Chapter One The Attic Diaries
Reading was not her passion .Yet, for the past few days, Priya had been spending a good number of hours reading; reading those dusty old diaries that she found in the attic of her new home. Her mother had asked her not to bother about that closed room. But well, forbidden things always arouse curiosity. Curiosity coupled with boredom made her search for the attic keys .It took a whole day to find them and on a stormy evening while her parents were not at home, she opened the attic door. There weren't any rats, lizards or such beings as she had expected. It was just a dusty old room .Priya found a lot of things in it-many books, old clothes and dusty wooden furniture which included two cupboards and a study table. Of all the things she found, what drew her attention were those diaries and she has been reading them for the past few days. Right now, she is inside that room. Her parents are not at home. So fearlessly she opened those attic windows to let the sunlight in. As the birds chirped outside she sat down to read one of those diaries. The first entry read thus

JANUARY 1ST1995- Sunday
The New Year party was a blast. If dad had not asked me to come home early, I would have still been there, at John’s house. .This year instead of the backyard the party was conducted in the terrace of John’s house .So we had a better view of the Cochin Carnival. As usual John played his guitar and Abu sung along. It was not worth listening. Abu and I left the party shortly after 12. We were the first ones to leave.

JANUARY 2ND 1995-Monday

Woke up late today and thus reached school late. As usual, the late comers were asked to meet the principal. He gave us a very boring lecture about discipline. I accidentally yawned in between and got extra scolding for that. And more scolding’s saying that 10th standard students should be more studious and more disciplined if they wish to score well in the board exams. Chemistry period was free today because Gopalan Sir was on leave .Of what I heard from Sukanya, Gopalan Sir saw someone near the graveyard yesterday and grew so scared that he fell ill. What a coward!


Priya’s cell phone rang downstairs .She closed the diary and rushed to her bedroom, picked up the phone and said “hello” The voice in the phone replied “Halloo Priyu, it’s me Neha…” Priya:” hiii what’s up in Delhi?” Neha: “nothing much…so how is your new place “ Priya: “Kochi is really boring ...I wish Dad had not got that transfer …I miss Delhi a lot “ Neha:”You will start loving it when you get new friends .After all it’s a city ,there will be plenty of cool stuffs there” Priya:” But I’m miles away from the centre of the new city. My house is at Fortkochi, it’s an ancient part of this city. Most of the buildings here are about a century old. All the big malls are across the bridge and you know my parents, they won’t let me go that far. I really don’t know why so many tourists come here. They seem to love this place” Neha:” Well anyway, what took you so long to pick up the phone?” Priya: “I was reading a diary “ Neha:” Who’s diary?” Priya:”Someone named Unni “ Neha: “Who’s Unni?” Priya:” I don’t know .I found those diaries in the attic “ Neha:” Must me the old resident of the house” Priya:”None has lived in this house for more than a decade “ Neha:”That sounds spooky .So what has that Unni guy written in them? What exactly does he do?” Priya:” Well, he was a schoolboy when he wrote the diary. That’s all I know “ Neha:” Hmm…How are your parents?” Priya: “As miserable as usual “ Neha:”That’s bad. I hope they’ll start liking the new place soon and will get happier soon” Priya: “Since it’s my parents, the chances are rare”

Today was a half day at school. Meanwhile we overheard more ghost tales . On the way back home I came through the path near the graveyard. While in the hospital I heard more ghost tales. Anyway the wind didn’t bother me much.” Neha:” Keep sending messages.Then we went to that new restaurant near the beach. Some even seems to connect it with certain people who died years ago. Reached home safely .Someone was claiming that he saw an old man wearing a torn suit at the graveyard after dusk.Neha: “Hey I think I’ll hang up now. so we went for swimming in the beach and had lots of fun in the water . Bye bye. JANUARY 6TH 1995.He believes that there is a restless spirit at the graveyard . I guess those ghost stories are the reason. I’m sure that it was something that the cook just made up unless mangoes grow in Japan. Many people seem to believe these stories. I had spent the entire day in bed. There is another call coming” Priya:” Ok then bye. Quite a boring uneventful day JANUARY 5TH 1995-Thrusday Still ill. and we ate a new kind of crab dish flavored with raw mangoes which the owner claims to be “a traditional Japanese dish”.” Priya hung the phone and went back to the attic to read those diaries. I was not well and didn’t go to school. 3 JANUARY 3RD 1995-Tuesday Today morning I overheard the newspaper boy telling dad that he heard some howling noises near the graveyard at dawn . It was unusually windy . JANUARY 7TH 1995-Saturday I went to Abu’s house today to copy the pending notes since I couldn’t go to school for a few days.When I told my mother about this she scolded me for going through . Doctor said that I can go to school from monday onwards. Take care. There was not even a single man on that usually busy road.I believe that it was a good excuse that he had made up for being late in delivering the paper . JANUARY 4TH 1995-Wednesday Nothing much to write about today.Friday Feeling much better.I’ve never seen such harsh winds in that area before.

