Mist deepening over the landscape

What with cloudy days and ghost stories, the former being considered as ideal for the latter, I have yet not been able to make out the deeper connection between the two. Is it the mist that rises from the grounds on a cold, cloudy morn, thickening on the trees, shrubberies, bushes and the grass-beds, slowly enveloping the surrounds in a dull grey shroud? The gradual opaqueness which prevents normal vision through the vaporous mesh? Or is it the black, rain-laden clouds with furrowed brows, hunched over the bosom of a breathless earth, ready to spout in torrential rage? Or is it those who will themselves out of downy pillows, cozy quilts and warm blankets to follow their usual routine of daily toil, covered head to foot in heavy overcoats, caps and boots, leaving the trudge-marks of their purposeful gait on desolate roads tearing the misty veils and ignoring the wrathful sky? Or is it those mean four-wheelers revved up to action throwing a glissade of pale lights on fast vanishing tracks striving to mark a weak trail in the coagulating fog? Or is it the solidified silence that descends unaware and prevails for long hours on the cityscape as though the civilization has come to an abrupt halt or to an untimed end? Is it the greyness, the paleness, the mistiness, the cloudiness which make it easier to believe all those things which slink away hurriedly in the light of cool rationale and irrefutable logic on a clear and bright sunny day? Whatever the inexplicable link be, on a frosty winter morning, you do feel nice getting scared and haunted and mystified, somehow enjoying those curdling goose bumps on your arms and the steaming cup of tea held in light, shaky clasp going cold over a furious discord between doting dread and dauntless courage. The gathering darkness and freezing cold outside spooning in that extra measure of surreal to wholesome incredulity and triumphant make-belief!! Be it a film, a book or just a robust, raucous debate on their (non) existence, cloudy days are meant and meant only for the extra-sensory perceptions.  

My mamaji (maternal uncle) was a great story teller, relishing every bit of the unwavering attention that he received during those afternoon tale-telling sessions. At the most suspenseful juncture he would stop suddenly, perhaps to gauge the effect of his narrative on the audience, and light a cigarette and drag on it with calculated ease, demanding a cup of tea of my mother declaring that he would not utter a syllable further till he had wetted his parched tongue with the slurps of that golden brown beverage. We would object loudly, we the children of the household, whom he had managed to reign in so cleverly around him with his sing-song word pictures, putting thereby a sound brake on any further rowdy mischiefs. He is the one who introduced me to Maupassant, though not exactly a ghost story writer, but definitely dealing in those strange human behaviours and incomprehensible happenings in their lives, defying outrageously all cerebral deductions.     

My elder brother, decades younger than my mamaji, had weirder snippets to share…

Kolkata of the 70s reeling under the Naxaal onslaught…

A bus plying through the night, its head lights the only means to lighten the dark, deserted stretch. Night riders were few, restful and sleepy, in their respective seats. A boy sat next   to the open window dozing lightly. The cool night air brushing his cheeks and swaying his well combed locks. A plain boy in his early teens in a bush shirt and pants; nothing remarkable or extra-ordinary about him!!! All of a sudden, the bus came to a halt, perhaps at a regular stop, now indistinct in the overcrowding darkness. A man jumped on board and came to sit next to the boy. After a while, the bus moved on. The man was about to settle into a comfortable posture turning his head towards the window to get a draught of fresh air.

Seeing the boy, he jerked up from the seat and exclaimed disbelievingly, “Aren’t you the very same who got killed at the bend of the alley a few minutes past?”

And poop tumbled the boy’s head off his shoulders before the man’s bulging eyes.”

While we would gasp with fright the elders would have a hearty laugh at the bluff master. And soon would ensue a vociferous debate on the believability of such happenings…

However, there is one such incident, which comes to my mind, being a more recent one, though not the only brush that I have had with the extra-sensorial.


Shadowy images billowing in the wispy mist

Around five years back…

We had moved into our new flat, our own, that is to say and were in the process of settling down. Those who had shifted base would know, it takes ages to get accustomed to the new habitat. After a trying day of shifting and placing the furniture where they should be, we retired to bed early. I am in the habit of visiting the bathroom intermittently during the night.

It was peak summer. For effective air-conditioning we always shut our bedroom door tight. At 04.00 am as I opened the door to go to the loo (we don’t have attached baths), a few steps towards the right of the bedroom, I had this electrifying encounter.

Our bedroom opens into a big, square drawing-dining hall. The far end of the wall is taken up mostly by a big window. On either side of the window are placed the TV and the Music System on stands moulded to fit in to each corner. The drapes were drawn allowing only a faint streak of moonlight to disperse the darkness inside the hall, albeit, in vain. I am myopic and don’t generally put on the specs when I get up during the night which may  account for the shadowy skeletal figure that I saw stooped a little over the Music System as though trying to switch it on.

