A powerful yellow light and the reverberating sound of rumbling on the ground announced the arrival of the Dumdum-bound train. Oindrilla felt the thick waft of breeze as the train rushed in into the platform of Kalighat Metro Station. Being of petite frame, Oindrilla had to struggle through the sea of crowd as the automatic gates of the train slid open. Somehow, she pushed herself inside before the train zoomed forward.
The train was filled with weird-looking passengers. Oindrilla stood by the train, unable to find a vacant seat. She turned sideways and her glance fell on an old man standing behind her. He was staring right at her. For a moment, Oindrilla met his glance. His face, she noticed, was covered in red boils, as if someone had poured acid over it. His look reminded her of a man she had seen in a horror film. It was nauseating to look at him. She looked away. But the fact that his cold eyes were fixed on her did not do anything to ease her discomfort. She turned her back to him, making a slight shift in her position.
Her eyes inadvertently fell on a grumpy-looking lady who was seated nearby. The lady had a mole on her nose and was staring at Oindrilla with a transfixed gaze. Oindrilla whirled and scanned her surroundings. It felt oddly queer as she discovered that every single eye was fixed on her. They were all watching her keenly as if she were an actress performing on a stage. Their faces looked stern and unfriendly. There was an accusatory look in their eyes which sent a shiver down her spine.
Oindrilla allowed her thoughts to stray elsewhere. Turning her back on them, she turned to face the door. There was a glass panel on the door. As she looked at it, her reflection stared back at her. Oindrilla gazed at her own reflection. It rightly showed her her pointed nose and her thick crop of curly hair. But as she looked at it, she saw red boils growing over her face. Her reflection was turning into a grotesque and horrible figure. She was startled. Instinctively, her hand went to her face to examine its features. Her fingers ran over her face but could not trace boils or any other abnormality. But what was horrifying was that her reflection on the glass paneled door was standing still. It did not raise its hand. Moreover, it was still sporting repulsive boils that had grown so dense now that they seemed to be covering her entire face.
Oindrilla looked in horror at her reflection. And then, all of a sudden, without a warning, her reflection broke into a hysterical laughter. An ear-splitting sound of laughter was emanating from the glass as Oindrilla pressed her hands against her ears. The sound of her own laughter began to echo inside her head. It became louder and filled her lungs. The sound buzzed inside her body and seemed to choke her from inside. Oindrilla shrieked. The sound of her shriek muffled the laughter of her reflection. And before she knew, the laughter died away.
Oindrilla turned to take a look at her co-passengers. The old man with the boils had disappeared. The grumpy lady with the mole had disappeared. Instead, she found herself staring at hundreds of pale, translucent figures floating in the air. To her horror, she realized that they were spirits. All the spirits had their translucent eyes fixed on her. Oindrilla looked outside with a suddenness. Stone pillars were hurrying away as the train sped past. And then she realized with a jolt that the train hadn’t stopped at the next station. It was speeding on. Her eyes fell on her reflection on the glass panel and she saw her own self as a pale, translucent figure. A blood-curdling shriek emanated from her lips as she closed her eyes. Moments later, she opened her eyes and found herself on her bed. She sat up and smiled in relief. It was just a nightmare though a scary one. As she rose, her eyes fell on the mirror of the dressing table. A pale, translucent figure looked back at her. It was her own reflection……