Continued - Part III of III 'Do you want to shift to the front seat?'. He did not hear a response. He asked again loudly over the grumbling of the engine. There was no answer. So he looked in the rear view mirror and saw that there was nobody in his Pick-up. He was terrified to find out. He knew at once what it was. Scared out of his wits, he drove full throttle toward home. Any moment now, a voice would call out or a hand would reach out. He didn’t slow down until he reached home. He turned off the ignition, jumped out the door and leapt into his bed. It was late night, he told no one. Next morning, he recounted the ghostly episode to his family. He was very afraid, so they all went together to retrieve the key from the truck, It was as he had left it - empty. Until one of them gathered courage enough to peer in the back seat. And there it was, the ghost, snoring softly, lying awkwardly in the space between the seats which stank of Chang. The drunk reveller had been picked up by the kind man and soon as the women left, he fell into a peaceful slumber in the backseat, disappearing from the driver’s rear view. Like a ghost, he had vanished, only just. Woken up, he thanked the man for the ride and walked away, still stumbling.....’ he finished. ’The only ghost here is the ghost of the mountains - the snow leopard. You don’t see her, she sees you and you would never know if she was right before you. To me, that is a ghost.’ said Jigmet Dadul - the one they call the ’The Snow Leopard man’ - the best spotter in the world.
Pat II of III
Ladakh- A land far too beautiful to be a house for ghosts. But I refused to believe a town ever existed without tales of haunted homes or voices in the dark. So I asked a very special man who has seen incredible wonders that few people can claim to have witnessed. ‘Ghosts? Here? Why not!’ he said to me, deftly winding his broken gypsy down mountain trails. We were returning from a far-flung village in the Rong Valley. This was the night the moon hung mid-air like a giant saucer: The night of the Super Moon. ‘So the story goes like this.’ he began. ‘In remote Ladakh, we never refuse to stop for a person extending his hand out in hopes of a ride. Because we know that this person either has a long walk ahead in the dark or needs help. There was a man who was driving at night, just as we are now. That night was dark and he was alone. There were three women who he stopped for near a river bridge and then once again, for a lonely man walking the plains alone, in complete darkness, this was where large fanged Tibetan wolves roam. A dangerous place to be at night. He spoke very little and kept to himself. Which is unusual for Ladakhis to do. Soon, the women were dropped off in their village. In the pick up truck now were the two men. The kind driver asked the quiet man if he wanted to move to the front seat as it was now empty...' To be continued. #ladakh
I of II -
There are 5 questions I ask locals whenever I find myself in strange new lands. 1. What's the wildlife like? How windy does it get and what are the clouds like? Are there boulders and who makes the best muesli in town? Then there is this question that I save for the late evenings, I present this question in the most earnest voice and dramatically rub palms together to show eagerness, as if to assure my host that he has the most sincere listener in me, even if he were the most artless storyteller to have muttered the words 'Once upon a time...' Leaning in with arched brows, I ask, 'Will you recount some ghost stories from this town, if there are any?' - they are always there. Always. And the reason I ask is because, to me, a town's ghost tales reveal the very pulse of its people; how they perceive, their expression and idea of adventure. Not all ghost stories are alike, I see that they are influenced by terrain; mountains, hills, rivers, jungles and plains. An identifiable character reveals itself when you hear and compare the tales from different towns. Besides, they are all just very interesting. Tomorrow, I will share one intriguing spooky story from a people very dear to me.