A non-typical ghost story
|I have had only one so-callled experience. And it happened so long ago
and the circumstances are so obviously set for such an event, that I
am sure it was my then-fertile imagination playing with my mind.
First some deep background. My father comes from a family that has
always believed in the occult. In fact they have had seances and
planchette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planchette) sessions where
spirits have visited and revealed answers to them. I was probably a
baby then - or not even born. Many of these sessions were recorded and
put into print!! I remember glancing at a couple of pages and
wondering what the hell was going on? I couldn't have been older than
10 at the time. Those books were saved, along with many other precious
books and kept in a built-in cupboard in a government staff quarters
which my mother had got - and one fine monsoon, they were soaked
through and through - and white ants made a fine meal of them. This
happened in the late 80s (the loss of the books, not the events).
Anyway, I grew up with my father in search of mystics all the time, He
was always looking for 'the answer' to Life, Universe and Everything
(and yes - this was before the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy was
written). I remember swamis and so-called religious people coming to
our house. There was one person that I remember vividly (Ganesh baba
was his monicker) and he used to sit in a room, go into a trance and
fall flat, with his head hitting the floor with a resounding thud
But I digress (even though many might have thought this was the main
story). My father's only older brother was a very strong influence in
his life. Primary reason was because my father lost his mother a year
after being born and then lost his father when he was just 14. So he
automatically went under his older brother's wing. When my father was
growing up, he was in Mysore/Bangalore because that is where his
family had settled. Later, he came to Bombay for his Bachelors
studies. This turned into a study for a diploma in electronics from St
Xaviers Institute. After he finished that he went to Germany for 5
years, where a cousin of his called him over. He lived a flamboyant
life, partying hard and traveling all over Europe. He developed a
cigarette smoking habit that he kept throughout his life - smoking at
his peak, almost 100 a day and even more sometimes when pulling a night
At the time, he went to Monaco and gambled once. He then wrote back to
his brother about that and the money he had made - and his brother
extracted a promise from him that he would never gamble. He kept that
promise for the rest of his life.
Somehow this incident made a mark on me and I never gambled. i.e. I
never played with cards for money or did anything that involved
playing with money. His smoking habit also rubbed off on me - I never
smoked in my life. Weird.
My father died in 1983, at the age of 53. His mitral valve (or
something like that in his heart) was calcified and needed to be
replaced. Circumstances led to him being in the hospital for the
operation - but he had a massive attack before the operation.
Flash forward to 1986, when I had just come to the US. Friends of mine
and I decided to go to Atlantic City, also known as the poor man's Las
Vegas. We were dirt poor in those days with about $50-100 available as
spare money from each month's pay check. My friends all went to the
slot machines and lost money. One of them went to an ATM and kept
withdrawing money while paying the casinos. At the end of the night,
in the wee hours of the morning, we tallied our gains/losses - and my
friends had lost between $100 and $500 between all of them. Until that
time, I had refrained from gambling. The temptation was too much. I
gave in, went to a nickel machine, to make my $2 (40 nickels) last a
long time. It did - and toward the end I hit a 'jackpot' of sorts,
wherer I got more than $40 back. I gambled some more and when I had
lost another $15, I stopped. We went out, put the money to good use,
getting pizza for all of us and filling the car gas tank for the
journey back. On the way back, we remarked on the wisdom of the
Atlantic City Expressway authorities, taking the entire toll only on
the way in. The way back to Philadelphia is toll free
We reached home, and hit the sack, even though it was almost day time.
I tossed and turned. And finally I fell asleep. Suddenly I felt a
presence in the room and I looked up. Right next to my bed was my
father. He was shaking his head. I sat bolt upright and looked at him.
He asked me to swear to him, right there and then, that I would never
gamble again. I had tears in my eyes. I wanted to say sorry to him for
the fight we had had just before he got admitted to the hospital. I
wanted to hug him and cry. But he was gone. I kept thinking that it
was odd that he would come to the US. I must have fallen asleep - but
when I woke up, there was nothing.
I haven't gambled till date. It is almost impossible for me to do so.
And that is my 'ghost story'. Hope you didn't fall asleep reading it.