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© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
THE OTHER SIDE
Dare To Visit Alone?
Faraaz Kazi
Vivek ...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
PRELUDE
The two men trekked briskly up the hill. Lush ...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
“I love this place,” Vivek agreed.
“The solitude is so...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
“Whenever I sit down to pen something, certain half fo...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
becomes too feeble to comprehend things beyond what we...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
and said, “All set. Now go ahead. Maybe I’ll find a st...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
suggested going there but Faiz was not too keen, but e...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
and once it hits the ground, it will make a soft sound...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
scream asking me to run. I turned around and fled. We ...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
hesitated just for a second before striding forward pu...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
Mumbai’s largest Christian Cemetery, is very near to m...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
admitted that he could not remember the way back. To p...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
he was almost marble black from head to toe and very s...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
“Intriguing! That was a benevolent spirit, I guess. Yo...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
“There are so many unexplained things, dead-end myster...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
*
Vivek yawned, feeling sleepy after the heavy dinner ...
© Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide	
  
	
  
Faraaz was on the bed, sitting wide-eyed. The torch in...
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Prelude to 'The Other Side'

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The biggest attempt so far in the Indian Commercial Horror Genre. Releasing this Halloween!

“A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, blinding me momentarily. That thing and I call it a ‘thing’ because I could sense it wasn’t human as no human being could have such a hideous form, as wretched an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self.”

From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to form his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

‘The Other Side’ is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.

Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the UNKNOWN!

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Prelude to 'The Other Side'

