by Drupadi Srivatsava
People often speak of ghosts and spirits.I have never seen any. However,narrated here are some authentic incidents,which may provide food for thought.
My mother told us that when she was a little girl living in Sainani Mahla, in Kambar (Larkana,Sind)in W.Pakistan; on some specific days, Sai Jiwatsingh (the renowned saint) would get large quantities of food prepared and place the same in an open veranda. To the surprise of all the onlookers, the food used to disappear,without any eaters/takers being visible.Thus, every body presumed that the same was consumed by the spirits.She also told us that Sai Jiwatsingh advised all the children that while playing Hide and Seek, they should not run around in one darker hall in her ancestral home in Kambar, as it could hurt the invisible occupants (supposed to be the spirits).
In 1944, we were living in Hala near Hyderabad,Sind in W.Pakistan. Since there was no electricity, a hurricane lamp used to be kept hanging on the wall in the veranda, for carrying it to the toilet for answering the midnight calls of nature. The hurricane left a smut (arising from its soot) on the wall. One morning, to our astonishment, in the centre of the smut,was a very neatly scribbled 'Kanayalal' in running hand.My mother and grandmother did not know a word of English, my father's handwriting was horrible and illegible, so much so that even his very personal letters were typed; I and my younger siblings were completely raw at running hand;my two elder brothers were away studying in Bombay and Karachi; and my two elder sisters were married and were not living with us. Hence, till today, the scribbling on the smut remains to be a mystery.
The above narrations are expected to provide food for thought which may induce some researches in this area. During summer season, all of us used to sleep in open veranda, but during winter we used to sleep in our bedrooms which during night, used to be invariably bolted from inside. Often, there used to be knocks on the door, which were clearly audible, in the pin drop silence of the night. This also remains to be a mystery.
Once in Hala, my elder sister,just few weeks before her marriage, saw a black figure on top of our kitchen,near the chimney. She thought it to be a spirit. I thought it was ridiculous and made fun of her. Further, I challenged that if there was anything like that, why the same was not visible to me. Our residence had three large bedrooms. The first bedroom was occupied by my parents and my youngest brother slept with them. The bedroom in the middle was for me and my two sisters, and the third bedroom was given to my grand mother and my youngest sister. Besides separate entrance, all the three bedrooms had connected doors made of wood planks which usually kept some cracks in between, enabling easy transmission of sound. This incident refers to the month of January 1944, when I was preparing for matriculation examination. One night around 11p.m.,while I was totally engrossed in solving some mathematical problem, my bed started shaking. I, without lifting my eyes from my notebook, started shouting at my sister Pushpa for being a nuisance. The shaking instead of stopping became more and more vigorous.I was furious and when I raised my eyes, was shocked to see both my sisters fast asleep, door properly bolted and yet the violent shaking of my bed continued. I shouted for help, but got no response. Was really frightened. I started begging for forgiveness from whosoever was shaking my bed. The shaking stopped and everybody in the house woke up including my both the sisters. what bothered me the most was the fact that how my shrieks and shouts failed to wake up others, specially my elder sister who happened to be in the same room and an extremely light sleeper. They woke up only after my apology and stoppage of the shaking. The bright kerosene burner providing me the light for my studies, did not shake at all. Yet we wondered if the same was due to tremors of an earthquake. However, my father being the administrative head of the Taluka, did not receive any such information. Hence, the mystery persists.
The world is full of innumerable species. The existence of an invisible can also be a possibility. Assuming the existence of the invisible specie, it is but natural that for fear of getting trampled or run down by vehicular traffic, the same would avoid habitation and move to secluded locations. Invariably, the tales of ghosts and spirits are associated with secluded areas. Incidentally, our residence, in Hala, was a lone house surrounded by couple of acres of barren land.