then, she went on to clean Chandrika’s bedroom. After cleaning it, she noticed that a lady walked into the master bedroom.

When Sonali followed her, she found that the woman disappeared.

Going further into the room gave Sonali a shock. “Oh my god! I just cleaned the room, and it looks like it’s filled with rotten garbage. And, who is that woman?”

Soon, realising who it could possibly be, she ran downstairs panting, telling Roshni and Jaibeer about what she saw.

Roshni berated Sonali, telling her how anyone could be inside when all the windows are bolted and there is only one entry to the house. “But ma’am, believe me, there was somebody in the room. I clearly saw her.”
That evening didn’t go too well for the family. Chandrika, who was an avid reader of horror stories, was somewhat shaken by the incidents.

She was determined not to sleep alone and was pestering her mother to let her sleep in the master bedroom. Even Sonali was afraid to sleep alone on the ground floor. So, Roshni came up with a solution, telling Sonali to come up and sleep with Chandrika.

Roshni cooked mutton kabab and laccha paratha (special paratha) along with an ice cream pudding that night to brighten the spirits of Chandrika. But Chandrika remained gloomy.

She was with her parents in the master bedroom and waiting for Sonali to come up.

Sonali, meanwhile, was cleaning the utensils and around 9:45 pm, she finished her work and was going up when she heard the creaky sound of the store room door.

She looked back and saw that it was open. When she went to close it, she opened the door a little and saw the same woman again. She was standing right in front of Sonali, giving her a look as if she was going to bite her neck.

Sonali shouted and fainted, with the store room door remaining open. Jaibeer and Roshni, along with Chandrika, rushed down and on seeing Sonali, they took her upstairs.

After a few days of lull, everything was happening in just one day. It seemed that the evil presence was suddenly in a hurry to hound Jaibeer and his family.     

But Jaibeer and Roshni were unfazed and comforted Sonali and even Chandrika. Roshni then went down to bring Nash upstairs to sleep in the passage.

Night seemed peaceful but the peace didn’t last long. Roshni bolted the master bedroom’s door, but around 3 am, it suddenly opened. Nash started barking loudly, to which Roshni and Jaibeer woke up.    

Roshni remembered bolting the door. “Maybe, I forgot,” Roshni said to herself, shutting the door again. But after 15 minutes, the door opened again. Jaibeer and Roshni got up.

Now, even Jaibeer was sure that something was wrong with the house and as he went to the passage, he saw the woman who had deep scars on her neck. The woman ran towards him as if to attack him but suddenly disappeared.

Running, Jaibeer wondered where she went. He stopped to look at Nash. He saw that the lab was staring at him in a strange manner and his barking was also very unusual.

Yes, he heard it right. Nash was, in fact, growling and telling him, “I’m going to get you.”

And then, Nash fiercely ran after Jaibeer. But instead of attacking him, Nash jumped out of a window of the passage that was open that night.

It fell on the garden, lying lifeless on the ground. Hearing Jaibeer scream, even Chandrika and Sonali woke up and all of them ran downstairs.

Nash was dead. Even though it was possessed, it kept the master away from harm’s way. Roshni and Chandrika cried out loud, clinging on to Nash, remembering the mischief it was up to everyday.

In the morning, Jaibeer got the dog cremated. He wanted to move out without wasting a day. So, he talked to the movers and packers who came to his house to pack his belongings.

While packing was on, there was a crowd near the house. Among them was an old woman, who came up to Roshni and said that Sean’s grandfather had murdered his wife with a sharp weapon one day when he came back drunk after losing money in gambling.

She said, “He brutally stabbed her on the neck and stomach and she died instantly. And after Sean and family left, there was a tenant, whose wife was stabbed mysteriously and she died.”

“Thank god, you are alive,” she told Roshni, walking away. But when she was going away, Jaibeer noticed her for the first time. There were deep scars on her neck and a portion of her stomach showed a stab wound. When Jaibeer told Roshni about it, they went quickly to look for her… but she was gone!

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