The mystery of past life
As soon as I entered the palace, a cold wind blew over my face. I stopped for a second and was watching the dining hall, the paintings on the wall, the beautiful chairs and tables of the then kings etc. I felt as if I had come to this house earlier, as if I had known this house for a long time. I got back to my senses when Rajveer called me. -“Hey Mitali, did you like your birthday gift?” Rajveer asked me placing his hand on my shoulder. -“Yes obviously Raj. You have bought this palace for me with so much love. How is it possible that I will not like it!” I said to Rajveer with a broad smile on my face. Rajveer told the guard and the caretaker to bring in our luggage. The whole day was spent arranging the palace properly with our belongings. It was a huge palace in the midst of a big field surrounded by various trees. It was located in Umbergaon, 153 km away from Mumbai. This palace was totally in bad condition when Rajveer first heard about it. His company didn’t let any of its officers stay in this palace as it had a bad name of being a haunted palace. However, Rajveer was not a believer in these theories. He liked the palace and the environment very much and thought of buying it as a gift on my birthday. Therefore, he bought the palace from his company through legal means. Since it was famously known as a haunted palace, Rajveer didn’t face so much difficulty in buying it. It was also easier for me to carry out my current excavation project in Umbergaon. While arranging the palace, we got a few things which seemed familiar to me. We got two portraits, one was the oil painting of two young ladies, who seemed to be princesses and the other was the oil painting of a young man and one of those young ladies in the previous portrait, might be king and queen. We also got an inkpot, a diary type thing and a decayed red rose within it. Mostly, the things which astonished me were one or two ragged red and black coloured sarees which are particularly worn by tantrists, a torn book containing methods and writings related to spells and charms and some other such things in one of the rooms in upstairs which was closed until we arrived. Only that particular room was closed and out of curiosity, we broke the lock and opened the door. Raj didn’t believe in tantrism, 1 ghosts or black magic. He came downstairs carrying all those things but I wondered about a palace which remained unused and untouched since the time of the British, how come all these things appear here? My instinct said that there was ‘something wrong’. -“Mitali, just see, this beautiful princess resembles you, see her face, her eyes……..Her eyes are just like yours Mitali.” Raj told me showing me the second portrait of the king and queen. -“Hmmm……so, did this beautiful princess capture your heart, my Rajveer?” I asked Raj, making fun of him. Raj came close to me, pulled me by my waist and told me looking at my eyes, “Nobody can capture neither my heart nor my brain except you my love.” -“I know that very well, baby. I was just joking with you. Even the King seems so similar to you, I have noticed. This is amazing!” -“Hmm, I can see that but you need to be punished for your joke.” -“Punishment for joke?…………” I couldn’t complete my sentence as Rajveer dragged me in a passionate kiss with him. He tightened his hold on my waist and I put my arms around his neck. Suddenly, at that moment we heard a tremendous sound of breaking down glasses from upstairs. We looked at each other and immediately went upstairs. We saw that the window glass of ‘that room’ had broken into pieces. Glass pieces were scattered all over the floor. -“Ahhhh…….” I whispered aloud when a glass piece pierced through my feet. -“Mitali….iii…….what happened?” Raj shouted worrying about me. -“A glass piece cut my skin.” -“Where did it cut? Let me see. You should have been careful Mitali.” 2 I was unable to stand as blood started flowing through my feet. Raj lifted me in his arms and took me to our bedroom. Then he washed my cut, applied an antiseptic lotion and bandaged it. Raj then advised me to take rest and not to move from the bed. It was past 5 pm and we were hungry. Raj went to buy some food items since the guard and caretaker used to leave everyday after 4 pm in the sense of not living in the haunted palace after the Sun set off. I was reading a book and probably felt asleep. I was dreaming something in the sleep. I dreamt of two princesses who were sisters and lived in this palace. One of them looked like me, she rode on horseback every morning. She was accompanied by a handsome prince while riding horse who looked like my husband Rajveer. The other princess wearing black saree uttered some spells and practised something using skulls…..in ‘that room’! At this moment, my sleep was breaking hearing some weird noises as if someone was saying something angrily. I heard a furious female voice saying, “Again you have come…..in this life also, you are snatching my King?……I won’t leave you…..I will kill you Didi and will become the wife of my King…..its my vow……..” I felt someone’s breaths near my face and immediately my sleep broke. I woke up sweating. I heard somebody’s footsteps coming towards my room and saw that it was Rajveer. He rushed to me seeing me sweating so much and gave me a glass of water. I told him everything. Rajveer listened quietly and then what he told astonished me totally. Rajveer said that when he walked out of the palace for buying food items, he continuously felt as if someone was following him. From palace to dhaba and dhaba to palace, he strongly felt that someone was following him but whenever he looked back, there was no one. Even he heard a female voice saying sweetly, “Maharaj, have you forgotten me? Why are you with Didi?………She is not good……believe me……she wants to snatch you from me……..”