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Time Travel

March 6, 2010

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 8; the eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

“C’mon, its just a few more steps to the top,” he laughed and pulled my hand. I was already parched and my leg muscles were throbbing with protest at so much exercise. I should have never agreed to his proposal of this trip. The crazy traveller that Abhi is, he discovered this god-forsaken place called Devinarayanpur from some off-beat travel magazine and immediately sweet-talked me into this. “We should take this trip just to spend some quality time with each other,” was his way of charming me. Even though I realised that his romance for this place was more than his romance for me, I had readily agreed to accompany him, just to be with him for three days. A number of excuses at respective homes and we both set off for this quaint village in the district of North Dinajpur in West Bengal last Friday.

As soon as we landed here, even I fell in love with this place. It was steeped in history and every nook and corner had a story of its own. The local people were most forthcoming with the explanations and the forgotten history of the dilapidated mansions and we got to hear some really wonderful stories from the past.

Our host for those three days was an old man of 65 years, who was extremely concerned about our different surnames 🙂 We carefully avoided giving any explanation, lest it would become fodder of a huge village scandal. He was the one who told Abhi about this old temple on top of a small hillock, some 10 kms away from the village. “Its a must-visit for any adventurous soul,” he had told Abhi, who simply jumped with full excitement at the “a” word! 

The uphill climb proved to be quite difficult for me. I had been huffing and puffing after Abhi, who was eager to reach the temple on the top. There was something else in his mannerism, apart from excitement, which I failed to read. “Hey, can you please slow down a bit?”

“We are almost there. Now, don’t stop here to take a rest.”

“Just let me take a swig from the water bottle,” I pleaded. “Not now, I have been waiting to come here for a long time; now that I am here, I don’t want to waste even a second.”

I was surprised at his tone. “Really? I thought you came to know of this place just last night from Mr. Manna.”

“Of course, I heard of this place just last night. But I don’t know why I feel that I have been meaning to come here for a long time. This place seems familiar somehow,” Abhi said in a low whisper.

 

By now, we had reached the temple. From close quarters, we were both surprised by the enormity of its structure. Even though it was completely dilapidated otherwise, the pillars were still standing strong. It was strange to see just six pillars amidst rubbles, covered with overgrown bushes everywhere.

“This is the temple of Maha Kali. Its difficult to imagine that there was a time some 100 years ago when this was the main temple of Devinarayanpur, thronged by hundreds of devotees each day.”

“I wonder what happened to the deity,” I said.

“She was stolen by two fellows from the village,” Abhi replied.

“Really? now that’s a real shame… wait, when did Mr. Manna say this?” I asked, surprised at this piece of information.

“He did. No, I think he didn’t. But I don’t know how I know all these,” Abhi looked at me alarmed. “I think I have come here before. I think I know this place every well.”

I asked him, “Have you visited this place as a child?” “No, I am sure I haven’t. You know I was born and brought up in Delhi. We never came this far for a holiday.”

The sun, which had been blazing all this while, was preparing to take our leave for the day. It suddenly dawned upon me that we should start the return journey. “Abhi, its 5-30 pm already; let’s go back. It will be dark soon.”

Abhi was absolutely not interested in going back. He was staring intently at the pillars. There was a curious mix of unexplained emotions being reflected on his face. I went and touched his arm. He gave a shudder.

“Do you know how poor my family was?”

I was taken aback. What was Abhi talking of? The son of an IAS Officer father and college principal mother was anything but poor. I shook him hard. “Have you lost it? Or this is another of your joke?”

“I didn’t study beyond  class IV in the local school. I didn’t know who my father was. My mother worked as a labourer in the construction site so that she could bring up my younger four sisters, a brother and me.”

“Abhi, isn’t this going too far now?” I had always known Abhi’s quirky sense of humour very well.

“When Thakur Das family decided to build this temple here, five thousand workers were commissioned to create the architecture; and ten thousand labourers to do the job. My mother was one of them. I remembered how excited she was at the prospect of extra earning. After toiling relentlessly for four years, this temple was finally finished. Then came the day when the whole village was invited to the inauguration of the deity by Ramjiban Das, the head of the Thakur Das family.”

By now, I was interested in the story, which was being narrated by Abhi. I realised that my nut-case boyfriend had either read it in somewhere or was making up all of that, as part of a practical joke on me. And I was not to be easily fooled.

