Tag Archives: evil eye

BOOK CORNER: THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE TELL-TALE HEART

By Edgar Allan Poe

    The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in 1843 and is relayed by an unnamed narrator who endeavours to convince the reader of his sanity while simultaneously describing a murder he committed. You could call it self-confession. Since then, some movies have also been made on this particular theme.

    There are only five characters in the story. The narrator, the old man and the three policemen. To me the story appears to be a horror. The entire narration is in first person. Where, the narrator stays with the old man in the same house and is apparently quite fond of him and that also makes him quite friendly. But then an eye of the old man keeps irritating and scaring the narrator who feels it is a ‘devil’s eye’ each time he sees it. He feels the eye has a yellow film because of which it looks like an ‘evil’s eye’ or one could say a ‘vulture’s eye.’

    Even when the narrator is quite friendly with the old man, but whenever he sees that ‘evil eye’ something happens to him. One could call it ‘over acuteness of the senses.’ Upon seeing the eye, he becomes very aggressive and loses his cool. So, one day he decides to murder the old man just to get rid of the ‘evil eye’—you can call it a Nazi’s solution. During Hitler’s time. Nazi’s pursued this methodology of liquidating anything they didn’t like. And that reminds me of the many Jews they had liquidated.

    The narrator soon starts planning for the murder. Consequent to which he enters the chamber of the old man on seven nights. But on seeing the him fast asleep with his eyes closed he goes back. Because he reacts only when he sees the ‘vulture eye.’ The narrator each day carries a lantern along with him. The lantern is covered with a black paper all around. Except for a slit that is kept open and from that, a ray of light almost like a torch beam falls on the face of the old man.

    On the eight night when he enters the old man’s room. He finally finds the evil eye of the old man open. This is when he loses his temper and shrieks out of anger. He then pulls the old man down and overturns the bed on to him and suffocates him to death. But before the death when the narrator enters the room his lantern slips out of his hand and makes a sound and with that the old man gets up.  He looks around for the noise but is unable to find it. And because of the minor mishap the narrator stands still in a corner, so that he doesn’t get noticed. And while standing there in that pin drop silence he listens to the heartbeat of the old man. After, sometime, when the old man decides to go back to sleep he goes close to him when he finds the old man lying maybe half asleep with his evil eye open and this is when he gets enraged and he attacks. After killing him. He dismembers his body and buries it beneath the floorboards of the chamber.

    Upon hearing the narrators scream the cops are informed perhaps by some neighbour. At 4 am in the morning three policemen enter the house to investigate. But by now the narrator has done away with the body. After which he places all the furniture on top of the floor planks so that no one suspects the location where the body is buried.

    The police come and start their interrogation. The narrator very smartly answers all the questions. He feels he is successful in befooling the policemen. And the policemen too, don’t suspect him. He tells them that he has not seen the old man for a couple of days now. Perhaps, he had gone out shopping or even to his village.

    But then things suddenly change when the narrator gets to hear the heart beat of the old man. Initially the beat is low but gradually it starts getting louder. Slowly, he begins to feel scared. Thinking that even the cops are hearing it. But in reality it is the ticking of his conscience that is making the sound and not the heartbeat of the dead old man. So the cops can’t hear it.

    And finally, when he is unable to take it anymore and is overwhelmed with the feeling that the cops are also hearing the heartbeat he screams and confesses. Yes, he has murdered the old man and hid the body below the floorboards.

    This is when he is arrested for the crime.

    Moral of the story: It is hard to carry the baggage of crime solo. Sooner or later, one needs to confess it.   

    I would give the story nine out of ten.

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Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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KULDHARA—JAISALMER: THE HAUNT REMAINS EVEN AFTER CENTURIES

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

    Ghost towns and villages have often held our attention. But simultaneously, they have also unleashed our imagination to some hair-raising and eerie trepidation. So, its character remains quite aloof, from the oppressive ruins of the rich and arrogant castles and fortresses. One such village, nests in Kuldhara. Located in the deep-seated, desert region of Western Rajasthan. Where, when, you stand under the hot striking sun. You might not get to see a single human form till the horizon. In all earnest, such unspeaking and phantom towns and villages may not utter a complaining word. But then they scream about the enduring trauma. Their inhabitants might have undergone and that gives us a chance to peep into their harrowing lives.