. -“I didn’t give any importance to it, Mitali, don’t worry.” Rajveer said. -“Raj, my instinct said that there is something wrong here. The moment I stepped into the palace, my subconscious mind told me. Not only that, I feel this palace is known to me, some memories are flashing in my mind but I am not understanding what are they.” 3 Raj cupped my face in his hands and told me, “Don’t worry my love, nobody can separate us, nobody can snatch you from me and me from you.” He kissed on my forehead and embraced me in a warm hug. We ate roti and egg curry and went to bed at 10 pm since we were quite tired due to long journey. We were unaware that something dangerous was waiting for us that night! It was most probably in the midnight when my sleep broke. I clearly heard someone was calling me, “Didi…..Didi……come here……”. I saw Rajveer was in deep sleep lying beside me. Don’t know whether some spells ruled my movements or not, I climbed down my bed, opened the door and started walking across the corridor towards the source of ‘that call’. I stopped near ‘that room’. It’s door was closed. I saw it opening on its own as if welcoming me inside. I saw an young lady wearing a black saree, open hair, was chanting some spells with closed eyes. There were some skulls scattered beside her. As soon as she noticed me, she opened her eyes and gave an angry look towards me. Most probably, I was being hypnotized. I was standing there like a stone structure. The lady told me, “I was waiting for you only Didi. Come, let me free you from this world of living beings.” Saying this, she started marching towards me with a knife in her hand. At that exact moment, I heard a male voice, “Rajkumari Sumitra, beware of Sumana……she wants to harm you…..I am coming……Rajkumari….”. Rajkumari Sumitra……I thought for a minute and the next moment, the lady was just going to pierce the knife through my body when I prevented her hand and threw the knife to other side. I said her angrily, “Stop Sumana, stop your dirty game. You harmed us in past life and now in this life too? Why?” Sumana shouted, “Because you snatched away my love from me,” saying this she was going to attack me with her charms when a sword gave a hard blow to her harshly. I saw Rajveer coming from behind me. Sumana was lying on the floor. Rajveer said with full rage, “Your behaviour will never change right Sumana? You tried to kill Sumitra in past life, you killed our new- born baby, then also your hunger have not been fulfilled?” He was again going to attack her with the sword when everything in front of us vanished. The room was totally dark with a ray of moonlight coming through the broken window. Rajveer held me in his arms, probably I was losing my senses. The next morning when I woke up, I saw few people inside my room – Dr. Sen, the guard and the caretaker, two- three old and young men and women. Rajveer was 4 sitting beside me. After sometimes, while having coffee, we heard the story of this haunted palace. It was the palace of King Rajendra Pratap of Umbergaon who had two daughters, Princess Sumitra and Sumana. The elder princess Sumitra was not only very beautiful in look but also in behaviour. She knew horse- riding, sword- fighting etc. She was a great warrior as described by the citizens. Every morning, Sumitra used to ride horse as a practise. People loved and respected Princess Sumitra very much. The younger princess Sumana was jealous of her elder sister and she aimed at harming her. She learnt black magic and tantrism to fulfill her own desires and to cause harm to Sumitra. Prince Rathindra Pratap was the prince of neighbouring state who was very handsome and a great warrior. He was the childhood friend of Sumitra. Their friendship turned into deep love when they grew up. Sumana who had her bad eyes on Rathindra Pratap, tried to separate him from Sumitra through various means but failed. King Rajendra Pratap gave her elder daughter Sumitra in marriage to Prince Rathindra Pratap and declared him the King of Umbergaon since his health was not well. Few days after their marriage, Rajendra Prarap died. People said that he died due to the bad affect of Sumana’s charms. Her jealousy reached the zenith when Queen Sumitra gave birth to a son. Sumana applied tantric means to kill the new- born baby and was successful. This time, neither King Rathindra Pratap nor Queen Sumitra had forgiven her. The people wanted to kill the witch Princess Sumana. She was burnt alive on the funeral file and while dying she cursed the whole family of Rathindra Pratap and Sumitra and vowed to take her revenge. After that, there was the Revolt of 1857 in which the King and Queen died fighting bravely for their motherland leaving behind no heir. Since then, the palace became haunted and people avoided it as much as possible. The old man after completing the story, said to Rajveer and me, “You two are none other than the past life King Rathindra Pratap and Queen Sumitra, whom destiny brought again to this palace in Umbergaon.” After that day, we performed certain rituals so that the bad soul would leave the palace and let us live peacefully and we became successful. The mystery of our past lives was solved ultimately. One noon, when I was lying on Rajveer’s chest, he asked me jokingly, “Mitali, if I would have married your younger sister Sumana, what would you do?” 5 -“You won’t do it because you loved me and I won’t let that witch come near you.” -“Really? I didn’t know that my wife becomes angry of hearing this kind of joke……..you look so cute Mitali while you become angry,” saying this, Raj pulled me more towards his chest. -“Don’t do this kind of jokes, else I will stop talking to you.” I said. -“No, no, don’t stop talking to me. I am sorry Mitali. I will pay for my deed,” saying this, Rajveer met his lips with mine passionately. This time, neither the breaking of window glass nor any tremendous sound reached our ears.