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The Zombie of Dayameer

The Zombie of Dayameer

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Published by: zchoudhury on Nov 02, 2010
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11/02/2010

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The Zombie of Dayameer
A favorite place of visit during our annual forays to Sylhet was our Fupu¶s house inDayameer, a village not too far from Usmanpur²our grand parents¶ village. The visitwas attractive for many reasons, such as delicious milk products (the family had a bigherd of cows), inexhaustible supply of fresh fish from the ponds, and heavily woodedsurroundings that one could roam around. Although Dayameer was only two bus stopsaway toward Sylhet from Tajpur (our bus stop for Usmanpur), we usually took a three-mile walking route to visit Dayameer from Usmanpur that meandered through paddyfields and small forests of bamboos and wild plants.A landmark that we had to pass by immediately before we reached our Fupu¶s house wasan old and ornate mosque reputed to date to the Moghul period, which was skirted by afairly large graveyard. There were numerous graves there some dating back more than ahundred years. Buried in those graves was an ancestor of my Dayameer Fupa. Thisancestor was killed some fifty years before by another relative in a gun fight over  property. Interestingly, the relative also died later from wounds that he had received inthe fight, and was buried in the same place.But this incident alone did not make the Dayameer graveyard famous or dreaded as Iwould like to put it. Several years after this incident people passing at night by the areareported to have witnessed strange happenings. Some heard gun shots, others saw whiteapparitions walking about the grave, and yet others heard human voices crying in great pain. When some of the brave ones ventured inside to find if there were actual human beings there, they would see nothing. However, there were some unexplained deaths thatoccurred in the graveyard, with severe body injuries. Police could not determine if thesewere murders or deaths from supernatural reasons. Most people in the village, however,concluded that the place was haunted and therefore avoided the place at night.
 
 As children we had heard the same story when we were in Dayameer, and although wewere thrilled that there were ghosts nearby, we would never pass by the graveyard after dark. That is until the terrible night that we were forced to pass by the place in one of our visits.We would normally visit our Fupu with our father, and spend a few days in Dayameer.That eventful year, however, our father could not be with us and in his place our ChotoChacha (father¶s younger brother) came from Char Mohammedpur to fetch us and take usto Dayameer.Our party consisted of five people, Choto Chacha, my two younger brothers Kohinoor and Khokon, myself, and Sanu²the grandson of my Nani¶s maid. (I have narrated inanother story the maverick nature of Sanu and his curious ways that we had grown upwith in our childhood.) It was late in the afternoon when set out for Dayameer. ChotoChacha decided to take the bus from Tajpur to Dayameer instead of the walking in order to shorten the trip time and reach there before sun set. In any case, we would have towalk about half a mile from Dayameer bus stop to Fupu¶s village home.Our journey got off to a bad start as the bus broke down only a mile before Dayameer.The buses that period did not have self starters; the engines had to be started with an ironhandle inserted through an opening under the hood with circular movement of the arms by a ³handyman´. The bus started alright after a few movement of the handle, but itstopped after ten minutes. When after repeated movement of the handle by the handymanthe engine did not budge, all of us got down on the pavement of stones. One after another every person of strength tried the handle, but the engine would not make a sound.After about an hour of futile attempts to start the bus by the driver and his associate,Choto Chacha declared that we should walk the rest of the way. The sun had already setin a winter day, and the whole place was fast being enveloped by darkness. All five of usset foot toward Dayameer leaving the bus stranded on the road.It was all past sunset when reached the Dayameer mosque. Chotto Chacha said hewanted to offer his Maghreb prayer, although it was past the time. When we did notshow his enthusiasm in offering prayer, he asked us to wait in the covered ablution spaceat the entrance to the mosque. In any case we had not reached the mandatory age to offer  Namaz regularly. We also found a common relative who was about to leave the mosque.He offered to stay with us while Choto Chacha went inside to finish his prayer.It was at that moment that Sanu expressed his intention to relieve himself in the bush, andI followed him to do the same. We left our brothers in the company of the relative in theablution space.We headed toward a thick bush that was a few hundred yards away from the mosque butquite adjacent to the graveyard. I followed Sanu as he led the way, but I found it difficultto keep pace with him. I called out from behind to Sanu, but he kept his pace. Soon Sanu

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