The Call at Night is a story of a dark stormy night when the narrator faces a bizarre situation that he has never imagined. It is a part of the collection – The Tantrik and other stories, available in Amazon.com
The narrator meets an old man, a Tantrik.
He lives with his four black cats.
He has traveled the whole of India to find a real GURU. At last, he found one in the burning ghat of Varanasi.
The GURU was a true hermit who could make dead alive again, who could disappear for the time being and again came back in flesh.
What happens to the Tantrik at that fateful night?
I couldn’t put my car in the old garage anymore. The owner had suddenly decided to buy a car; so I had to find a new place to shift my car.
One of my friends helped me with a good suggestion. In their locality, people put their car on the roadside; local club charged a few amounts which was much less than the garage rent. It was safe and secure too. I agreed instantly, it seemed to me as a good idea, although I didn’t know what a bizarre experience lay in wait for me.
In the distance was a solitary building. An old structure and the appearance of the roof was fearsome; it looked like it might fall in any time. Trees grew on the wall. An old signboard, discolored, hung precariously; an advertisement of a tantrik astrologer.
Beside that ramshackle building, there was a duck pond. A small playing ground.
I liked the place for a different reason. On the opposite side of the road, there was a tap which was connected to the main supply of the local water system. I decided to come in the evening and wash the car; I always loved to keep my car shining.
One day between the end of the afternoon and night, when the sun was going down, and on the east, a faint moon was appearing, I met the man; he lived in that building. He came to take water.
An old man, indeed. His loincloth dyed with red ochre; a flowing white beard covered his chest. He stopped near the tap and asked me, “Would you like to take it first.” He showed his two pots and said, “It will take time, I think.”
I said, “No problem, please you take. I have no hurry.”
He smiled, “Well said, my son, we should we hurry? After all, we all would end up in one place, sometime before or after!”
I noticed that he was struggling to take the pot filled up with water, it was heavy for his age. I wanted to lend my hand and said, “Let me carry it to your house. Please give it to me.”
He smiled, “No way, my son, without recourse to self-help I cannot live. In fact, I have no hurry, too!”
I had never heard any old man laugh like that – a real belly laugh. I liked him, it was instant and I felt a strange attraction.
We met quite frequently. Whenever he saw me in the evening, he came out and we had long chat. His life-story was very interesting – his wife died while giving birth to his only son. His brother-in-law had been childless, so he decided to adopt the mother-less child.
He said, “I didn’t like the domestic life anymore. I renounced the world and traveled the whole country in search of peace. I met many hermits in strange places and found most of them were fraud, they take red ochre to deceive people, for earning their living.”
He stopped, took a deep breath and continued, “At last, I found a true hermit, my GURU in a burning ghat of Varanasi. I stayed with him for nearly forty years and traveled to everywhere, Nepal, Bhutan, in the distant snow-covered valleys of the Himalayas. He was a true hermit. He could turn dead to life, I saw in my own eyes. He could disappear completely but stayed with you, you could feel his presence. I still feel his presence around me, he said, we don’t die, we only change our appearance, we started from zero and end up at zero. Nothing stays, money, fame, greed, hunger for more power…nothing, my boy.”
One evening he took me to his room. In his past domestic-life, he was a professor of philosophy, the room was staffed with books. There was no cot, except a chair. On the floor, there was a skin of a tiger and a skull was placed in the middle. A skeleton stood in the corner; as if it was watching us.
I didn’t like the atmosphere. He requested me to take the seat. I said in a dried voice, “It’s okay. I am fine.”
He sat on the skin of the tiger and said, “My son bought the chair. He comes pretty often to know whether his old father is dead or not. I told him, I will never die. I will come again and again in this world.”
“Your son, what he does for a living?”
“He is a doctor, staying in a distant place. Although he has a doctor friend living near, a nice person, he takes care of me.”
“But, how do you contact your son?”
“I have his number written in this diary and he bought me a mobile. But, I can’t operate it, I always request somebody to connect.” He burst into laughter.
I thought I had never seen such a jolly, old fellow in my life. Probably he found peace in this strange indifferent world.