We might need to cut class for two more days.Nothing much to jot JANUARY 13TH 1994-Friday The project was almost over by the last school bell. We are planning to cut class tomorrow and are going to finish the project in the school library. We just had to type the project report and print it .The rest of the school day was spent at the library. JANUARY 11TH 1995-Wednesday Went to the library in the morning .And hence we waited in the library for two periods chatting about the graveyard ghost .I argued that it was that shortest way home. and do formats and modification. The new librarian doesn’t bother much if we sit there during class hours. add pictures. Some saw a woman. Some say they heard the ghost singing etc…Anyway John and I went through that path today also. at the parade ground.The teacher might have had already entered the class. John.that path .we didn’t notice anything other than those winds JANUVARY 9TH 1995. The morning bell had already rung by that time . And then when we .Monday My sister fell ill. Took around two hours to type. So we couldn’t enter the class without being caught . everyone in my neighborhood. some saw skeletons…some saw shapeless white figures. 4 JANUARY 8TH 1995-Sunday Everyone has been talking about that graveyard ghost. She must have got it from me. everyone at school. everyone I meet at the restaurant. at the temple.So we three were at my house after school.Many claims to be eye victims. But each person’s description is different. JANUARY 10TH 1995-Tuesday At school Gopalan sir told us that the last date of the project submission will not be extended further . She says that it’s not safe anymore and warned me not to go thought that way again.More interesting stories were coming up each day During the break time . JANUARY 12TH 1995. And the end date is 14th January. Abu and I haven’t yet started doing it . we went to the class and got the title of the topic from Reena.Thursday Spend the entire day doing the project .Only after reaching there did we remember that we didn’t know what the topic Gopalan Sir had assigned to the class for doing the project.. The project is still not over .And those projects submitted after the end date will not be accepted .. at the beach. .

my father reminded me that today was second Saturday. We ran as fast as we could and didn’t stop until we reached home. 5 JANUARY 14TH 1995-Saturday Had a horrible dream last night in which both John and I were still at the graveyard.We told Abu about our graveyard visit.. And yes. I was about to tell John the same thing . I usually do everything in the eleventh hour.Took the prints and came back through the graveyard path. We were surrounded by more ghosts..Strong wind started blowing. I told him so. Well in that case for the first time in my life. I have finished my assignment in time. I first thought of staying at home today. It was beginning to . John didn’t have it either .There was nothing other than the dusty graves. We decided to go at noon tomorrow . he was right . I took some time to get over it. stronger wind. Well Gopalan Sir never checks the calendar while announcing due dates. the printer got stuck for some unknown reason.Then Abu reminded us that he had handed over the report to me when we were leaving his home. we decided to visit the graveyard again. Her mother handed over some bags and Priya carried them inside.Hoping that noon will not be as dangerous as the moonlit hours. It was an old man in a torn grey suit. In the evening John.We didn’t stop to see. John wanted to check out whether there is actually a ghost in there. We slowly opened the gate and went inside.Later we figured out that one of us might have dropped it while running out of the graveyard. The three of us had forgotten that today we had no school.So we went near that old rusted gate and looked inside the graveyard through the grills of the gate . Abu and I went to the beach .It was with us when we left his house . Abu asked me not to forget about taking the project report to school on Monday. and went to Abu’s house . But the report was not with me. We screamed and ran out through the way we came in . Since we did not have enough time to complete a new project. It was motionless except for the flying bats and the dry leaves flowing in the wind. But later decided to go since 14th was the last date of project submission. trees and weeds.But either John or I have lost it or miss placed it somewhere .tried to print it. eyes swollen and nails dripping blood. Her mind was still in those diaries. That meant we had to submit the project only on Monday. and yet found nothing unusual or scary. Lots of shapeless white figures started appearing here and there . his skin was pale. When we reached the graveyard. As we three were returning back home. I didn’t tell my parents about this. The door bell rang downstairs . As I was getting ready for school. locked the attic room and rushed back downstairs to open the front door. So we copied it to a floppy disk.Priya’s mother had returned back home. Priya closed the diary. and louder noises… I woke up at dawn with a shock. Then we heard a voice from behind saying “What are you boys looking for?” We turned back. We walked quite a long distance.

get more interesting than ever . preparing the dinner. Priya’s mind was in those diaries even while ironing the clothes.She was eager to read the next entry of the diary. “What took you so long “asked the mother. he never drinks too much nor does he create problems for others.. Always looks gloomy and weak. drunk as usual.. I hope u haven’t forgotten that tomorrow will be your first day at the new school” Yes..Well then do it now. A couple of hours later her father came home. And that’s it. She couldn’t go to the attic because in the eyes of her parents.. the attic was still a closed ignored room.well. Both her new school and the old school were parts of The Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sangathan. “Err…I was in the bathroom “replied the daughter. so it was easy to get admission despite it being in the middle of an academic year. Priya: “err. He has been an alcoholic and workaholic as long as Priya can remember. It was a usual thing to see him drunk. I forgot that “ Mother:”hmm. “Did u iron your uniform “questioned the mother again. 6 . having the dinner. and while going to sleep. indeed tomorrow is Priya’s first day at school the new school. everyday. He needs one peg every once in a while.

