It was way back in 2005, when life was moving, things were fixed and people were happy. We were a family of 5 until both my grandparents left for their heavenly abode and my sister came to life. Even though we were quite upset about my grand-parents demise but we were overjoyed when we got the happy news of welcoming a new member to our family couple of months later. In order to celebrate this amazing news, we planned to visit a small town nearby called Tulsipur, which was famous for their local God.
After a tiring journey, we reached Tulsipur early morning. I was super excited about this trip as I had heard a lot about the beautiful temple from my cousins which was situated beside a beautiful stream of sparkling water. We reached my aunt's house around 5 AM and after an hour we all got refreshed and we left for the temple. That place indeed was amazingly beautiful. It was completely peaceful and serene. This was a totally a family get together. I missed my Daadu and Daadi terribly. They always told me stories about this place and the history behind the construction of this temple. After an amazing day, little did we know that things would change drastically.
We were on our way back around 6 in the evening, we found that the way was blocked by a fallen tree which completely blocked the road. As it was a rural area it was hard to get any help at that point of time to clear the route. We had no one around and it was isolated, dark and deep and the area was quite famous for bandits and dacoits. And there was no way that we could move ahead. It was getting darker as the time passed. There were no houses around and it smelled exactly the way it does immediately after the first rain of the season. I still remember the shivers that ran through my spine that day when an eerie looking old man walked towards our car from behind. He had a walking stick in his hand with an old torn shawl wrapped around his body. It was getting quite chilly as the time got duskier. The old man waved at us from the darkness and came closer. My dad slowly scrolled down the car window. The man came closer and wished us - "Ram Ram"
He asked us our whereabouts and told us about an alternative way which passed through a narrow village road, completely unknown and unheard of. He told us to take a U turn and turn left towards a narrow road. It was doubtful indeed and we were a little scared to believe him. But we didn't have any other way out except taking that route. Dad seemed a little confused. Looking at my Dad the old man promptly replied,
"Bhaiya jee torch de diyo humka, hum le chalbe", in the old Bhojpuri accent, meaning - "Give me the torch, I'll take you."
It was quite strange. We were astonished how he suddenly appeared when apparently there were no houses or huts around. He didn't even have a torch with him, so we were wondering how did he reach till our car? And surprising of all, how did he know that we had a torch with us? Puzzled up, my dad offered him the torch because he seemed to be a genuine man. He walked back behind our car knocking his laathi on the ground with one hand and holding the torch in the other. Dad took a reverse and turned the car towards the route the old man had mentioned and moved slowly keeping pace with him. It took us around 30 mins or so to cover that patch of 1km as the road was completely damaged. Nevertheless, we were shocked by the stamina of a 75-80-year-old man, who 'suddenly appeared from the dark'. Anyway, we reached near the main road where we could see a few vehicles moving around from a distance. Dad thanked the old man, took the torch from him and as he sat back in the car, the old man said -
"aaram se jana" [travel safe]
And started his way backwards. Dad settled things around and sat inside the car and opened a can of cold drink. After a minute or two as he kept driving towards the main road he spilled some cold drink over his hands. So he got down to wash them. And he noticed that the torch was still on, lying on the car deck. Suspiciously, he turned back to see if the old man was still around only to find that there was no trace of him anywhere. The old man just disappeared. Dad even took the torch and flashed it around to see if he was anywhere near the bushes but he was nowhere to be seen. We were astonished to see his sudden disappearance into the dark when he had no source of light to find his way back. There was no sound at all, not even the mild knocking of his laathi. How was that even possible? How could such an old man walk so swiftly to disappear. Dad even called out for him. But he heard nothing except his own echo.
Scary? It wasn't. Not at least for my Dad. Because he didn't feel it that way. He just felt like he was some positive energy than something negative because he did not cause any harm instead he helped us find our way. Dad narrated the whole incident only after we got home. And it made me believe that there are certain souls who help us out in unexpected ways. There are certain incidents that happen in the most unbelievable ways. And I strongly believe that there is lot of positivity around us, only if we try to feel it rightly. The presence of a soul need not be always eerie. The love of the gone isn't always hidden. Till date this incident has been an unresolved mystery, maybe he was some super human or a lost soul. But we were glad that he came to help us that day. No matter what, I hope his soul rests in peace.
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