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Friday, September 28, 2018

Cityblog Feature: Nayakgiri Super Natural Short Story: " Circuit Breaker"

Closed Circuit

All characters, events , locations are totally fictitious. Idea is not to promote any superstitions

Last week I was driving my daughter to an industry in Branford CT for her visit. The road passes through countryside which resembles Indian landscape especially in konkan. There were farms, hills, winding small roads, cattle, tin covered houses.  There was hardly any traffic either ways. We were using GPS. At one place there was cemetery with many crosses on a vast ground. Road winds through the cemetery. GPS asked me to turn left and take a U turn. It happened few times. I panicked and my thinking was clouded as well. Maybe its human psychology. I thought we were caught in Closed Circuit popularly know as ‘Chakwa’ in Marathi. Suddenly I remembered by grandmother who had once said to break the circuit (chakwa) you should pray god and do take new unknown path. I did that we reached a highway and were then properly guided by GPS till destination.

I remember in my childhood my grandfather Grand Mother used to narrate story to all grandchildren about Closed Circuit. Her native village was in border district of Belgaum between Maharashtra and Karnataka. The incident happened in 1920s. She and her 4-5 siblings were traveling back to her village after attending marriage in neighboring village.It was getting dark and road passed through a Forest area. The driver of the bullock cart asked kids to take a blanket and pray to God. Kids asked questions but driver asked them to be quiet. Later when they reached home the driver told my grandmothers father that he was caught in Closed Circuit. Finally he took the cart uphill on non conventional road and reached their village safely

This experience also took me back 20 years ( Bees saal baad) 

when Myself , my new colleague at office were travelling from Mumbai on Train Rajdhani Express to attend a conference in Delhi. It was 1998. I used to work and stay in Mumbai then. My Company  had nominated myself and another employee to represent the company at IT event in Delhi. I did not know that colleague as our company then had more than 2000 employees then. We coordinated and met at Mumbai Central. Train was on time. After introductions, we chatted about Delhi event, company matters, technology , politics, sports and movies. There was a couple travelling in same coupe as ours. We got introduced. This guy was working in Reserve Bank. Lady was a teacher. After dinner lady went off to top berth to sleep. Three of us were chatting and topic went to ghost stories., My colleague Rahul started the session with his experience.

Rahul was studying in college at Baroda.He and his friend had got a room in old bunglow slightly outside city in quiet area. At the time of agreement, landlord had told them about all conditions. One of the peculiar term was not to open door of a room in the corner of bunglow. Its so strange that had the landlord not mentioned about that corner room , no one would have cared to open the door. But curiosity kills the at as they say. Most of the  time landlord was there in the bunglow. But  on one weekend he went to Pune. Rahul and his friend invited few more college friend to celebrate weekend. Rahul mentioned to other friend about that room. They all decided to explore that room. They went near that room to see a big old lock. They were disappointed. But suddenly other friend did try to force the lock by pulling it hard. And lock gave away. They entered the room pitch was dark and felt someone sitting in the chair  in the corner with small candle. They use mobile torch to see a very dread some looking old lady She looked so so old at least more than hundred years of age. Our brave hearts lost their composure and ran to their room. The called landlord on his cell apologizing and narrating their experience. Landlord gave them piece of mind and was very angry as well scared. He asked them not to stay in bunglow till he came to Baroda. Rahul and his friend locked their room and went to college hostel where others stayed. Few days later landlord came in. He did pooja and changed the lock. He told that the lady was no more but her presence is felt in the room. Lady had committed suicide on same chair around 30 -40 year back…
Then I narrated a story. The protagonist in that story is my old friend Rajesh who had faced a strange puzzle which is still unanswered for him but we attribute that to his high spirits that night But he is a safe driver following all rules so puzzle gets stranger. Rajesh has parents in Nasik and he lives in Pune with his wife. He drives to Nasik on some weekends. One weekend his wife was travelling and he decided to drive to Nasik alone on late Friday night. He had a dinner at Friends place and started his journey at 10 pm. He is used to driving during night timings. Nasik is maybe 4 and half hrs during day so he must have planned to reach by 2 am which is not very late by his nocturnal standards. He reached the first toll post by around 11: 30 pm. He was stopped there by a Police inspector on a motorbike along with a plain clothed pillion rider . Inspector politely asked him if Rajesh can drop his companion pillion rider till the next toll which was around 80 kms from the first post. Normally its risky to give lift to strangers but with police recommendation he felt safe. He asked the pillion rider guy to sit on the passenger seat of his car. But the guy insisted that he will sit behind as he was very tired and sleepy and it can induce a wink or driver can doze off as a sleep is contagious.. He said it was fine as well. They started the journey. Rajesh tried to converse with him but guy had dozed off. He continued drive. After maybe half hour or so he did not feel any human presence in the car apart from him. Normally you get a sense of human presence inside a small space of a car. But Rajesh felt that there was no one in the back side of car. He decided to stop the car on the shoulder and check. And to his horror there was no one. He was panicked and did not realize how the guy would have gone out as car did not stop at any point and was travelling at a speed not less than 70 kmph. He recovered initial shock and realized only thing to do was report. At the next toll there was police post and he went there. The duty constable asked him the reason for his visit. He narrated all the events. The police guy called his counterparts serving first toll, as well as all police posts in that radius. The guy said there was no motor cycle driven inspector posted in all relevant police stations and posts.And to Rajesh’s horror, the guy whom he had given lift entered the room from inside of police station. He told police constable that he was he had given lift. The constable told him that the guy was in station for last 6 hours and never went out. Police now started looking at him with suspense, ridicule, intrigue, compassion and few more emotion filled  looks. Rajesh apologized saying he may have mistake, Police took all his details. That day onwards he stopped driving late into night.

