Keeper Of The Family Tree

As the tower clock on top of Maniktala Bazar chimed three at the nocturnal hour before dawn every morning, an ancient and wrinkled mysterious man was up and ready to perform his most unusual antic. Centenarian Jotayu Pakrashi was the last leaf in the Pakrashi family tree of the corner house at the intersection of Kalimuddin Lane and Canal West Road in the Bagmari area of the mystical Kolkata metropolis. While most in this Indian city of many mysteries still clung to their warm beddings, the archaic wraith-of-a-man performed the weirdest of rituals one could ever see.

A grey hooded cloak draped his body from head to toe, dropping to the floor around his bony frame, dragging itself on the ground completely concealing his feet, making one wonder whether he was walking or floating. Further, he advanced so slowly that it was nearly impossible to determine if he was moving with his legs or levitating and drifting.

Frail and thin bones covered in charcoal-black-crumpled-skin, with unkempt and jagged nails at the tip of his fingers coming out from the hollow of his grey robe sleeves was the only part of his body that anyone had ever seen. His face was always in the shadow of his robe hoodie.

He lived a completely self-sustained life, without any metered water or electricity. He never came out of the property, never went to the market, or socialised. The old man cultivated a weird variety of black rice in one corner of his creepy garden, and it seemed like that’s the only thing he ate to survive. A well at another corner of the garden provided water and candles made from beeswax of the massive beehives in the property provided light.

As the tower clock struck three, he came and stood under the old and leafless Ficus bengalensis tree in the middle of the unkempt and haunting garden courtyard of his dilapidated ancestral property. Forty earthen pots hung at different elevations from the fossil-like branches of the morbid Banyan tree.

With a deep wooden spoon attached to the end of a long and slender bamboo pole, Jotayu painstakingly dropped morsels of cooked black rice into each of the forty hanging pots, before murmuring a lengthy incantation and heading back into the dark bowels of his crumbling domicile.

“I tell you; he is no man. The old goat is a demon or a djin,” softly spoke Poncha, as he sipped steaming milk tea from a crooked single-use earthen cup, sitting along with his gang of local hoodlums at Robi Da’s tea stall bang opposite the collapsing house of Jotayu Pakrashi. The tower clock on top of Maniktala Bazar chimed twelve times, announcing midday, the hour for the band of ruffians to prepare and smoke their quota of afternoon weed.

“Well, you might be right Poncha Da. How is it that the old geezer simply won’t die? How old do you think he is? Hundred and ten, fifteen?” quickly responded Bhuto, one of Poncha Da’s trusted goons, while blowing a thick column of smoke from an earthen Chillum, which he passed on to his next in line ruffian buddy.

“Whatever the case, we need to remove him from the place by the month’s end. Minister Gangoolee has given me the ultimatum. Either we do it, or he would remove the old man from his property himself,” regrettably muttered Poncha, chucking away the empty earthen teacup into the black and murky waters of the stinky and stagnant canal that cut across the city.

Orijit Gangoolee was the local MLA or Member of Legislative Assembly, an elected representative of the voters of the region, an important clog in the State Government machinery. Along with gaining significant political clout, minister Gangoolee had risen through the rungs of corruption and criminality to establish a lawless and profiteering real estate business. He had been a hardcore street criminal in his youth. They say he had even choked a few throats and floated the bodies in the Bagmari canal in his more violent days.

The man had the largest palms anyone had ever seen. Two of his thumbs were missing though. No one knew how he lost them, he did not like to talk about it. The killer-minister had only eight digits. They were perhaps the plumpest of fingers anyone had ever seen and were enough to squeeze the throat of any man to kill him. Many believed Gangoolee still killed occasionally. He certainly did not need to do it himself, as he had his band of goons to do such things, but then perhaps he was simply addicted to it.

Gangoolee, along with assistance from Poncha and his gang, had been forcibly acquiring property after property at throwaway prices in the region to promote housing complexes and other lucrative buildings. He always had an eye for the Pakrashi mansion, however, till now, Poncha and his hoodlums were unable to convince the old man Jotayu to sell the place. For that matter, they had not even spoken with the man once. They were too scared to even enter his property. They said there was something very unearthly about it.