So where do you stay right now” Priya: “At Pulliyathingal. her mother accompanied her. The next morning she went to her new school. like being in an alien world. Lavanya Lakshman” “I’m Priya Nair “she replied Lavanya: “Where were you before?” Priya:” Delhi” Lavanya:”cool. They met her class teacher at the staff room and the teacher showed her the class.We were in Delhi so we couldn’t take care of the home properly and my father didn’t want to give it for rent” Just then the school bell rang . “ Priya:” It’s my ancestral house. She went inside the class and sat on the front bench not knowing what else to do. New World.I’m Lavanya.7 Chapter Two New School... Minutes later a plum . fair girl came near her and said “Hi. New Friends. Since it was her first day. Her mother left.That giant old house opposite to the Seashore Restaurant “ Lavanya:” Isn’t that place haunted?” Priya:” What?” Lavanya:”Well that’s what I’ve heard. It felt quite strange. For the past 23 years my father owns it . No one has lived there for a long time...

. And my mother is a housewife.Today morning I came from my new home which is quite nearby. Well mainly Eating.”Shouted the teacher “Do you wish to stand outside the class?” “No Madam .” “Oh so you came from Delhi this morning to school” interrupted a boy from the last bench in the left corner...I am coming from Delhi… I. Let’s go.Back in the class Priya sat near Lavanya in the last bench at the right corner. My father works in the MES. the teacher asked “Ok Priya.Usually she was made fun of her height .My name is Priya. . .Lavanya: ” It’s time for the assembly. It was nice to hear someone say that her height was cool .you may continue “said the teacher So Priya continued. the long lecture by the principal. so she simply looked at the teacher. This is our new student Priya.” I came from Delhi last week .. Chatting and roaming around with friends in Delhi” The entire class laughed. So did the teacher. and other items...How tall are you anyway “ Priya:” 5’ 8 to be exact “ Lavanya:”cool” 8 Priya smiled..What are your hobbies?” “Err.She asked Priya come and stand in the front of the class.. the school assembly took around 20 minutes to end . Then the teacher said “Good morning everyone. Now Priya why don’t you introduce yourself to the class “ Priya didn’t know what to say. Sorry. Sleeping.” She didn’t know what else to say . As though she understood what Priya meant. When the class teacher came in .Indians girls are never that tall. Starting with the prayers. You will have to stand in the back of the queue with that height ... “Seriously?” asked the teacher “no interest in arts? Literature? Sports?” .I was just joking “he said “Ok Priya .. since she didn’t have any other choice she spoke”err. “Amrith..

the bell rang again.. Where did we stop yesterday?” Priya went back to her seat ... But this time no teacher came in.I am going to the market.. Now class we shall continue with the lesson. Come and close the door from inside when I leave. A few minutes later a short.She sat near the open window and read the next diary entry.. “Err…to check whether my uniforms are dry .Hmm. She taught English and indeed she taught quite well. 9 JANUARY 15Th 1995 –Sunday I have a lot to write about today.. Mother: “Oh well. Her eagerness to read the next diary entry made her to rush back home after school. It was a cloudy day. “Its Chemistry period.My hands started sweating. and started talking class. “Where are you going?” asked her mother as she ran.I was the caption of my school’s basketball team. the class teacher’s name was Savithri Sasikumar. Lots of new names and lots of new faces .I had put them to dry in the…. not because it was hot. John and I went to the graveyard at noon. “That’s him Gopalan Sir “whispered Lavanya”He’s earlier than usual today” During the lunch break Priya met almost all her classmates. The Iron Gate was wide open when we reached the spot .Four periods and one 10 minute recess later.According to what Lavanya said .Do you want anything from the market?” Daughter: “No” Once again she was back in the attic .ok .the top of stairs “she lied.. The ground was . Gopalan Sir always comes in late” explained Lavanya. We went inside and scrutinized the surrounding.She will take some time to memorize all those names. I like watching cricket and football and off late I have stated reading also” Teacher: “That’s nice. Time went quite fast .Priya:” well I play basketball . She gulped her evening snacks and ran up stairs. plum balding man came in.. As planned Abu. Ok Priya you can go back to your seat now.

