Avik was feeling stressed. It was psychological; not due to his physical health. He was a sturdy young man with an impressive physique; not prone to any ailment.
During the day, he went through the routines of attending his college classes, returning to his room late in the evening and completing his dinner without much ado. Nonetheless he couldn’t place his finger on the precise reason of his discomfiture.
That night he opened his Red diary to jot down his thoughts and incidents of the day as was his daily habit since many years. On skimming through its pages, he randomly opened a page of twenty-three days ago, – 17th January, on which he had written;
“My preparation for physics paper is very bad. I will surely flunk my test.”
He remembered, after that writing, he had studied hard for many days. Generally, a good and confident student, he knew that his attempt had been satisfactory.
It was a shock when he received his marks yesterday; he had failed miserably. Somehow, he appeared to have predicted failure on 17th January itself. And that had come true! Perhaps this was playing in his subconscious mind; making him anxious.
He thought that this unlucky prediction was just a coincidence.
About a month later Avik was on his way to Patna where his parents were staying. He was in the train – Himgiri Express and it was night. As was his wont, he was writing his diary;
“Feeling so happy to visit my parents. Not informed them. They may not be there!”
He meant the visit to be a surprise. He knew that parents didn’t travel often. But he was not to know that his words would result in another twist of fate. Next morning when he reached home he found that his parents were not there. They had left for the adjoining town last night to visit his grandmother who unexpectedly had a heart attack. He was not aware since they couldn’t get in touch with him in the train – some connectivity problem.
About a week had passed and Avik was back in Kolkata. He had managed to meet his parents later and visited grandmother, but somehow, he couldn’t dismiss the incident which looked to be linked with what he wrote in his diary.
Another night, before going to bed he had written in his diary;
“Am short of money. Hope parents will send me at-least Rs. 15000/-. Need to speak to them. “
Next morning there was a wire transfer of the exact amount in his bank account; done by his father. He had never spoken to his parents.
This was odd… it looked to be another coincidence.
It was a day, next month; Avik was very upset with his Math’s lecturer. Not for the first time that the gentleman was trying to make Avik’s life difficult in the class. His misbehavior had been extreme. Avik was made a laughing stock before his class mates.
During the night Avik penned in his diary, with a deep sense of frustration;
“Such a bad day in college. Don’t know why Deep Sir is badly humiliating me. Wish he suffers too. Teach him a lesson.”
The incident didn’t end with that diary noting.
Two days later the entire college was surprised to know that Deep Sir was entangled in an embezzlement and cheating case. It was a great embarrassment for him.
This was one more coincidence!
These four coincidences or flukes, whatever one could describe, in some way shook Avik considerably. What was happening? Did the Red diary play any role here? He wanted to verify his doubts.
That night he sat on his bed thinking. He would check his misgivings now. His sixth sense was telling him that something would happen. A sense of melancholy was also creeping in.
There was load shedding and the whole neighborhood was in darkness. In his small room a candle was burning on his table, flickering intermittently with the mild breeze wafting in through the open window. Eerie lights and shades were moving on the walls. The entire environment gave a gloomy impression.
With a strong will, Avik opened his diary and started writing on the page of the day;
“Feeling depressed….” He stopped and thought – what else to write? A friend would be welcome. His instinct was telling him to call Geeti. Then he wrote” … Glad that Geeti is coming to me now.”
Geeti was his class mate in the college. She stayed not too far away in a Girl’s Hostel.
After writing in the diary he waited, pensively. What would happen?
Soon he heard a knock on the door. It was the moment of truth! His legs felt weak. Getting up slowly he unlatched the lock and opened the door. The landing outside was in darkness, but slightly lit up from the illumination of the candle, enough to recognize the person.
She was Geeti!
Avik’s heart missed a beat. That meant the Red diary was converting his wish into reality!
Geeti smiled and entered the room, “Oh my goodness! You look so scared, Avik… have you not seen me before? Do I look like a ghost?”
She walked past him and sat on the chair.
