Illusion of Reality

CHAPTER 1: DABHA (small roadside eatery)

“Shall we stop for a cup of tea?” she asked me pointing to a road side Dabha along national highway.
We were on our way to meet her friend who specialized in studies related to paranormal activities.In layman terms she was the alternative for ghost hunting babas to educated class who refuse to follow blind faith.
“It might start raining any time now, We can have tea once we reach your friend’s home” I said.
“Just look outside,the weather is’s best time to have a hot cup of tea with cold breeze giving us little shivers.Please,Please “ she pleaded with that innocent look on her face.
“Okay okay, let’s make it fast” I said and pulled over the car to side of road and parked near Dabha.
“That’s my boy” she said and kissed my left cheek with happiness.


The weather was same when I met her first time,she was standing with her broken Scooty beside highway asking for lift. I saw her and agreed to give her lift as I was alone in my car going home and felt pity about her situation.
Okay, I get it.I agreed to give her lift as she was looking damn beautiful in her blue top printed with white flowers and the blue jeans to complement it.Never in my life,turning the car steering was so effortless.
After she got into the car, we struck up interesting conversation along the way and at the end I asked her if she uses Whatsapp in a hope to get her number.
“I believe in asking people what’s up personally than texting on Whatsapp” she said with a smile and left me with a “Thank you very much for the help” phrase.
The journey though short, was memorable.I was so daydreaming about her that I didn't realize when I reached the gates of my home.As I was getting out of car I saw a visiting card left behind by her on the seat.
I picked it up and saw her address mentioned on one side and “Let’s catch up tomorrow at 7 pm, I owe you a treat” on the other side.
True to her words, the card didn't have any phone numbers.
I spent a day looking at my watch again and again and cursed the time for its slowness.
The next day, I was ready wearing my favorite T-shirt and gelled hair at her doorsteps, exactly on time.
She welcomed me and served delicious food she prepared, the time flew,We chatted for hours, she told me she is an orphan,talked about her struggles and mentioned that she stays alone in the house.
“Aren't you scared to stay alone in this big house” I asked her.
“Scared of what?” she asked me to be specific.
“Ghosts!, single girl in a house outside the city,silent nights and barking dogs, all these are perfect setting for a ghost” I said trying to scare her.
She stared at me for a moment and said,
“Ghosts exist, its just that people feel safe when they choose not to believe in them and all ghosts are not that bad”
“Don’t you think meeting a single girl on highway, giving her lift, girl leaving her address on seat and inviting you for a treat at her house is too filmy to be believed?”
“I told you all ghosts are not bad, Look at me, do you think I am bad?” She asked.
I was dumbstruck, I started to question the events that happened in past two days in my mind. I could not speak.Her beauty seduced me to such a level that I had lost my ability of rational thinking.
Before I could regroup myself, The lights in the room turned on and off ,music player at the corner of room started to play a song.
I looked at her, she was continuously staring at me with a face void of expressions.I was scared to death.


“Hahahaha, I got you” she started laughing.
“You were trying to scare me but see how I turned it back on you” she continued laughing.This time even louder.
“You fell for a old school trick, I used remote to control lights and music player” she said, showing hidden remote beside her.
“You caught me off guard, for a moment I thought you are really a ghost” I said putting up a fake smile to hide embarrassment.
“I thought you are a brave guy”she said.
“I am a brave guy under right circumstances” I said putting up a brave face.
“Yeah, I got a glimpse of your bravery” she said with a smile
“Let me take a challenge and I will prove it” I said to her trying to defend my man ego.
“No No, don’t take it seriously, you need not prove anything” she said.
“I will take a scariest challenge you can think of” I said.My hurt pride was trying to get another opportunity to build back its reputation.
“Okay then, My friend has experience in paranormal stuffs, she will be the best person to choose a right challenge for you” she said.
“I am ready for anything” I said to her and got up from sofa.
“Lets go tomorrow” she said.
I agreed and left her place that night.
At home, I ordered lots and lots of flowers to her house address in a hope of proposing her after the challenge.

We went inside the Dabha, it was all empty, we sat at a table with two chairs placed on two sides of table.
A thin guy with a folded dirty towel on his shoulder came to us for taking the order.
“Two cups Tea “ I ordered.
The guy gave me a strange look and said,
“Sir, Two cups?”
“Yes two cups” I repeated the order.
The boy went and came back in few minutes with hot tea and placed both cups near me.
“serve one to the lady” I said.
The guy looked puzzled and said,
“Which lady sir? There is no one here except you and me”
I turned to scold him.
and saw the big mirror which was hanged on the right hand side wall which showed the reflection of me and the guy ONLY.
I immediately turned and saw that she was not there, the chair opposite to me was empty.
Before I could regain my senses, my phone started ringing.
I took it out from pocket and received the call.
The voice from other end said.
“Sir, calling from, I came for delivery of your flowers, I think there is a mistake in address, there is a graveyard at the address mentioned, no houses here, please assist me with the address sir”.
That’s it.My mind freezed, I couldn’t think , it shook me to the core.
I sat still for sometime. Then I recalled her friend’s address where we were heading and without second thought, took my car keys and left Dabha.
I drove for another fifteen to twenty minutes in a state of shock and reached her friend’s house and knocked the door.
A lady in her mid 50s opened the door and asked,
“Who are you,What do you want?”
As the door opened completely, I could see the framed photo of the girl hanging on the wall.
“Who is she?” I asked without even bothering to introduce myself.
The old lady tried to get rid of me by slamming the door.Then I explained her the events that happened. 
Looking convinced she said,
“She is my childhood friend, we grew up together in an orphanage”.
“What happened to her?” I asked.
“Unfortunately she died in a fatal road accident”.
“She was always kind to people, meeting new people and socializing with everyone, she dreamt of building a big house and make it orphan home” she said and narrated her friend’s life story.
At the end, I decide to leave,still confused about why she did all this to me.
Just when I was about to get into my car and start,
The old lady said,
“Son, there is another thing about my friend,she always enjoyed pranks” and closed the door.