He stood up and said, “Come, see my four faithful followers.”
We entered the next room and I was shocked, blood patches, and bones were strewn across the floor. In the dark, I saw four pairs of shining eyes, watching us intently.
He threw pieces of meat across the floor and the four black cats came out from the dark, they made a strange sound, took their daily hunt and disappeared in the dark.
I had enough for a day and I wanted to go home.
Coming outside, I breathed and decided not to go inside that room again.
After a few days, one of my colleagues invited me to his marriage and I came back late at night to park the car. I was in hurry to go home. I locked my car, took the bag and started walking. Suddenly, I heard a call.
I looked back and saw him standing on the doorway. He looked pale in the faint moonlight.
It was a great mistake to travel to Gorumara Forest alone. Who gave me that advice, now I didn’t remember; but it was a mistake, he didn’t envisage how it could have haunted me for the rest of my life.
After my mother’s death, I decided to live alone and avoided marriage. Most of us enter into marriage with romantic ideas, but the idealism in one crash suddenly descends. I have seen so many instances where the signed bond agreement between husband and wife dissipate anger and irritation, only after some time.
I decided not to allow this happen in my own life. It is better to live solitary life than become a part of two rather alone people.
I hired a cab and traveled from Siliguri to Malbajar; it was a divisional district town with a hospital and local police station. You could get a good view of hill and forest skyline from here.
From Malbajar I hired another local car that took me to the heart of the dense forest. When I reached Gorumara forest bungalow, it was already late in the afternoon; I felt a typical of winter, in advance, of course, as it was only the middle of November. The car dropped me in the wilderness and before returning it told me that it would again come to pick me after two days.
I looked around. The trees went on and on, …as if they were endless, they were watching a solitary human being who had decided to spend two days here with them. Completely alone.
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Time was, time is, but the opportunity never knocks twice, so use it before the Time is past.
I first created an account on Facebook for sending a friend request to a girl.
While reading this, you don’t need three guesses to smell any extramarital affair. Let me reassure you first, I was a bachelor then.
The social media Orkut had been popular. At least throughout Calcutta my friends, including me, had an Orkut account to get around; Facebook was not as popular as it is now.
I worked for an Advertisement agency as a copy editor.
It was a reputed company having a spacious office inside an old building, decorated. There was a giant door in front of the office. Fair Mahogany wood crafts. It always would take efforts to open it. It was so heavy.
One day while I was to open the door to enter the office, she was coming out. We both were in a hurry, and if that massive door was not in between us, we would have collided.
She put her one hand on the back side of the door and pulled it towards her, holding its inner part and I tried to pull it towards me. We stopped for a while and stared at each other.
That was the first time, we met, and the experience was electrifying. I looked at her more than I needed. Right before my eyes, two large eyes bright with excitement. I felt I had never seen such lovely eyes in my life.
Her name was Gayaki. She had joined our office very.
Then, we would meet, in the corridor, inside the canteen, and it was frequent. When I looked into her eyes, sometimes she looked back, sometimes she didn’t.
Wondering how much time nature had taken to create such magnificent eyes.
It was a dark and stormy night and there was a short power cut which plunged me into darkness. I looked out of the window to see if the neighbors had been affected. Upon opening the curtains, I saw a note stuck to the window. It had just one word written on it, “Run!”
The result was utter puzzle and bewilderment. It raised a number of important questions: who wrote it; for what reasons; should I take it seriously?
Sure of the eye and quick on my feet, I decided to stay and look around my room. It seemed to me a file had been shifted but I couldn’t be sure.
The telephone began ringing, all of a sudden; and I listened to it till it had sounded. It stopped and then sounded again. I picked up the receiver. Someone muttered with a harsh, hoarse voice: what you are waiting for? Run!
The question looks critical-does extramarital affair ever look ethical?
Sometimes people place their ambitions above everything and in such cases, an extramarital affair appears perfectly logical and acceptable to them.
Why it happens?
It is because they want to go extra mile for more power, high position, and money. And, they are ready to sleep with somebody.
Yes, I know people who accept their spouses’ extramarital affairs and likewise, they take advantage from that.
I have written about this topic Medium