A month passed by. Every day Poncha and his band of ruffians stood in front of the Pakrashi mansion, sometimes calling out the old man, sometimes cursing and threatening aloud, sometimes throwing sticks and stones into the garden, but never managing to gain an audience with Jatatu Pakrashi. They would not enter the compound as they were too scared to do it.

“You buffoons are useless. Doesn’t the old man come out to the garden at three in the morning? At that nocturnal hour, the whole locality is usually sleeping. It’s the perfect time to confront him. Tomorrow at dawn, I will personally meet Jotayu. Convince him to hand over the property or choke him to death and throw his body in the canal myself,” coldly spoke Gangoolee while sipping his favourite single malt from a tulip-shaped crystal chalice. Poncha and his goons sat around the table listening to their master’s murderous scheme.

Next morning just before dawn, at fifteen minutes after three, killer-minister Gangoolee and Poncha and his goons were at the gates of villa Pakrashi. By that time, Jotayu was already in the middle of his eerie ritual. He had just finished dropping rice into the last of the forty hanging pots and started his bone-chilling incantation.

All eager to barge in and confront the hypnotic Centenarian, somehow Gangoolee could not enter the property. Somehow, he froze right in front of the gate. Ponca and his goons were many steps behind. They were ducking under the cold cinder of Robi Da’s tea stall bang opposite the collapsing house of Jotayu Pakrashi.

As Jotayu’s ritual ended, the hypnotic freeze of the place also broke. Gangoolee found back his voice and courage. “Let me in old man, I want to talk with you,” shouted the killer-minister in a stern voice. “The gate is not locked, you simply have to slide the bolt to enter,” spoke up Jotayu. It was perhaps the first time anyone had heard him speak.

Gangoolee slid the wrought iron bolt on the ancient gate and was about the step into the garden. “Well young man, do remember that if you enter, you will have to take charge of the place,” said the hooded Jotayu. Not believing what he just heard Gangoolee paused for a moment before smiling and saying, “You see old man, that’s exactly what I want to do. Relieve you of your duties forever and own the property.”

Pushing the gate wide open, brimming with confidence, the killer-minister Orijit Gangoolee entered the mysterious villa Pakrashi. He came and stood in front of the hooded man under the morbid Banyan tree.

“Do you see this Banyan? It is my family tree. These forty pots are for my forty ancestors and relatives who lived in this place before me. When I die, there would be a pot too for me hanging from this tree. Come, let’s go inside and discuss the handover in detail,” saying this, the old man and the killer-minister walked into the crumbling mansion, while Poncha and his goons saw from a distance – their master and the archaic centenarian vanish into the darkness of the haunting property.

An hour passed by, and slowly dawn shifted to morning. People got up from their slumber and came out on the streets. Robi Da arrived and opened his tea stall. Other shops too came to life, and another typical day on the Western banks of the Bagmari Canal slowly unfolded in the metropolis, but without any sign of minister Gangoolee.

Poncha and his goons restlessly moved outside the Pakrashi villa. That day they did not have a single cup of tea. Neither did they smoke their usual quota of afternoon weed. Nor did they gulp booze in the evening. They were too scared to enter the chilling property. The day simply did not seem to pass.

Finally, after the lengthiest and most restless twenty-four hours of wait and anxiety, they saw the main wooden door of the Pakrashi Mansion open as the tower clock on top of Maniktala Bazar chimed three at the nocturnal hour before dawn the next morning.

From the house came out the slow-moving man, covered in his grey hooded cloak and stopped under the morbid Banyan tree. Poncha and his goons now intricately observed everything the man did. They were too scared to go any close but had to see what was happening. One spoon after the other, the man dropped morsels of black rice into the hanging pots before murmuring his usual and lengthy incantation and turning around to head back into the dark bowels of his crumbling domicile.

“Wait a minute, how many pots do you guys count,” softly blurted out Poncha to his crew. “It is the fifth time that I too have counted. Forty-one pots are hanging from the Banyan Tree,” whispered Bhuto, all trembling.

