It was a terrific black moon monsoon night a good three decades back. At the small hours of the night, my wife, who at that time was carrying our first child, woke me up from sleep all terrified and whispered that she had heard someone murmuring outside our house. We were staying in a rented house in a place that was a step above a village and a step below a town.
The grapevine had it that the house was haunted but luckily this was not immediately known to my wife. The house had no compound wall or a well-laid fence. Its front boundary was a vast paddy field and one could approach the house through the embankment. There was nothing unusual about the new house for about six or seven months. The troubles started thereafter.
My wife started complaining having hearing the voice of someone in the wee hours of the night. It always lasted only for a few minutes. As usual I brushed it aside as another superstition supplemented by hearsay. To my surprise, one night she woke me up and asked to me sharpen my ears to the sounds. A faint sound of singing or talking was heard. Nothing was, however, decipherable. It was all gibberish and inaudible. I opened the window and the murmuring stopped. An eerie dead silence returned to envelope the night. My attempts to open the door and investigate was stopped by my wife who by then had got to know from our neighbours that the house was situated in the ‘route of demons’.
This phenomenon repeated a few more times around midnight and on each occasion I tried to find out the source of this sound. I came to the conclusion that the sound was made by a person who passed that way but never hanged around the house. Months passed and my wife got admitted in a local hospital for delivery. Her mother and a distant relative were the onlookers.
My wife went into labour around midnight and I had to accompany the relative to my house to fetch certain items. The half moon sufficiently light up the night sky. The dark shades at times looked like apparitions and the entire route was deserted. It was only the distant barking of dogs and cries of cicadas that tore the silence of the night.
As we neared our house, the old relative abruptly stopped and pointed her fingers towards our house. A dog was barking at a dark figure — it was neither a dog nor a familiar animal. It was a strange spectre standing on all fours. The figure was blabbering gibberish and it sounded familiar. It looked like a very lean figure in rags stooping before the dog apparently to scare it. As we approached, it suddenly saw us and stood up and turned away after giving a Parthian look and walking swiftly away. It appeared like a woman covered in rags. The dog followed her barking.
The relative sighed in relief and said: “Oh she is that mad Bhargavi”. Bhargavi, it seems, preferred to roam in the night. I promptly informed my wife the next morning about the mystery sounds as she lay relaxed besides our beautiful daughter Yamuna.