“I was just eleven years old, then. I still remember the unveiling ceremony of the deity. She stood naked, with her teeth biting her tongue and with eyes full of wrath. Whoever sculptured it, had done the eyes really well. One could just feel the anger emanating from her eyes and her body of solid gold. Yes, the deity was made of solid gold.”

I interjected, “No wonder it was stolen.”

Abhi suddenly looked at me with wonder in his eyes. “You think it was stolen because it was made of solid gold? Of course not, you silly. The gold was of no consequence. It was the symbol of prestige of the great Thakur Das family that was stolen alongside the deity.”

By this time, it was completely dark. I tugged at Abhi’s sleeves. “If you are done with your cock-and-bull story, can we please go down now? Its getting chilly here.” 

“Its the month of June, how can it be chilly at this time of the year?” Abhi’s voice was hard.

Suddenly I realised that the weather was really cold. I started shivering and not all of it was due to the unexplained change in weather around me. Something in Abhi’s manner felt so wrong. I was determined to climb down, away from that torn down temple on the hilltop. I pulled Abhi towards me and started walking down fast.

___________________

 

“Mr. Manna, what is the story behind that temple? Where is the deity?”

“There’s no definite answer to that. Nobody knows the answer; everybody just has theories about the whole incident. Two brothers of a poor family vanished from the village right after the theft. So naturally they were under suspicion. But nothing definite could be proved. But equally disturbing was the fact that Ramjiban Das, head of the family that had built and established the temple died of a massive heart attack within a week.”

I was silently looking at Abhi’s face, trying to ignore the goose bumps in my flesh.

“There was a hint of a scandal, though. Some insider of the family, may be a maid or servant… the ones who are always gossiping.. went around telling the villagers that the patriarch had an illicit relationship with the mother of those two. The elder brother was actually his child. But it all could be untrue. That man was known to be a real gentleman. All these working class women will do anything to associate themselves with the zamindars of those times.”

In the dim candle light, Mr. Manna could not see my horrified face, which had gone white. Abhi spoke in a strangled whisper, “Would you know the time of the year when the theft happened?”

Mr. Manna replied, “I have heard it was some time after the Kali Puja; so it would be around December, may be.”

 

I fainted.     

 

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2010 11:27 pm

    Nicely written, and brilliantly concluded. But whats it with Maha Kali ?? Karz, Karan Arjun, Karzzzz (the Himmesh version) and now you!!!!!!

    All the best for Batom!

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:18 am

      Thanks 🙂 I was in a tearing hurry to finish the post within the deadline. Maha Kali has that eerie charm associated with it and hence it was the first thing that came to my mind.
      I seriously didn’t remember all those movies :-O

      • March 7, 2010 10:27 pm

        But, in all seriousness, your post does have a wonderful visual quality….one can almost visualise everything…..see things happen while reading the story….brilliant job with that.
        All the best for Batom

  2. March 6, 2010 11:30 pm

    wow! this was fantastically narrated! 🙂
    all the best fot BATOM…

    nice header, yours.. 🙂 when i was in WP, i used this template.. its the best i thought! 😀

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:18 am

      Thank u so much 🙂 am glad that you enjoyed it 🙂

  3. March 6, 2010 11:31 pm

    sorry about that link.. 😀 goes to my alternate blog instead.
    thanks for droppin by my symphony and complimenting my template and story! 🙂

  4. March 6, 2010 11:33 pm

    OMG.. gr8.. just loved it.. In the background the music of zee horror show was playing in my mind 🙂
    so thts how u intrprtd time travel.. naice 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:22 am

      Thanks Marshall 🙂 and thanks for that last minute nudge too, when I was struggling to finish the post.

      I was trying hard to create the eerie effect of the location, looks like I succeeded to some extent 🙂

  5. Anusuya permalink
    March 7, 2010 12:34 am

    You might be called for the script writing of Aahat soon!LOL 😉

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:26 am

      I don’t mind at all 😉 Thank u so much for dropping by so soon 🙂

  6. March 7, 2010 1:17 am

    I read it twice, did not understood it first time, but then…yes, I understood some part…going for it again…:D

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:32 am

      Am so glad that you dropped by 🙂 You didn’t understand the first time? I think I made it extremely clear that its reincarnation… I so badly wanted to keep it a mystery till the end, but didn’t quite manage it 😦

      But I am happy that at least you found some mystery element there 😉

      • March 7, 2010 11:33 am

        yup got the reincarnation thing later on…a little tubelight… i am…:D

  7. March 7, 2010 1:25 am

    @ Debosmita

    kêmon achhen?
    ~Since Morning…I was waiting to know about your post…after all you suggested this wonderful title!

