My mom used to tell us scary stories, stories of old houses, old storerooms, untouched jungles, far away villages, graveyards etc, full of horror but with a good lesson in end. The main purpose of her stories was to make us brave and handle the situation by letting it go. Probably most of her stories were fictional but few true stories as well. She used to say this world is not only created for Human, but for Jins as well. All the creatures do their own work and never interfere. But there are few who interfere in your life.
May be someone interfered in mine as well, not really scary but something I witnessed. She said they make you scared to an extent that you bear the situation, or they won’t.
I am habitual of traveling alone, starting right from my grade 10 and still wandering. I was exploring the adjoining valleys of Gilgit City during summer 2009 and Yasin Valley was one of them.
It was a bright sunny day when I left Gilgit, though the clouds made it dark while I reached Gupis for lunch. Khan, my driver told me that the valley we are going to stay in is the native town of Havaldar Lalak Jan Shaahed, the first soldier from Northern Areas to receive Nishan-i-Haider.
The sun was about to set, there was no sign of any valley; the road was surrounded with huge dark mountains, and dark clouds above them added spice to the scene. It felt like a magical valley from some old fairy tale.
Suddenly mountains and the road opened up into a beautiful valley with far wide farm fields, people going back home and a small bazaar of Yasin Valley. We stopped by our Resthouse for tea known as Yasin Resthouse.
Khan told me that we should pay our visit to the rest place of Havaldar Lalik Jan before it gets dark. The valley was wide engulfed in between two big mountains. A bright sunshine behind dark clouds over the field made it a beautiful country side scene. I had a feeling that it’s going to rain. I took few shots of the place and then headed back to the rest house for dinner.
It was an old building resthouse, I can’t say the exact period but my room was huge with big walls and an only window behind my bed. I couldn’t figure what’s outside my window since it was dark. Two beds in the room had already made me uncomfortable since one was going to be unoccupied whole night. It was cold and the best remedy for me in cold is tea, so I had tea with Khan before going to bed. He left and I locked up the room.
Things didn’t seem well, or we can say it wasn’t like it should have been. But what it is to be like? I was wondering with that thought all night, having a feeling of fear, may be of being the only guest in this resthouse or of being the only person in his huge hall like room. The cause of my fear wasn’t something physical but it was aura of the place that felt different.
Anyhow, I slept peacefully with the name of Allah by the turning of the lights.
I don’t remember what time it was, I was feeling cold. It was silent outside and started to rain. I felt the presence of someone in my vicinity. That feeling woke me up but I didn’t open my eyes. It felt extreme cold, to an extent that didn’t let me open up my eyes. Of course that was just a feeling.
I gave myself another thought to sleep and forget all about it. I tried to sleep again but this time I felt something in real, the footsteps on fallen leaves outside like someone is literally walking with a slow pace in order to make me listen to each footstep. It was real and I am definitely sure that I was fully conscious and awake. Those footsteps really broke silence in the room. The window was right behind my bed but I never wanted to see outside.
Who was it? What was that sound? Who is outside my window and what is it doing that late? I thought of whatever question that came to my mind.
I again gave myself a thought to sleep and forget the whole scene but it kept on happening with continuous intervals.
I couldn’t sleep then, I had to stop this. I gave myself a thought that it’s an animal and let go back to sleep. May be I was just deviating my mind.
I turned on the lights, recited Ayatul Qursi (an ayah/verse from the Qur’an, in Surah Baqarah for protection).
My brother had taught me a lesson during childhood; to face things that scare you and it will vanish. That thought gave me courage to open the door to identify the cause. It was extreme dark and raining cats and dogs that didn’t allow me to go outside. I wish I had an umbrella!
The footsteps vanished and I slept, rain had washed away all dark clouds and the green fields turned back into the natural colors. The valley looked beautiful in morning.
I told the caretaker of resthouse and Khan about the incident. Both of them refused that they woke up in the night and went that way. The caretaker told me that there are no wild animals in this town and especially this resthouse has none due to its boundaries. It’s impossible.
Everything was fine for me, I wasn’t scared at all but there were some unanswered questions.
- Was the place haunted?
- Yes there were fallen leaves outside my window and someone walked on it. Who was it?
- If I was the only guest in resthouse that night, who could have walked in slow pace outside my window? Who?
- Why would someone walk outside my window during Rain?
- The leaves made a crunchy sound with each footstep, why didn’t it get soak in rain?
I will always take these questions with me and now I want to go back to the valley, stay in the same room and solve this unsolved mystery. I believed what my mom taught me; that there exist other creatures in this world that we can’t see and sometimes they do interfere, but never give you any harm.
Whatever it was, I had a beautiful day next morning, a visit to the nearby ruins of a fort and back to Gilgit City. May be that was one of my most memorable travels ever, and I may get more like this in future. Whatever it is, I won’t stop traveling.