Tuesday, February 24, 2009

STORIES OF MYSTERIOUS ENCOUNTERS -1: Ghostly Experience in a National Highway Hotel.


Since my childhood I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of the supernatural, spirits, ghosts and the Djinns. Here I'm narrating a story that I heard from my friend Aamir (name changed). This happened when he travelled from Mumbai, (dated 20th January, 2009) to Unava, in the Western Indian State of Gujarat. The purpose of the visit to Unjah was to pay homage at the 14th century holy shrine of Hazrat Sayyad Ali Mira Datar. This shrine is famous for healing mental illnesses, evil eye, black magic, demonic possession, and the like.

The background to this journey is also interesting:

Sometimes in July-August 2007, Aamir’s wife, Fiza (name changed), had a dream. She saw some tomb and a renovation of a structure going on around the tomb. When she related this dream to Aamir, he began inquiring about the location of such a shrine. Later, he was told that the said shrine was of Hazrat Sayyad Ali Mira Daataa (Radi Allahu anhu). Following this, discussions began about visiting the shrine. But Amir’s business engagements prevented the immediate travel plans. All of a sudden, one fine evening in September 2007, Aamir made a decision to undertake the journey along with his family by road. Having made the preparations, Aamir, his wife Fiza, mother, and uncle sat in their newly purchased Maruti Swift VDI the next evening around 5.30 p.m. and started for the said shrine which is around 660 km away by road from Mumbai.

They reached Amdavad (Ahmedabad) by 9 the next morning safe and sound. While proceeding further towards Unjah, they reached a junction where one road leads to Unjah and the other to Ajmer (Rajashthan State). At this spot, my friend changed his mind and opted to travel further on to Ajmer, thinking that he would visit Unjah, later while returning from Ajmer. They reached Ajmer safely, but dead tired, around 11 O’clock at night. There they stayed for a week and paid homage at the famous shrine of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti (R.A.). However, on their return journey, they did not visit Unjah but straightaway came back home. My friend was full of guilty conscience at not having visited Unjah. His wife, however, used to remind him daily that they must visit Unjah the soonest and that they should not have come home directly. Meanwhile, my friend lost heavily in business, and had to even sell off his car.

In September 2008, Fiza suffered from a deep cut on her hand and the wound had to be sutured. Also she began keeping unwell. The same month Fiza had the same dream about the Unjah shrine. It was finally decided that they should visit the shrine. In the absence of their car, they decided to use the Western Railways and travel up to the Unjah Station. Unfortunately, no seats were available on the train as the route is very busy as always. Hence they were disheartened. They cried, they prayed that somehow they should be able to visit the shrine as early as possible.

All of sudden things started looking for better and Aamir was able to buy a new car. One evening their home was filled with some pleasant rose fragrance at Maghrib (evening prayer time). Fiza persuaded her “Saaheb” (for that’s how she used to address her husband, Aamir) that they should begin the journey to Unjah immediately. At around 11:30 p.m., Aamir and Fiza drove off in their car with the aim of finally visiting the Dargah at Unjah.

Crossing the Maharashtra State, they entered the Gujarat State of India. They reached the highway near the city of Surat after about four hours. It was four in the morning. Therefore, Aamir and Fiza decided to lodge in some hotel along the highway. They went from one hotel to another but did not find any vacant room. They were forced to continue their journey without a break, till they reached Ankleshwar. Here they were fully exhausted and were unable to proceed further.

The reasons for their extreme exhaustion was not just the journey, but what they had gone through in Surat where they had stopped for refuelling at a Petrol Pump or Gas Station. After the attendant had filled the car’s tank, Aamir realised that he had no cash in hand. The security guard who was carrying a gun with him, however, allowed them to go when both husband and wife pleaded with him and showed him the ATM (Any Time Money) Debit Card. He told them that the Automated Teller Machine was around somewhere where they could get the cash. After a search of a good 10 km stretch, they finally found the ATM near the same Petrol Pump itself. The job done, they proceeded further onwards and came to a bridge which is ominously called the “Jhoolta Pool.”

Now, a word about this bridge. This bridge, I’m told, is used by all those who want to travel beyond Surat by road. The bridge appears to be ancient because it literally shakes when the vehicles pass over it. Right on the bridge was a truck that had met with an accident and had turned turtle. After losing a good one hour in the traffic snarl, they had finally covered more than 60 km towards Ankleshwar, still looking for a hotel along the highway.