    Definitely you gave full justice to your imagination and a very strong connection with your elementary region and earthy Culture!
    ~Bang with the Bong the end was good!

    I felt as if I was watching some lovely Bong movie!
    eṭake baṅlae ki bole?…Khoob Shundur! eek dam…Joe’

    Am not very fluent though being in Guwahati..with many Bengoli friends…ji, ekṭu bolte pari…!
    Dhonnobad so much for landing into my page and leaving that wonderful comment…though I have replied your comment in my post!

    Best of Luck for BATOM!

    ~Keep the spark Alive..

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:47 am

      Hi Rachana,

      Thank u so much for your encouragement 🙂 and your Bengali is quite perfect 🙂
      After suggesting this topic, I myself had absolutely no clue as to what to write…and no time, too… I sat down yesterday at around 9 pm and posted it at 11-30 pm…

      I was toying with two ideas – diary (which you wrote) and travel to a historical place in dream (which another blog-a-tonic wrote) This theme was an afterthought.

      It was lovely to receive your comment. Keep visiting 🙂

  8. March 7, 2010 2:20 am

    Interesting……! From 5th line itself I was chanting reincarnation repeatedly within my breath 😀
    Pretty new side of time travel for me……..all the best for batom 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 7:50 am

      Thanks Murali 🙂 am glad that you prediction about the theme came true finally 😉 I am wondering whether I could have kept it under wraps till the very end, so that intelligent readers like you would not have jumped to conclusion so soon 😦

      • March 7, 2010 3:04 pm

        Oh comeon! I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy thriller stuff since my childhood, the likes of edgar alan poe etc 😛

  9. March 7, 2010 7:55 am

    What a very well narrated horror stuff! Ha ha. Well written. Nice way to import time travel! *plays Aahat’s background music* 😛 All the best for BATOM!

    PS: http://bit.ly/aliensandme

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 8:03 am

      The post just turned out to be horror; I never intended it to be :-0 So this turns out to be my first attempt at this genre of writing 🙂

      Thank you so much for your comment.. Keep dropping by 🙂

  10. Bella permalink
    March 7, 2010 8:23 am

    My goodness Debo! This was brilliant. I loved the way you narrated it. Really 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 8:50 am

      Ana, I am glad that you liked it 🙂 Thank u so much 🙂

  11. March 7, 2010 9:00 am

    Horror need not be always about ghosts and gore. The distant surreal feel in the middle of the story made my heart pound faster. The story was quite predictable but nonetheless extremely well paced.
    Loved it!

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 7, 2010 10:58 am

      Thanks Pawan! So I did manage to create that feeling! 🙂

  12. March 7, 2010 12:17 pm

    Hello Debosmita! Here for the first time and glad about it! Why wouldn’t I be after reading a lovely post like this one?! Beautiful narration! Initially, I thought that the actual culprit was being an impostor under a pseudo name….imagine the horror if that was the case!!! o_O… But as I read through I realized it was a case of reincarnation 🙂

    Good one!! Liked it! 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 8, 2010 7:14 am

      Hi, Raksha – Thank u so much for dropping by and leaving an encouraging comment 🙂 Its ppl like you who egg me on to participate in Bloga-a-ton everytime and try to come with something good, despite paucity of time 🙂

  13. March 7, 2010 12:23 pm

    heylo,

    I found the beginning of post really interesting. You started really well and took the idea where it was intended to go. Overall, I found it really swift and smooth with the blend of romance in it. I liked it, all the very best of the Batom!!