Now the Bank guy Mr Seth said that he and his doctor experience an inexplicable situation which still he cannot explain.  By this time Mrs Seth also joined discussion.
He said “ It was strange chain of incidences few years back which I and my wife faced. It all started with some peculiar stomach ailment  faced by her.  One of my friends recommended t us  to Dr Govil a Gastroentritologist. Both of us went to the address given by my friend. We reached the building in posh south Mumbai locality. We reached  8th floor to find that there was no Dr Govil Clinic. WE  asked people in other offices . They all did not know about Dr Govil Clinic. We also tried to call on the numbers given by my friend but all we heard was a recorded voice saying that the number did not exist”.

“Next day I called my friend who knew Dr Govil. I confirmed whole address with him just to ensure we did not reach wrong floor or building. But it turned the same floor in the same building. Even the numbers were correct. So I requested him to check out. Within half an hour my friend called back saying he spoke to Dr Govil on same numbers and he confirmed that his address was same as given to me.  He asked us to visit next day again. Again we faced same situation”

“Quite frustratingly I told my friend that we will find some other specialist.. But he told Dr Goviil is good doctor and he was curious to find about address himself. So he went to Dr Govil’s Clinic address and called me from the clinic and made me talk to Dr Govil”  

Dr Govil appeared sincere and were soft spoken, well mannered tone which reflected his experience and skills. So it was decided that he will visit us next weekend. I gave him my address and numbers. I thanked him and his offer to visit us.

We waited at the decided time at home. The decided time was 4 pm. He did not turn up. But we waited till 6 pm and called our friend that Dr Govil did not turn up. My friend asked me to hold and from his landline called the doctor. To everybody’s surprise, it seems Dr Govil had visited the address given and was told by people that no such  Seth family stays here. And our numbers did not exist. He faced same problem like us. We all were perplexed and bit concerned.”

“It was just like chakwa I felt. So I decided to break the circuit. I asked if we can meet Dr Govil at public place like restaurant. . We decided upon a famous restaurant and fixed on date and time. Both of us reached there and could find Dr Govil. After expressing concern on the vents, we tried to analyze. Doctor did not believe in superstition like chakwa but I knew it was same. Ultimately my  wifes’ health was discussed. Though he could not examine her so he called her at hospital where he used to practice earlier and the treatment started”

After other topics we decided to retire to our berths. Next morning we found that Mr and Mrs Seth were not in the coupe , neither their luggage was. We thought they must have got down at some earlier station.. We asked the attendant in the bogie if people in our coupe had git down, He said both of us were the only occupants in coupe as Mr and Mrs Saha on whose name bookings were did not turn up at Mumbai.

We attended the conference and went back to Mumbai. I never met Rahul for about month as I was too busy in work and family life. I bumped on to  him in canteen. We had lunch discussing strange couple and mystery around them. He invited me too his place on next Sunday evening.

I went at the address to find no such Mr Rahul Dole or Dole family lived there. To avoid another Closed circuit, when I met Rahul in office , told him that lets not plan to meet anywhere outside office.

It may sound that such  super natural phenomenon might me resulting out of human imagination. I realized one thing even in real life otherwise are we not trapped in closed circuits. Same old cycle of education, job, family and inheritance. In our work we are trapped in same non creative things we do. In family as we not trapped in same chores and even during vacations we stick to trodden paths. Only if we can break this circuit we can live dynamic life with lots of creativity and self satisfaction. And of course returns like Money, fame etc will follow.

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