In the year 1981 when I went to Haridwar immediately after our marriage with my husband, I was 21 years old. My mind was still in a dreamland. Hard facts were yet to come in my life. Haridwar, Ranipur, BHEL E.T. Hostel -166 was my first home - my own home. In E.T. Hostel, the first person I met was 'Kabli'. Now she is a good friend of mine. Another person I met was was S.K.D. Barman. He was a colleague of my husband Abhijit. Barman-da stayed next door to us at 168 E.T. Hostel.
First two days on our arrival at Haridwar, Abhijit stayed on leave to help me settle down in his bachelor flat, which I was to make our own home. On the third day, after Abhijit went to office, I went to the kitchen to prepare a cup of tea for myself. The main door was open. Suddenly Barman-da entered and made a howling sound. The milk pot almost fell from my hand. I got scared. Barman-da just smiled and went away. He would often try to scare me by his pranks. One evening I was sound asleep at about 4:30 p.m., when the door bell rang. I woke up and went to the door. I remembered my husband's instruction about peeping through the peep hole to see who was there before opening the door. I followed his advice and tried to look through the lens. It was absolute dark. I looked again and it was still dark. Just to see why it was dark outside at 4:30 p.m. I opened the door and screamed out "Barman-da!!". Barman-da was was standing taking support of the door and had the peephole covered with his palm. When I opened the door, he was about to fall but managed somehow. He smiled and asked "Why did you open the door without verifying who was outside?". I said "I had guessed it could be you only". "Don't act so brave." he said. I told him very politely "I don't get scared so easily by these childish pranks." He said very seriously "I came to inform you that Abhijit would be late from the office by an hour or two."
That evening after Abhijit was back, while serving tea, I complained to him that Barman-da always tries to scare me. He laughed and asked "Do you get scared?" I said "I do not get scared exactly, but I am getting irritated." He said "Don't worry. Barman is a good person and he will not harm you in any way." Next sunday morning Barman-da came to meet Abhijit. As I served them tea. Abhijit said "Barman, Mini told me that you are always trying to scare her." Barman-da burst out "But she is simply not scared. Even Kabli and other ladies get scared but Mini - I failed to scare her." Abhijit said "You must tell her that you are trying to take revenge by scaring her." "Revenge?" - a big question hit my brain. I asked "Barmanda, what is this REVENGE business? I haven't done any harm to anyone."
Abhijit started to laugh. Barman-da said "It is a long story. When we joined BHEL we did not have any powered vehicle. The only personal conveyance we had was bicycle. Some times when we were fed-up of mess cooking, we used to go to Haridwar and take food at 'Chotiwala Restaurant'. It is a vegetarian joint but the food is good. One evening Abhijit, me along with two other friends decided to go to Haridwar. Four of us paddled our way through the bye-pass road to Chotiwala restaurant. After we finished our dinner, the friends wanted to do some shopping in the lower market but Abhijit said that he wanted to go back to the hostel. I also felt like going back. Abhijit and I started paddling home-wards. Since it was dark already, I wanted to return by the main road but Abhijit suddenly took a turn towards the bye-pass road. The road was absolutely empty and there were no street lights either. I wanted to return by the main road which was well lit and also there was sufficient traffic. I pleaded with him but he was adamant to take the jungle road and I will never forget what he did to me that night. I could have died." I protested "No! Abhijit cannot kill anybody. I know him very well." Barman-da said "Do you think of murder? What he did was worse than murder."
Abhijit then told his side of the story - "When I turned in the bye-pass road or the jungle road, it was totally deserted and dark. Barman was cycling behind me. He tried to convince me that the road was not safe, but he did not turn back to the main road either. I told Barman that we were not carrying much of cash or valuables with us, so what was the fear? Barman said "You might be a non believer, but there are ghosts and they can take up any shape and form - even human form and they prefer dark and deserted areas and if they find people like us, they can kill us. Please Abhijit, we have not come far, we can still return and take the main road." I told him that in our childhood we were told such stories so that we would not venture in deserted areas and get lost. There was nothing to fear about as we were two of us. But Barman continued to tell me rubbish ghost stories. He said that he knew a person who had met a ghost who had hooves instead of palms in his hands and that person also had met a headless ghost (Skandakata). He also told me that these ghosts create such a situation that one gets lost in the way. He said "Abhijit, till now we know the way and can return back to the main road. Please let us not go any further. We may fall into some kind of trouble." I just ignored him and continued to paddle and Barman also followed me. Meanwhile we had traveled almost midway of the dark jungle road and I also understood that this fellow was scared of darkness. Ahead of us was the industrial area and we saw some men were sitting around a fire. Barman told me "Abhijit, let us ask them if we are on the right way. A kind of mischief came to my mind. A week ago we had seen a film "Dracula" in the club. So a plot came to my mind. I told him "Don't go there. They are not humans." He was taken aback. He asked "How - how can you say so?" I told him "Look into their eyes - they are hollow." He didn't even look at them and was really scared. After a while at a lonesome spot, I stopped and put my bicycle aside. Barman was already scared and now he got confused. He asked "What happened?" I told him "I am thirsty." He said "There is nothing to drink here." I said "Look Barman, this is a new moon night. My canines grow as night grows and I drink human blood. I brought you here so that I can quench my thirst. I haven't had human blood since I joined BHEL." Hearing this Barman started to shiver. He said "A...A...Abh...Abhijit you a...a....are joking r...right?....." Suddenly it came to my mind that if this fellow faints now, how will I carry him and his bicycle? So I faked a laugh to sooth him and said "Of course it is a joke." It took me a good half an hour to make him normal."
Now Barman-da said "See your husband frightened me so much that I could have died. He is worse than a killer. I know I cannot frighten him so I wanted to take revenge on you, but I failed to do so. TUMI TO ORO BAAP HOCHCHOO. (YOU ARE MUCH GREATER THAN HIM)"