As the man moved away from the morbid Ficus bengalensis and turned the knob on the ancient wooden door of his mansion to enter his domicile, Poncha and his goons had a clear look at his hands coming out from the hollow of his grey robe sleeves. He no longer had frail and thin charcoal-black-crumpled-skin covered fingers with unkempt and jagged nails but had the largest palms that anyone anywhere could have ever seen, with eight plump digits and two thumbs missing.

Keeper Of The Family Tree


Copyright © 2022 TRISHIKH DASGUPTA

This work of fiction, written by Trishikh Dasgupta is the author’s sole intellectual property. Some characters, incidents, places, and facts may be real while some fictitious. All rights are reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including printing, photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, send an email to the author at trishikh@gmail.com or get in touch with Trishikh on the CONTACT page of this website.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trishikh

Trishikh Dasgupta

Adventurer, philosopher, writer, painter, photographer, craftsman, innovator, or just a momentary speck in the universe flickering to leave behind a footprint on the sands of time..READ MORE

93 Comments Add yours

  1. Even though I had a strong feeling something weird was going to happen, I was gratified and a little surprised that the goon got what he deserved and was chosen to fulfill the ritual created just for him. Maybe your story points out that we all have to fulfill our destiny. It was certainly thought-provoking. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Wow! What a beautiful analysis. I am really thankful to you for it. Treasure your comment. You are right when you say “we all have to fulfill our destiny.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Spooky..slightly scary feeling…and ghostly ……😇, your writing words are so descriptive 👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. So glad that you find my descriptions appealing. Am really happy that you liked the story.

      Like

  3. swadharma9 says:

    wonderful story! i always look forward to your sharing, in particular because of the strong underlying heartfulness that i always find to be uplifting: good medicine!🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      My pleasure to be able to bring forth these stories that gives joy to all my friends. It is a great gift and blessing from God, that I intend to share with the world. Thank you so much for supporting and always encouraging me with your words of appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. gabychops says:

    This is a fascinating tale, Trishikh! Again, it is such a page-turner that I forgot the time and visitors coming! Thank you!

    Joanna

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Joanna, that’s a big compliment to this little tale of mine. Always look forward to your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. gabychops says:

        You are more than welcome!

        Joanna

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Apoorbo dada 👏👏

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Dhonnobad. Thank you so much for liking the story.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Bob, nothing gives me more joy than a bit of appreciation.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. saphilopes says:

      Rice is highly respected in our family. It grows in hard labor and water. My family had some sort of belief and idea that grains of rice would protect us. Maybe he has the same belief. Any form of resistance is fine.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Trishikh says:

        I also think Rice is a very precious thing. There are so many varieties of it, and its perhaps the most consumed food in the world. Rice is auspicious I too agree on this.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. katelon says:

    Wonderful story. I loved the suspense, and as “Time Traveler” pointed out, the corrupt politician got what he deserved.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Katelon for always liking and commenting on my stories. It gives me great joy to be able to write a good story for my friends to enjoy. Appreciation is my greatest reward.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Always look forward to my stories being promoted in your blog Ned. You have been a great and true friend. Can’t thank you enough.

      Like

  7. Jyothi says:

    Yup.. wonderful story!! Great sharing! Thanks Trishikh!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Jyoti. Always a pleasure to receive your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh yes, after having accumulated wealth to a great extent, the moment will arrive when asking for more is to daring fate with the most unexpected surprises to follow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      You are right, I did not think of it that way. Now, I see and complete agree, that this essence has come out very starking in the story. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. They always add value to my stories and gives me more to think.

      Like

  9. elvira797mx says:

    Amazing, so interesting story, I felt for a moment my breath was gone. I love it. Thanks for share Trishikh.
    Elvira

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      My great pleasure Elvira to have been able to write this story. Thank you so much, your words gives me great encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. elvira797mx says:

        You are welcome Trishikh. Thanks for your kindness, I am glad to know it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        The pleasure is equally mine.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. elvira797mx says:

        Thanks for your support.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much sir. Your appreciation always gives me great joy.