  1. 1. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     THE OTHER SIDE Dare To Visit Alone? Faraaz Kazi Vivek Banerjee
  2. 2. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     PRELUDE The two men trekked briskly up the hill. Lush walls of green greeted their eyes every time they looked down. They had been walking for over an hour now, climbing the hills with heavy backpacks on their shoulders. The incline was steep and challenging but so far Vivek had managed to keep pace with the much younger Faraaz. “All the hours spent on the treadmill are finally paying off,” he muttered to himself, “But I won’t be able to sustain this pace for long.” “Uh, sorry? Did you say something?” asked Faraaz, catching a stray word. “I was just saying that that bench by the side of the track looks particularly inviting. How about taking a break?” Vivek asked, stretching his back. Faraaz nodded and they made their way to the bench. They sat in silence, catching their breath and enjoying the cool mountain breeze on their tired skins. They watched the sun vanish beyond a thick bank of mist that blanketed most of the mountainside from view. “Ah, Mussoorie is a lovely place. I wish I had come here before,” Faraaz said.
  3. 3. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     “I love this place,” Vivek agreed. “The solitude is something I can’t imagine living as I do in the chaotic suburbs of Mumbai. In fact, that was the primary reason I took you up on the offer of a writing sabbatical in the hills,” Faraaz smiled. “I’m glad I have company. But we still are not sure what we are going to write about. There is so much brimming in my head but it’s all hazy.” “I’m sure the mountain air will do us good and clear up the haze, so that we can come up with some fascinating stories,” Faraaz said, taking a deep breath. “You know something, Faraaz, these mountains are home to many myths and legends. If these rocks could talk, they would tell us so many stories. If only we could listen to them!” “I believe there are tales written everywhere on this planet, be it Mumbai or Mussoorie. You just have to be sensitive to pick them up. After all, where do all stories come from?” “I have often wondered about that. Is it imagination, or some half- forgotten memory or experience or some external force? Or maybe something we read a long time back that triggers off a particular train of thought?”
  4. 4. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     “Whenever I sit down to pen something, certain half forgotten facts come to the fore. Or at times a small incident triggers off an avalanche of memories like when we visited the book store at the airport this morning; I picked up a book of ghost stories which reminded me of my own experiences.” Vivek gave Faraaz a quizzical look. “Paranormal experiences? Are you trying to tell me that you have seen ghosts?” Faraaz merely looked at his trekking partner and shrugged. “Oh, so you believe in ghosts?” “I believe in the power of light over darkness. The triumph of good over evil. Life is a cycle and in that circle lie opposite ends, ends that we choose to accept or ignore,” Faraaz replied with a mysterious note attached to his voice. “Do you?” he turned to Vivek. “Light and darkness are just terms for me with no deep significance. Actually, when you spend a significant part of your life dissecting cadavers in Anatomy classes, looking at diseased human organs in pathology and then working in a hospital where death is a frequent visitor, you become hardened, cynical and unafraid.” “We live on one side, too busy with our chores, socializing, eating, drinking, walking, talking and what not… in the process our mind
  5. 5. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     becomes too feeble to comprehend things beyond what we are so accustomed to, things from ‘the other side.’” “There is always an other side to the story, isn’t it?” “Always!” “Hmmm, never seen a body in the morgue move on its own?” Faraaz said in mock humour, seeing Vivek turn serious. “Haha, no, but I have heard many supposedly true stories about ghosts from my grandparents.” “I’m all ears!” “You tell me one and then I will have a go. Deal?” “Deal!” “Go on.” “Okay, let me tell you about this strange experience I had as a kid and then you judge what it was,” Faraaz rubbed his palms together. “Hang on for a second. Let me find a pen.” Vivek dived into the numerous pockets of his bulky jacket and came out with a small prescription pad and a pen. He adjusted his spectacles, uncapped the pen
  6. 6. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     and said, “All set. Now go ahead. Maybe I’ll find a story here,” he smiled sheepishly. The mist cleared as suddenly as it had appeared. The verdant green valley opened out in front of their eyes. Faraaz’s eyes focused on the distant road meandering towards the city of Dehradun as he started talking. “Well, this happened when I was in school, a seventh grade student. I was close to a cousin of mine named Faiz and it was pretty common for both of us to spend long periods of vacations at each other’s homes. It so happened that I received an invite from him during the winter vacations. The colony where he lived was a crowded locality and we kids had hardly any place to play or even run around. Most of our games were conducted in the alleys and by lanes that were surrounded by cars and we could not play freely for the fear of breaking a window or a headlight. “One evening, we set out to play, armed with a bat and a tennis ball. The usual place was particularly crowded with all kinds of vehicles and there was no chance of a decent game as some girls were playing badminton, not heeding to our requests to give us some space. Now there was this huge ground behind the locality but we were discouraged from going there to play or hanging around that area once the sun had gone down. I
  7. 7. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     suggested going there but Faiz was not too keen, but eventually I managed to convince him. We made our way towards the dusty spot. “Now, you need to have a clear picture about the ground for what is to follow. It was a big circular piece of land with hardly any grass patches in the middle, surrounded by a six feet wall on all sides that were spiked with pointed glass shells. There were two worn gates at exactly opposite ends with no other way of entering or exiting. There were a few shrubs growing on the sides but overall, it was a good place to have a game of tennis-ball cricket. Once we started playing, a few slum kids joined in. We got more and more involved in the game and failed to see the shadows lengthen. Twilight fell and the kids went away and we were the only two left on the ground. There were no streetlights around and it had gone quite dark by then as it does so during winters. Both of us were tired and Faiz wanted to go home but it was my turn to bat and I was unwilling to leave without completing my turn,” Faraaz said, smiling as he remembered the childhood days. “Finally, the game was over and once I had stamped my victory on Faiz’s bowling, we started walking back in the darkness. As we neared the gate that went through the locality, I threw up the ball playfully expecting to catch it when it came back… I waited and waited. There was no sign of the ball. If you throw a ball up, gravity is going to pull it back
