Author Archives: Ishaan Bahl

No takers for this flat in Malad West


The first person I thought of when I was presented with this assignment was my uncle Bashir Sharma, as he is one of the few people I know, who has had a real life encounter with a ghost or spirit. When I initially asked him to tell me about his encounter, he seemed reluctant to talk about it. I could see the fear in his eyes and the slight tremor in his hand as I brought back the memory of that frightful experience. However, at my persistence he narrated the entire story to me.
His story goes as follows-


All I can say is it wasn’t a hallucination beta (Indian word for Son). I was in a financial crunch in the year 2009, when I heard about the Rs. 32 lakh flat in Liberty Garden. I thought I had won a lottery and just couldn’t believe my luck. Liberty garden is a beautiful and relatively isolated area in Mumbai.

When I spoke to my real estate agent about whether anything was strange with the flat because it was going relatively cheap, he was like, “thik lagtha hay.” (Hindi phrase meaning- it seems fine) My wife and I moved into the apartment and were enjoying the luxurious surroundings of our new home until the fateful day of December 11th 2009. It was a rainy and gloomy day. My wife and I had darkened the room and were enjoying a nice bottle of red wine while watching TV when we suddenly heard a peculiar laugh at the back of the room. Startled, we turned immediately but saw nothing. Strange as it seemed, we didn’t make much of it and continued as if nothing had happened.  The same night at 1am I woke up with a start as I felt a definite presence in my room. There was a definite movement. It seemed as if someone was walking by and I saw the shadow of something move in the moonlight. It sent shivers down my body. I called out loud but just as suddenly I felt the presence had left.
A month passed and paranormal activity continued but in small amounts. There was continuous shutting of doors around the house, which we initially attributed to the strong breeze.  I thought everything was going to be alright until around the middle of January another strange occurrence took place.
At exactly 12am on that night I was visited by what I believe was the ghost of “Nasserwanji.” My wife was talking on the phone in the bedroom and I was catching up on the daily news when suddenly I heard the same peculiar laugh. I was frightened and got up with a start from the couch. I turned back and saw nothing. As soon as I turned back to the TV I felt some one touching my neck from behind, which was when I shouted. The very touch of those crusty fingers on my neck convinced me that this wasn’t a hallucination.  There was definitely a presence in the house.
Hearing my shout, my wife came running into the room. He seemed to disappear from there. I had felt him. My wife was at my side frightened. “What Happened Bashir!” she exclaimed in a worried tone. I was shivering and all I could think of was the fact that I had just encountered a spirit from the supernatural.
I put the house up for sale the very next day. After speaking to the people in the area I heard what happened. The old guard of the building who had been on vacation, returned and told me the story behind the mystery that shrouded my dream apartment. Apparently, many years ago an old man named Nasserwanji lived in the same apartment. He was said to be a bit of a loner and stayed by himself because rumor had it that after he lost his wife to a dreaded disease, he was so overcome with sorrow that he never left the apartment. The people believed that he did not want to share his apartment with anyone because he felt his beloved wife lived there and hence chased away anyone who came to reside there.

Bashir’s story is most definitely a true story in my opinion, as it involved all the attributes of a good story including the strange chilling noises, eerie background, cold chills, shouting and even an ominous warning before the encounter. Furthermore, the very fact that the neighbors suggested that they occasionally heard the strange laugh from the apartment (heard by Bashir) suggests that it wasn’t a hallucination but was a prime example of paranormal activity. It was even published in Mumbai’s most popular newspaper, Times of India (article above).  Additionally, Bashir believes the very feeling of those crusty fingers is engraved in his memory forever. He is a firm believer in ghosts and paranormal activity and has never questioned the existence of ghosts from that day on.
Ghosts linger for many reasons, such as, unfinished business, improper burial, injustice or remaining ties to particular people or places. In this case I believe that Nasserwanji was simply not willing to let go of his wife – he was so deeply attached to her. So overwhelmed was he by this love that he refused to allow himself to move on to the afterlife. He wasn’t willing to leave the abode that he had resided in for so long and was probably uncomfortable seeing anyone take over control of his home, which represented his happy lifetime with his beloved.
This is a prime example of a ghost story with all the above-mentioned traits because of which I find it to be very believable. This story represents a culmination of anger caused by a man who was unhappy and unwilling to let go of his beloved thereby not allowing his soul to rest in peace.


–       Personal interview with Bashir Sharma

–       Newspaper article published by the Times of India

Verma and the Haunted Road

Collection paper 2

Mr. Verma is my father’s childhood friend and has been a frequent visitor to our home ever since I can remember. I first met him at the age of six and have grown extremely fond of him over the years. He is a government officer, who resides in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, in a small settlement about an hour away from the closest city, Shimla. Around 10 years ago he had a supernatural experience which he shared with me, albeit unwillingly.

