“What? Do I look like an idiot?” I said in anger.
“No Daju but it is true” He insisted
I was on a vacation in Tawang, the highest peak point of Arunachal Pradesh. And was on a regular, early morning jogging session when I came across him, a medium height, fair skinned guy. When you see a person, in a cold, foggy morning, sitting on the street, looking out for customers to buy his products, you are bound to be curious. But the strangest thing about him was that he stayed there for exact one hour time. For the first two days, I ignored him. But, on the third day, while returning from jogging, I couldn’t hold my curiosity any further. I checked the time; it was 5:50 A.M. I had around ten to fifteen minutes for a nice little chat with him. I walked towards him. He was sitting on the footpath, supporting his home-made wooden tray on his legs, and holding the sides with his hands. The tray was filled with various decoration items and beneath them laid a hand, which was nicely decorated by a black colored leather glove. At first sight, I thought it was someone’s real hand. But, after few seconds checked my thought and asked him, “What is that?”
And it is then when he said a strange thing, which made me angry.
“It is a speaking hand daju,” He said politely
I was about to leave, but his confidence made me stop and argue with him.
“It is strange you haven’t heard of Joginder Pratap Singh,” He smirked
It is an obvious phenomenon to get attracted when you are teased like that.
“It’s about the act of bravery by Major J.P. Singh..”
“And how is it related to this? “
“Well way back in 1962, when China attacked Arunachal. Indian army had no answer to the surprise attack… But Joginder Singh stood out from everyone and single-handedly defended his regiment for two days…” He stopped
“I am listening,”
“It is believed that he bluffed the Chinese army by making it look as if all the Indian soldiers were alive, But unfortunately, the Chinese troop understood it and invaded… Joginder Pratap Singh was the lone survivor and seeing the opposition army arrive he did not run away. He fought against them.. He was very proud of his wrist power and that is why later when the army captured him.. They chopped off his right arm into three pieces.. “
“Yes, one of the parts was his wrist..which they threw into the fire in front of him and left him to die. It is believed that for several days two voices were heard crying…his soul is said to be unsatisfied..“ He sighed
“Wow nice story but a very poor ending” I commented
“Reality is never rich,” He said
“Oh, you mean to say this is his hands right?”
“And the Chinese government gifted you the hand right?”
“No, It is a symbol of good luck. And whoever finds it keeps it with him only for few days and then has to get rid of it”
“Because it cries at midnight,”
“Oh, great and that is why you are selling it”
“I am a poor man what will I do with only good luck without money…”
“Probably work hard, instead of making stories”
“Hey, I am not making stories…Alright if you don’t believe me then take it…keep it with you for one night..”
“No, thank you”
“I am not charging you”
“Not interested I better go”
“Are you afraid, daju?” He smirked
Blame it on his marketing strategy or my foolishness; I took Mr. Singh’s hand in my hand. It was filled with cotton and bone-like structures inside. It was stitched from outside. So, there was no scope of the investigation.
“So what language does it speak, uh?”
“The one which everyone understands,” He said and stood up.
“The language of fear” He added and walked away.
I returned to my room and kept the hand on the table and sat on my bed.
“What a waste of time. thank god no one saw me” I thought
To be honest, I was confused. In the afternoon after visiting few side scenes, I visited the big monastery. I shared the incident with Wangchu lama (Monk).
“It is kind of true… there were many such soldiers..but nowadays people use this stories for their business purpose…You will find many such people with such items..” He remarked, on hearing from me.
“Ya, I got carried away.Will return it tomorrow”
“He will ask for money…..they take advantage of the true possession stories which happen here“ He smiled
An unsatisfied soul taking possession of someone else’s body is a very common view in Arunachal Pradesh. I, myself have witnessed it many times during my stay. Therefore, such creepy story, at first, seems real. At night, I returned to my room with my dinner. The moment I switched on the lights, my eyes fell upon the unperturbed hand. It felt weird to eat dinner with my hand when someone else’s hand was observing me. I decided to put it in the drawer. But that was not the end of the problem, rather was just the beginning. After finishing my dinner, I went off to sleep. I have a heavy sleep and hardly wake up in between. But that night a disturbing sound woke me up. At first, I could not understand what the sound was all about. I checked the time on my phone; it was seven minutes past twelve. It sounded as if someone was calling out a name while striking on a wooden surface. I thought someone might be at the door for some emergency.
“Wait,” I said and walked towards the door in the darkness. But, my feet stopped while passing beside the table. The sound was coming from, inside the drawer.
“What the He-“ I shouted, and opened the drawer. And the moment I opened it the voice became prominent. I could hear someone saying the name “Joginder Pratap Singh” in a crying voice, and it gave me goose-bumps. I took the hand on my right hand. It was certainly not moving. I banged it on the floor in disgust and screamed at it “Shut up” I thought I was in a dream, and so pinched myself, but the voice did not fade away. I ran to my bed, buried my head in the pillow and tried to sleep. But I was unable to sleep. The voice was terrifying and increased its volume with time. I have no idea when I fell asleep. But I surely had a bad sleep. In the morning, I woke up to my 5 ‘O’ clock alarm. I slowly rose up on my bed. And then my dizzy eyes fell on the hand lying on the floor; my whole body shook up. I quickly got dressed, checked my wallet, took the hand and ran towards my destination.
“Good morning daju” He greeted me, with a smiling face.
“Take your crap” I threw the hand at him.
“What happened? Did it speak?” He asked me curiously.
“Of course not..and thanks for ruining my sleep”
“Are you sure?”
I took out two five hundred rupee notes and put them on his tray.
He kept the notes in his pocket and stood up.
“I will share it with someone poor” He muttered, and put forward his right hand for a handshake. And the moment I touched his hand Oh My God! It was wood. His hand felt like wood. I could not understand and stared at him. He walked into the fog and in no time was lost.
My name is Tathagata Das, I am from Kolkata. Tg is my nickname and I use it as my screen name in movies. I am a scriptwriter by profession in Bengali film industry. I love playing chess, listening music, travelling, observing different people.