The woman in white
"Sir, she is no more. It's been four months since she expired." A chill ran down my spine, freezing every molecule of my body. My father was stunned in silence, his eyes stuck wide open in shock, and I could hear the quaffing of saliva down his throat. The assistant, who was sweating profusely, had already gulped down a glass of water, struggling to regain his composure.
Spoiler alert: The incident described here is true. Resemblance to a particular person already DEAD is purely intentional. For the feeble-hearted who find comfort in a dose of diazepam when inflicted with anxiety, follow the mantra fear is injurious to health, so face it with courage because "darr ke aage jeet hai".
For those who rest on the notion that there are no mysterious entities such as ghosts and vampires, breathe easy and think again after reading this.
I often guffaw at a popular old myth: if you go around a peepal tree seven times and pee there, a ghost comes out and slaps you. We have all at one time or the other experienced a nightmare, being chased by a distorted face trying to catch hold of us.
Our thoughts are preoccupied with the existence of a lady in a white sari with open hair and a burning candle in her hand singing "gumnaam hai koi", whenever there is a sound of footsteps on the other side of the wall or be it the creaking sound of the door closing in the next room.
After all, a ghost is the manifestation of a person who is dead. Not only is it an entity that we don't understand, but also a resident of the place many of us fear the most - the "sovereign state of the dead". The mere thought of something unknown leaping out of the darkness does scare the hell out of us. Thus, the perennial questions: Do ghosts in any manifestation exist? Are spirits inimical to us?
This incident happened a few years ago. It was a Sunday afternoon in May. The temperature was soaring high under the shimmering light of the sun. The woman (let's call her Mrs X, for superstitious purposes, obviously) in her early thirties and a regular patient of my father, wearing a simple white suit, entered his clinic. She said she just wanted to meet him and thank him for taking such good care of her health and well-being. After spending some time, she left the clinic, claiming to be in the best of health. In contrast to people who avoid visiting a doctor even when they are ill, this surely was a strange visit by someone acknowledging a doctor's services.
A few days later, her brother came to our clinic. On being enquired about his sister's well-being, he broke down and replied sobbing, "She is no more, it's been four months since she expired during a delivery."
How is it possible? Could it be possible? Don't such supernatural events take place in the dark when you are alone and vulnerable? But in this case, it all happened in broad daylight and that too when two or three other persons were also present. Aren't spirits tagged with the reputation of being harmful to humans?
So, Mrs X, if you happen to read this, both me and my father are filled with gratitude to receive your acknowledgment, no matter how unusual and bizarre it was.