large fans. He said he was okay and there wasn’t much of bleeding. He says that since we didn’t see any pickaxes or other digging instruments. to help him.But later we three decided that first we shall go and meet that injured man and hear what he has to say before proceeding any further . I do not believe his words .That old man whom we had seen yesterday . She said that the patient needs rest and we should not disturb him. When asked about his condition.I am glad that headache is over. archeology was certainly not his aim. They were at first shocked to see us and so were we. John pulled and threw out some branches from the bush to know what Abu had hit upon. . he slipped and fell into it.rupees each to keep the secret.John suggested that we should tell others about the so called “archeologists” using the graveyard . JANUARY 16TH 1995-Monday At last submitted the project report . but without much success. we could not recognize what it was . Abu found the printouts lying near a bush.He introduced himself as an archeologist and told us that he was planning to do some excavations here. At the hospital it took some time to find the right room. John says its better not to bother about it. . 10 After a long search.. As we were walking out of the graveyard . That man walked towards us . I overheard the nurses telling so. We searched the entire graveyard.Abu agrees with me.covered with dry leaves and twigs . not by ghosts. found more machinery.came out of the jeep along with some other people. As he walked towards the bush.This time his clothes were neither torn nor were his nails bleeding . weeds and trees accompanied the graves. mother asked me to accompany her to take my sister to the hospital. an old nurse stopped us from getting in. it was certainly used by humans.Abu’s head hit on something solid and started to bleed. When I came back home I phoned Abu and John .He had a dozen injuries and it looked as if he was struggling to breath.But as Abu said. We rushed to that bush. While we were at the hospital. This was not an unusual site in hospitals .The weird thing was that he was found this way near the graveyard. Despite all this the poor fellow was trying to speak.There might be some other hidden intensions . When I came back home. Anyway we got back our project.Creepers. We decided to tell it to our parents. a man covered in blood was brought in . her reply was that he was recovering and that if we wanted to talk to him we could do so tomorrow during the visiting hours. And to our surprise it was some sort of electronic machinery.There are chances that it might be just a coincidence that he was found near the graveyard. a projector plus some more electronic things which we couldn’t identify. And when we reached the room. These illusions were made to scare people off so that they won’t interrupt in his excavations He also made us promise that we wouldn’t tell anyone about what we had seen here and gave us 500/. a jeep entered the premises and stopped near the gate .

Let watch them for a few days and then we will know around what time they will leave “. The three of us had a very long conversation about this . Syllabus is almost over.11 Since we had school we could not go to the hospital in the morning. Since we could not tell him that the truth.So I took out a piece of paper. Abu went and asked at the reception about where the body was taken to . . if they see us then our mission will fail. we saw his post mooted body being taken to the ambulance. Abu poked me from behind and gave me a piece of folded paper . People who kill their own colleagues are indeed dangerous. “And just how are we going to do that? .When we enquired to the nurse she replied that he died a few hours ago . But for that we need to know when they will work and when they leave.Frankly speaking I didn’t believe that the displacement of the oxygen masks was an accident. he was recovering.Later downstairs.This time he wrote “Tell John “ I took another paper.” And as I was reading his note. And that indeed was a spark which made him give us a lecture about how studious the 10th std .And I wrote back “ok. we went to that room . We decided to discuss about this tomorrow after school TH JANUARY 17 1995-Thrusday We decided that before we tell this to anyone.We shall watch after school” said another paper from Abu. Abu pointed out that it is not as easy as it sounds . He poked again and passed another paper “The graveyard. John recognized him as one of the men whom we had seen at the graveyard at noon on Sunday . But as John said.Don’t we have classes?” I replied in another paper. but somehow his oxygen mask fell off and that had caused his death .According to what she had told us. we told that we were planning to watch a movie. The dusk had set in by that time. so study leave might start next week itself. Gopalan Sir caught me . JANUARY 18TH 1995-Friday During chemistry class today at school.In it was written “Let’s observe them and find out the timings “ I didn’t understand what he meant . and wrote “What???” and passed it to Abu.And then we need to wait till they come back. “No need to go during the morning hours .When will we go? We had to go and choose a place for hiding when they are not at the graveyard. So the only way to find out what was going on is to hide somewhere and watch what they were doing. wrote and passed to John who was sitting in front of me. John replied thus “Let’s watch during study-leave. The evening visiting hours began at 4 pm .The reply he got was that it was none of his business. And the only way we could do so is by another graveyard visit. you idiot . At four.” Minutes later he poked me again .He read the note and asked what we were planning to watch.We reached the hospital at around 3:30 and waited near the cabin till four. so we returned home after coming to the conclusions that any further action should be taken with caution.But still were unable to find out a plan worth doing.But it was empty . we must find out what exactly is going on at the graveyard.

and she got married a few months ago and so on. Shamna told Priya that her husband was a lawyer. where her father worked etc. whom all where there at home. The two girls liked each other . We will first observe them during the study leave . As though Shamna understood why Priya was confused she explained “This is my husband’s home. 12 JANUARY 19st 1995 Saturday So here is the final decision. closed the attic and went downstairs. his name was Imran. Priya looked outside the tall attic window. I’m in 11TH STD this year “ They both talked for a long time. We stood outside for sometime. The next day at school during the lunch break a boy asked her “So you are the one who lives with the ghost?” . . We joined them. mother-in-law and I live here. Shamna:” You must be studying at school I suppose “ Priya: “Yes. . The 9TH std students were playing football. After that boring lecture he made us stand outside the class. Shamna:” I was not here for a week .She wore an orange salwaar with the shawl covering her hair and swept around the neck.” Priya was surprised.students must be.And while they were taking Priya saw her mother walking through the street towards their home. “I’m Shamna “she said “What‘s your name?” “Priya” she replied.Those old solitary buildings near the graveyard make a great watch out . Priya told Shamna where she had come from. There we two continuous Chemistry periods today and we were expected to stand outside till the end of both the periods.A girl was standing on the terrace of the neighboring house . and then went to the school ground.No one …………………… “HELLOO’” said a voice from somewhere. So she bid goodbye to Shamna. Shamna did look very young and very pretty too.That’s why I couldn’t come to met my new neighbors “ Priya smiled and asked ‘Where were you for a week” Shamna:” At my home” Priya gave her a confused look. My husband.

