Hope All's good when you find yourself reading this.
I was around 13-14 year old when I had this experience.
This happened in Lonavala, a beautiful hill station in the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra, India. FYI, this is an absolutely serene peaceful town with a small local population in a 15 sq mile area. Known for various lush green hills and dams that tourists throng during winter and the rainy season.
The misty lonesome paths alongside green hilly pastures and vacant bungalows (Vacation Homes) seem inviting and fear-inspiring at the same time.
Our family used to have annual rainy excursions at a huge bungalow in possession of my GrandAunt's (Let's call her GrAunt) Family who lived in Lonavala along with her husband (Let's call him GraUnc) and children.
The bungalow was placed on a Fenced in 3 acre land, with a small garden at the entrance of the property.
To the left, right and back of the bungalow was mostly a rocky, craggy land on which my grandaunt's husband used to stroll often with a whistle and a stick.
I had tagged along with him a few times during our visits there just to explore the place and feed the fish in the small pond behind the bungalow within the property.
Now, when rain washes this place out, it becomes mesmerizing, the mist enveloping the panorama, the freshness in the air, the chill from the breeze and the trees bioluminiscent with glowworms at night, the chirping of the crickets, all this just gives a magical atmosphere to this entire hill station.
As mentioned earlier, I'had a lot of fun as a kid during rains here just getting soaked, having barbecues, playing games at my GrAunt's place and just wandering around, in general.
Around 3 years since I remember these excursions, one such monsoon, we get a call from our GrAunt saying that GraUnc has passed away.
Seems he tripped on one of the mossy rocks during his walk and hit his head against another rock dying immediately.
We visited her for the last rites the same day of the call. It was late in the evening by the time all was done. So, we decided to spend the night there.
Exhausted from all the travelling and the sad proceeds of the day, I went to sleep in one of the bedrooms on the first storey of the bungalow which had huge french windows followed by an L shaped balcony spanning 2 walls of the bedroom.
Sometime after midnight, I must have suddenly been woken up by a whistling sound... From previous experiences, I'd known that the breeze passing through the slits of the french windows in monsoons producesd a whistling sound. As I checked, the window was indeed, not properly closed. I pulled it as it made a snapping sound locking itself. I went to the bathroom, did my business and came back to bed. A few moments later, there it went again; the whistle. I was baffled. However, I turned on the night lamp to find out the window that I had just closed was open again. Out of curiosity, I opened the sliding window completely and stepped out into the balcony against the rails overlooking the rocky terrain where GraUnc had died. The whistle stopped & was replaced by the sound of "Tap-Tap, Tap-Tap". Like a stick against the rocks. It was very cold outside and breezy, but the back of my neck suddenly felt as if it was burning and a shiver ran right through my spine. I turned around, there was no one there. I looked at the landscape again and the intensity of the sound increased, this time it went- "TAP-TAP WHISTLE, TAP-TAP WHISTLE".
Petrified, I Yelled, "MOM", as she came running over to check on me. Worried she asked me, what had happened? However, words wouldn't escape my mouth and tears were streaming down my face. My body was burning with fever, she said. The next morning, she took me to a doctor and we left for home, that day. I couldn't retain any food and had a high fever for a couple of days.
That's when my GRANDMA (May Her Soul RIP now) did something called DHRISTHA KADHNE/ NAZAR UTARNA/Casting-Off The Evil Eye. What she did was lit camphor and something else in a small Diya (ladle sorta brass vessel), in circular motions around my head. Tapped the soot on the diya and applied it on my forehead, back of the ear and foot and uttered a couple of HUFFS-PUFFS while doing so. While it burnt out, it emitted some weird stench and then she discarded the burnt matter outside the house.
As soon as she returned, my fever had miraculously subsided and I still remember what she told me, I said - "I'm hungry Ma, can I have something to eat?"
My Grandma hugged me and made me something I loved and all was good again.
So, I guess, sometimes, things may happen which are beyond our understanding or control or even which science can't explain. But as long you have loving parents and grandparents, they will give you the power to pull through.
P.S: Love your GrandParents.
- Ajay K.