Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Ghost from Mud Lake - Chapter V

This is the concluding chapter from the short story, and follows Chapter IChapter IIChapter III and Chapter IV.

It was Saturday. And surprisingly calm and breezy. I finished pinning up my bouffant and twirled before the mirror. My midnight-blue evening dress went well with my sparkling black dancing shoes. I felt an immense sense of gratitude towards Ricardo, the dance-maestro, who taught me to turn with every few steps and unknowingly showed me how to turn my back on unpleasant feelings. He taught me that "change" was inevitable and I would have to learn to dance in every new situation in life. I was glad to have danced with all my fellow dance-partners who patiently matched their rhythm with mine, offered their shoulder and gestured "I've-got-your-back" every time I finished a turn. But most of all, I was thankful to Tushhar, who stirred my heart, brought a sparkle in my eyes and gently danced us out of our loneliness.

I beamed with happiness as I entered the club where the lights were dimmed. I joined some familiar faces on the dance floor with my eyes on the entrance. Tusshar entered, looking happier than I had ever seen him before. He held hands with a girl who smiled as she walked in. She flipped her long, black hair to reveal a white off-one shoulder satin dress that ended above her knees. I looked on helplessly as he led her to the bar after she whispered something in his ear.

I felt tears knotting in my throat and a pain singeing my heart, but I gathered myself and walked out of the night club. It thundered outside but there still was no rain. I walked as fast as my legs would carry me while thick, fat tears rolled down my cheeks. And then it rained, mercilessly. I did not reach for my umbrella. It was as if the sky felt my anguish and sent down a curtain of showers to hide my tears. My bouffant flattened in the downpour, the sidewalk turned muddy and my pencil-heeled shoes sank in the swampy ground. The road stretched like a large mud-lake and I hoped the waters would dissolve me if not my pain.

*  *  *

Sunday morning brought with it some sunshine. I slid open the window of my bedroom. The air was fresh and the skies, clear. The rains last night had washed the entire city clean. I boiled water in the saucepan for coffee and turned on my laptop. I took a deep breath and went to Tushhar's blog, for one last time. I was surprised to see a new post.

He wrote about a girl he met some months back, and how he ran into her time and again, but could make no conversation with her till a false fire-alarm woke him from his slumber. That night, he had followed her to a strange room full of music and waited forty minutes before being a man and stepping into the hall. And till date, he hasn't been fully able to come out of that room.

~  ~  ~

Secrets of the Story:-

This is my second short story on this blog. The first one can be found here. Many have asked me if this is a true story. This piece draws its elements from reality. The setting is real in most scenes. The emotions of the characters are very real. However, not every real story ends this way. Some end in tragedy and tears and some last many years. 

When I finished the first chapter, one of the first few readers asked me why I refer to the central male character as a "ghost". I hope he found his answer in the third chapter. But this final chapter makes us question whether it is really the guy who is the ghost in this story. 

There's also the mystery behind the "mud lake". Is it just the road that submerged in the downpour and dirt? Or is it a real place with a real name? To know the answers to these and other questions that you may have, please write to me by commenting under this post. 

And if you prod me a little more, I will reveal to you the alternate ending to this story that I initially had in mind. It is with that ending that I began writing this piece.


  1. would love to know why he's the ghost, and what this "mud lake" mystery is :D

    1. Thank you for writing to me, Karteeka! :) If you consider Tushhar to be the ghost, I can justify your stand by quoting these lines from Chapter-3:-

      "I would also find him at the parking lot sometimes- lost, in a world so removed from the one we walked in, that it seemed impossible he'd ever come back. He was the ghost of the jilted lover, shrouded in the trauma that refused to leave him. Each time he passed by, the ripples of the his shock would reach me for reasons unbeknownst to me..."

      However, can Praneetee not be called a ghost? Did she not go through pain that sucked the life out of her soul? Did she not miraculously "apparate" to all the scenes where the guy was?

      Coming to the mud-lake mystery... :) If you don't wish to believe the swampy street is the real mud lake, you might want to see the list of all "Mud Lakes" in US & Canada here-
      If that still does not satisfy you, a little knowledge of the Tulu-language will. It will lead to a very real place in India. ;)


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