  8. 8. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     and once it hits the ground, it will make a soft sound. But I could swear that I did not even hear that thump either. Faiz was livid. It was the only tennis ball he had and he insisted on us searching for it before leaving. We combed the corner, the shrubs and wherever our eyes could see. “And it was then through the corner of my eyes that I saw a lady dressed in a white Sari enter the ground from the other gate which must have been at a distance of at least five hundred meters from us. I watched her for a couple of seconds and I could make out she was limping from the slow and unsure steps she was taking. It was a perfect moment to chicken out Faiz and make him forget about the ball. I turned towards my cousin and whispered, ‘Faiz, there is a lady in white coming at us!’ “How much time would it have taken me to tell him that and then turn around? Three seconds? Five? We both turned our heads back and what do we see? The Sari is fluttering right behind us as the lady stood smiling at our gaping faces. I wondered how she could have covered the distance in such a short time. At close range, the only thing I could soak in about her was the white aura emanating from her. From her Sari to her long hair and even her face, everything was a deathly white. As I stood staring at her wide eyes, my brain going numb, I thought she smiled at me revealing stained teeth. Faiz, in the meantime, had taken off faster than a rocket and was already out of the gate. I snapped out of my stupor by his
  9. 9. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     scream asking me to run. I turned around and fled. We arrived home a few minutes later, panting, scared and out of breath. The elders of the family had been looking for us as it was well past sunset. Many scoldings and explanations later, Faiz’s mom, my chachi, told us that that particular ground was supposed to be under the shadow of a Churail and that was why people gave it a wide berth after sunset. The same evening, another aunt spooked me out even further when I told her that I felt that the witch had smiled at me. She maintained that it was her way of signaling that she would meet me once again in the future. Thankfully, she hasn’t till now,” Faraaz finished in a trembling laugh. “Interesting! Does leave a lot of questions unanswered but don’t you think it can be some insignificant event like an ordinary woman entering the ground and the incident got coloured by your imagination with the passage of time?” Vivek questioned. “No, I am sure about it. It happened exactly like I told you.” “This reminds me of a story my grandpa used to tell me. He was a teacher at the local Government school and usually walked home after sunset. During one winter evening when the sun had gone down early and the lights of the town twinkled at a distance, he started walking fast, looking forward to the warm cup of tea that awaited him at home. Suddenly, he heard somebody callout his name asking him to stop. He
  10. 10. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     hesitated just for a second before striding forward purposefully without looking back. The voice called again, much more urgently this time. But he did not look back. The voice called again. By now he was sure that this was a supernatural phenomena and he increased his pace, repeatedly chanting the ‘Gayatri mantra’ in his mind. He reached home safe and sound and latched the door behind his back. It was Faraaz’s turn to doubt. “How do you explain that?” “This incident can be explained by a belief in ‘Nishir Daak’ in rural Bengal. It is a byproduct of black magic done by someone who does not wish you good. If someone does that kind of sorcery on you, an apparition comes to call out your name after dusk. It always calls thrice. If you respond, you walk behind the apparition, never to be seen again. Sometimes the dead body of those who respond to ‘Nishir Daak’ is found, sometimes it is not. If you do not reply even after three calls, the apparition goes away forever. Roughly translated, ‘Nishir Daak’ means the call of the night in English,” Vivek narrated. “That is scary!” “Yes,” Vivek nodded. “Anyway, you tell me the second one.” Faraaz looked at the azure skies and tried to gather his thoughts, “The second incident also dates back to my schooldays. The Sewri Cemetery,
  11. 11. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     Mumbai’s largest Christian Cemetery, is very near to my house and opposite my school. The cemetery that has been renovated now is very organized and trimmed, but back then it was more like a large jungle where one could not even discern the path to walk between the graves. As both my parents used to work, an ayah was hired to collect me once I left school and drop me off at my grandparents’ house which was a kilometer away. “One particular day, school closed early due to some reason I cannot remember now. It was an unannounced decision, so there was no way the ayah could have known about it. I walked over to a friend’s house nearby. He used to live in a sloping chawl that ran in line with the stone walls of the cemetery. When I went to his house, he wasn’t at home and his mother told me he would be busy playing out. I searched for him in the afternoon sun after depositing my school bag at his place and found him loitering around the walls of the cemetery. After ten minutes of getting bored in the heat, Aaron suggested that we explore the cemetery. When I expressed my apprehensions, he assured me that he knew every nook and corner of the cemetery. We entered the cemetery through a small breach in the wall, just large enough for us to crawl through. Soon, we had ventured deep into the cemetery. After some time, Aaron came to an abrupt halt, looking around to his left and right. On prodding, he
