Highway 49

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

"You're sure you're not scared ? They say the highway between BC Road and GM Conservatory is haunted." The two men who'd just got into his car asked.
"Really ?"

6 months ago. 

"Beta. I don't think it's a good idea."
Ramesh looked at the old man sitting next to him in his Ambassador for a second, then turned his attention back to the rearview mirror and the woman slowly approaching them. The old man must have noticed his expressions because his tone changed immediately.
"Nahi... what I meant is we don't know this girl at all. What is she doing in the middle of this highway ? You read lots of things in the paper these days.. you just can't be sure anymore. She could be part of a gang to rob people by getting them to stop for her."
Ramesh : Look at her. You really think she's a robber ? She must weigh 50 kgs at the most. And there's noone around. Besides, you didn't have any issues about hitchhikers when I picked you up 3 hours ago, Mr Srinivas.
Srinivas : But beta, I am 55 years old. What harm can I do ? And I entered your vehicle from town,not a jungle. She looks scary. Look at her walking so slowly in the dark towards us... your taillights giving her a fiery look... Listen at those dogs howling in the night.
She came up to them, opened the door and got in the backseat. Both men stared at her from the rearview mirror.

Up close, she looked strikingly beautiful, wrapped in a thick shawl, her wet hair glistening off the various reflections of light within the car. Srinivas leant forward and whispered to Ramesh "It's just like in the movies. A beautiful woman walking alone at night in a lonely highway... I'm telling you there's something not right."
Ramesh : Arre, stop it !! Simply trying to scare people. Thank God she's not wearing a ...
But he didn't get a chance to complete his thought as the girl unwrapped the shawl around her and started drying her hair. Both men stared at the pristine white sari, then back at each other. Ramesh gulped.

Srinivas : Beti. How come you are alone so late at night over here ?
The girl continued drying her hair, but her eyes now fixated on Srinivas through the rearview mirror.
Girl : I and my husband were on our way back from a function and our car broke down. He's up ahead. We'd just had an argument and I kept walking. I didn't realise how late it was till it started raining. Could you give me a lift to him ?
Ramesh : Sure. I'm Ramesh and this is Mr Srinivas. by the way.
Girl : I'm Meenakshi. Meenu, for short.

As Ramesh started the car, Srinivas found himself staring at the woman. To him, it seemed like her eyes were fixed on him through the mirror. Her smile was inviting, but not necessarily in a good way. It was a smile that promised to reveal secrets, but were they secrets you'd want to hear, he wondered ?

If Ramesh noticed Mr Srinivas's nervousness, he appeared unfazed by it.
Ramesh : You know, you're really beautiful. If I were your husband, I'd never have gotten into a fight with you ever or let you walk away like that without coming running for you.
Meenu smiled again."That's so sweet of you. But all men are like that only. They say one thing in the beginning, but later on, they all don't care. They treat us like trophies to be put on a shelf. Nahi, Mr Srinivas ?
Srinivas felt the hair on his hands stand. Suddenly, the car seemed extremely cold. He leaned forward to turn off the air conditioner, only to find it was already off. He looked back at Meenu through the mirror. Again, those eyes.

Srinivas turned to Ramesh and whispered "I'm not kidding. She's scaring me."
Ramesh : Keep quiet. Nonsense.
Meenu leaned forward, her face peering in between them. "What are you boys talking about ?"
Ramesh : Nothing, ji. We were just saying, you looked really familiar. Are you a famous celebrity or something ?
Meenu giggled. "Of course. I'm Aishwarya Rai, na ? You guys have such cheesy dialogues while flirting, I swear. Does it ever work ?"
Ramesh smiled. "It worked once for me. Fooled the girl into marriage too."
Meenu : Wow ! Really. She must be really dumb to fall for that line.
Ramesh : She was. Hehe..
Srinivas watched this banter in amazement. "What a generation this is. Both are married and flirting with total strangers. Chee Chee. Luckily, my Sandhya's grown up to be a model girl. Tomorrow, at this time, I'll be at her wedding watching her become Anil's wife."

Srinivas absent-mindedly turned his attention back to the rearview mirror. As they crossed a turn, the streetlights fell on Meenu's face and it took him a second to register what he saw. He turned around and stared at her.She smiled at him. As they passed the next streetlight, Srinivas saw her face directly for the first time. Her eyes, like her sari, were pristine white.

