My Ghost Story

The service gaps within the tunnel where we supposedly fell
The area where we had been trekking

As I sat watching ‘My Ghost Story’ on television last night, I recalled the “ghost” I had “experienced” as a teenager way back in the late 70s during a trek in the hills.
As three of us made our way up to the small hamlet of Kasuali in the Shivalik Hills from the “foot” of the mountain at Kalka, near Chandigarh, we wanted to take a short-cut through a railway tunnel.
After all, we thought, we could shorten our climb by a few hundred meters if we made our way inside and even if the toy train on the route arrived, we would easily outrun it and exit before harm was done.
While two of us decided to take the plunge, the third chickened out, fearing the worst. But barely had we covered around 100 meters than we heard the unmistakable sound of the train. And, within seconds, saw the diesel locomotive’s headlight bearing down on us.
We could not go back; and we realised we could not outrun the train – we had not taken into account the massive rucksacks we carried on our backs!
We ran anyway and we tripped – and fell! As the train went past, we feared the worst but strangely, nothing happened. Covered in dust and soot and everything but our pride and confidence intact, we stumbled our way out from where we had entered, only to be confronted by a our deathly white-faced friend, screaming his head off and crying at the same time.
The moment he saw us, he ran as if he had seen a ghost. That is what he said he felt, when he calmed down several hours later. He was convinced we were goners and he did not know what to do.
Some villagers soon gathered at the spot and we were roundly admonished by the elderly village headman who said we had probably fallen inside the “service gaps” within the tunnel. What was spooky we had fallen into these gaps on either side of the track even though we had been holding hands. How, we will never know. But if we were to believe the old gent, he was convinced “someone” had ensured we were “put” safely away.
Was it a spirit? A ghost? That, too, is a matter of debate. But we sure might have looked like ghosts to our dear friend who was in agony outside. And the way he reacted, he looked quite ghostly as well!