It was just another ordinary day of their lives. Seven friends Priya, Vrinda, Sachita, Shekhar, Rahul, Ashwin and Aditya like usual decided to go out on a night out tonight. The odds were in their favor. Ashwin managed to get a car tonight and Priya always had a scooty, hence they could travel quite a distance tonight. What college group misses its chances to go out on night stays and night outs?
Excitement ended up in an argument on where to go. They had been almost everywhere in and around the city in the course of the first two years of their graduation already. There had to be a new plan this time.
Vrinda: “I heard of this dam on the highway; mustn’t be more than 30km. They its secluded and people avoid it during nights. So I guess we could go there. But I am unsure of the way.”
After thinking for a couple of minutes, everyone agreed to visit this place. Priya and Rahul would be on the scooty and rest of them had to accommodate in the car. They picked snacks, food and beer on their way.“This is going to be memorable” said Shekhar. They struggled with google maps and GPS for quite a while but finally they were on ‘the road.’ ‘Sayri dam 17km’ , read the milestone. That’s when the music was turned on and the beer cans were opened. No drinks for Ashwin or Priya tonight, they were the ones driving.
Finally after20 minutes or so they reached a place where a narrow kucha road split into the jungle. There was a board ‘Sayri dam 1km. It wasn’t appropriate to take the vehicles in. The way was muddy and too narrow. Everyone got down and started walking. They carried some snacks and beer with them.
Sachita; “I wish we don’t get to meet a wild animal I here.”
Rahul: “Koi baat nhi, tujhe kha bhi gya agar. Hum sab toh bch jaaenge.”
Sachita: “Dekhio kahin tujhe kha jaaen. Sabse aage chal bhi toh tu hi rha hai.”
And there it was. It wasn’t very big but it was a perfect location. Laughter and nagging was on. They drank and sung and played.
Ashwin: “ Thand hoti jaarhi hai yaar! Vapis na chlen?”
Aditya: “15 minute me chlte hain.”
Vrinda: ”OOyye, vo kya hai?” Pointing towards the end from where they entered.
Rahul: “ Tera bhoot!!” As he turned to see. But! But, it was a distorted white figure, looking like a woman walking towards them. Most of them were too drunk to make out what exactly it was. That’s when Ashwin realized what was it.
Ashwin: “ Bhaagoo!!!”
Everyone got upto their feet and ran towards the other end. They didn’t even turn around to see if the thing was still there.
Priya: ”Vo dekh vahan light jal rhi hai. Jaldi chlo. Vahan chlte hain!”
They rushed towards the place. Surprisingly it was a café!! And this café in the middle of nowhere was open at 1 am. They walked in. A man was sitting on a chair looking at the sky. He turned to them. “May I help you?”
Ashwin: “ Sir, we are students from the city. We found this place quite scenic so decided to sit here for a while. That’s when we saw a white lady like figure rushing towards us. Yahan light dekh kr yahan aagye. Kya hum kuchh der yahan ruk skte hain?”
“ Hahahaha! That’s would have been my sister. She likes to walk around at this hour. Insomnia I tell you!.... Welcome to Café Tantra! We are a new venture. Me aur meri behan chlaate hain is jgah ko. Ap chaahen toh kuchh kha pee bhisakte hain. Varna kuchh der rukna chahen toh ruk jaaen.”
Their pale face regained their color. They made themselves comfortable and started having random conversation with the café owner.
Sachita: “ Par aap logon ne ye café raatko kyu khgol rkha hai?”
Owner: “ Ye 24/7 café hai. Aur sach poochho toh mujhe raat bahut pasand hai. Jaise dheeredheere andheraghana hota jaata hai. Sab shaant hone lgta hai. Man krta hai ki bs is vaqt bahr ghoomta rahun.”
Rahul: “ Matlb aapko bhi night outs pasand hain! Haha”
Owner: “ Aisa hi kuchh”
Ashwin:” Yahan kuchh zyada thand nhi hai? “
Owner: “ Haha! Apke liye zyada aur hum sabke liye perfect.”