    Love & Peace
    Viv

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 8, 2010 7:18 am

      Hi Vivek, welcome here and am so glad that you liked it. Thank u so much 🙂 I could have made it with two friends, but I believe romance added a soft charm to the overall mystery. 🙂

  14. March 7, 2010 10:31 pm

    Superbly narrated, yar. Loved it very much. Your tags says ‘mystery’, ‘reincarnation.’ But it’s not the end or the middle or the beginning that matters here, but the way you’ve told the story. It unfolds so beautifully. Kudos! 😉

    But you know, you could’ve kept it under wraps till the end (as told by you in one of the replies above) if you had narrated the story in a parallel fashion – going about the character in two different times, past and the present, that. Of course, it would’ve been lengthy then. But still, the title ‘Time Travel’ says it all.
    Experiment with this some other time. It might work.

    Great story! Great narration! 🙂
    All the best for BATOM! 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 8, 2010 7:25 am

      Thanks! The thriller master has given me the desired certificate 😉 I wanted to do it in the way you suggested, but there was absolutely no time 😦 I posted it on 11-30 pm!!

      But I am glad with the way it shaped up 🙂 and many thanks for your appreciation. Yours always counts a lot 🙂

  15. March 8, 2010 9:32 am

    Hi Debosmita.. This is my first time here. Your post was just a mini-thriller with all those ingredients of horror and suspense.. The concept of Time Travel and reincarnation were beautifully executed!

    I loved reading your post for the spine-chilling experience and the wonderful narration.. Great going! All the Best for BATOM-8!

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 8, 2010 10:23 am

      Hello Parth, Welcome here and thank u so much for your kind words 🙂 You really thought it was a spine-chilling narration??? wow! you made my day 🙂

      • March 8, 2010 10:30 am

        Yeah..it was surely a spine-chilling experience! Just visualize the ominous weather stacked up with the revealing dialogues of Abhi and the shocking emotions of the narrator.. I found it to be a great read!

        I am glad that my comments made your day 😀

        By the way, please do check out my take on Time Travel.

  16. March 8, 2010 2:11 pm

    Do here goes….the Topic suggester.

    Well, as soon as Abhi felt some thing strange ,,,I knew what this strange thing is.

    Nice post though. 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 9, 2010 10:03 am

      😦 😦 I know what you are saying – it was predictable 😦 but am happy that you liked it 🙂 keep visiting..

  17. March 8, 2010 3:03 pm

    Nicely written. The descriptions were vivid and written nicely like a book with a nice mixture of third person narration and conversations.

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 9, 2010 10:04 am

      You have a very.. umm… interesting name, I must say 😉 Thank you so much for your appreciation…

  18. March 9, 2010 1:22 am

    Wow…… i was almost in front of that temple and the ritual while reading this……perfect narration and the ending…. great effort….quite unique among the posts i read…. i could almost experience the change of emotions in the characters faces.
    al d best

    PS: I do appreciate for suggesting the last two titles for BAT which enabled me to write something i loved to :)..

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 9, 2010 10:14 am

      Mahesh.. finally your comment 🙂 I always look forward to your feedback… and thank you so much 🙂

      While suggesting/voting for topics, my endeavour was always to go for the ones which would give the most varied scope of writing… and that’s what happened in these two BATs 🙂

  19. March 9, 2010 7:55 am

    Scaryyyyy.. if I get some nightmares today, it will be because of this story 😛 Brilliantly narrated girl! just looooved it!! 🙂 I liked your English too, right usage of words and I could imagine everything you said there. And also thanks for suggesting this topic “Time Travel”. I liked this topic. All the posts are so interesting 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 9, 2010 10:18 am

      Welcome Avada, if you get nightmares, I will be very happy 😉 I would know that my story had the right effect 😉

      Thank you for your comment – feedbacks and appreciations like this always encourages me a lot 🙂 (taking a deep bow)

  20. March 11, 2010 2:28 pm

    Hey…you’ve written it beautifully…I kept scratching my head trying to interpret time-travel but couldn’t decide on anything…this never came to my mind!!

    Wonderful post…all the best!! 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 11, 2010 4:59 pm

      Thanks Varsh 🙂 Even I scratched my head a lot while trying to come up with something on the topic 🙂

  21. March 12, 2010 9:39 pm

    It was really nice. Brilliantly written and a good read.
    All the best for Blog-a-ton. 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      March 13, 2010 11:23 am

      Thank you 🙂 This is what blog posts are for: readers’ satisfaction adds to the writer’s satisfaction 🙂

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