To this day I still have no idea what happened exactly. What is written here is what I felt and saw. If anyone can give me any answers, I am all ears.
This happened on 14.12.2008. I was on vacation with two of my friends to Manali. We travelled out on the 11th and planned to return by 16th. We were using a borrowed Mahindra Scorpio. It was a bit battered but the engine and chassis was still fine, so it was alright.
Once we got to Manali, the trip to Rothang from Manali was a spur of the moment thing. We started out late, sometime around 12.15pm. We hardly realized that in winter the snow would be so high up (as new snow hadn't yet taken its full toll), and we had to in fact drive a mere five kms short of the actual pass to reach the snowfield. It took us nearly three hours to get there because the roads were really, really bad and even then, we had to walk about a km on foot to reach it. Since the air is really thin so high up, it was nearly 4.45pm before we returned commenced our journey back thoroughly exhausted.
Just short of halfway down, our front passenger tyre went flat. I think about 8 kms short of Gulabo, a small hamlet en route to Rothang. To compound the matters we discovered to our chagrin that the spare had no air in it, even though I had myself checked it before we began our journey. Perhaps it had a minor leak or whatever. The thing is we were stranded, and we could not leave the car behind. It was borrowed.
At first we waited, hoping that one of the few Scorpios we had seen would be coming down and maybe they would lend us their spare tyre. However, the traffic already thin owing to out - of - season scenario became a trickle as the light faded quickly past 5.30pm. So, both of my friends hitched a ride with the next taxi that passed us with the flat tyre, while I remained behind. My second friend was feeling nauseated and had a severe headache, all symptoms of high altitude sickness. Hence, I insisted that he accompanied my first friend down. Ironically, I wryly observed that I would be perfectly safe inside the vehicle as no one would have enough breath to rob me this high up in the wilderness.
After they had gone I set up reflectors at both ends of the vehicles to warn approaching vehicles, if there were going to be any, since the road is not that wide. Thereafter, I came and slid down on the back seat of the scorpio. I had locked the vehicle for precaution, and wrapped my arms around myself and just lay back. It was nearly 6pm. Since I had been on high altitude treks before, I was well clothed for Rothang. So even though it was dreadfully cold at minus 7 and going down, I felt it would be fine.
I don't know when I slid into a slumber, but when I came to it was nearly 8pm. I knew it was going to be difficult to get a taxi to ply at late hours, but this was getting ridiculous. Then I heard a rasping sound, which I cannot explain. I peered outside as best I could all round, but couldn't make any thing out since windows were all fogged up, the wind was really shrieking, as is often the case at high altitudes in winter especially after the sun goes down. Putting down the sound to the wind I fell back again, peering blankly towards the front windscreen, hoping my friends would return soon, since I was really cold and hungry.
While I was peering blankly at the windscreen, a large portion of it frosted up, but then just as quickly defrosted. I heard the rasping sound again. This happened in quick succession a number of times. At this moment I was just curious. Sometimes long hours in extreme conditions at high altitudes can dull the mind. So I propped myself up, and become more attentive. However, this time the same thing happened by the driver's window. So I cleaned the rear window behind the driver seat as best I could and peered outside but I could make out nothing. I was about to step out thinking may be some kind of leak from the engine was responsible for this "phenomenon", when the same thing happened again to the window from which I was peering outside a moment ago. This really freaked me out. Then it happened again but for longer duration at the rear window, and this time I detected a faint, suppressed growl along with the rasping noise. It stopped briefly, and then it started again and it was focused for sometime on the front windscreen. Each time it (frosting, defrosting with rasping and growling) repeated itself the duration of frosting increased, while that of defrosting lessened.
I was really afraid now. Initially, I thought may be it was an animal. Even for allowing for poor visibility, what kind of animal can cause this over and above the bonnet of the car without making some kind of noise on the body of the vehicle? Maybe it was some kind of phenomenon owing to comparably warmer temperature inside, and extreme cold outside. I am sure I heard those sounds I described earlier. I was still debating when the frost almost covered the entire windscreen for an interminably long time, and seemed to be seeping inside. I don't know why but I suddenly screamed with all my might and pounded with my fists and palms on the windscreen. It defrosted instantly.
For some time there was nothing except intense cold and shrieking wind. I sat, with my arms wrapped around me, in middle of the backseat, away from the windows. I heard a louder growl this time with rasping noise from the rear. I repeated my actions (screaming and pounding) even though there was no frost on the rear window. Nothing happened for what seemed like an eternity but was probably a few minutes. Then the front windscreen started frosting up really quickly and heavily, with the frost seeping inside. I screamed and pounded, but this time even though it defrosted again, there was a distinctly loud growl and the whole vehicle shook. This went on for what seemed like an eternity. Different windows would frost up really fast, I would scream and pound, there would be a loud growl and heightened rasping and the whole vehicle would shake. By the end, I was sweating like crazy, my arms were raw red with all the pounding, and my voice was almost gone. Cracks had appeared on nearly all the windows.
It was nearly midnight when my friend arrived in another taxi, with a mechanic, who changed our flat tyre with help from taxi driver. When my friend pounded on the window to get me to open up, I nearly broke the window with my pounding as I could no longer scream. There are no words to describe my relief, when I saw the face of my friend. So much so that I gave no thought to his well being, but apparently whatever it was seemed to be only interested in me. It was the mechanic who drove us down. My friend was aghast at my state and the state of the vehicle's windows. I couldn't speak, except in a croaking voice for nearly a week, which was good thing because I didn't want to speak.
When I did tell my friends they were perplexed and astounded. We were the ones who spent a night at 'Bhangarh', supposedly the most haunted place in India, to show that it was not. We regularly trek and camp at desolate, even scary places. What happened was unbelievable; even now I would sooner believe that it never happened than otherwise.
If anyone can explain to me about this, please do: What the hell was going on? What was it? If it was a ghost or something, aren't they supposed to simply pass through everything and anything, so why couldn't it just come inside and attack me (as I distinctly felt that it wanted to)? Has anything like this ever happened to anyone else? If yes, where?