Monday, July 30, 2012

Let The Stranger Alone

The new under constructions road cuts through the village, dividing it into temple side and the slope side. Temple side has the Panchayat Ghar, another house and the erstwhile ‘Daand House’ and barren agricultural fields once toiled but now abandoned, the other side constitutes bulk of the village on the Chandakhal slope. It is a picturesque setting for an outsider but inert piece of land for the villagers. Nothing happens around here for months …..

Even though the road is still under construction, it is not too far off from completion.  A curious structure, an equivalent of a ‘Haveli’ in plains, exists where the road winds around the ‘Daand House’ hill and then disappears behind it. The house is not neglected but in prime condition yet nobody lives in that house. It is remote, sits on a vantage point on the landscape yet detached from the activity of village although there isn’t much of it anyway. Villagers avoid looking directly at the house as if it were a living thing, a malevolent apparition. After nightfall the house remains dark save a window on first floor at end of left wing. The light is not too bright but its radiance dances on the window pane as if it is lit by a large candle. The house almost merges into the dark background of rising slope Chandakhal, become one with it. The overall impact is frightening. Even if it is not haunted, it still evokes a sense horror. Nobody lives there is the refrain of Madan Bhai, a limping geriatric, who is responsible for its upkeep. Why he does it, he refuses to tell, if he is paid for his services, he refuses to tell that as well. But he is quite emphatic, nobody lives in that house.

To be contd........

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