Graveyard Shift


If ghosts appearing in family photographs can be a stunning news, why a human disappearing from a photo cant surprise many. They say I was never noticeable L

Never mind. People celebrate new year at places where there is a big crowd. Me and my friends were the ones who least enjoyed the celebrations on Miramar beach at midnight. So on my suggestion we flew (yeah, that’s the right word for Audhuts bike ride) to the British Graveyard at Dona Paula. Very few people have that such a place exists in Panaji city. A graveyard, not in use for last 150 years. However it is well maintained.

We were 4 and the graves were many. On top of that I and Altaf were the only people ready to enter. To our disappointment, the main gate was locked and tied with ropes. The compound wall was too tall for us and we were not so good jumping, poll vault etc. I am good at jumping; people acknowledge that I am swift in jumping at conclusions. Ok. Bad joke.

We found that one of the bars of the gate were broken keeping for us a slit to enter. I am never scared of anything but cautious. I was not scared of deads but of the living creatures. The people in the neighborhood who might catch us doing this act.

Youth is always rebellious. People tell us not to enter the graveyard at night and we were doing just the opposite. Younger generation indulges in bad habits such as alcoholism and pornography not because they really love it but because the society restricts them from doing so. Proper channeling of this rebellious attitude can bring outstanding results.

So Altaf entered the Grave first. Guess how the second guy would have felt when Neil Armstrong kept his foot on moon? Ok. I am exaggerating. Next was my turn. Unfortunately I don’t have tall legs like altaf so I got stuck in those bars. I couldn’t free myself. Worse, I saw horrifying expressions on Altaf’s face which made me more nervous. What was that? I looked in the direction he was looking. The scene was really terrifying. Those 4 animals were approaching us with their horns directed towards us. Cow the holy animal and her Mr. Bull and not to mention their (I doubt this relationship) two little kids were not so happy with we intruding in their playground. Where souls rest in peace they were playing world most favorite game.

Akshar, get out give me the way….. Altaf was screaming but I was helpless. What Altaf did next could have featured well in any of the priyadarshan’s movies. He struggled and finally climbed the whole height of the gate and jumped on the safer side. I too managed to get out. My gray cells started working, if the gate was closed and locked how did the animals entered the graveyard? And if it was locked with a godrej lock why on earth the gate should be tied with those jute ropes?. I untangled the ropes and kicked the gate.

Just the way they show in Ramose Brothers films the gate opened with a crackling sound. That was so easy. How the Achilles must have felt when he entered try through a Trojan horse? Same was the feeling. Tushar came up with a very brilliant idea. According to him we will open the gate and hide ourself and let the animals go out. Then we will enter and close the gate.  Good idea. It seemed to be.

We did juct that and waited in nearby bushes for 1 ..2…3 minutes. And what the animals did next was the biggest insult they could have done to us. One of the animal got the nature’s call and it pissed off. In that pin drop silence, we waiting to sneak in to the deads world the animals showed least possible regard to our endeavor.

We got fed up. I and altaf got up and entered the grave. Straightway we reached a grave of Ms Ann. Died in 1855. Altaf clicked the photos while I was busy reading what was written. I had heard that a boat containing British soldiers for world war I had become ‘Samudray Swaha’ near Dona Paula. The dead bodies were spread over the see shore. The Portuguese buried them over here. Since Ann was woman and British had no women soldier in their navy that time the story was indeed false. But The grave was more ancient that we had thought. Just the way wine gets better with time, souls to start showing their presence after long time. If we were lucky we might get to see a british soldier dressed in that Red Black uniform, that was the idea. Akshar… They are looking at us only. Altaf told me in a very soft voice. I got up. Alll the four animals were looking at us, and their motives were certainly looked bad. We were frozen. Hey, lets climb the tree. I said to Altaf. No I cant. He replied. I moved towards left and all the 4 animal moved towards left.

Believe me, that was really really scarry. They slowly walked towards us. I saw a large grave and jumped behind it hiding myself totally behind it. Altaf stood like a statue. I crawled to see if I had managed to deceive the animals. Nopes! They had very clear idea where I was. Worse, they were all looking at me only. I move to right, they all too moved to the right. They had shielded the gate so there was no way we could run fast and get out. I was eying the mango tree nearby. Altaf came up with a good solution. WE all moved slowly slowly towards our right. Animals too moved towards right (their left;) However the relative motion was less so We managed to keep good distance between us. They too were smart so they decided to finish it off by attacking us. They ran towards us and we towards the gate. Within fraction of second we got ourself out of the gate and closed the gate.

WE couldn’t take good photos. Tushar and Sandeep were never interested but me and Altaf were eager to enter once more. So we called up the entire gang over there. Our target was Rama. A person who can be flatter very easily. We appreciated his courage and commented that if it was Rama he wouldn’t have decided to run like a coward. It worked. Rama with strides like a Roman emperor walked to the gate. He looked inside and his feet started trembling like Mr. Bean. Altaf and and Me were adding constant fuel to his ego. He opened the gate and he entered the grave with him I altaf and Audhut too enterd.  Iwas surprise to see that our of remainig 6 people no one was ready to enter.

We took good photos this time and the animals were busy at one corner of the grave. Rama wanted to climb the tree and hang himself ‘ulta’ to one of the branches. May be we were testing te haptience of the impatient bull. He this time with full aggression ran towards us and we ran towards the gate. The Gate was closed by us to enter never again.

May it be souls or animals, no one likes to be disturbed at night when they are with their wives (  we had missed out one more cow who was reluctant to come before us).

I prayed that night for those dead.

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