His story goes something like this:

“My office is about 9 kilometers away from my home. It was the month of March and the closing time of the financial year and the start of the new financial year (liminal time). We had to work late to complete our pending filing work.  I left the office at around 11:30pm and it was raining very heavily. I always travelled by the highway, but on that particular day, since I wanted to get home quickly, I took the short cut. This was an isolated road off the highway, which ran through the forest area. I had heard people say that the shortcut was haunted, but I presumed it was just a rumor.”

“The setting was eerie and it was a cold night as I drove through the thick forest area. It was raining heavily and the area was isolated. I have to admit that I regretted my decision almost immediately. However, it was a bright moonlit night and the short cut would get me home in just 10 minutes as opposed to 25 minutes by the highway. This thought spurred me on even though I was more than a little scared. The trees were shaking vigorously, the wind was blowing violently, and I could hear strange sounds. I tried to console myself that it was just my imagination playing tricks on me but found myself chanting the prayer taught to me by my Guru (idol) – the Sri Hanuman Chalisa (an Indian holy song).”

As I became increasingly frightened, I started to speed up my bike because I wanted to reach home quickly. After around 10 minutes I saw a young lady on the right side of the road. She stopped me and asked me to give her a ride to town. I was going to tell her to get on my bike, but something pulled me back and urged me to move faster. I did not stop but moved on quickly. Five minutes later, I saw the same lady by the side of the road asking for a lift again. How did she re-appear? And how did she so fast? I realized instantly that something was amiss about this apparition and began to get frightened. She seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. My body started trembling, and I started to shiver with fear. I needed to get home to my family, and that’s all that mattered to me.”

“After 5 minutes the same lady appeared yet again, asking for a lift. However, this time she seemed more desperate and started to shout and run behind my bike! She was dressed in traditional Indian wear – with a red saree, golden bangles, a red bindhi and even sindoor in the parting of her hair. She yelled after me, “Please stop and help me!! My husband is hurt! I need to get him to a doctor!!’”


“By this time I felt like I was running for my life. My bike was speeding along the road, skidding here and there on the slippery spots but I kept going like a mad man, occasionally looking over my shoulder in fear. The lady was now chasing me.  I felt like I couldn’t ride my bike any faster, yet I almost felt like the woman was pulling me back, clinging on to me like she would never let me go!”


“The lady then started crying and laughing simultaneously – her whole body turned to a pale yellowish color. She yelled at me in a very scary way, ‘I died on this road, and today you are going to join me!’ After hearing that, I changed to the last gear, and rode my bike at breakneck speed with a single-minded focus that my family was waiting for me at home and I was not ready to die! I refused to look back or acknowledge anything behind me. I knew that at this point, it was really about just escaping death. Luckily enough, I saw a camp up ahead and I stopped my bike there. I ran towards the bonfire, where there were three guards sitting, and explained my story to them. A guard whose name was Vineet Mehta told me that he has been working and guarding the area for over 21 years. The first thing he told me was that I was lucky to be alive. He said that there have been over 60 motor vehicle accidents in the last 20 years on that very road.“

When I asked Mr.Verma his views on the story he was adamant that it was not a hallucination and most definitely a real life experience. He said he never questioned the existence of the supernatural from that day on and made sure that he never took that road again. Although he admitted he could have been wrong about the existence of the ghost the first time, he was completely sure it wasn’t a hallucination after seeing it repeatedly.

Mr.Verma’s story is extremely convincing and I firmly believe in it. I must admit I was a bit skeptical about the ghost but I find that she has an uncanny resemblance to Resurrection Mary. This Indian ghost is almost an alternate and slightly different form of Resurrection Mary. Furthermore, I firmly believe in different planes of existence and the fact that there are restless souls who wander around isolated areas. The very fact that the similar accidents have occurred to several people on that road clearly suggests the existence of something supernatural. I feel that Mr.Verma was saved by his sixth sense or ‘gut feel.’ Most people would have offered the lady a lift and have probably done so in the past, thus leading to their deaths. However, in Verma’s case it was his intuition that prevented him from doing so. He accelerated instead of stopping and it was only a sixth sense that prompted him to do this, since his rational mind would have urged him to stop and help her.

The legend I hear is of a woman named Sangeeta who died with her husband in a car crash around 25 years ago. Frustrated by this act of injustice and her deep attachment to her husband, her soul has refused to rest in peace and has continued to haunt and torment the people travelling through that area causing innumerable accidents and deaths.


–       Personal interview with Mr.Verma

– altered version of Mr.Verma’s story as written by another author