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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1594503-My-own-ghost-story
Rated: E · Short Story · Ghost · #1594503
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

every time!



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

shift.



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 *Bigsmile*



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.
© Copyright 2009 indianrediff (indianrediff at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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