Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The entire family had received a jolt due to the untimely death of my maternal aunt. The setting for the entire story is going to throwback the readers to the time when I had lost my maternal aunt and her last rites were ongoing. The family was all panic-stricken. Here and there, everybody was just talking about her, her life, and the various life events associated with she being in the picture. It has been often seen that a person is remembered more after he or she is deceased than when they are alive! True that! Everybody was missing her in the family. The clouds of grief were raining showers of distress and agony for our family. It was the time when the funerals rites of my aunt were ongoing at her in-law's place. These were those days when everybody was trying to console themselves or rather preparing ourselves for a new beginning without her. But the moments spent with the deceased person remains in the hearts of everybody till their last breaths. Memories can't be erased to their entirety. Recalling those moments or recollecting them is equally painful and is not considered as an act of intelligence by our elders. It has been a saying that the deceased shouldn't be recalled many times as doing so can attract the soul of the deceased to the family members . A deceased person has no friends or enemies. The deceased are also not left with any relations entangled  with this materialistic world. The attempt of the deceased person trying to establish connections with the mortal beings can be injurious for one's health. Listening to all this since childhood  strongly stormed my brain as to what harm could a dead inflict on mortal beings and that too his or her own family members ? As long as I had not experienced some of the incidents following my aunt's death, I would myself not relate or believe to any such normal saying. Let me explain it all as to how some of the incidents just left me all petrified, forcing me to evolve a strong conviction regarding some myths and realities following the demise of somebody.

My maternal aunt succumbed to the  infections in her body. She was admitted to the hospital for her treatment but she could return back from there. Fate destined her journey to the hospital as the last journey  of her life ! 

Some days later after her death, I happened to have visited the hospital where my maternal aunt was admitted in. My bike stopped there without my activity automatically. Seeing besides, was the same hospital. It was just I had raised my eyes at the hospital building, my eyes quickly went to the terrace where my aunt was standing all over with hands on her belly. She was moving here and there with a smiling face. I was mesmerized seeing her back again not reviving that she's no more but it was my imagination and nothing else. Someone called me from behind and my imagination broke. My eyes were recursored quickly at the terrace but there was nothing now. Who knows, was it simply an  imagination or a reality? Who knows spirits exist or not ? None can claim anything about life after death or the after-life.

I can't exactly pinpoint the day or date but I coherently remember that it was the noontime, everybody, after having their lunch were just on their beds for a nap. Actually, the family members generally used to be sleepless at night as the moment anyone would hit their heads against the pillow, he or she would be entangled in the memories of the departed soul, thus, it used to be actually a strenuous task for everybody to gain a proper sleep. Failing in the attempt to do so, made everybody dizzy and fatigued, hence an afternoon nap was much required. Hence, the very incident which I can recall that terrorized me to fear was that when I was taking my afternoon nap and it was then  suddenly something 'pure white' flashed before my eyes. The flash in itself just couldn't be beared by my sleepy eyes. Immediately, before I just could open my eyes, I could clearly sense that as if someone jerked me strongly with all the force. Sometimes, while sleeping at night I could sense something golden flashing inside my eyes. For hours and hours, my eyes although dizzy didn't fall to sleep. The surprising part of all this was that though my eyes were in utter need of sleep weren't able to do that but as soon as the daylight came, I slept without any problems. That made me realize that there was something that was desisting me to sleep at night. I enquired my mother in this regard and she said that 'It was the trauma that we people are facing and that is not letting us  take a peaceful sleep'. That's it. But my imagination didn't stop there. Diving for the answer to my problems, I just googled out the solutions for the problems (trauma, stress, and anxiety) that one faces after the demise of someone close in the family. One of the search results just made me terrorize more. It mentioned , 'Sleepless nights following the demise of someone close is all because as that deceased person is just close by you each time , one  recollects  their memories, trying to mingle with you. It further added that negative powers that is ,  'spirits' have increased strengths during the time following the midnight .