      Like

  10. Debashis Bhattacharjee says:

    What a climax! I was expecting as I reached the tail but the last few lines took my breath away. Fantastic fish.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Debashis. Always treasure your appreciation. So happy that you liked the climax.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you very much for your goose pimple provoking story!:) Fortunately there are still some centenarians around, who make us think.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      So glad that you liked the story Martina. Thank you for the lovely comment. I am so happy that you the tale goose bump inducing. Yes fortunately there ar centenarians around. There will be more in the future I think.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. vaniheart says:

    Wow 👌 👏 amazing one 😍 👏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Arpita Banerjee says:

    Your stories never fail to surprise me!! An excellent one I must say ☺️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Always a pleasure to receive your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Lokesh Sastya says:

    You almost scared me!
    Believe it or not, if this story was presented in the visual form, I would have never completed it. “I fear ghosts”.
    A lot of people have already reviewed the story, and I too have similar thoughts.
    You know, this time, I have easily caught the flow of the story from beginning to end. I was observing the words you’re using, the way you’re telling the story and THE CLEVER END.
    Today I have some suggestions for improvements —You have misspelt the character names two times in the story. I’m sending you the screenshots. Please check.
    Thank you so much for the amazing story, Trishikh.😊

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Dear Lokesh thank you so much for this lovely comment. So glad that the story gave you chill. Since you have been following and reading my stories from so long, you will many a times understand what I am writing, the plot, and other aspects of writing. It happens when we constantly read someone, we are able to connect more and predict better. Thanks for pointing out the mistakes, I really appreciate it. I will check it and change it.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. preetverse says:

    Very interesting story☺

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much. Your appreciation gives me great joy.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. preetverse says:

    It really has a magical vibes which can make readers attached to it. This story is awesome. Thank you sharing☺🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Glad that you think so. So happy to hear it – after all any story can do with a little bit of magic.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. preetverse says:

        Sir, I’ve read some other Stories of yours. And I think you are awesome. ☺

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Trishikh says:

        Thank you Preet, glad that you think so.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Awesome story! It kept me hooked from the beginning till the end.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      My pleasure Chitrangada. So glad that you liked the story. Always look forward to your comments.

      Liked by 3 people

  18. A truly classic tale! I imagine people recounting it around campfires for generations to come! A great story!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      So glad that you think so Patrick. To see people tell this story around campfires many many years from now, when I am no more, would really make writing these stories worthwhile. I am always indebted to you for your continuous appreciation.

      Liked by 3 people

  19. You are welcome for my comments, I always look forward to reading your posts! They are entertaining and thought-provoking.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      I am so glad for this.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. what a good-beats-evil story! The evil may win now and then, but the good will eventually prevail! The dissipation of that evil minister strengthens the good old man with his body parts: big palm hands, 8 digit……hahahaha….. So entertaining and educating! Love this mastery writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment. Yes, you are absolutely right – however, long it takes, Good will ultimately prevail over Evil.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Arun Singha says:

    Wonderful 😌
    I have gone through the post. Got the essence of the story. May it be a fictional. You have narrated so lively, that is the main thing, I felt as if I am watching a movie.
    You have an extraordinary capacity to express the message through your posts.
    I am very poor in English language. However I understood the message as well as the beauty of the fiction.
    Thank you so much for bringing such post which says the truth, but in very interesting way.
    I couldn’t express, how I enjoyed the post 😊
    Best regards 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Arun, your thoughtful and honest comment has greatly moved you. I am so happy that you loved the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Arun Singha says:

        Thank you so much. Really, I loved the story. In fact, this is a fact, not a story. Special credit goes to you for the style you have adopted to convey the facts. Alas! The story comes true with 41st number of Pot and the next 42nd pot where that goon will be put for endless time. Wonderful! Your message has moved me today!
        And I am Thankful to you Sir for liking my posts.
        Best regards!!🙏😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        My pleasure Arun’ji. Appreciation is something I really crave, if I may shamelessly confess.

