Priya had shifted to her new apartment on Ganesh Chaturthi.Located comfortably within the radius of Priya’s office this flat was a dream come true. After the ebb of past three years she sought solitude, wanting to carve a way to the life ahead.
A month had passed peacefully and Priya had started settling down, both in the new flat and the new life. Routine had shaped and wounds had started healing.Though Mumbai doesn’t much get to enjoy winters, the places facing the beach have a cold wave in and around them. It was December and Priya loved the fact that the weather was pleasant unlike the bitter cold in North.
Christmas was round the corner but the Society she lived in was away from the mundane illuminated markets. Priya had returned late from office. The flat had an uneasy wave. A cold wave that kept disturbing her sleep. Around midnight, Unusual of Mumbai, the temperature dropped down giving priya a delusion of nights in her home town, Delhi. Fast asleep, she had to force herself to get up and fetch her quilt from the wardrobe for the bed cover had stopped helping. Stooping to the cupboard and then striking back to her bed, Priya barely opened her eyes.
The events recurred the following night but this time Priya could not strike back with the quilt and collapsed near the cupboard. After a few sprinkles of water Priya started regaining consciousness. She could feel a very cold yet soothing touch on her face and her ears could sense a male voice close, very close, to her.
She slowly opened her eyes and started yelling.
The urban life in Mumbai is too exhausted in the night to lose sleep over a scream and so none in the building, which had very less occupied flats, cared. The guard was drunk and too far from the fourteenth floor to be able to assist.Priya was shouting in vain.
With an intruder in her apartment and no help available, the best she could think of was the knife in the kitchen. Priya braved and caught hold of the sharpest knife she saw and with a terrified voice warned -
“Who are you? I am going to attack. Stay away.”
The reflection moved slowly towards light and the moment it halted, Priya’s senses seized.
A nude man, six feet tall, clad less, with a skin colour matching a white sculpture, gazed at Priya gaped and confused. Six Pecks strong arms and a smoky hot body, he shone bright like uranium.
“Stop staring at my Crotch will you please?
And please don’t shout. I mean no harm.” finally spoke the fine piece of art.
He was polite but quoted again emphasizing a little more this time.
“Mam, Please stop staring at my crotch, you are making me uncomfortable.”
Priya shifted her gaze to his blue shining eyes.
“Who are you? What are you doing in my apartment? And where on God's name are your clothes?”
It was getting difficult for Priya to regain senses. She was startled, mute and numb and hurried to switch the lights on. His true glimpse affrighted Priya all the more. He seemed like an inspirited statue.
“Am I hallucinating?” Priya stood alarmed watching an exceptionally handsome and polite alien roam around nude in her flat freely.
He offered the glass of water to her. She so much needed it and accepted it with trembling hands.
“Who are you?” Priya was still shaking.
“I am Ritvik Soni.” His smile was heart melting warm.
Priya was finally perpendicular. This man meant no harm but..
Who was he?
Why was he nude?
Why was he there in the flat?
And his name? Did he tell his name. Did Priya miss it?
“What did you tell your name is?”
“I am Ritvik Soni.”
This face, of course Priya knew it. It was the face of superstar Ritvik Soni. How could she forget? She had grown up watching his films and had fantasized about him as a teenager. The superstar who had taken news by a wave with his suspicious death two years back.
Priya skipped a beat.
"I died two years back.”
This line was scary enough a thought for Priya to lose consciousness again. She couldn’t have been standing there chatting casually to a ghost!
When Priya opened her eyes she was lying on the kitchen floor and it was already eight in the morning. The migraine she had was worse than any hangover. It was a day off for her. She couldn’t rest a minute. She recalled what she encountered the previous night. This house was no more hers. She felt like living in an encroachment. Her heart was pumping faster on the mere thought of the white man’s words.
Around afternoon, Ritvik reappeared clad less and radiant. He Smiled while Priya had tough time keeping her eyes off his sexy body.
“I thought ghosts showed only in the night.” she was polite and pretended normalcy.
“I too thought somewhat similar when I was alive. But dying made me regret, wasting my entire childhood fearing spooky corners.
Priya finally flashed a beautiful smile which gave Ritvik the confidence to take the conversation further.
"You are beautiful and of course brave.”
“I am Priya, Creative head with Daksh Productions and I am still confused. Why didn’t I feel or see you in the first month. And now suddenly you pop up from nowhere?”
“I was on a vacation.”
“I didn’t know ghosts too went for vacations? So where did you go. Paris?”
“Of course ghosts do need vacations. Hawaii. I always loved it. " Ritvik responded.
Silence was abominable. Priya had always liked Ritvik Soni. But little did she imagine in the span of her life that she would share a flat with his ghost. Something needed to be done about the nudity. It was arousing.
“Why are you nude? Can’t we do something about it?” Priya finally broke the silence.
“I am afraid not. I am a ghost, a spirit. I am just a wind which has shape. I can be felt but not withheld. Clothes won’t stay. I am so sorry for the tease.” [smirk]
Rest of the evening Priya spent chatting with the ghost in her house. It was a discovery of its kind. Ghosts and Humans could be kind to each other without being scared. Priya was a live example.
“I always fantasized about you as a teenager.” Priya’s cheeks turned red.
“I did not eat anything for three days when I heard the news about you. What happened? What went wrong? How did you lose your life?”
Priya was snoopy, Much to Ritvik’s delight. He finally, after two years had found someone he could speak his feelings out to. But on a second thought he didn’t know what to tell her.
“I was murdered..."
“But Media quoted that you met with a cardiac arrest while you were driving and that lead to the accident.”
“So who’s your favourite actor now?” Ritvik asked.
Priya felt embarrassed due to sudden change of the topic and left unanswered.Priya's fear was flipping to favoritism now. The duo chatted about everything until Priya dared to question again.
“Ritvik you did not tell me. Who killed you?”
Ritvik started after a long pause.
“It was two years back. I was returning from a late night shoot. I always preferred to drive on my own and loved speeding through the free roads in late evening. That night what happened was unusual. A white creature, flew towards my screen and stuck to it. For a moment I felt I had encountered something paranormal and applied sudden brakes due to which the white body fell off the car bonnet and my car lost control and smashed into an overloaded truck. There was no one around the truck to ask for help. I was bleeding, losing consciousness and trying to keep up despite pain until the worst happened. My left hand seized and my breast pained. The last thing I saw was a man with a camera in his hand run toward me and the white woman stood their shocked and aware of the crime that had been done. My ears were the last to give up and I heard them talk while they pulled me out of the car.
I was targeted for a prank they wanted to telecast as a maha-episode over the weekend in their show. I paid for their trp with my life. Before they could help me I took my last breath. I was dead!
Someone dragged my soul into a big gate which would allow me to enter if I could forgive those who sinned against me. But I was agitated. I deserved at least a justification. Why did I have to die so young and that too when I was floating on the seventh cloud. What was my fault? For me even the God was a sinner. My dreams my life my aspirations were all ruined in a flash of moment.
I was sent back to earth to be here among the same people. By the time I reached back it was morning. I landed straight at the accident spot. Police was investigating. My body had been sent for post-mortem. I had no one to cry behind. I was always alone. My property was taken over by my sister who hadn’t even seen my face for years out of jealousy and I came here for she thankfully never knew this flat existed.
The Short Story continues here....