I am Mayank and I live in Patna, India. The story which I am writing dates back somewhere around the year 1993. I wasn't even born then.
In order to give you a proper introduction to the happening, let me take you back in time to a few years preceding the event, that was the year 1989. My mother had been recently married.
My mother hails from Tura, Meghalaya. All my maternal aunts, uncles, my nana (mother's father) and my Nani (mother's mommy) lived in Tura in a bungalow which was surrounded on all the four sides by empty plots with an immense overgrowth of shrubs. There were few humans who used to dwell in Tura at that time.
My Nani had been ailing for a few days and consequently she was taken to a hospital in Guwahati. Nearly all the family members went to the hospital to see Nani, as doctors had foretold that she might soon breathe her last! So, my father decided to stay in their bungalow to look after the house until the tenants returned while my mother was at the hospital.
One unfortunate evening, my Nani did breathe her last. One of my uncles informed my father over the telephone. My mother was distraught and did not talk with anyone. She was to return to Tura by the morning train along with the family members and the "Corpse". My father was also saddened and after he informed the servants, he went back to his room. He closed the door, sat on the bed, closed his eyes and was pondering over the fact that it would not be easy to console my mother.
It was about ten o' clock. All of a sudden the room was filled with the smell of burning Aggarbattis (they are long thin sticks which when lit sublime with a perfume like odor and are held in stands before the idols of deities, especially in Hindu custom). Gradually, the odor intensified and in two minutes it seemed like one hundred Aggarbattis were lit in the room. My father immediately opened the door and went out but he did not see anyone. Everybody was fast asleep. There were no Aggarbattis lit in the house. But when he went back to his room he could sense the odor again and this time the odor was further intensified. He was a bit frightened but he hailed the name of god and went to sleep. This did not recur in the coming days. A few days later my father revealed this incident to my mother but not to the other family members.
Now, let us proceed to the second part of this account. It was nearly four years after my Nani's death. My mother was blessed with a baby girl (my elder sister) who was now 2 year old. My parents lived in a joint family in Patna.
Let me describe the region. The locality in which they lived wasn't isolated but was sparsely populated. There were a couple of houses nearby but our house was surrounded by empty plots on all the four sides. (Patna was not a very much developed city at that time and would surely not be the first choice of plot seekers). It was Navratri (a festival) time. Unfortunately, there was some sort of feud growing between some of the family members (some personal matter). All the members would hardly be willing to eat or sleep. My mummy was both depressed and exhausted. She was the elder daughter-in-law and she had to coordinate the discussions. She was also running high fever.
On the last night of Navratri, my mother was trying to make her daughter fall asleep. Sometime around ten o' clock my mother also dozed off unknowingly. It was about an hour later that she suddenly felt as if someone smacked her feet. She woke up but saw no one. Everyone was fast asleep. My sister was also in somber sleep. My mummy then went to the kitchen to quench her thirst when she detected a faint odor of burning Aggarbattis. The smell slowly grew in intensity and within the time span of a couple of minutes it was as if hundreds of Aggarbattis were lit in the dining hall. My mummy recalled what my father told her. She got a bit frightened and she went to sleep. The smell was rather pleasant and eased her tension and helped her fall asleep.
There was no other house in the immediate neighborhood and the community worships were also held far away from the house so the smell could not have come from outside. But this was not it!
In her dreams my mummy saw my Nani. Nani hugged her and reveled to my mummy what was actually wrong with her. She told mummy that ever since the feud started she, in her distress, had forgot to offer her daily prayers. She advised my mummy to go to the temple the very next morning and apologize to God. She told her to be very punctual when it comes to religious worship. My mummy did as she was advised and in the following days the tension in the family did ease to a large extent!
Some days later my mummy got a chance to talk with a saint who had occasionally visited our house. She shared her experience with him. The saint explained that whenever our dear ones, who are dead, want to comfort us and make us feel safe their advent is always marked by something like the odor of Aggarbatti. And since the spirit had good intention it was more of a positive energy and the holy powers in the month of Navratri would not hinder but only help the spirit fulfill its wishes.
This may sound bizarre to the ears of a rational, but it is indeed a touching account of nature, God and spirits. Love never dies and never could death part those whose love each other! Thank you for reading!