The news came in that Professor Robert Dsouza had passed away. Raghu’s dad was his student. As a kid, Raghu had heard many stories about him. Dad decided, ”I will be attending the funeral Raghu. You need to come with me to Khopoli.” Fretting the bumpy ride from Mumbai Raghu said, ”I have loads of revision to do, Dad.” Dad sternly insisted. ”His blessings will go a long way in your life. Carry some books. You can do revisions on the bus.”
The darkly lit bungalow was filled with mourners awaiting the hearse. Dad took Raghu to an unoccupied room of the large dilapidated house. ”It will be a long wait. You sit and study here.” Raghu sat alone immersed in his revision. He heard a creak as a heavy door opened and a man with curly white Einstein type hair and wearing Gandhi’s style spectacles drifted into the room. Hobbling around he came close to Raghu and in a very hoarse voice said, ‘’Good that you are sitting here alone and studying. Nothing should prevent you from achieving your goals in this world. ’’
Before Raghu could respond or get into a proper conversation he realised that the owner of the voice had flitted away.
He delved back into his books and continued reading. After a few hours, his father came in. ”Time for Professor’s last darshan. Let’s go.”
The coffin was kept open for all to pay their final salutations. In the queue, Raghu caught a glimpse of Professor. A beautiful tie was knotted in a white shirt. Gloved hands were joined together at his chest holding a cross and a rosary. As Raghu reached the side of the coffin he peeked in at the face to receive final blessings. He was shocked. Curly white Einstein type hair and wearing Gandhi’s style spectacles Professor was lying serene with a calm expression. This was the same face he had encountered earlier in the room. That’s when he heard himself scream.
‘’What happened Raghu ?’’
‘’NOTHING!!’’ He blanked out.
He regained consciousness in a hospital bed. He could not relate his experience and explain why he screamed or fainted. Having watched The Sixth Sense, a few weeks back, he felt he was a medium like Cole and could ‘see dead people’. How could he share this? Travelling back to Mumbai that evening life moved on and it remained his secret for a few years.
One morning, teacup in hand, he came across an obituary in the paper.
The face staring back at him was the same face he had years back, encountered in Khopoli. “You seem different,” he murmured.
The person was different. It was a Mr Peter Dsouza from Khopoli. Peter was Professor Roberts twin brother. He absorbed the details and everything fell in place. The cup fell from his hand and shattered. His dad’s voice came from the adjoining room. ‘’What happened Raghu ?’’
All that he could muster was, ‘’NOTHING.’’
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!