After having read this, that night, I myself tried not thinking about her, but of no avail. My part of the brain always used to come somewhere close to her imagination. It was that time my body started to shiver a bit. Now, this was another big problem. Was it due to anxiety or stress? No ! Definitely, anxiety and stress had clutched me but these were 'days of consoling oneself and the family.' Actually, as far as I recollect, as soon as my body started to shiver, I used to immediately fall to sleep which used to be a tough and strenuous affair on other nights. Actually, it was not the shivering that used to put me to sleep rather as soon as I used to step into my dreams , I could see my maternal aunt in the picture. At that time, I used to completely forget in the dreams itself that she was no more. The first and the longest meeting with her in my dream can't be erased from my memory. I can just give an exact description of all of it to the readers bringing them close to my idea of presentation.

'It was a dense dark sky all over but the place was no new but our terrace itself. She was standing in front of me. All well! She wasn't speaking anything. It was me who started the conversation, saying, 'How are you Maasi'? She replied not answering my question but said only, 'Take care of my child'. My aunt has a five year old child. Above all, she was a mother. Even after death, the motherhood within her is immortal'. Asking and caring about the whereabouts of her child tottered my emotions apart. It was all happening in the dream itself. Thereafter, I saw myself at a place where I used to often visit with my aunt . She was there at that very place with me in the dream back again. She was answering some questions on my behalf as I have inquired about something by a stranger. That I can't recollect much. But it was something related to my academics on which I was being questioned. Thereafter, my maternal aunt took me to a place that was painted all white, where there was some glittering golden shine. I was just heading forward to look for the source of the shine, it was at this moment when my dream broke and some chilled air passed down from my legs and my eyes were all wide open now and I was all smiling. It was 5 am in morning. The reason for my smiling gesture, even I couldn't understand. The conglomeration of a variety of ideas and feelings within happened to distract me.

Some say that the thing we most 'think about likely appears in our dreams.'  Some say that the 'deceased engage in a conversation with the mortal beings through the dreams'. Well whatever the case it may be, reality can lie in any of the statements .   At least some of the strange experiences can never be a lie.

Lastly, it was the day of 'Terahvin' of my aunt. It was here that the last and the most horrifying incident was manifested. It has been a traditional norm in almost every family to get ready a 'portrait of the deceased'. Offerings of flowers or some offertory are made on that portrait to give 'peace' to the departed soul. The pain of having lost a closed one was each time breaking its threshold. By that time, the portrait of my aunt hadn't been displayed in the open for the last ceremonial greetings. Even I didn't have the courage to see my aunt's portrait to be displayed for a purpose that is of course not imagined at any time by any family for that matter.

I was just standing destitute. Suddenly, someone with a blue saree passed by me. My eyes immediately crusaded on the task of finding that woman wearing that attire for it was the same saree that my aunt used to wear frequently. But I couldn't help myself in that. I consoled myself saying that it's all my imagination. A bit later, the portrait of my aunt was placed in the middle of the hall. I and our family went forward to offer flowers conducting the last rites. Immediately, when I was going to offer the flower on the portrait. I was all frozen. What was that? I was all taken back to see that, my aunt was wearing the same blue saree in that portrait. Yes! My God, she had actually passed by me a little moments before. I was all flabbergasted! As no one else was wearing a blue saree at the function. It was not even guessing on my part as I had tried locating that woman wearing that attire but I wasn't able to. Who knows, was she my aunt? Or simply an imagination. An answer to this cannot be given for the question stands hypothetical. It depends on the readers to ascertain as to what was all this? Anyway, whatever may it had been, it was all an 'experience' for me to be close with the departed soul of my aunt and nothing else. These events terrorized me into fear. Sometimes, meetings with the departed soul generated a smile on my face. These were mixed feelings. I couldn't understand it all! Not to lie on that! Everybody is scared of spirits and even with the imaginations of a spirit being close by. Well, throughout the days of the last rites of my aunt, an unusual 'pain' persisted in the physical beings of my family members which was all 'without reason' for they had got diagnosed themselves. The issues and problems faced by the family members following the death of my aunt were completely dreadful.

Anyway, there are both positive spirits (God and his messengers) and negative spirits (ghosts, departed souls) in this world. Maybe these are superstitions or just imaginations but thesee are experiences subjective to everybody. But the incidents happening with me at least helped me realize that there is something called the 'presence of departed soul' at least for the days, the last rites of the individual are performed. Maybe some experience it for a period longer and some may not have experienced it at all. Hence, these are just 'matters of experiences'. There is a certain degree of truth in each statement or experience . Nothing can be regarded as a 'complete reality or a complete myth'.

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