It was the same guy who had passed comments during the English class yesterday.Amrith Menon” Priya:”Did I ask?” Amrith:” Hey.. It was indeed a big plot. That boy was my cousin’s classmate .Don’t get angry .After his death his mother became too depressed and was sent to a mental hospital. nearby?“ “Yaa.. While returning back home with Lavanya and others Priya enquired “Are there any graveyards.Do you want to go . His soul still rests there and that soul was what made his mother ill. she tried to slip into the attic again. So she went out to the backyard for a walk. Always out of his nuts“ The classes went on as usual.Some years ago a boy from that home died . but failed. The name is Menon . Next.Even the ghosts can’t tolerate you “And he started laughing. The backyard was full of weeds and overgrown grass.Simply.He was a tall lad with a swarthy complexion that well suited his jet black hair.” ‘Said Sara. Is the beach nearby “ Sara:”Yaa . We’ll the entire house was not well 13 . but many .I was just kidding.Anyway there can’t be any ghosts if you live there .Why did you ask “ Priya:” Err. one of her new classmates “Not one. you will turn ill “and he started laughing Priya: “Shut up ‘ Boy: “By the way I didn’t introduce myself. .. “He’s like that “said Lavanya who was sitting near by “A really weird one.We could go on this Sunday or Saturday “ After reaching home. Priya:” Why the heck…” before she could continue he went away laughing. there are. Her mother was at home. “There are no ghosts at my house “she replied with an unfriendly tone To this he replied “Well that’s what I’ve heard .

14 .Mr. It’s better than sitting at home not doing anything. She decided to clean it. She was putting out washed clothes to dry. and the backyard was worse than the building. at least the backyard. why not. Mrs. Once we find the timings at which the crooks enter and exit the premises.that is about fifteen to twenty years ago “ Shamna:” No.And during their conversation Priya asked “Do you know who lived this house before us. Abu will watch the graveyard during the first two hours. Mother never had bothered to clean it. .Priya was more close to her friends that to her parents. The mother was capable of doing small chores like cooking. Then it will be John’s turn.. it had been left that way for years ever since its owners left Fortkochi. There are only three other buildings in that area . The daughter never bothered to ask why. We are going there with our books and food. she ran upstairs to read the diary ………No one lives in that Dutch Mansion now.I’ll be free in a few minutes” Priya: “If you really mean it. while John and I study. When her mother went to bed at noon. Priya doubted if her father had ever seen this place.And so she was at home. It really looked like a haunted mansion.kept. The next two days were Saturday and Sunday .. Nair’s poor health didn’t permit her to be much active and it seems to get worse after coming to Kochi. I’ll ask him if you want “ As always Priya’s mother sat at home while the girls cleaned the backyard.Someone had to do it.Priya had spent her first day at Kochi dusting and cleaning her new home with her father while her mother rested . Nair’s workaholic nature made him join his office the very next day and hence half of their house was still in chaos. Nair was mostly silent.. It was Shamna. But my husband might know. I’d love to have company” Shamna:”Yeah . They had not arranged anyone to clean the house before they reached the city. while the others study. but the heavier ones were always left undone. After all I don’t have many friends here” They worked and chatted together .And all three of them have been vacant for years. Then during the next two hours I will watch. sitting alone and thinking about something. “Hello Priya” said a voice from the other side of the wall. “Hi “said Priya “I was just planning to clean the backyard” Shamna:” Do you want any help.. Mrs.

