I have always been fascinated and I must add, rather afraid of anything remotely inclined towards the supernatural. While it is only curious that such encounters have come my way more often than the average person, such incidents make up for some really good stories to talk about.

It was only last month that I visited the coastal town of Puri when my wife had a sudden craving for ice cream late in the night and the stubborn woman she is, there was no escape. And so, began my little adventure at the stroke of midnight. Though this little town just across the capital had a bustling crowd going around throughout, the sheer magnitude of the silence and the gentle humming of the sea waves could have a tantalizing effect on somebody like me, too scared to venture out alone after the streets were empty.

As I had expected, most of the shops near our place of stay were closed and the only way to save myself from my spouse’s wrath was to walk a significant distance to the Baskin Robbins outlet that I hoped, was still open for customers like this individual whom I now found walking by my side. It was rather weird since I hadn’t quite heard footsteps behind me. From what I could observe, the man was possibly my age, mid-thirties but certainly more athletic than me, given that he had now surpassed me having come from behind.

It was then that I felt that some company would not be bad if I was to walk so far and return alone again. With a few quick steps, I reached out to him from behind. His face showed no signs of fear and somehow, it gave me some confidence to get through this dilemma. But I soon found that he was a man of few words and the little conversation we had, went along something like this:

Me: “Hi, would you mind if I gave you company? I was just going to bring some ice-cream for my wife and with the roads empty, I feel rather creepy.”

I was probably grinning a tad too much because then, his expression became grimmer before he answered in a husky baritone.

He: “What are you so scared of, eh? If any ghost as much as dared to come near me, I could show him how dangerous I could be.”

And all I could do was grin again. If the earlier situation wasn’t creepy enough, talking to this man only enhanced it all the more. But there was one thing that I was still not sure about — where was he going at this hour?

Me: “Where are you headed to?”

But there came no reply from this arrogant old fart. As we reached the Baskin Robbins outlet, which to my utter dismay was closed as well, I saw that there was a big wide smile on his face. So, this ‘I-am-not-scared-of-ghosts’ guy did know how to smile. Watching the smug expression on my face, he laughed.

He: “Oh, come on. I was just messing around with you, man. I had come here for the exact same reason as you. These women can certainly go nuts, sometimes.”

And with that, we started walking back home like long lost school buddies who had so much to talk about, before the topic of ghosts came up again.

He: “I have something to confess, though.”

Me: “Go ahead, nobody would ever know once we are out of here.”

He: “No, it’s just that I always wanted to tell a human about my secret and then, you came around tonight. Uh, I am a ghost.”

At that moment, I swear I wanted a truck to run over my body but how could I be so lucky after all? As I took a step backward to run, he started laughing again. It was then that I understood that I had been fooled again. It was embarrassing but I had to laugh to show I was sporty enough to take a joke. Apparently, he was staying at the same hotel that I was and as we neared the gates, I saw my wife standing there.

Me: “This is my wife, by the way. Sarah, this is Siddhart. We met along the way just now.”

He (looking scared): “Whom are you talking to?”

Me: “Oh Sarah, you could show yourself now. He is a friend.”

And as the silhouette of my wife’s figure slowly started coming into being, I heard a mumble from where Siddhart was standing. He had fainted.

Oh, the perks of being married to a ghost.