This story concerns my friend Hemant and goes back to those times when we had not met. At that time, he was newly married and very keen on having his own business rather than working for somebody else. Therefore he had tried his hand at several ventures such as opening a collection agency, running a poultry farm and so on. This story relates to the time when along with a friend Vinod, he opened and rather unsuccessfully, tried to run a poultry farm.
He had selected a medium size plot of land in a rural place a few kilometres away from Kalyan (a far-flung suburb of Mumbai) for this purpose. As per what he told me, running a poultry farm is a very delicate operation as the chickens need to be tended very carefully. They need to be fed and watered at regular intervals. The should not be given too much food (which will decrease the profit margin) and also given medicines to prevent infection and disease.
In short, this is a business for which experience is absolutely necessary and it takes some years to start getting returns on your investment. Also it would be foolish to entrust the work completely to servants as even the least amount of carelessness could prove to be fatal (for the poultry).
So Hemant decided to stay on the plot itself along with his wife (who was heavily pregnant at the time), though everybody cautioned them against it. It is said that places like poultry farms and slaughter houses attract many negative entities, so it is risky for a pregnant woman to live in such an environment. However Hemant's wife is the most plucky female I have ever seen and she would not leave her husband's side.
There were 3 or 4 villagers who Hemant had employed to help him in the running of the farm. Two of these were Muslims and it is believed that people from their particular caste are professional butchers and are very experienced in these matters.
Everything went smoothly for a couple of months, but then suddenly matters started getting out of hand. In spite of the best possible care being provided to the chickens, they started dying daily in large numbers. Hemant is a very hard-working person and he doubled his efforts to make sure that no stones were left unturned in caring for the poultry. They were being fed regularly, given medicines and kept in absolutely hygienic conditions, but the situation only got worse. More mysterious was the fact that the veterinarian himself was puzzled as to what was killing the birds.
Things deteriorated further when his wife started having delusions that some negative force was trying to harm her baby and would faint on several occasions. She is quite a tough woman and not somebody who would get scared or stressed easily. But due to these events, she agreed to leave the farm and stay with her in-laws until the baby was born.
Some people believe that spirits and ghosts get excited in the presence of pregnant women and teenagers, due to the hormonal imbalances in their bodies and their emotional turbulence, which the negative entities could use to their advantage. So Hemant believed that things would improve once his wife left the farm.
What happened was quite contrary to his expectations, as the situation escalated to a new level. Every evening after nightfall, stones would start raining on his house creating a huge racket. It was impossible to locate the source of the stones as they seemed to be coming from the sky. Huge number of villagers started turning up to help him and they would scour the near by bushes and trees to locate the origin of this mischief. They even got searchlights to probe the sky, but the stones seemed to be materializing from nowhere. The local police was informed, but even they were helpless against this supernatural phenomena.
What was the most amazing aspect was that the stones never touched anybody! Even if you stood in the middle of the hail of stones, they would fall all around you without hurting you.
Finally Hemant and his business partner decided to seek professional help. They had heard of a famous person in Dombivli, who could exorcise ghosts and spirits. He was a very benevolent person, who was keen on using his powers to help others and not for money.
Upon meeting Hemant and his friend and listening to their narrative, the exorcist immediately identified these events to be related to powerful black magic. He also identified the two Muslim employees as the possible mischief mongers, as it was a kind of black magic practiced by Muslim babas. At first the exorcist told Hemant that the evil entity, which was a demon, is too powerful and he (the exorcist) might not be able to counter it. He therefore advised Hemant to seek help elsewhere.
But when Hemant pleaded with the exorcist, he finally relented and asked Hemant to return the next day. The next day when Hemant and his friend went to his place, the exorcist gave them a pot which was painted black and covered with a red cloth. It was quiet heavy and he told them that it contained something which might possibly appease the evil spirit.
There is a river with a bridge over it, which one has to cross after leaving Kalyan and driving towards the poultry farm. No normal person goes to the river banks at night as it is said that black magic is practiced at this place. Vehicles plying on the bridge at night inexplicably break down and refuse to start.
The exorcist told Hemant and his friend to carry the pot to the river bank at night after 12 AM. They were supposed to break the pot on a large stone which was kept there for the purpose of breaking coconuts and then walk away quickly. At no cost, the exorcist warned them, should they turn and look back whatever be the temptation. Also do not run away from that place, but walk quickly with firm footsteps.
After his previous ghostly encounter (narrated in the story Ghostly forest apparition), Hemant was extremely scared, but he did not have any option. Accompanied with his friend they set out on their task the same night. Being situated in a remote part and surrounded on all sides by dense trees the atmosphere around the river banks was spooky enough to even melt the bravest heart. However they quickly located the stone and holding the pot high, Hemant smashed it. They had turned and walked a few feet when they heard shrill laughter from behind them and then the sound "shush-shush" as if somebody was calling them back.
Startled by this sound, Hemant was almost on the verge of turning around, but his friend Vinod firmly placed his hand on his shoulder and led him away. Reaching home they collapsed in their beds and did not wake up until late the next day. As they felt that they had followed the instructions of the exorcist strictly, all their problems would now be over. Happily they set out to meet the exorcist and thank him for his help.
However when they reached his house, they were astounded to see that it was silent and filled with a forbidding atmosphere. Normally it would bustle with human activity as a large number of visitors used to come and seek help from the renowned person. When they entered the house, they were met by his son, who told them that the great man had suffered a heart attack the previous night around 12. 30 AM and breathed his last shortly thereafter.
Hemant and his friend were shocked to hear this and they returned to the poultry farm to fire the two offending employees. However even after doing all this, they were never able to recover from the traumatic experiences and decided that it was best to close down the farm.
It is for you readers to decide whether the death of the exorcist was a coincidence... Or was the power of the evil entity simply too much for him? He was fully aware that he was dealing with a very powerful malevolent force, but was ready to take the risk to help my friend. Did he pay the price for taking on something that was much more powerful than him?