They found a hotel which was located at the end of a desolate road at right angle, off the highway. This hotel is a one-storied structure and we shall just call it Samadhan (name changed). It was 7 A.M., in the morning. On the ground floor there are about ten to twelve shops that had their shutters down. There was also a restaurant that has a capacity of hundred tables or so. The restaurant counter also serves as the reception desk for the lodge. The restaurant was completely empty. Only a 12 year old boy and a man of about 32 years were standing near the doorway. It took Aamir some fifteen minutes to get the man open his mouth for a “Yes” or a “No” to his enquiries. The man finally opened his mouth to say that there was only one room available. The boy lifted the baggage and led Aamir and Fiza to the first floor. He opened a room for them. After Aamir had washed himself he came out of the bathroom and went near the bed. To his astonishment, he saw that the bedsheet had ugly dried-up red stains. In their eagerness to snatch some rest and sleep, they put their own bedsheet over the stained sheets and lay themselves down on the bed.

Hardly five minutes had elapsed, when Aamir heard some noises from the adjacent rooms. The noises were very disturbing. Aamir then recollected that he had seen pad-locks on the doors of all the others rooms on this floor. In other words, they had been misled into believing that all the other rooms were occupied. Aamir also realised that they were the only occupants in the hotel. This sent a shiver down his spine. At this moment, someone began to bang the door very hard. On opening the door, Aamir saw the same boy. He had a strange bewildered looks about him. The boy asked him if they had pressed the service bell. Aamir shook his head in the negative and told him that they should not be disturbed. Aamir was unaware that disturbances would nevertheless come from other quarters. Aamir went back to bed. Since he saw Fiza was motionless, he too lay down by her side. After a little while, he heard the same kind of noises from the adjacent rooms. This time the noises were louder. As Aamir was about to get up, the noises began to subside. An eerie silence then prevailed in the room. But by then, sleep had fled away from Aamir who was gripped by restlessness and anxiety.

After twenty minutes or so, Aamir heard his nickname, “Saaheb,” being called out in a strange, long-drawn, shrill voice. Now, as stated before, it was the practice of Fiza to address her husband, Aamir, by that nickname. No one else called him by that name. Aamir felt that since Fiza had dozed off, how could she address him thus. At that moment, a chilling fear seized Aamir who felt immobile. He and Fiza were lying side by side. Both were facing the same direction towards the door. The bed was by the window. Out of the corner of his eye, Aamir saw a blood-soaked lady, with dishevelled long hair, standing at the foot of Fiza, staring down at them. She was taller than the average woman and had a manly personality, with wide shoulders. As Aamir looked towards the door, he noticed blood-stains on the walls which appeared to have big cracks all over them. Again he looked out of the corner of his eyes towards Fiza’s feet, he found the same lady standing with a determined posture, staring at them. At that time he looked towards the wall of the bathroom, where stood a centre-table. He saw blood-stained broken glasses. The glasses were scattered on the floor of the room. All over the floor there were blood stains. He also felt as if there were mutilated bodies lying in the bathroom. To his horror, he got the feeling that a quarrel would ensue between him and Fiza, that she would smash that broken bottle on his head and both of them would kill each other. In this desperate moment, Aamir blurted out: “Yaa Sayyid Ali Mira Dataar Assalaam Alaykum. I’m on my way to your shrine and I’m your guest. Please help us out of this situation.”

It appeared as if Time had come to a standstill. Fiza got up yelling at Aamir: “Why are you making so much noise? Why are you shaking the bed so much? Are you not happy with me on this trip?” Unknown to her, Aamir was passing through a different feeling. He told her not to yell at him but go to the bathroom to clean up. The moment Fiza went to the bathroom and opened the water-tap, Aamir came out of the trance. He jumped out of the bed, and opened the latch of the main-door, stepping out of the room. There was no sound in the corridor, not even of the birds. Aamir stood outside the door, waiting for Fiza to come out of the bathroom which she did after a while. She saw Aamir standing outside the door and this angered her. However, seeing the fear writ large on the face of Aamir, she calmed down a little and rang the service bell. Five or six times she must have rung the bell but no one appeared. Aamir pulled Fiza out of the room and both of them then went down near the reception desk. There they found a different boy of fourteen years who had a clean white shirt on his person. No one else was around. Since the payment had been made in advance, they told the boy to bring down their luggage.
Thereafter, they left the hotel for the highway.

Surprisingly, this road had not appeared longer when they had first made for their hotel than it was now. After travelling some 40 km on the highway, Aamir stopped his car and narrated to Fiza all that he had seen and gone through in that short spell of three hours. She, too, had been experiencing horrid moments in the hotel. Then they invoked the name of Hazrat Sayyad Ali Mira Dataar and proceeded with their onward journey, reaching the Dargah safely.

When the above story was narrated to me by my friend Aamir, I asked him time and again whether the account was true. He vehemently said that every word was true. He further confided that he had not told me anything about how two butterflies had accompanied them, fluttering against the car’s windshield despite the speed of the car, all the way to Unava. Seeing my amazement, he stopped short, got up and just went away without a word. I yelled after him that I would be publishing his story in my Blog. “By all means, Go Ahead,” were his last words.


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