He caught hold of Ramesh's shoulder tightly.
Ramesh winced in pain. "What's wrong with you, old man ?"
Srinivas : She's..she's... she's not alive.
Ramesh : Stop it. You're embarrassing yourself.
Srinivas : Listen to me, boy. She's already dead. Can't you feel the chill in here..
Ramesh : The AC..
Srinivas : IS OFF !! The howling dogs when we stopped..
Ramesh : It's a full moon night.
Ramesh turned around and looked at Meenu. "I'm really sorry. I don't really know him. Don't feel bad."

Meenu smiled scornfully. Her white irises sparkled back at them. Ramesh yelped and hit the brakes. The car screeched to a halt. All around them, the trees swayed with the heavy rains.
Ramesh : Shit ! Shit !
Meenu : It's people like you who trap women with your lines and destroy their lives forever. Players...Khiladis. Today, I will rid the world of one more..
Ramesh : ABEY CHUP KAR !! Shut up, yaar.
Srinivas and Meenu stared at him.
Ramesh : What the hell yaar. How did this happen ?
Srinivas : What..what are you doing ?
Ramesh : Shut up, you geezer.
He turned to Meenu.

Ramesh : "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE !?! THIS IS MY REGION ! I DIED HERE ! I get to haunt this section. You can't just waltz in here and start haunting whichever place you feel like. Baap ka maal thode hi hey."
Meenu and Srinivas watched as the blacks of his iris turned white; Srinivas in shock, Meenu in amazement.
Meenu and Ramesh stared at each other. All of a sudden, Meenu burst out laughing.
Meenu : This is hilarious. Oh My God. I'm so sorry yaar. I usually haunt the forest area off Highway 26. But now because the roads are so bad, nobody comes by that way. So I figured I'd try my luck elsewhere. I had no idea this highway was already booked. I'm so sorry, man.
Ramesh : It's ok. I've only just come here a few months back. I pick up strays who need a lift and then ..well, you know the rest.
Meenu : Achaa.. mine is the old 'white lady in the rain' technique. Arrey, you won't believe how effective it still is.
Ramesh : Always a horny man thinking he's gonna get some, eh ?
Meenu : I know..
Ramesh : Still, this must be the first time a ghost was trying to scare another ghost..haha.
Meenu : Chalo. Atleast we have something to do for the night.

She turned her gaze towards Mr Srinivas who was still staring in shock at her.
Ramesh : Ya. I guess we'll have to share him now. So how do you wanna go, old man ? The lady or the driver ?
Srinivas turned towards him. Ramesh bared his teeth, revealing pointed canines that surely weren't there earlier. Srinivas looked at the two companions of this car ride, then slowly started to smile.
Ramesh and Meenu stared open mouthed at him as Srinivas's eyes too turned a familiar shade of white.
Srinivas : Bachoo, Jis school mein tum log padte ho, nah....udhar ka Principal Tuition leta mere se. For 15 years, I've been doing this. I'm on my way to Delhi to attend my grandchild's wedding. I just thought I'd pick up a driver along the way for some fun.
The three of them stared at each other... then burst out laughing. It was going to be a fun ride after all.

Present day

"You're sure you're not scared ? They say the highway between BC Road and GM Conservatory is haunted." The two men who'd just got into his car asked him.

"Really ? I don't believe in all that. Besides, we have nothing to worry about. We'll be picking up a couple of my friends along the way." Ramesh said with a smile. "Strap on your seatbelts, boys. We wouldn't want you to get hurt now, would we ?"

Post a Comment


Let me know what you think.

  1. Hehe...bhooton ki comedy...nyyyyce:-)
    And we have a new Ramsey Roshan now :-)

  2. Thanks...was aiming for something different..

  3. funny ..first I thought this lady character looks like from movie "Woh kon thi".. but those white eyes.. and then another ghost kinda scary.. I usually avoid travelling at night..

  4. Its amazing how you come up with such amazing creative ideas ! Awesome ! Totally envy u !

  5. Harman, Anita... I wanted to do a horror story first..then as I started writing, kept thinking how to make a twist from the normal stories we see ..finally ended up with this :)

    Riyaz, thanks man :) kameenapan abhi bhi hai mujhme !!

  6. i dont know what to say.......amazing post :) :)

  7. very confusing to me:)

  8. From text book horror to hilarious comedy!!!! Amazing!!!!

  9. Renu, awwww , really !! I tried to make it pretty simple... couldnt make it more concise without letting out some elements of the story.

    Rohan, thanks man... that was exactly what i was aiming for.

  10. Surpassed urself this time....an engrossing horro-medy!! :-) gud one Rosh!

  11. Thanks Shalini..I really liked it myself :)

Post a Comment