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Ekanthayude Aparatheeram!

August 10, 2010

It was one of those cool relaxed Sunday evenings that Kochi was famous for. Even though, the city had grown into a concrete labyrinth in the recent years, it still retained a few remnants that were intrinsic to its colonial past; a sleepy Sunday being one of those.

And Abhilash was in a happy mood that evening; as he waited at the Ernakulam Junction station for his train to start. He was pleasantly surprised to see that the station was practically empty. He had been travelling this route for over three years now and he had never seen an emptier station.  

There was a hint of rain in the air and the big dark clouds above clamored for attention. It was also the perfect time for a cup of tea, as the strong breeze blew long and hard across the station, picking up small debris along its path. He watched on as the crows flew above, battling the air currents; never giving up. Normally, Abhilash did not like waiting for anything but on that day, he simply sat there on the platform patiently; waiting, watching and taking in everything.

Thankfully for him and the others on the train, the “Jan-Shatabdi” was on schedule.

I just hope I can reach Trivandrum by 9”, he thought wishfully. Over the last couple of years, this routine had almost become a ritual of sorts for him.

By the time, the “Jan-Shatabdi” reached Trivandrum, his friend Paul would be waiting for him, and from there, they would head out to their favorite Rohini bar near the Station, where they would each down a couple of pegs before retiring for the night.

It almost feels like a Hartal today”, he told himself as even the “South Overbridge”, which he could see from the station, looked deserted.

And so, as he waited on Platform No. 1, drinking his cup of tea, he spotted his friend Antony who was ambling into the station. He instinctively knew that something was wrong. He had not met Antony in a few years but he could tell that things were not all right.

Gone was the lazy confident walk that Antony had; his shoulders hunched; his face looking weary; he looked many years older. As Abhilash ran up to Antony, he noticed another thing as well, something which vexed him; a big shiny cross in Antony’s right hand. The person that he knew never cared much for religion.

“Aliya; how have you been?” asked Abhilash coming up from behind him.

Antony whirled around and Abhilash was shocked to see the drastic change in his friend. Very slowly recognition crept into those eyes.

Aliya; a pleasure to see you after all these years”, Antony finally responded with a smile.

Where are you going now?” asked Abhilash.

Going to Alappuzha; by the Jan-Shatabdi”, said Antony.

Abhilash just could not control himself any longer and blurted out, “What is wrong with you dude. You don’t look the same anymore?

It is a long –“, responded Antony when he was cut short by the horn. As they looked towards the engine, the signal had turned green and the train was about to start any second.

More in the train”, said Antony quickly and they both boarded their compartment and stood at the door.

As their train kept chugging along, gathering speed, making its way past Ravipuram, Thevara and beyond, Abhilash kept waiting patiently for his friend to start.

Finally when the train reached the outskirts of the city, Antony very quietly asked, “Abhi, do you believe in Ghosts?

It was a question which Abhilash had not expected. He did not even know if it was meant to be a rhetorical question.

Well, I……erm……. Don’t think I believe in them,” replied Abhilash.

With one hand on the railings for support, his other hand clearly fastened around the cross; his eyes looking blank like he was reliving some past memory, Antony very slowly said, “I thought the same until two months back”.

And he continued, “Two months back; five of us, we decided to drive down to Munnar from Kochi at night, in three bikes.”

And then, he looked directly at Abhilash and said, “The drive itself was wonderful until around 1 in the night. As we were negotiating the hairpin bends, we spotted a lone solitary figure standing on the road. But we did not pay any attention to that person and kept driving ahead. Suddenly after a minute or two, a very thick blanket of fog enveloped us and drastically reduced visibility and also simultaneously, two headlights stopped working. Only the headlight of my bike was working. It was literally the middle of nowhere and hence we had no other option but to keep driving on, albeit at a very slow speed. All of us, all five of us also felt a strange eerie presence around us. It was something that we just could not explain. And also, as I was driving, I felt some force tug at my steering randomly, as if it was trying to push me off the cliff. It was almost like some unknown force was toying with us.

You don’t believe a word of what I am saying, right?” asked Antony.

Well, I…… think……. Don’t know dude,” stammered Abhilash.

And he continued, “Thankfully, without any mishap, we reached our hotel that night. The next morning, as soon as we stepped out, we again started feeling that presence all around us; and so, we took a few random snaps and rushed back home to Kochi by train. When I got the photos developed, I was shocked. The pictures were perfect but for a single thing. All our faces were blurred or disfigured!!!! It really shook us all and I have after then, only found solace in God

From that day onwards, I have always been carrying with me, a cross and a bible. Right now, I am going to Alappuzha to spend sometime in a church there. Even when I am surrounded by people, I feel like I am walking along the shore of solitude and I feel good only when I am in the presence of God; feel like a different man now

And he concluded, “This is what happened. I don’t care if you believe it or not”.

Abhilash did not know what to say. And hence, they maintained a dignified silence until Antony stated, “Do you want a look at the photo?

Yes I do,” exclaimed Abhilash; and he could not believe his eyes when he saw the snap which Antony had taken out of his bag. The picture itself was well developed; everything was crisp and clear except for the disfigured heads of the four dudes posing for the photo!!!!!!!!

Shortly after sometime, the train came to a halt at the Alappuzha station and Antony got out of the coach.

Dude, before I say goodbye, I want you to have this bible,” Antony said and thrust the book into Abhilash’s hand.

With a quick wave, Antony said, “Go with God” and made his way out of the station. Not once did he look back!!!!