  12. 12. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     admitted that he could not remember the way back. To put it simply, we were lost. When I reminded him of his claim about knowing the place like the back of his hand, he sheepishly confessed that he had never ventured so deep into the cemetery. We panicked a bit as we tried to find our way out of the maze, retracing our steps and looking for familiar signs. We soon found ourselves standing beneath a cluster of really tall coconut trees and in the heat when I looked up, the coconuts hanging up seemed to resemble blood-dripping heads. I felt giddy and held on to Aaron for support, at the same time urging him to walk faster. We must have wandered around for well over an hour without finding our bearings or reaching the perimeter wall. We shouted now and then to find someone nearby who could help us but no one replied. “We were almost on the verge of tears when we saw a tall man dressed in a black priest-like cassock standing near one of the graves. If…” “Wait, are you telling me you saw a man dressed in black in the middle of nowhere?” Vivek’s tone was incredulous. “Yes, and you’ll have to take my word for it. Now, may I continue?” “Yes, I’m sorry I interrupted.” Faraaz went on. “If it wasn’t for his cassock flapping in the wind, we could have well mistaken him for a statue and moved on. For one thing,
  13. 13. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     he was almost marble black from head to toe and very still. In the back of my mind, a doubt crawled but I was too tired to even consider it. We ventured near. Aaron addressed him and asked for directions to the nearest exit politely. The man did not react. Aaron asked him again, may be a bit louder this time. The man just shifted his head, without moving his body form the position and looked at us with black bulgy eyes. For a moment, he regarded us and pointed towards an ill-defined track in the front. ‘Go straight and turn left!’ the man said in a very heavy, sepulchral voice. We walked forward but I immediately stopped as I realised that we had forgotten to thank him in our hurry. As we turned around, we jumped out of our skins. There was nobody where the man had been standing! “The path around was clear and there was no way he could have hidden behind any bush or climbed a tree in such a short while. We promptly took to our heels and ran as fast as we could. Mid-way, Aaron stopped me again once he had acknowledged the fact that we were following his directions. He told me that it could be a trap and he could be waiting at the other end to devour us. But then we decided that if he meant to harm us, he could have done that when we had walked up to him. So we took the left turn further ahead and within five minutes we came out of the cemetery gates, the one near my grandparents’ house,” Faraaz finished.
  14. 14. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     “Intriguing! That was a benevolent spirit, I guess. Your story reminds me of an incident I witnessed as a kid. I did not think much about it at that time but maybe it can be explained on lines of paranormal activity.” Faraaz felt his interest pick up. “Tell me!” Vivek squinted at the horizon, the incident surfacing in his mind with surprising clarity. “A long time back when I was a small kid, I was loitering in the kitchen as Mom cooked. There were no gas cylinders those days and all cooking was done on coal-guzzling chulahs. Suddenly, I noticed that the cloth napkin she used to handle the hot utensils was moving around on its own. I called out to her and we both watched in fascination as it moved around on its own, almost like it was dancing to some unheard tune. I thought that a small sparrow had somehow got trapped under it. Mom was inclined to think it was a mouse. I tried to grab the cloth but Mom stopped me. She picked up a pair of tongs, caught the cloth and yanked at it. And there was absolutely nothing under it, not even a housefly. When she let it go, it dropped to the floor and lay lifeless, as if it had never being airborne. We puzzled over the incident and later forgot about it.”
  15. 15. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     “There are so many unexplained things, dead-end mysteries in this world. And we, mere mortals, cannot fathom the depths of them!” Faraaz marveled. Vivek shut the prescription pad on which he had been scribbling as Faraaz talked. He placed it in his pocket, got up and said. “Let’s find our way back to the hotel. We still have quite some distance to cover. It is getting late and it will be too dark to climb up soon. May be this conversation will lead to a story or two.” “Ah, a paranormal story?” Faraaz enquired. “Yes, why not? May be you could also write a couple,” Vivek suggested. “Sounds good, and then we co-author a book on the paranormal,” Faraaz said, laughing lightly. “That’s not a bad idea. This trip might just give us the right kind of creative inspiration to pen it down,” Vivek said, feeling excited at the prospect. “This book will change the way people look at things around them and it will take the paranormal genre to an entirely different level in Indian writing,” Faraaz promised as he too got up and followed his soon to be co-author. They walked downhill towards distant Mussoorie mulling over all they had discussed.
  16. 16. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     * Vivek yawned, feeling sleepy after the heavy dinner that had just reached his tired stomach in the hotel room. He resisted the urge to sleep and reminded himself about his promise to write a thousand words daily. The quota for today was still pending. Teaming up with Faraaz had given him a sense of purpose towards the kind of stories they were planning. Suppressing a rising belch, Vivek booted his laptop and decided to type out the meticulous notes he had taken while Faraaz had narrated his experiences from the ‘other side’. He pulled the small prescription pad out of his jacket pocket and put it on the table. Just then the light in his room flickered and went out, making it impossible to see anything. Vivek groaned but the laptop soon came to life on the reserve battery and through the white light; he stared in shock at the blank pad in his hand. It was as if the pad had never been written on! “Faraaz, Faraaz… come here, quick!” Vivek shouted to the young author in the next room. There was no response. Unable to restrain himself any further, Vivek felt his way outside and knocked at the door to Faraaz’s room. When no reply came, he turned the knob of the door and was surprised to find it unlocked. As Vivek’s eyes adjusted to the darkness inside the room, he peered around. What he then saw made him stagger back in shock and horror.
  17. 17. © Kazi/Banerjee www.facebook.com/WhatIsThereOnTheOtherSide     Faraaz was on the bed, sitting wide-eyed. The torch in his hand lit up a figure sitting on the opposite end of the bed. Vivek wondered how the white sari was managing to flutter in the absence of a wind even as the apparition turned to smile at him, showing her stained teeth. -*-  

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