It might turn out to be a really adventurous tale which we can narrate to our schoolmates once the crooks are caught. I opened the front door and went out to see those birds.It became quite sentimental in the end as if we were gone forever He is always too emotional. Modal exams are coming soon. My parents were still asleep. but I didn’t feel like studying.we shall go and hide there. . if possible. I am really exited .I looked up. Dawn is the perfect time for studying. moon and the darkness were gradually disappearing. Their school life ends tomorrow and day after tomorrow they will have the farewell party. I wished to watch this site from the beach. followed by the board exams. so decided not to go. The sky has changed its hue to light blue. Gopalan Sir gave us along speech . Cool breeze was blowing. A humming bird was busy sucking nectar from a hibiscus that grew in my mother’s garden. I woke up a couple of hours later hearing my mother’s scream. I never knew that there were so many birds here. But she still believes that something went wrong. I slowly feel asleep. I told her what had happened. I didn’t phone him though I did really want to talk to them. I sat down on the dew-kissed grass to watch them. The morning and noon was uneventful. 15 JANUARY 20ND 1995 Sunday A lazy Sunday. I went downstairs and dialed Abu’s number in my landline . I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s adventure. All our portions are over. In class. A kingfisher flew above my head . Study leave starts next Wednesday. The sky looked awesome with the spreading of the first rays. In the evening I accompanied Imran to Ernakulam. I woke up at dawn without the aid of the alarm clock. John said he shall bring the camera. The chirping of the birds was audible. We could have started it today itself.Imran and all his friends are sad about leaving school. which I had never noticed before. The stars. Occasionally a car or cycle went through the usually crowded road. She was terrified to see me at the front yard. . I lied down on the ground with my eyes fixed on the sky. Then we’ll find out what exactly they are doing and will report it to the press and the police. He has always liked my tastes. The sky looked bigger than ever from that angle.His sleepy voice shouted at me over the phone for waking him. The sun still had not fully risen. Instead of studying I was thinking about our plan. There was a mynah’s nest on my gul mohar tree. JANUARY 21rd 1995 Monday Nothing much to jot about today. One more day to go. it flew away.. Assuming that John would do the same. As I moved a bit closer. I walked to and fro in the visiting room for sometime and then gazed out of the window. He wanted to buy an outfit for his farewell party at school and he wanted me to select it for him.

Now they all were moving apart. mostly broken ones. We shall go there in the morning and return before dusk. packed my bag with books and lots of food and a bottle of water.A truck went into the graveyard. either John or me. Anyway we are going to the mansion again tomorrow. But later as time passed. John replaced Abu. crying and writing the last lines in the memoir. On our way back home. JANUARY 25th 1995 Friday . At half past nine. I cycled home with Imran. Later phoned Abu and John and talked about tomorrow. We weren’t able to study much in the beginning. That room had a many windows. The cracks in them were so large that we could view the graveyard through it. It would never be the same again. But no one would bother to write. We noted it down in the book which we had brought particularly for this purpose. and then we both went to the Dutch Mansion where Abu would be waiting. some boring. it’s a long procedure . By the time we returned. Every twenty minute or so. After reaching home I spent a lot of time thinking about what Imran had said.In the morning. After having a breakfast of bread and jam. Our investigation would start tomorrow. John called out . stamp and post letters.The 11th std hosted the party. And during Abu’s turn the answer was always “no”. Even though we were not invited. would go and ask Abu whether he saw someone or something. By eleven. JANUARY 23TH 1995 Wednesday I didn’t sleep well yesterday because my mind was filled with ecstasy . we sneaked into the auditorium in between our classes.JANVARY 22th 1995 Tuesday 16 The 12th std students farewell party was conducted today at school . They had no way of keeping in touch other than letters and those land line calls. We need to make a new plan. JANUARY 24ST 1995 Thursday The timings of the graveyard visitors that we noted down today had no relation with yesterday’s timings. The event was over by 3.So that meant its adieu forever. It seems like our plan might not work. he will be standing at the crossroad of life. Reached John’s house at around nine. watching and talking. He had studied in this school since his 1st std and had so many pals and memories associated with it . Abu went and sat near the cracked window while John and I sat to study on the floor. We didn’t have to open the windows. some quite ok and some very sentimental. wondering what to do next. he was telling that he had no idea about which college to join or in which city he would be in the next academic year. Now after the exam. the watching process started getting boring and hence we were able to study. but the seniors stayed till about 5:30 at school. Two years later I will also be in the same condition. we had seen three trucks and one jeep entering the graveyard and one man and two trucks leaving the graveyard. There were many stage programs conducted. facing the graveyards. talking. He spoke a lot and made me sad. We three stayed with them. He was damn depressed.And those landline calls are too costly . An hour or so later. we three had already chosen a room in that Mansion to study and watch the graveyard.

. After finding that. She searched the study table’s drawers next and found two more diaries –one of 1993 and one of 1992 She read the first few pages of the diary of 1992. But one thing was unique. notes and plenty of English and Malayalam novels.Again the timings did not match. but her thoughts started wandering back to the old diary. There was nothing more. And so was the rest of the diary .Unless there is anyone staying at the graveyard. 17 Priya turned to the next page. Priya wanted to see if there were more diaries or any other sort of hand written works of Unni. John is bringing the camera tomorrow. The search went on for sometime. Anyway we are first going to find a suitable hiding place and then we’ll hide till we find out what was going on. we’ll come back home as soon as possible. She found lots of academic textbooks. So we decided to go tomorrow morning . She wished she could somehow find out what exactly had happened at the graveyard when the trio visited it. That reminds me.She flipped the pages. there weren’t any visitors during the early hours of the day . there would not be anyone there. my history text and some notes are still there at the mansion. She searched the cupboards as she had found the first diary from one of the two cupboards. I’ll take that later. It was blank.We are not taking anything except food with us tomorrow. The cupboard didn’t have anything that interested her.