As the train made its way out of the station, Abhilash stood there, rooted to the same spot at the door. Darkness had descended upon them by then, and as the susurrations of the wheel grinding against metal reached a feverish tone, he also felt strangely uncomfortable standing there alone.

He quickly made his way into the brightly lit compartment and sat down. Since he had nothing better to do, he opened the book at a random page and glanced at a random verse:

And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man………………………………………


1. This story is based on a real incident which happened in my life. On one such train journey from Kochi to Trivandrum, I saw a changed dude; I listened to one such story and saw one such photograph.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 3:14 am

    Holy God !!! Shit scared !! Totally….

    I just can’t believe this….but all these stories are like that…unless u face it or feel it, u never believe it.

    OMG !!! U saw such a pic ??? Really scary, I tell u…
    OG: haha 😛 yeah, I did 😛 and it was interesting 😛

    • August 10, 2010 3:15 am

      Excuse me Sir, plz explain ur malayalam titles…. 😛
      OG: forgot to add it……. “The great shore of loneliness” 😛

  2. August 10, 2010 4:27 am

    Enteammo vere paniyonnum ille aliya? When you said about Rohini Bar, I had thought that this story is about Abhi, who is one mad choosy guy who drinks only there and is crazy enough to go all the way to Trivandrum to have a few pegs. Was expecting some drunken kallipu 😥
    OG: ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahaha 😛 no drunken kalippus in this one 😛 😛 😛
    But now you have scared the shit out of me. As I am an atheist, the ghost will not spare me even if I have a cross, sickle etce etc no???
    OG: u are an athiest???? kollam!!!!!! ROFL….. maybe then u should carry a cross with u all the time 😛
    Well written as usual 🙂
    OG: danku danku!

  3. August 10, 2010 7:50 am

    shavam !!

    I was expecting something twist; atleast at the end. manushyanmaarey pedippikaaan oro kadhagal !!!
    OG: 😛 😛 😛 great aliya!!!!!
    Btw, do you believe in ghosts ??
    OG: I dont know but I dont want to see them 😛

    • August 10, 2010 8:11 am

      LOL!!! ho pedichallo! mathi! enikku samaadaanamayi!
      OG: good one verbie 😛

      • August 10, 2010 10:35 am

        typo – expecting something funny with a twist ! 😀

        @ verbi : first time eppozhaa pedichadu ariyo? thaangale neril kandappol ! 😀 😀
        OG: hahahahhaha!

    • August 10, 2010 6:26 pm

      that sounded like thilakan’s dialogue in kilukkam where revathi scared him by knocking on his bedroom door while he is reading a terrifying novel… ennittum avasanam kuttam bookinu… “manushyan maare pedipikaan vendi ezhuthiyirikkunna oro kadhakale…pandaram” 😀 😀 😀 LOL
      OG: classic!

  4. August 10, 2010 8:13 am

    hey well written 😛 bt frankly i hve a doubt n those who ‘thrust’ religious books nto others hands 😛 no matter wat stories thy have to tell…ottakku vaayicha pore..vazhikkoode ponavare enthina menekkeduthane? alle? btw…u believed n all tht he said? inganathe ethrayo stories..mail-il vannirikkunnu! u stil believed?/????
    OG: ok, first of all what I have written above is a fictionalized tale of real events……… and in real life, he did not give us any book 😛 that was merely added for the punch in the above novel………..

    haha, anyways, thanks! 😛 but that day I did believe him coz there was no reason not too

  5. August 10, 2010 6:24 pm

    yeeeaaagghhh!!! 😯 I got goosebumps after reading that!! Scared the shit out of me…and that just before bedtime… now I’m going to have nightmares!!! 😛 😛
    OG: so how did it pass? 😛
    having said that, if it helped in changing the guy for the better…. well…. avante vishwasam avane rakshikkatte….
    OG: satyam!

    • August 11, 2010 5:18 am

      actually valiya kuzhappam illayirunnu… onnum arinjilla…bodham kettu kidannu urangi..adu kondu ok 😛 😛

  6. August 10, 2010 9:24 pm

    This is absolutely scary Machi… As Uma says we can’t believe it until it happens to us…

    Good that I have short memory and I will forget this in minutes 😀 😀
    OG: hahaha 😛 good one mate!

  7. August 11, 2010 11:09 am

    *Crafty standing bravely*

    Ghosts? Che… do people really get scared of ghosts in this day and age.. *shaking head*

    Whatever happened to days of courage and valor? That might have been a trick some photo studio played on your friends 🙄

    Alle? Eh? Ouaa? Athe? Eh? Ahh!
    OG: hahahaha!
    Now that i have silenced my imaginative side (have i?) …. do NOT put up stories like this… or give a disclaimer about content to follow!!!!!!!!!

    The story is surely well written, Ezhuthukaran 😀 … but this is avoidable after 7pm!!!!!!
    OG: wokay wokay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😛
    Crafty has decided not to read this blog after sunset

  8. August 11, 2010 3:21 pm

    Wow!! Awesome post. But must have been a scary incident though!!! I really like ur fiction, OG, you are good at this!!
    OG: thanks Pal!

  9. Arvind Chandran permalink
    August 11, 2010 6:13 pm

    hehe…still gives you the shivers huh? and hey man…did you ever see this guy later or did anybody tell you about seeing this guy after this episode? 🙂 food for thought man, food for though!!!!
    OG: haha 😛 seriously aliya………….. u should know better as he is your friend :Pp

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