Thursday, January 29, 2015

The girl under the banyan tree

The creaky house. This was the name little Nisha had given to her new house. Her family had recently shifted from Goa to Dehradun. Nisha had thrown a tantrum about this, because Goa has been her favorite place so far and she had made many friends there. But a stern look from her father had kept her quiet.

The new house in Dehradun was an old bungalow with wooden floors and old paintings. Nisha had disliked it right from the beginning. The wooden floor boards always creaked when she walked on them and the doors were heavy and old. The only bright thing in the entire house was her room. The window in the room over looked a beautiful and huge banyan tree. You always heard the chirping of birds and occasional sighting of squirrels from there.

One evening, a strange thing happened. When she was walking back from school, she was passing the banyan tree, when she saw a little girl standing under it. She had a gaunt face, disheveled hair and she was wearing a tattered, white frock.She was staring at Nisha. She waved towards the little girl but there was no response. She felt a little embarrassed and hurriedly walked towards her house.

That night she told about the little girl to her mother. Her mother dismissed it saying, she might be some laborer's daughter and kissed her good night. Nisha closed her eyes and slept. Suddenly she heard somebody tapping at her window. She woke up with a jolt and wondered how come anybody could tap her window, when her room was on the first floor. She hurriedly rushed towards the window and peeped down. To her horror, she saw the same little girl, but somehow she was looking different now. She had blood all over her frock and tears in her eyes. She lifted her hand towards Nisha, as if asking for help. Suddenly without warning, she disappeared. Nisha stood there, transfixed with fear. She wanted to run towards her parent's bedroom, but she was unable to move her feet. She screamed and sat down crying. Her parents rushed towards her room and asked her what happened. In between sobs, Nisha narrated what she saw. Her father dismissed it saying, it might be a nightmare. Her mother asked her whether she was sure about what she was telling. She simply nodded.

A look of worry crossed her mother's face, but she kept quiet. The next morning, Nisha refused to go to school saying the little girl will try to harm her. No amount of cajoling from her father helped the situation and finally they let her take the day off. Her mother had made some friends in the neighborhood and there was a kitty party arranged at one of her friend's house in the evening. She took Nisha with her, thinking that playing with other children will take her mind off a little. They entered the house and all the ladies started chatting. Nisha found her friends there and went to play with them. Among them, Aanya was her best friend and she was also the host's daughter. She took Nisha with her to show her room. She brought down her childhood photos and both of them started looking at the pictures, giggling occasionally. Suddenly, they came across a photo of 2 smiling girls, with hands on each other’s shoulders. One was Aanya and the other girl also looked familiar. Nisha had one look at the photo and let out a scream. Aanya asked what’s wrong and all the ladies including Nisha's mother came running to the room. She asked her what happened and Nisha simply pointed towards the photo and cried. After a lot of consoling from her mother, she finally blurted out that the other girl in the photo was the little girl she had seen under the banyan tree.

Her mother was perplexed to hear this. She asked Aanya's mother who the other girl was. She told that she was the daughter of Mrs. Sharma, who lived just opposite to their house. Her name was Aisha. She was her daughter's best friend. 2 years back, Aisha went missing. She had gone to school as usual, but never returned. The police searched for her everywhere, but couldn't find her. Soon the Sharmas left Dehradun and went to their hometown. Nisha and her mother came back home and her mother narrated everything that happened to her husband. Now, even he was taken aback by the whole thing. They couldn't fathom why the little girl was standing only under that banyan tree. Is that a supernatural occurrence? Was Aisha trying to tell something to their daughter? They thought of going and inspecting the banyan tree themselves. They left Nisha with a friend and went to the tree. They looked around and couldn't find anything attention worthy. They were dejected and started walking back home, when suddenly they heard something and they turned. They saw a squirrel digging up a hole to bury a nut and in the process of digging it had unearthed something golden and shiny from the ground. 

The couple looked at each other and hurried towards the object. They were shocked to see that it was a small, gold bangle. They wondered whether it belonged to the little girl. Her husband told that something suspicious had happened under the banyan tree and they would have to dig up the place. He brought a pick axe from the garage and started digging the place. He had only gone 5 feet under and they saw a little girl's foot sticking out. Nisha's mother let out a scream and fainted. Her husband immediately called the police and informed about the body. Soon there was a flurry of activity and the body was carefully dug out. It was half rotten and she was still wearing the school uniform. The police confirmed her identity. She was indeed Aisha. They sent the body for post mortem. Soon the news was in the paper. The report said that Aisha was abducted from school and raped. She was then killed by a knife in her stomach and was buried under the banyan tree. The police are still investigating regarding the culprit.

After a week there was another report about the case and this time the culprit had been caught. It was Shankar, who worked as a peon in the school. They had found some skin under Aisha's finger nails during post mortem. They had run a DNA test and had identified the culprit to be Shankar. He had already served a 7 years’ imprisonment for raping a minor in a famous school in Delhi. He confessed to his crime and told the police that he had abducted Aisha and had raped her. He had then killed and buried her under the banyan tree at night.

Nisha and her parents were still under shock for what happened. Aisha had stopped making her appearance under the banyan tree and slowly Nisha grew up and the memory of that incident became more and more hazy.


  1. Hi changing have a really interesting way of putting thoughts on paper reminds me of Jawahar Lal Nehru's simplistic but memorable writing style...Aisha went missing 2years ago and how can her body be just half rotten with the same uniform? Now?.... that's a catch in the story..
    I like your name.... changing times...:)

    1. Thank you for pointing out the flaw in the story:) Your comments are really encouraging