Priya entered the premises saying a big “hi” and then suddenly noticed a man cutting away weeds that grew between the roses bushes. “Well hello Priya…My wife had been telling about you .Shamna is really glad to have a new friend . ”This is Priya “Shamna said.” And Priya. she visited Shamna.18 Chapter Three Imran’s Story On Sunday morning as Priya had nothing much to do..You see she doesn’t have much friends here as she’s new to this city .Anyway did you get admission in school ?” “Yes “replied Priya and before she could utter another word Imran started speaking again .Shamna was barely as tall as his shoulders. Her neighbor was watering the roses and hibiscus in her well-kept front yard garden. this is my husband” The tall man smiled at her .

.I don’t think it is going to hurt anyone if you tell me about Unni “ Imran expression looked as if he had been given an electric shock.You see I’m a lawyer .But I assure you that Kochi is far better to live in. Shamna interrupted “Priya was asking me about the ones who lived in her house previously..Yes.“Pardon me if I speak too much. But Imran’s smile faded in a fraction of a second. Life there seems so hectic. uncles or aunts?” Priya:”No of them.My dad is too busy for anything. I think Shamna might have already told you that I’m a government lawyer at the Ernakulam high court. not knowing what had shocked Imran. “So how do you like the new city? I suppose you prefer Delhi .“Haven’t your parents told you anything?” questioned the lawyer Priya:” No.And lawyers need the gift of tongue. Anyway. You see I have the habit of talking a lot. she doesn’t talk much to me .I’ve been to Delhi for official purposes. I found some books that belonged to Unni in our attic .I thought she might have recovered after all these years.I don’t really know much about him” 19 . I told her that you might know” Priya’s face brightened up as Shamna had put in her favorite topic. stressful and too busy to pause. who told you about Unni? Your cousins. But now I find it as a boon as it had helped in my proffesion. I have known your parents for a long time. Who was he? What is he doing now? My parents never tell me anything is because they do not have time for it .” Priya nodded . though it is not a big metro like Delhi .Dad is always busy and rarely at home. I see them only once in a year or so . All I want to know is about Unni. It once seemed like a curse to me.Imran continued with a smile. Priya and Shamna exchanged confused looks.After a few seconds of silence Imran spoke again “Is she still sick? Your mother I mean .” Priya: “You knew my mother before?” Imran:” Well. By the way am I boring you?” “No “Priya lied Assuming that Priya might be bored. My mother is sick.

Imran: “All I wish to say to you is that. Priya went home to plant them.Shamna will help you choose the right stem. water them. so I never had bothered about growing anything.We didn’t had much space in Delhi. do you like gardening?” Priya: “Well not much . But now that I have a big plot. his wife did cut off some good stems of roses for Priya. “So Priya.” Priya:” When can I have them?” Imran:” Why not right now. But by the time she reached home and started to dig the soil. manure them etc. I might clean it up and plant something” Imran:”Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies . Along with it she gave some stems of jasmine and hibiscus. Unni’s tale is something that no one wishes to remember.Last year for the flower show at Marine Drive . We have almost all varieties of roses in this garden . She hadn’t listened properly in the first place. She went back to her neighbor’s house with some questions in her 20 . because she was still wondering why Unni’s topic changed Imran’s mood.We will give you some good stems that you could plant.Anyway . Priya:” When is the right time to plant them?” Imran:” The sooner. she had already forgotten half of what Imran had told her. Then Imran diverged into a new topic. For a few seconds no one spoke. “ And as he told. the better “ After a frank” thanks “and “goodbye”. Imran explained exactly how to plant them. I won the 3rd prize for the best maintained garden in the city . I don’t wish to ruin your mood with that story “ Priya did not ask any more questions.what are you planning to plant in your garden first ?” Priya: “I don’t know” Imran:” How about some roses.

After a few days of search their rooting dead bodies were found near the an old mansion . And when he was asked it his sleepy voice said that he had come there to watch the birds. died at a young age . Unni’s mother found him sleeping in the front yard in the morning. “His real name was Praveen “Imran was telling to his wife “But his parents used to call him Unni and so did everyone else. They were taking about Unni and so Priya decided to hide and listen what they were saying to quench her curiosity. A very cordial and helpful fellow.The reason behind it is still a mystery. That same day I had gone with him for shopping at Ernakulam. When I asked him about it he didn’t give me a solid answer as though he was hiding something. him and two other friends of his. he had been. I found him preoccupied with something. the same force that might have attracted the three boys to the graveyard.mind .But were dragged there after the murder from a nearby unused graveyard.A huge old rock fell upon him when he was at the graveyard . There was indeed something bothering that fellow.A few days before they were missing. He was a good friend of mine and my junior at school.The investigation was stopped soon after his death.As she reached the front gate she could over hear the conversation between the couple.The rock could have never fallen without an external aid but none of his colleagues were able to find any external aids . Unfortunately. then the trio had unknowingly gone to the graveyard. The weird thing is there were lots of other unnatural and unexplained events related with it . I do believe that if Unni had unknowingly come down to the front yard.There was some force that attracted him to the yard. One of police men died while they were searching the graveyard. You see. But that indeed was not the reson. He had been sleeping in his up stair bedroom the previous night.Through further investigation the police could prove that they weren’t killed at that spot . That too was an unnatural death . The police were informed of the missing boys . was missing for a few days. 21 .When he was just 14 .

