Believe it or not: All that glitters are not gold!

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[Jawed Khurshid]

It is yet another strange but hair-raising incident that happened in a small town of Bihar – Bhagalpur , far back in forties. A student of a local college, on one unfortunate day, had left the movie theatre after watching the night show and was on his way on shank’s pony to his house in the dead of a night.
Ghostly trap?

As he was passing through the middle of the mango orchard he saw something glistening there. A mixed feeling of joy and fear overwhelmed him. But the joy for having discovered an abandoned treasure had overcome the fear of ghostly trap and he decided to get it before other could notice it. Spontaneously, his body gave a jerk and he moved towards the shining object.

Carcass of a human hand!

An unknown feeling of joy had put him on cloud nine. As he drew closer and approached the place where it was lying he was astounded to find that the thing which was shining brightly was not gold but carcass of a human hand – all bones and no flesh. The fear-stricken boy screamed out in terror. He swiftly galloped away from the place and ran fast on the bushy lane to be fortunate enough to hear the tap-tap sound of a Tonga driven by a horse from the rear. As it came closer, the boy without thinking for a second jumped on it – shivering and profusely sweating with fear. The kochwan (driver) asked about the reason for his nervous state. He mumbled everything before him.

“Babu is tereh ka haanth tha kya?”

When he reached his place and was about to pay the fare, the kochwan spread his hand out and asked, “Babu is tereh ka haanth tha kya?” (Sir, was that hand resembled mine?). Lo! The boy saw the same skeletal hand being spread before him and an enigmatic smile spread across kochwan’s face which looked more ominous in the dim light. With a shriek the boy threw the coins at him and ran towards his house. Puffing and panting, any how he reached his house where he was staying with his old aunt.

“Is the hand like this, son?

She showed concern and asked about his fear. The boy narrated everything before her. The aunt jocularly asked, “Beta, is the hand which you saw resembled mine? She said by moving her hand towards him. Behold! The boy experienced the same bony hand and without uttering a word died.
Believe it or not but the people here believe this, which had forced the then collector to put ban on night shows in the town. The ban continued for many years even after independence and was lifted only in mid-sixties.

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