Even in that dim light she looked beautiful. Very recently both had started sharing an intimate relationship. It wasn’t so. Some months back Avik and Geeti often seriously quarreled on many matters. Their bitterness was the talk amongst their friends in those days. Even now, many friends didn’t know that they had patched up so well.
Seeing Avik standing near the door immobilized, she beckoned to him, “Oh come on… enough of your play-acting …. close the door. Sorry to bother you so late in the night but suddenly I felt like coming to you.”
She tossed her hair back and gave a bright smile. That broke the spell and he could breathe freely. As he closed the door, the electricity supply resumed and the room was lit up. The entire foreboding atmosphere just melted away.
But Avik was still worried. He silently picked up the diary and looked at his lines, written just some minutes ago, and then at Geeti. Was this the fifth happenstance which he had just created by writing in his diary? Was this diary a method through which he could control his surroundings? But this was totally supernatural. Nobody in their right senses would believe.
Despite that he had to confide with somebody… he needed another view point… some advice. A hidden fear was slowly engulfing him.
Looking at Geeti he swiftly made up his mind. Putting water for boil in a kettle for tea, he sat on the bed and marshalled his thoughts as to how he would begin his bizarre tale.
“Geeti….” He hesitated for a few seconds,” I have something very odd to tell you… believe me not a single word will be a lie … everything I say will be nothing but facts…”
Geeti stared at him.
He continued, “For last few months I have noticed that too many coincidences are happening in my life and frighteningly those have happened after I have written about them in my diary.” Taking out his diary and opening the appropriate pages he explained the incidents in great details, omitting nothing; in the end saying, “Last one has happened just little while ago when I wrote – wanting your presence. And here you are…” He showed the day’s page.
All this time Geeti had listened without interruption. There was a sense of surprise on her face. When he stopped, she got up and prepared two cups of tea and returned.
Sipping the tea, she then spoke supportively, “What you told me just now is absolutely crazy… nobody will believe you …. but I trust you…” She touched him lightly on his face, “We all know that many things that happen in this world are unexplained, but that don’t mean that they have no existence… so let’s agree that there is something supernatural in that diary.”
She shook her head in perplexity.
Avik was equally puzzled but he seemed to be gradually getting some answer.
He picked up the diary and opened the first page, “This Red diary was gifted to me by our friend Jitesh, last December. His salutation is here. He also gave me a pen to write in the diary. We know that Jitesh had died under mysterious circumstances. By Cyanide poisoning. Most probably murdered… the police are still investigating the case ….” He paused then went on, “Could there be a connection between him and this diary’s strange quality?”
Avik went into deep thoughts.
Coming out of his reverie he said, “If that’s so, next I ask, why all these are happening? Since his death was unnatural, could be murder, perhaps the spirit of Jitesh wanted that his killer should be found out through this spectral diary? And he wants me to do that.”
He looked at her questioningly.
Geeti appeared grim and pensive; said “Probably.”
That night, both Avik and Geeti couldn’t fathom their next course of action.
A week had since passed, during which time Avik’s mind was constantly in a dreadful turmoil. His mind was repetitively dwelling upon the supernatural diary, so much so that he had stopped writing anything in that. He didn’t know how long this state of affairs would have continued and what he should do.
Then that incident happened. During late afternoon Avik was returning from the college, he was riding his motorcycle, the classes were over and he had plans to visit the gym in the evening. It was usual traffic. But then abruptly a car coming from the opposite direction swerved as he was about to cross it. It hit him. He was thrown out and landed a few feet away on the cemented sidewalk. There was an intense flash of light before his eyes and unbearable pain shot through his body before a curtain of darkness enveloped him. There were shouts from people around and they rushed towards him. In the melee, the driver of the car escaped in the adjoining narrow lanes.
When Avik regained consciousness in the hospital, the face which came into his vision was that of Geeti. She uttered, “Thank goodness you are OK…” and touched his forehead. The doctor standing next to her checked Avik and told her, “He will recover… but lots of rest and regular medication must be ensured.”
