Tuesday, July 2, 2013

THE GRAVE WHERE I SLEPT

Believe me or not, but the truth is I grew up in my childhood sleeping on these graves !
No...you got it wrong ! Of course I had my parent's house to sleep at night but during the hot summer afternoons, specially after an exhausting game of cricket or football with my neighboring kids, we often took resort on these graves simply because the expensive Italian marbles on them provided much relief to our tired body.

But most of those marbles are unfortunately missing now from the place- probably destroyed by time.


This 19th century British cemetery is located near the house where I grew up in Golaghat, a small town in Assam. Most of the graves belongs to erstwhile British tea- planters from neighboring areas and political agents of the nearby Naga Hills.
I took these pictures when I last visited the town  a few years back, but I have heard that the local administrators have recently declared this - a place of HERITAGE. The place has now been restored. I heard they have even constructed concrete pavements & planted flowering plants, they have restored the boundary walls & rebuilt the large entry gate too.


But the place I knew from my childhood   was a cricket & football ground for me. We ran between those ruined marble graves, hit sixes & fours over them and  scored goals between them.Specially those two marble graves at each end of the ground stood as two goal posts for us. And we cheered with our every victory without much realizing that our spectators too were none but those silent graves.

It wasn't, that the place didn't have a care-taker. It always had a care-taker. Five generations of a Muslim family have been taking care of this unattended historical place. But they always had their limitations. They were paid meagerly by an uninterested trust. 

During my childhood days, the care taker of the yard was a little more than a  child himself, only some years older to us. The burden fell on him after his father died. So, he didn't stop us from making this yard our favorite playground, rather he became one 
of our players, our finest leg spinner !

In my childhood I have also heard few myths about  this graveyard. Many people, including my sister, claimed to have seen the ghost of a young British girl in a red frock. Another man  once claimed that he had seen a white horse one night, suddenly disappearing as he approached near. I have heard that there is also a grave of a large elephant there. Probably someone might have seen the ghost of the elephant too. But I have never seen any ghosts from  any of these graves although I slept over them many a times. Only each time I felt embraced by their invisible existence.

Please follow this link for further reading http://www.koi-hai.com/Default.aspx?id=574607

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