96/365 Fear of Darkness

Growing up I was so afraid of darkness and being alone. It could have been the stories that I heard, movies I watched on TV or may be even what I read. We lived in a two story house and even going upstairs alone while people were in the house was kind of difficult. As they say some fears will go away only when you are ready to face it.. or when you are forced to face it.

As I grew up and reached college that fear was not that evident but still I think I had that uneasiness inside when it is dark and when I am alone. All that was going to end when I was in the 3rd year of college.

We were camping at a school in an interior village as part of a college voluntary event and I was in the city collecting medicines for a medical camp we were planning to do the next day. My friends collected the medicine and left for the village early and I got stuck in the city and was only able to board the last bus to the village around 8 PM. I reached the village main post around 11 PM.

From the main post I had to walk for almost 1 hour in pitch dark to reach the school through unpaved roads and there was no street lights. It was a pretty dark night and even the moon was missing I think. I had two choices… Either spend the night in the bus which was supposed to be stationed in the village that night or start walking to the school. I decided to walk.. I have no clue what made me do that.

There was another person who joined with me for about 10 minutes and then he reached his house and then on it was just me alone for the next 45 minutes or so. I will never forget that walk. Totally dark… my ears tried to catch any sound around me. I am thinking there were houses here and there but you cannot see a thing. So for me it was like me alone walking in some distant unknown land where I was the only human being.

After sometime I could hear running water from a nearby stream and a dog started barking. This was the high point because I had no clue if the dog was chained… which I later realized it was chained in front of one of the houses.. just to ward of miscreants at night. That was the usual alarm system used in villages… So not street dogs. which could be aggressive…. but if the chain broke… you know…

The next point was when I heard someone walking towards be. Again I could not see but I was able to hear… The guy was drunk from the way he was also singing as he was walking. It reminded me of how I used to sing loud when I went upstairs as a kid. The singing was my way of overcoming my fear. May be the drunk was just like me…. even now singing to not feel alone.

This was probably 30 years back and now thinking about it, the walk felt like much more than 1 hour. Looking back I think my fear was from the ghost stories I heard. But this incident told me people and animals are what you should be careful about and not stupid Ghost stories…

Finally made it to the school past midnight. Sometimes you got to face the fear and do certain things before we can get over with it.

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Categories: Memories, Personal, Writing Project

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