The Ghost on the Peepal Tree

“Madam ji, I won’t be able to come to work for the next two days,” said Sanjay, Meera’s driver. “My cousin has been found dead in Goa, so I have to go there.” There was no reason whatsoever to deny leave, and Sanjay went off for two days. On his return, Meera asked him what had happened to the boy. Sanjay told her that Ramesh, his cousin, worked in Goa and lived alone there. He was suddenly found dead. He was discovered hanging from the ceiling in his room, where he stayed alone. It was sad as well as shocking. Ramesh was young and had two small children. His wife, and the children, had stayed back in the village and they were living with his parents. Meera left for work, with the sad demise of Ramesh on her mind.

After about ten days or so, while driving to work, Sanjay suddenly said, “Madam ji, this weekend I had gone to Ramesh’s village for his last rituals. Now we know clearly how and why Ramesh was murdered.”

Meera was impressed, “That is quite efficient of the Goa police, I must say. They solved the case so fast.”

“What police, Madam ji? You think the police is so efficient?” Sanjay spoke.

“Then who solved the case, like you said?” enquired a surprised Meera.

“Madam, the ‘Bhooton Wale Baba’ solved it, like he always does in such cases,” replied Sanjay in a matter-of-fact way.

“Bhooton Wale Baba? Tell me more about him, Sanjay,” quipped Meera, trying hard to hide her disbelief.

“He is a big yogi, Madam ji. He has been living there for ages, and no one knows where he came from. He eats nothing whatsoever, and survives only on air and water. Any mysterious happening, is solved easily by him. This time also Ramesh’s father went to Baba ji, after Ramesh’s murder. Baba ji lives outside the village, alone, in a small hut. As soon as Ramesh’s father, Chaman Chacha, touched his feet, without opening his eyes, he said,

“ Your son has met with an untimely death. He has been murdered brutally.”

Chaman Chacha along with the others fell on his feet, and asked for his help.

“Baba ji, please help us. Please help us find the cruel murderers who have snatched away my son, leaving his young, wailing widow and tiny children behind. I want to kill them with my own hands,” howled Chaman.

Baba ji spoke nothing. He just put up his hand, as if in blessing. He then opened his eyes and asked Chaman Chacha to come after two days. Madam ji, Chaman Chacha went to him again after two days and Baba ji said,

“I have found out everything. Sit calmly and hear your own son speak about what all happened to him.” He then closed his eyes and started chanting some mantras. Every one waited transfixed. Suddenly Ramesh started speaking, through Baba ji. He sounded a bit hoarse though, but that was understandable, Madam ji. He narrated how five people together killed him. They were his so-called friends, with whom Ramesh used to spend a lot of time. That day, those five and Ramesh were sitting under a big Peepal tree. Ramesh had got his salary and was paying for the drinks that day. These friends, as they had planned before, took Ramesh completely by surprise and strangled his neck with a string. They then took him to his room, and hung his body there from the ceiling. Thereafter they took his money and went away.”

“Tell me the names of those butchers beta, I will go and tell the police and get them death sentences,” cried an agitated Chaman Chacha. He started howling uncontrollably. Now Ramesh’s spirit was gone. Baba ji was saying now,

“The Police, you said? You think that would be so easy? It would take up your lifetime to get them any punishment. And that too, only if you are prepared to continuously follow up the case, and make the rounds of these police officials, day in and day out. Leaving all other work of yours. You think you will be able to do that? Also, do you even have an iota of idea about how much money you would need to spend, on the police? And tell me, if you need the police, then why did you have to come to me?” Thundered an angry Baba ji. Chaman Chacha fell at his feet, pleading for forgiveness.

“Forgive me for my foolishness, Baba. Please guide me as to what I should do,” Chaman Chacha was banging his head on the ground now.

“Well, I forgive you. Be calm, hold yourself together, and sit quietly. Ramesh had already narrated his story to me, so I already have started the revenge. With my help Ramesh’s spirit is now troubling them every night, and is haunting them in unthinkable ways. These five are unable to understand the cause of their nightmare, because Ramesh is torturing them in different ways. Now, Chaman, you can go and rest in peace. The criminals will be duly punished,” promised Baba ji proudly.

Satisfaction was writ large all over Chaman Chacha’s face, as he bowed down reverently in front of Baba ji and returned home. Madam ji, the Goa police had called Chaman Chacha for the purpose of investigation, but he told them that he was not interested in pursuing the case any more and, if they wanted, they could close the case. So you see Madam ji, what powers Baba ji has!” concluded Sanjay, with a bit of awe.

“Sanjay, does Baba ji do all this for free?” enquired an astonished Meera.

“He charges some nominal fee Madam ji,”replied Sanjay.

“How much did he charge for this case?” Meera was curious to know.

“He charged Rs. 5,000/- for this case, Madam ji,” Sanjay confessed.

Meera was dumbstruck. She could clearly see what the so-called Baba ji was doing, and how he was fooling these simple and innocent people. Who among them would be able to figure out what Ramesh’s spirit was doing, and whom it was torturing? How cleverly Baba ji had just cooked up a story about Ramesh’s murder, without any proof or any witness! Except invoking the spirit of Ramesh, who of course spoke through Baba ji! The victims, already suffering from this unexpected tragedy, are so vulnerable that they can easily be tricked into believing a cock and bull story that provides them with some sort of a closure, in a hassle-free manner. They neither have the resources, nor the fortitude, to go through the long-drawn-out legal system that many a time comes across as unsympathetic and uncertain! In the face of the continuous struggle of their daily lives, they feel they are better off with some sort of closure and then moving on, for which they are ready to pay a price. The Babas and such likes make so many fake claims and exploit the people in such vulnerable situations. She wanted to try explaining this to Sanjay, but sensing his strong belief, she gave up the idea.

Can something be done about such fake gurus and can such exploitation be stopped, she was thinking, as she got off at her office.

Author of the book “The Heart Speaks”, Medium writer since 2018, top writer in fiction, short stories. Loves writing, dance, music, children. Learner for life..

Author of the book “The Heart Speaks”, Medium writer since 2018, top writer in fiction, short stories. Loves writing, dance, music, children. Learner for life..