Hello everyone, my name is Nishaant, and I study at a residential college in Lonavla, a popular hill-station/town about 60 kilometers from Pune. What I am about to narrate is something that happened with in the July of 2015. I am sure that, after reading it, most of you wouldn’t believe it, and the rest would call me a psycho; but I know what I saw and experienced – and I trust my senses to believe all of it was true.
Since my childhood, I am an introvert – I am not anti-social, but I prefer to stay away from the crowd, if I can help it. No wonder, I have very few friends in college, despite being a third year student. My college has a very big campus, and most of the facilities are located inside, due to which we don’t need to really go out of the campus. Nevertheless, many a times, I take my bike and go to the town, just to hang around by myself. I like riding down the ghat (a mountain pass) on the old highway, down to a curve which gives a stunning view of the Mumbai Pune Expressway. I have spent endless hours just sitting there, sipping hot chai (tea) and looking down at the Expressway.
I am really bad at maintaining relationships – I hardly every call my parents, my sister (who’s now married and stays in Pune) or even my girlfriend. I generally call my dad only when I need money. Last month, I spent a bit too much, and called up my dad asking for some more money. We had quite an argument – over money as well as because he had also received a call from my college about my low attendance and the fact that I had flunked in two subjects in my mid-terms. All in all, dad refused to send me more money until next month. I was furious and hung up the phone. My mom tried calling me back, but I simply ignored their calls.
I thought of asking my sister to send me some money, but then I flushed out the idea. I barely had any friends, so borrowing money was out of question.
I was pissed off the entire day, so much that when my girlfriend called me in the evening, I had a big fight with her as well! It went so far that she actually broke up with me, saying I was out of my senses and asked me to call her once I had gained them back.
I was mad at everyone – my family, my girlfriend, and most of all – my own self! So, despite of the heavy rains going on, I took my bike and rode away from my campus – even away from the town. I hadn’t even bothered to put on a raincoat. I didn’t want to go back to that crowded highway – I just wanted to be alone, even more alone than I generally was. I kept riding, and riding – my mind was all messed up.
It was quite a while when I realized that it was getting dark. The rains had ceased. I stopped my bike and looked at my watch – it was past 8 o’ clock. I looked around – I had come a long way from my college. Then I realized that I was on the road to Bhushi Dam, and was standing next to the Christian Cemetery!
I wasn’t afraid – I was never afraid of ghosts or monsters, because frankly, I didn’t believe in them since my childhood. I didn’t believe in God either. I had some time to kill before I would have to go back to my hostel (they don’t allow late sign-ins).
The cemetery is a tourist spot – not so popular, but many people visit the place to see the age-old colonial relics and offer their prayers to the souls resting in them. Fearless as I was, I jumped over the stone fence and started walking through the lonely graveyard. It was muddy and there was tall grass everywhere.
I was looking for was a quiet spot to rest on, may be light a couple of cigarettes and vent off everything that happened today. I am not an artist, not even a thinker – so the silent graves, the dusty tombstones and the overseeing mausoleum had absolutely no creative effects on me!
Finally, I found a grave that was relatively less dirty. I looked around for a while and then sat on it. Just out of curiosity, I tried to read the tombstone, but it was so old that I could barely make out a name ‘Edward’ who was buried on some day in the year 1904! Whoa – I thought to myself – this guy’s been here for 111 years!
Thinking so – I lit a cigarette and took a deep puff! I got my thoughts back onto my fight with dad & mom, and my girlfriend. It felt as if my entire life had broken down – family, friends, girlfriend, and career – and there was no way I could get it back on track. I am not a wimp, but with all the overwhelming emotions – I strongly felt like crying out loudly. And that’s when I heard some rustling behind me.
Sh*t – I’m in trouble, I thought since I assumed it would be the caretaker or someone. I turned back rightwards to see what it was – there was no one. I thought it was probably a rat or something. I shoved off the feeling and continued smoking. And then I heard it again.
I looked back, and to my shock – I saw someone standing behind me. The guy was standing almost 15-20 feet away from me. I wasn’t the least scared (or even bothered), but that was until I saw him carefully.
He stood tall (about 6 feet) and had golden wavy hair that was brushed back. He was wearing a red waistcoat (it was more of a cloak) that had a golden lining. On his neck he wore a cravat (something like a scarf). As he continued walking towards me, I realized he wasn’t completely solid! I could see right past him.
As he came nearer, I could see his blue eyes, and the comforting smile that he had. I strongly wanted to scream loudly and run myself away from there. But there was something about this guy – something very condoling, something that wasn’t offered to me before. And as he came over and stood next to me, I felt all the anger, frustration and sadness suddenly drain out of me. It was as if I had received comfort from a best buddy, even without asking for it (and apparently, without even him talking anything to me). I felt rejuvenated – reborn. I could feel myself pumped up with a new zest for life – I suddenly had the urge to rush back to my hostel and call up Dad, Mom, my girlfriend and apologize to all of them – get back my life on a new track, a totally new chapter altogether. I felt, stronger than ever, to go back and study – study hard, so that I could be successful one day. Out of nowhere, I got injected with the passion to get a life – make friends, pursue hobbies, laugh out loud!
It was as if a big stone obstructing a brook was lifted, and all at once, all the water was gushing ahead.
And without me even realizing it – I was down on my knees, crying heavily – very happy, but crying.
It took me a good 5 more minutes to finally get up on my feet. I looked up to thank this unexpected stranger – but he was gone! I looked around to see if I could find him – but the cemetery had dozed back into hibernation.
I still remember my drive back to the hostel. I had never realized how pleasant the evening winds could be. I distinctly remember chatting with our hostel warden (for the first ever time in my life) before heading towards my room.
Since that day, I have frequently visited the cemetery, but never met the guy. I have a strong suspicion it was ‘Edwards’ himself who had apparated that day, and had helped me transform my life. To this day, I still carry this amazing zest for life – I have made a lot of friends, I am a lot closer to my family; unfortunately – I broke up with my girlfriend, but we’ve parted on a good note. I look up to my hobbies and passions.
In a couple of months, I will be moving on from this college (I’ve completed my engineering) and heading back to Mumbai. Don’t know if I will ever be able to visit the cemetery again – but throughout my life, I will always stay indebted to the place, and Edward! Adios!