The recent Covid-19 lockdown has given me an unusual and mostly welcome respite from work and the ongoing rat race. Like many of you reading my story I have been connecting with my family and friends via Skype and zoom and there has been a lot of talk and recollection of past events, especially holidays abroad and social gatherings.
During one of my 'virtual' weekly family sessions recently the discussion was on a family trip to India in 1992. It was a rare occasion, because together with ourselves from the UK, my auntie and her family were also flying to India from the states as well as my uncle and his family from Dubai. In essence this had very quickly become a family reunion/get together vacation. I was 13 at that time and was looking forward to the trip and also to meet up with my cousins and wider family.
As the virtual gathering progressed, my cousin from the states made reference to the time where I fell ill at the lake. To be completely honest the incident was suppressed deep in my memory and it took a good few minutes to recollect the incident. As soon as this happened I was overcome by a very strong sense of fear and terror. I was so affected that I made my excuses and left the zoom meeting. I had to put my head down on the bed just to calm myself down and proceeded to replay the incident that had happened 28 years ago and had just took the wind out of me.
During the trip in 1992, the family made plans to do a road trip from Ahmedabad in Gujarat to Delhi. Idea was to stop at major tourist points such as Mount Abu, Jaipur, Agra and then to Delhi. As you can imagine it was a big family, therefore we had to hire out x2 15 seater coaches for a total of 20 days. The Tour of North India was going splendidly. We had left Jaipur and were on our way to Agra. The scenery was absolutely stunning, therefore we decided to stop to take a break and absorb the surroundings. The sun was also well on its way towards setting, so we had an hour to sundown.
As the adults were organizing and distributing food as well as absolutely overwhelming the roadside tea shop with an epic tea order, my self and 4 other cousins of mine (the big cool kids) decided to venture a little further from the tea stall. Nearby there was a small lake which was set and surrounded by rocks and boulders. It was just about out of visual range and earshot of the tea stall. In other words my older cousins can have a quick crafty cigarette undetected. I wasn't a smoker and had no intention to start so wasn't to keen to hang around the smoke too much.
I was in awe of the astonishing beauty of my surroundings against the setting sun, it was awesome. At that very precise moment my gaze fell upon a very odd looking rock from a far. It had trumped my interest and I approached it for a closer look. As I got closer I saw the most horrific sight that I had ever encountered.
It wasn't a rock! It was a women's head. It was sandwiched between two bigger rocks. I could only see her down to the neck and the rest of her body was obscured behind a rock. The face was terrifying. To best describe it she had a red razor sharp tongue sticking out like a lizard. She had sharp teeth, I saw 2 sticking out like a vampires would. Her eyes were big and wide with traditional Indian make up extending the eye-line up to the edge of her face and her hair was pitch black and loose. She stared directly at me with an intense stare and a sinister smile. I was so terrified at this point that I was literally paralyzed.
Whilst I was 'frozen' my cousin from the states noticed the woman also but his immediate reaction was to grab me and run as fast as possible. I remember being pulled very hard and snapping out of it and screaming at the top of my voice. It was dark the sun had set and I had only enough strength to get to my parents and didn't dare look back.
On return to the family at the tea stall, everyone was ready to board and continue our journey. We immediately told our parents and family what happened, my Dad wasn't having any of it, he was sceptical. He was was ready to go over to the lake and check what it was with my uncles (equally sceptical) and lay it all to rest. However the man at the tea stall warned my dad and my uncle that they should leave immediately. My dad laughed at the suggestion, however my mum is very superstitious and demanded that we left. We boarded the coaches and headed off towards Agra.
The incident was so traumatic for me that I ended with a fever for the next 3 days. As soon as we got to Agra I was taken to a hospital and ended up staying overnight. Slowly but surely the memories of this incident slipped and faded away especially once I got back home and as I got older. Replaying this had bought it back, but I feel emotionally, spiritually and intellectually stronger to deal with it. But one question still haunts me until this day, what was it? As usual any comments and views from you are always welcome. Take care and stay safe people.