Chapter 1 The Longing
Mumbai- a city of dreams! The hustle bustle and a city that never sleeps. Among this chaos, in a shiny corporate media house sat a girl, looking upon the people moving in and out of the chaos. Sitting at her office desk, staring at the sea of people on the street from the glass wall of her cubicle, Naisha sighed. It had been a tiring year, as Naisha worked through her load of work. She had been couped up in that cubicle for a year! Now that her current project was wrapping up, she longed to pack her bag and take off on one of those impromptu trips, where her camera was her only companion. She missed the sunshine, the wind in her hair, and the excitement of an unplanned journey. She enjoyed the sheer thrill of adventure and throwing caution to the wind occasionally.
She was an orphan, raised in an orphanage, but her orphanage wasn’t like the ones from Oliver Twist or Mark Twain, it was run by Rajni Paranjpe, whom we called ‘Tai’ with love. She ensured they got good clothes, warm food, quality education and best part of all a bedtime story which covered different adventures in different geographies. Those got into her the travel spirit, that had taken her to many places in India snd abroad. Tai had inspired every child in the orphanage to explore their horizons and not let being an orphan stand in their way. So here she was, working for a travel magazine, and had her own column of travels to quirky places in India and beyond. She would always open the map, close her eyes and place her finger on a place on the globe, then she would travel to that place. The world was her playground. So, this time her travel spirit pointed to a state in Central India.
She walked into her Editor’s office with new rigor. He smiled at her and asked,” You look all chirpy today!” She chuckled as she replied, “Well having closed one travelogue am off to a new journey, and this time it’s even spooky!!” The Editor shook his head and smiled. Her enthusiasm always got him good pieces and her travelogue was quite popular. So, he gave her a thumbs up and she waltzed her way to her desk. Having cleared her desk, she rushed home to pack few last minute things. She had an early flight next day and she could feel the adrenaline rush of a new journey right to her bones. She had chosen to go to Malkajpur. This quirky town held a fair for ghosts! This was something new and she couldn’t wait to explore it. They had an annual gathering where people possessed by ghosts would come to get exorcised and freed of their tormenting ghosts. She had packed her essentials and now sat down to explore this little town on The internet. What she didn’t know was this was going to change her life forever. That night she slept fitfully, dreaming of a fair of ghosts and she is standing amidst those haunted souls with her hair wild and eyes blood red. It wasn’t her first quirky town, but definitely, a first supernatural one!