Usually I go dumb and rooted in fear. But on this occasion a shriek escaped my lips which could have awakened the dead, “Who..who is that standing there?” A few seconds and I was fumbling for the switch, a few steps to my left. When the lights came on, the hall was devoid of all spectral form except me shivering in my night gown.

When I told my mother (now wide awake) what I had seen she promptly attributed it to my fertile imagination and penchant for spooky Hollywood movies. My sister and Brother-in-law were a little more condescending analyzing zestfully all the aspects of the episode from various angles and reasonability till my mind was soothed to a considerable measure. Throughout the commotion, my pet Mr. Snow Boot slept soundly.  

However, that morning more surprises lay in store for me. Our office, a corner plot, with three sides open, was distributed in three floors and was easily accessible to tresspass/invasion. We had recently been taken over by a larger corporate entity. The new Administration had purchased a dozen computers off-the-showroom which were largely installed on the first floor. The night I had the encounter-of-the-unknown-kind, a pack of hooligans had broken in and robbed the new machines clean off the desks. Evidently, they had transferred their loot through an open windowwhich they had expertly unlatched from the outside.

When I shared my experience of the previous night with my peers, they insisted that it was a kind of premonitory indication of what was simultaneously happening or going to happen in the office that very night. Some friendly spirit was trying to communicate the same in his/her own way to me.

My office lies outside the municipal limit of my city. Though, within the ambit of the National Capital Region (NCR), however, geographically, my office falls in the neighbouring state (NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh) whereas I reside in the Capital.  What good would it have been even if I had an inkling of what was going on in the Office was beyond my comprehension. Neither would I have been able to reach in time to stop the miscreants from stealing nor did I have the telephone numbers of the concerned In Charge to tip him off about the ongoing/forthcoming burglary. It would have been really helpful if the good hearted ghost had contacted somebody who lived near the office premise or could communicate with either the Guards-on-duty or the Administration Head.  

Notwithstanding the wrong choice that our friend from the other world made in me, his intent, ethics and accountability were indisputably irreproachable.  🙂

However, the explanation proffered by my colleagues did provide me something to mull over especially on days when the window panes licked on mist-crested creepers, birds nested in quietude and the sun snuggled a little longer under the coverlet of velvet clouds.

More spooky tales:



About gc1963

A working woman with interests in reading, writing, music, poetry and fine arts.

21 responses »

  1. vimalaramu says:

    My, Geeta, you and your vivid imagination supported by your wonderful vocabulary and imagery ! Though I am not a believer in ghosts, your article did indeed sent a chill down my spine,.


    • gc1963 says:

      Vimala, to believe or not to believe that is the question.

      You believe you see them and you don’t believe you don’t see them. 🙂

      At 04.00 reading this piece, right time to have a spooky acquaintance. 🙂 🙂

      What say you?


  2. Sneha says:

    Dearest Geetashree,

    When we talk next, I’ll tell you of the ‘various’ encounters! I so loved the way this write flows; from one discrepancy to another… From little snippets of one incident to another… Beautiful. What stunning imagery you employ in the beginning. Loved it, marvelous.


  3. Deeptangshu Das says:

    How perfectly you created a gothic ambience in your narrative. As usual, you are a lyrical storyteller. Loved the use of surreal imagery!


  4. Respected Geeta Ji,

    Shubh Aprahn.

    I have gone through (and enjoyed to the full) your piece of literature and also gone through the admiration showered upon you by the readers through their comments. I have to admire you in somewhat different way. It’s pretty difficult for a reader (at least an ordinary reader like me) of your (such) posts to decide whether the narrative is actually your experience or a story that has emerged out of your fertile imagination. And to be frank and straight, I am never sure about it. If I decide that it’s just a story; the other part of my mind speaks out that being a highly spiritual lady, you might have actually experienced the same (whether or not it was real, is an altogether different thing) and if, on the other hand, I decide that it is a real experience of yours, then the other part of my mind yells at its counterpart that being a skilled writer, you have made your reader (that’s me) to feel a piece of fiction as real. And that’s a rare art which very few in the world might be able to boast of.

    All the same, let me admit that I always enjoy this confusion and I am not interested in getting it clear from you now onwards. You are capable of writing spellbinding long-short stories of such kind every now and then. I will (like your other readers) continue to enjoy reading them.

    As far as the relationship of clouds and mist with the suspense / horror is concerned, I feel that the word ‘mystery’ itself has been derived from the word ‘mist’ because the mist does not allow to you see anything covered by it. Similarly thickly black clouds create a sort of semi-darkness even during the day time and due to absence of sunlight, a person may not be able to see the things as clearly as he is when the sky is clear. That might be the reason for linking the suspense stories to them. After all, what’s suspense or mystery ? It’s nothing but uncertainty or incomplete information about some happening. When the gaps in formation are completely filled and all the relevant facts are known, we call it unravelling of the suspense or the mystery. Isn’t it ?