    Rajasthan brims in the expanse of Thar desert. It has no dearth of ghost villages. That remains almost unpeopled for various reasons. But only a few of them have got as much attention as Bhangarh and Kuldhara. Perhaps, due to the myths attached to them. So, while we were in Jaisalmer. It was only natural for us to undertake the sightseeing of Kuldhara.

    It simmers in deep desolate wilderness, at about 18 km, west of Jaisalmer. And it certainly has a story to tell. Where, we came across a young boy named Bhairo Sharma. Who narrated the aghast episode, in an emotional tone. Is when, I reflected after many years. That there was someone doing justice to the forgotten art of storytelling.

    It happened some 300 years ago. When, Kuldhara was a prosperous village. Where, Paliwal Brahmins used to reside under the state of Jaisalmer. The story thus throws up a spine-chilling feel. When, the evil eyes of Salim Singh. The all powerful tyrant and debauch Prime Minister of the state. Fell for the daughter of the village head and desired to marry her by force. He then threatened the entire village of grave consequences, if they did not acquiesce to his wishes.  

    The entire clan of Paliwals then lived in those 85 villages. They forthwith held a council. Where, it was decided, instead of acceding, to the demands of the depraved Prime Minister. They would abandon and leave their village and homeland. To, save the honour and purity of their daughter from the evil eyes of the monster. And soon, they all left for good. But before departing they ordained a powerful curse on Kuldhara. That, after them, no one else shall ever be able to settle and prosper in the village. And from that day onwards the village remains unoccupied, barren and even deserted. It gives an isolated and godforsaken look. Perhaps, quite similar to the unseen yet imagined faces of the residents of those times, that too, centuries ago. It is also believed. People who have attempted to stay here overnight have been haunted away by some strange and abnormal phenomenon.

    The parallel story that runs and appears to be as plausible as the first one is. Salim Singh, upon not being obliged by the Paliwals raised the taxes to such an extent. That it became practically unbearable for the local community to survive in the village. So they decided to migrate to greener pastures. However, people are more inclined to believe the first story. That has a tinge of both romance and mysticism in it.

    The dilapidated and tale-telling houses and monuments are now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). One can enter the village only after purchasing tickets. After which you drive along the prime street. That appears to be the main boulevard of the settlement. Where, even now, after centuries one feels gloomy and sad. For there are rows of houses with their roofs fallen. And the ruined walls give a sense of melancholic past. Where, the entire landscape is dry, dusty and sun stricken. That conveys a blaring message of atrocious human upheavels. Even, when, the era denoted happiness through righteousness.

    We halted at a location. That appeared to be the hub of the rustic village. Just close by there was a house in good upkeep. We entered to see the rooms that were well maintained. Following the path we even went up the stairs and up to the roof. From where, the entire village was visible. Though, I could not feel any supernatural presence. Yet that element of sombreness struck me while I was there. One could say the animation was missing. Ladies in the group could not withstand the countenance of destruction and slowly walked away.  I could even sight an unvisited and left alone temple nearby. Gradually, we cruised past the ruins available in the form of the crumbling walls. For a moment, it gave me a flash of those lives that lived there centuries ago. There was definitely something spine chilling even when everything around was so calm and unmoved. Perhaps, the collective curse of those helpless citizens was still pulsating there. Where, everything was looking so recent. And one got a feel as if someone was calling you from behind those dilapidated houses.

    Kuldhara remains a desolate place with forlorn looks. Curses don’t die so soon, they say. The ambience brings across a kind of seeping sadness to your heart. Especially, when, one thinks of the unfortunate people.  Who, were forced to leave the land of their forefathers. However the place doesn’t appear to be spooky for any other reason barring the wicked crime spelt in the story.

    Even, when, the ASI has taken over the settlement. It remains to be seen if this village will ever flourish. By flourish I mean—will the lineage of the people, who left generations back. Ever come together to salvage their motherland. And last but not the least. Was this a quintessential example of a migration that moved a civilised settlement? My answer would be no.

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