Avik could now think coherently. Strangely he could distinctly remember some uncanny events which happened when he was unconscious. His mouth was dry so he couldn’t speak. Weakly he said to Geeti, “I must tell you something, but before that …some water….”
Little later with Geeti standing near him, he said, barely whispering, “When I met with the accident, initially everything went blank with agonizing pain, then slowly I began to get a blurred vision that somebody was before me …. telling me something. You wouldn’t believe – he was Jitesh! His lips were moving wordlessly and his finger was pointing towards a diary which he was holding in his left hand… his entire expression was as if he wanted me to do something…. he then moved his finger across his throat as if suggesting something violent….”
Avik stopped, out of breath and closed his eyes, “After that, I don’t remember anything… I woke up in this hospital.”
Geeti looked very worried. Then she ran her fingers through his hair and said soothingly, “Now relax and get well… we will sort this out later.”
Avik was very fortunate that he had survived.
Next week he was discharged from the hospital. Doctors told him that his fractured left elbow would take time to heal.
About month and a half had since passed. Avik was almost healed. In his room with Geeti at his side, they were talking. It was afternoon.
Avik was saying, “I seem to be getting a distinct message that the spirit of Jitesh wants me to take help of the diary to know who murdered him… and perhaps punish his killer.”
“But…” Geeti said, “…how?” She looked pale.
Avik said, “I have an idea”. He picked up the diary, thought for some moments and wrote on the day’s page;
“Jitesh’s killer will surrender to the local police station at 5.15 pm today.”
Geeti, too, was looking at those words with a frown.
He said, “I know your Uncle is working there as a Sub Inspector. Will you please ask him to tell if anybody surrenders around that time?
During late evening, Geeti again visited Avik.
On entering his room, she said, “My Uncle informed me that no one has surrendered to the police ….so…now …?”
Avik remained quiet for many minutes then said, “This means that Jitesh was not killed by anybody. Otherwise the killer would have surrendered. I believe in the mystical power of the diary. So, nobody poisoned him”.
He paused and then went on, “What could have actually happened? There are two options; either his death was due to an accident or it was a suicide. Cyanide poison is very dangerous. It couldn’t be accidently got and consumed. It seemed that Jitesh had managed to buy it surreptitiously and deliberately consumed it. I think he has committed suicide.”
Avik stopped and looked at Geeti,” Next question is – why did he do that?
He was surprised to see tears in her eyes, for the first time. She hastily wiped them and got up to have a drink of water. She said, “Yes… that’s the question… why…?” and stopped abruptly. It appeared that she couldn’t make up her mind to say anything further. Her face showed extreme anxiety.
In some way, Avik felt in his bones that she was hiding something. This was a matter of grave importance to him and he would like to know the truth. How? There could be a solution. He excused himself and went out of the room, closing the door behind him. The diary was in his pocket. Once outside, he wrote in his diary;
“Just now I will come to know why Jitesh had committed suicide.”
He re-entered his room.
Geeti, now, had made up her mind. “I must tell you, Avik, what happened before Jitesh’s death.”
Avik then knew that the power of the Red diary was working.
She was saying, “That fateful day, hours before Jitesh committed suicide …. I was in his room… said… he wanted to marry me… he deeply loved me…. but, at that time he craved for me, became lecherous … wanted to ravage my modesty… he was totally crazy… maniac.….”
She paused with tears again flooding her eyes.
“He was always unbalanced and mad …. and I had to save myself that day… I refused him. I said I didn’t love him. He became very violent. I slapped him to stop … then left his room saying that I would never marry him. While going out I heard him screaming and threatening me that he would get at me at any cost…take revenge ….”
She stopped and looked away.
“That day he became so vicious and deserved to be halted. But believe me I had no hand in his death. I don’t know why this incident made him commit suicide.”
Avik didn’t know these facts and the revelation shook him no end. Jitesh was his friend but he had never mentioned anything like this about Geeti.
His mind was refusing to think any further.