        Like

      3. Arun Singha says:

        Thank you so much Trishikh ji.
        I do like appreciation too. That gives me support and encouragement to write more, express more.
        I am more happy when I get some suggestions.
        Regards 😊🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Trishikh says:

        The Blogging Community is really a blessing in this matter.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. KK says:

    The build up of characters of both Jotayu and Orijit are awesome and I liked the twist in the end, though a bit scary one. I can simply say about this story is that the destiny holds upper hand. One more captivating story from you, Trishikh. Well done 👍💐💐

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Was looking forward to your comment KK. So happy that you like the build up of the characters. Yes the story was intended to be a bit scary, but not too much to scare off the non-ghost-story readers. Thank you for being a constant encouragement to my writing efforts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. KK says:

        Sorry for delay in our comment. In fact sometimes I don’t get notifications for your post in my reader section. Anyway your story writing is superb and needs to be complimented. All the best, my friend. It’s truly my pleasure to read your stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        No worries KK, my stories are going no where. I know that whenever it comes to your notice, you will react to it. Am so glad to have found you as a friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. KK says:

        This is mutual, my friend. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. mcurry09 says:

    Another great story. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Always a pleasure Marthe. Treasure your constant support to my writing efforts.

      Like

  24. A wonderfully eerie story! Thank you!

    Like

    1. Trishikh says:

      Dear Dawn, it’s so nice to hear from you. Your comments always brings great glee to me. Yes! This Story was on the eerie side. The next one will be more emotional, I think. Am writing it right now. Have just written around 200 words. Hopefully it would be ready by this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I check every week and am always happy when you post a new story. Thank you, Trishikh!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Trishikh says:

        I treasure our interactions. So happy for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you, I do, too. Happy writing!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. A very different and thrilling story. As another commentor said, pushing one’s luck too much because of greed can bring surprising outcome. Somehow we see the outcome, but we don’t really know what happened, do we? Why would a hardened criminal like that agree to do the ritual? I find that expecially eerie. Well done!

    Also interesting that the less greedy younger men had more sense or maybe instinct …

    Like

    1. Trishikh says:

      Dear Stella, I must thank you for your thoughtful comment on my story. You really soaked in the plot, thought about the story and it’s hidden messages deeply, and commented. I absolutely agree with the points that you have made. To add to your thought, I think fear kept the lesser criminals alive.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I am not much fan of stories but cam here ut f curiosity as I am from Kolkata and the names of places in your stories are so familier, and got hooked.
    It’s wow story. You so successfully have created a eerie scene which a reader can very well almost visualise.
    BTW, why use the botanical name Ficus bengalensis? Frankly had I not stopped at the first mention I would have understood that it means a Banyan but I Googled it before reading further! 🙂
    Loved it. WIll be reading more of your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Dear Ravindra’ji,

      Reading your comment early in the morning gives me great joy. Since I do not gain anything financially out of writing stories, my reward is when someone like you reads, enjoys, and comments back. I am sincerely thankful to you for that.

      Yes you are right, lot of my stories are connected to Bengal and Kolkata too, since I was born and brought on the lovely city too.

      As for the scientific name of the Banyan tree – I always try to share a bit of knowledge, history, geography, and new words through my stories. I not only want to share the experience of reading a good story, but want my readers to go back with a little bit of newfound knowledge.

      Do visit again, whenever you wish and read my other stories as well, I am sure you would love many of them. Start from my first story ‘Fish n Rice’, not many have read it, but I personally feel it’s one of my best.

      Click to read ‘Fish n Rice’ : https://storynookonline.com/2020/08/02/the-journey-begins/

      Like

  27. Fantastic story! Karma catches up with everyone. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Very true, we would have to pay for our deeds. There is no escaping it.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. bernard25 says:

    https://i.postimg.cc/63gxSH0r/mardi-135.jpg
    Bonjour
    Mon petit passage du jour pour venir te dire bonjour, j y dépose ma petite image pleine de bonheur pour réchauffer ton cœur pour passer une agréable journée…
    Amitié bise Bernard

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Dear Bernard, I have approved two of your pictures on two of my posts, however, would like to let you know, that I only allow comments that are directly related to the particular story.

      Like

  29. craig lock says:

    Reblogged this on Craig’s Books.

    Like

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Craig for promoting this story of mine.

      Like

  30. Walking at 3 in the morning, sliding gate, and counting and recounting of pots…such twist in the story – you are an engaging writer Trishikh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much for always coming back to my stories, and enjoying them. You honour me much dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. I so much enjoyed the eerie feel that comes with this story Trishikh. A beautiful write as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Emmanuel. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Trishikh says:

      Thank you so much Verma’ji.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s