Vrinda: “ Aapki behan is vaqt kahan hai? Is jungle me unhe akele itni raat bahr nhi rehna chahiye. Agar koi janwar aajae toh!”
Owner:” Vo toh janwaron ka intzar hi karti hai! Aae toh unhe kha jaati hai!”(with a grin)
Shekhar:” Ye ladkiyan hotihi aisi hain!! Insetoh jaanwar bhi darte hain!!”
Owner: “Lo meri behan bhi aagyi”
They turned around.
Shekhar: “Aapne toh humari jaan hi nikal di thi! Hume lga koi bhoot voot dekh liya humne.”
Woman: “ Arre bhoot wootkuchh nhi hota. Me toh roz raat yahin ghoomti hu!”
Priya: “ Vaise ma’am, I must admit aap bahut sundr hain!”
Rahul: (To Ashwin) “ Arre hero, tu theak hai? Tujhe abhi toh thand lgrhi thi ab paseena aarha hai?”
Ashwin did not say a word. He was just staring at the ground beneath her feet! Oh wait! No!\
Vrinda: “ Uske per ulte hain!!!”
The woman screamed and turned into a devilish thing from the pretty face she was!! She jumped onto Rahul’s back! Everyone screamed and shouted and turned to the café owner for help who stood there with an axe!!!
They tried running away but something held them! Sachita taking out her holy pendant,” Oh God! Bacha lo!” Both the ghosts moved a step back and everyone ran and ran and ran, screaming! They jumped into the car and drove away. It was a km or 2.
Aditya:”Bhai Priya kahan hai?”
Sachita: :” Haan! Priya nhi aayi!”
They were pale, sweating and trembling. Also, they had no idea what to do. But they couldn’t leave a friend behind for sure.
Ashwin: “ Ab jo hua vo hum sabko pta hai, par vapis toh jaana pdega. Hum use aise nhi chhod skte.”
Everyone started chanting their prayers and they turned back. They reached the jungle again. The plan was to leave Ashwin and Vrinda with the vehicles so that they could be ready to drive away and rest of them would walk in holding each others hands chanting and and showing Sachita’s pendant. Rahul, Sachita, Aditya, Shekhar walked in hand in hand. They were crossing the dam when Shekhar felt that some invisible thing held his free hand. He was scared but could not frighten others. They were all shivering and taking small cautious steps. This seemed to be the longest journey of their lives. It was quiet , all so quiet and dark that the only noise they could hear was of their heartbeats and footsteps. They reached the place from where the café could be seen.
They paused for a minute and looked into each others eyes. They couldn’t believe what just happened. Each eye had a certain appeal. They wanted one of them to say it was just a prank and nothing else. But, no such expectations were met. Sachita took a deep breath and moved over. Everyone held each other tigh and walked towards the café. They went inside. It was quiet and scary. But the owner was missing, the woman was missing and so was their friend. It was around 3 am. Scared and quiet they moved as if a cat. But nothing was found. Shekhar gathered all his strength and shouted her name,” Priyaaaa, Priyaaa….. Kahan hai tu?”
Rahul:” Priya?... Agar ye mazaak hai toh bus hogya dost! … Sab dargye hain ab aaja please. “Priyaaaa…”
Meanwhile, Vrinda and Ashwin thought it had been too long. They decided to go in and help as well. They walked hand in hand as well. They swallowed nothingagain and again, frightened of every single movement any leaf made they walked ahead. They reached the middle of the dam when they saw everyone else was running towards them screaming.
Aditya:” Bhaag! Bhaag! Bhaag.. bhaag bhaaag!”
They ran, without knowing what had happened. They jumped onto the vehicles and drove. It would be 20 seconds roughly when they saw a different scary priya. A girl in a gown without a definitive shape running with the pace of the car looking right at them and smiling……………
Rating - 129/200
Judges - Mayank Sharma, Mohit Trendster and Pankaj V. (Shaan)
Total Rating (3 Rounds) - 390/600 (65%)