Then, suddenly it struck him like a lightning. He uttered an expletive under his breath.
Spirit of Jitesh wanted Avik to take vengeance against, non-else, but Geeti! It was incredible but true! Geeti was not at fault, her only failing was that she didn’t yield to lecherous desires of Jitesh. And the curious fact was that Jitesh could have been loving her. Her rejection made him a jilted lover, which together with his shameless desire had triggered this criminal emotion. No doubt he was not normal…could be a psychopath!
Now the diary had given unusual powers to Avik to commit a crime of revenge on behalf of Jitesh? But why should Avik become a criminal for his sake? Truly this world was a weird place!
As these horrific thoughts swept through his mind, the foremost concern became how to save himself and her?
His got up and came near her, “It is so sad that Jitesh has threatened you before his death… but those were not empty words for him. Through this ghostly diary, he wanted me to take revenge on you …. I am not sure in what form.”
He shook his head in disgust. “Did he think that vibes between you and I were so depraved or my support for him was so strong that I could turn into a criminal against you? Maddening! “
Then as he continued, she bent down and covered her face. Indeed, if he was correct, they might both be in danger.
An hour had passed. Both Avik and Geeti didn’t speak a single word. They had to find a way out! Who or what could help them?
This diary? The source of all problems?
At that moment, an unbelievable idea struck him! Avik picked up the diary and wrote on the day’s page;
” The spirit of Jitesh has now attained eternal peace of mind and all his thoughts of revenge have gone forever.”
Would this be the master stroke to get out of this mysterious danger? Was the diary more powerful than its malicious originator?
It became clear in no time.
Soon after he had finished writing these words, a subconscious flood of relief passed through his mind, as if a great mental burden had lifted and vanished. Geeti echoed a similar sentiment. She said, “It is as if we are getting a new lease of life. Thank goodness!”
Then there was a flash of light! So swift and strong that both them momentarily closed their eyes. Another transformation was happening before their gaze! The Red diary was changing its color to Green! Translucent Green!
Geeti exclaimed, “My God! Enough of this! Please get rid of this dangerous diary. “
No more words were needed. But how?
Avik again picked up the diary and wrote;
“I am sure the spirit of Jitesh will not mind if this diary gets lost at any time.”
Nothing happened that night.
Next day afternoon Avik was returning from the college. The diary was in his trouser pocket. Geeti was with him. On the way, there was a sudden heavy downpour. He stopped the motorcycle and both took shelter under a tree. It was crowded with many people jostling with each other to save themselves.
When the rain subsided, they decided to go to the nearest coffee shop. While sitting at the table, they noticed that the diary was missing from his pocket.
It was lost!
Just then Geeti got a call from her Sub Inspector Uncle, “You have been enquiring about the investigation of Jitesh’s death. Well, today the police have closed the matter, it is a case of suicide.”
Geeti put her hand over Avik’s. He reciprocated.
Then, one of those days he decided to buy another diary so that he could continue his habit of writing every day. Entering his room, he sat down to write in his new diary. He picked up the pen which Jitesh had gifted him along with that cursed diary.
With that diary gone, he started writing in his new diary with a sense of relief;
“Feeling happy today. Want to share this evening with Geeti.”
Then changing his clothes, he relaxed on the chair with a book. He would talk to her a little later.
Though that didn’t happen. At around 6.45 pm, unexpectedly he heard a knock on the door. Geeti was standing at the doorway, looking pretty in a fashionable dress! Ready for an outing!
“I thought you wanted me! Here I am! Shall we celebrate this evening?” She said smiling.
Avik was taken aback; how could he still convert his wish into reality? But the bizarre diary was gone! Moments later, however, he understood. It was Jitesh’s pen; with which he had been writing his diary all these months. So, both the diary and the pen were spooky! Realizing this he started perspiring. Would the ghostly problem reappear?
“But” Geeti said, “The spirit of Jitesh was now at peace!”
She was so correct! Nevertheless, he had to get rid of the pen! That day itself!