The more his parents thought of him. “she wondered. they moved to a different city to avoid his memories. when he was found.” Priya went back home. But I do not believe in ghosts.” Was it really true or was Imran playing a prank on her.The injuries looked so bad that even if they had survived it would have been really hard for them to recover.His sister was sent to their grandmother’s home so that she could be taken cared off. almost all their body parts crushed or injured . she will go and ask her mother and that will make her ill again.” It is true that she was born 15 years after her parents wedding. Priya did not eat her lunch that day and had been sitting in her bedroom from then on .Paused for a while.Her mind was full of questions. Later when his mother became a bit better. His eyes were wet. And that part of the old city became isolated and still continues to be isolated.I still do remember that scene.She was given shocks several times to prevent her from being too violent. but did they have a child before her? Was this the reason behind her mother’s abnormal behavior? Is this why her father is this way?” . She was just around 2 years old when Unni died and since her parents have kept mum about Unni. The saddest part is that his family was never the same after his death . At the same time neither I nor anyone else has a good explanation for what had happened. Her father too does not wish to talk about it. His father drowned himself in drinks . They were drenched in blood. the more ill they became . I suppose if she knows about this. Many say that these were the tasks of ghosts. That scene still haunts my dreams“ He stopped . The most horrible thing I’ve even seen. she doesn’t know that she had a brother.His mother got so depressed that she had to be sent to the mental hospital . “Promise me that you will never tell this to Priya “he said to his wife “What’s wrong if she knows?” questioned Shamna “You see Priya is Unni’s little sister.22 There were similar deaths reported about the graveyard before and after this. not uttering a word.

eating groundnuts and chatting. I found a diary ….”She told them the entire tale from finding those diaries to overhearing the conversation between Imran and Shamna. “Quite interesting!!! “Said a male voice from behind. Priya?” Priya:” May 24rd. Where on earth do parents deny telling their child the fact that she had a brother?” Sara:” Mind your own business. probably studying in some college somewhere” Lavanya:” How can you be so sure?” Amrith:” All you need is commonsense to realize that this story is fake. 1993“ Amrith:” What’s written in those diaries on May 23rd “ Priya:” The last diary entry is in January “ Amrith:” I’m talking about the 1993 diary. Soon she dialed Lavanya’s number. why?” asked Lavanya “Well you see.Unni’s real sister must be older than us. The stuffs about Unni’s death is true. I have heard that part of the story before. Did any one of us ask your opinion?” Amrith:” Will you girls believe me if I disprove it?” Sara:” And just how do you plan to do that?” Amrith:”What’s your date of birth.She suddenly remembered the promise that she had made to Sara and Lavanya. “Amrith?? What are you doing here “asked Sara “Just roaming around as usual” he replied “Anyway Priya I think Imran was just playing a prank. if he really is your brother then he’ll be writing a lot about his sister on the day she 23 . The girls looked behind them. Half an hour later the three of them were at the beach watching the waves.It was already 3 pm. The girls had planned to go to the beach at 2:30 pm. And during their conversation Priya enquired “Are there any unused graveyards near the beach? “ “Yeah. But the rest is probably Imran’s creativity. Priya checked her watch . Unfortunately you just don’t have it.

I am not sure. And I like the restaurant visits.. her hands soft and weak. Mother and my sister are not yet back from the hospital. I was at school when she was born in the hospital. On entering the room I saw a cute baby. Mother asked me to take them home. Let’s go and check out that page . . Priya looked at Amrith and asked “Now. The date that doctors had predicted is still 2 days away. Being a big brother. I think it was a smile. As time passed by more and more relatives. 24 May 24th 1993 Monday At last my sister has come ..There won’t be anything. I am damn sure “ Within half an hour the four of them reached the attic. That doesn’t bother me much. Then went out as my mother asked me to buy a few things. I sat there looking at my new sister for a while. Now since my grandmother is staying with us for a while. I kept her near our mother again.When I took her she opened her eyes a little. I’ll just have to visit the restaurant more often. Abu and John came straight from school to see my little sister. They’ll be back in a few days. And I took them home with Abu and John. friends and neighbors came. lying near my mother. there won’t be any more non-veg food in the kitchen. as though looking at me. She doesn’t permit any of it at home.was born.My family had been waiting for this day for a long time. my maternal uncle and his family had come. Her eyes were barely open. When I was back with those baby items. . Her hands were still held tightly closed. I was allowed to take my little sister in my hands. And the table in that room too became crowded. My father picked me up at noon after getting the permission from Principal and took me to the hospital. do you believe me?” . I brought some sweets from that Guajarati store across the street to distribute at school tomorrow.She flipped the pages and found out the entry of May 23rd 1993 and read it aloud.Everyone had bought along some gift or another with them. The room did become a bit crowded. Her lips moved a bit. She was barely as big as my arm . draped in white cotton cloth. None expected that she’ll be born today.A tear ran down her cheek.

25 .

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