I turned 13 today (an unlucky number by all accounts)……. my life for the last 3 years has been a series of doctors, medicines and FEAR………I have not celebrated my birthday in the last 3 years because I was too scared to meet people. No one could explain it. I had been such a friendly and happy go lucky child just 3 years back……..


I was about 10 years old, and my father forced me to go with him to the funeral of a cousin in another city that I had never met. I had a football match and really did not want to go but my father was insistent and I was left with no choice. I remember I insisted that I would wear my light blue football jersey to give my team support, long distance. It was a long 8-hour bus trip and I was tired and hungry when we reached the village. Since the procession had already reached the crematorium, we reached there immediately and my father went in, giving me instructions to stand near the gate in one corner. It was almost dusk and light was failing on this short winter day.


I stayed in a corner waiting for the time to pass quickly and for us to grab something to eat before we returned home. Then a man approached me and said: Enjoy life boy, be happy because time flies, look at me now, I didn’t enjoy it, he passed his hand over my head and left. I was only 10. So, what he said did not make a very big impact on me at that time. My father, before leaving, forced me to pay my respects to the dead person. So, when I approached the dead body, I was startled to see that it was the same man who had just passed his hand over my hand on his way out. Hadn’t he just been talking to me when I was in the corner??????


For this next 3 years, that had been my nightmare………. I was not able to sleep properly with the same repeated dream and doctors called it a psychological disorder. I was unable to sleep most nights and several other turmoils presented themselves in any dark place and I had to endure this throughout my adolescent years. I was terrified of being alone; I visited many psychologists and psychiatrists; I could not turn off the light and in general I was one petrified child.


But my mother put her foot down this time. She secretly believed that I had been possessed by some evil spirit there in the funeral that day. Some Maharaj had told her that if she fed our whole extended family on my 13th birthday, I would become alright again. So, our entire family from far and near were coming for a grand meal …. a lunch at my request, today on my 13th birthday. My favourite foods had been prepared and for once, I was looking forward to a meal with people. I once again wore my favourite blue , football jersey and was really happy……………………..That was till I saw HIM……..AGAIN…….


The man at the funeral was walking towards me with a gaily covered gift and he smiled so eerily, that I could literally feel my heart leap out of my body. I started shaking as he came closer and I started looking around me frantically for my parents to save me from this ghost of 3 years………


I did not know that 13-year-old children also got heart attacks and died but I was outside my body and looking at ME! I was holding someone’s hand and as I looked up, it was the man from the funeral! But the man from the funeral was also kneeling next to my dead body….so, how? ……..what was happening?…..


The man holding my hand whispered, I always hated my twin but he does look dapper today, right? I turned bluer than I already was when it dawned on me that, that kneeling idiot was the dead man’s twin brother and the reason I was no more…………………………