Hitchcockian Horror

Post marriage, our member, Ms N. Chaudhuri, accompanied her geologist husband to Rajasthan, where he was posted. She expected rocks for company, but life was far more rockier. A spooky adventure awaited her in the enigmatic city of Rajasthan, Mandawar Mahwa.

It was a harmless breath of warm air on her shoulders with which the first ghostly presence was felt by Ms N. Chaudhuri, on her first day in Mandawar Mahwa dak bungalow, where they were staying. That evening, over dinner with new friends, they heard of many spooky encounters that were commonplace in the region.
Ms Chaudhuri felt a chill run down her spine when she saw her husband getting ready for office the next morning. No way was she going to stay by herself in that haunted dak bungalow. So, off she went with her husband, with their jeep loaded with tents and instruments and a few porters. She enjoyed climbing small hillocks, where her husband was doing some geological investigation. The panoramic beauty of the place was mesmerising. From atop the hillock, she saw the picturesque yellow mustard fields stretching for miles. The vehicle looked like a match box from her vantage point. It was a lovely picnic spot with a shady tree right at the centre of the plateau-top hill.
After some preliminary checking was done, the team walked over to the next hillock but so besotted was she with the first hillock that she just sat there, singing loudly to her heart’s content. While she felt blissful and was lost in the quite serenity of the moment, she suddenly felt a gust of wind on her face. A giant vulture, almost her size, about 5 feet tall landed just about 10 feet away. It eyed her with curiosity, as she turned pale with fright. Within seconds a wake of vultures, around 50 to 60 of them, landed behind the leader. Every eye on her.
“I had just watched Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and could not imagine living that in reality.” She frantically started uttering god’s name and suddenly remembered her father’s advice: “If ever confronted by wild animals, never show your nervousness; stare at them instead and hold your ground.” Ms Chaudhuri folded her arms like Swami Vivekananda and looked steadily at the eye of the vulture leader.
“I counted 10 and walked towards them and they started moving back. Then, I thought of going back 10 steps without looking back, as inattention even for a fraction of a second could be fatal. The vultures would make a feast of me. The moment I started walking back, they started moving towards me. I lost count of how many times I repeated the exercise till there came a sudden shout from the opposite hillock.
Oh, the welcome voices of the porters! They were shouting out to each other in the local language; their voices reverberating in the hills. They might have spotted what was happening on my hillock. Their echoes seemed to have frightened the vultures and within seconds they flew back in another gust of wind. There was no trace of them. I sat there, completely exhausted, my heart racing, my body drenched in perspiration. I was conscious all along but felt as if I had blanked out. The porters rushed to my rescue. They offered me water and comforted me, "You have been saved from those ferocious vultures by god’s grace," they said. Memories of the near-death experience gives me chills even today, for not everyone has a chance to star in a Hitchcock movie.

(As narrated to Support Elders by our member.)