    Hearty compliments for the mesmerizing write-up and sincere thanks for always informing me of your posts.


    Jitendra Mathur


    • gc1963 says:

      What a splendid, spellbinding comment. Not because you have showered heaps of eulogy on the post but because the way you have defined mist and mistery and drawn a parallel between suspense and incomplete information and explained the metaphoric significance of darkness ( lack of knowledge) and light ( enlightenment). Bravo! Only a beautiful, brilliant mind can express in this way!! Humbled at the same time Expecting a lot more from you… 🙂


  5. B Ravindran says:

    Geeta, I can’t take in more. This is not just toooo much, but three much………………..

    But…. Somewhere deep inside I’m rejoicing.

    You know why !!!!

    Thanks !!!


  6. My Say says:

    I think..these things have the tendency of leaving you with an experience but not a solid proof of actually being existent.. or is it the mind which plays the trick .. the one which has the ability to create so many great things .. can self-create..well even if its a state of mind.. I do not wish to face this …. and I could not dare to comment so late at night .. because .. i thought , if they are and they see me commenting this .. who knows,may make me feel their presence 😀 😀 😀 ..


    • You are a quaint admixture of belief and disbelief, credulity and incredulity. I think such experiences strengthen our belief in things which are beyond our knowledge and control. And that belief is very, very important to remain human and humble. They scare us because we don’t know them. I had once read a short story based on true facts written by an old lady who had stated that a room in their ancestral home is always kept locked. The locked room belongs to the Invisible Ones whom we cannot see with our naked eyes but they do exist as exist the bacteria and the various forms of viruses. See the logic? One of our colleagues who is into deep meditations etc., vouched for these Invisible Ones who he says he can ‘see’ like a flash of light or shadow, whatever you may call them, zipping around the office corridors. Incidentally. our Office building is known to be haunted. I have written about that in one of the posts captioned ‘The Haunted’ , the link for the same is given below this post. One of my dear friend and colleague who belongs to Chakdaah vouchsafes for ‘their’ existence. There is a Qilla in Rajasthan (Nimrana? I am forgetting the name) officially declared as deadly and haunted. The Archaeological Survey of India has ostentatiously put up a board notifying all the visitors to leave the place before dark or nightfall. A TV Unit had shot a series there and had later made another episode on their various weird experiences while shooting therein. The latter was aired in the program Maano Ya Na Maano, if I remember correctly or Shhh Koi Hai! Now how do you explain all that? Its like believing in God – those who believe in them you cannot argue logic with them and those who don’t its difficult to convince them. Overall I think it is the most debatable and intriguing topic under the sun…


      • My Say says:

        to experience is to believe .. and to declare as existent .. I believe in Almighty .. and I have felt He is .. those who are not even open to the idea of God will never get to experience His presence as well .. so true ..
        You explained it right!
        Well..I would rather believe in spirits existing without willing to experience them …logically its better for me to remain sane that way 😀


    • Now ! Now! Bhoot aar bhagobaan two sides of the same coin? The skeptics would say both are illusions that we love to nurture. Sanity? That’s a separate stream of thought altogether. Who knows what exactly is sanity? Today the sane feel that they are living in the best of Order. Tomorrow an alien may land out of nowhere and castigate the entire civilization as a burning specimen of insanity. Now what say you to that? 😀
      Everything is so relative. The madman may have his own logic which we never try to fathom….Am I making you mad by my weird rationale?


      • My Say says:

        logic is to listen … than judge .. then agree or disagree..
        Perceptions !! they vary person to person .. some like developing their own … no matter how different or similar to others and some believe what others say without .. even trying to investigate .. 🙂 I am the first type .. hence I agree with every bit of what you have to say 🙂


    • My Say! You have this excellent tendency to make me happy by acquiescing to whatever rubbish I may utter. Am sure in real life you must be an incorrigible charmer! I see that in the way you handle the comments on your posts. Full marks from my side. But to be honest, when I first came across your blog, actually doodles, I thought humour and satire were your forte; but now, as I have said earlier I find layers to your personality…philosopher, intellectual, compassionate, aware and a most humble creature….you must be from some other planet, ‘am sure!!!


      • My Say says:

        and yet again .. I am blushing .. hehehe .. even my parents feel I am from some other planet.. but not that optimistically .. 😀 😀 😀 ..
        for them .. I am an escapist ( is that how you spell it ? ) where friends of my age are drawing an avg annual package of 10 lacs.. I am drawing figures they call nonsense 😀 ..
        They are going to all the babas in the city to seek blessings for me .


      • Well, that’s what Kolkaata does to you…Babas and all the aangtis….parenting is a tough job, I feel for them….I am sure you have a rebel within you who is a non-conformist. Parenting a non-conformist is a very, very hard job, My Say!


    • On second thought, you do sometimes need ‘imagination’ to ‘experience’. You know what I mean…you are not actually experiencing but imagine to have experienced…both are equally important


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