Tuesday, July 24

Chhalava (छलावा) – The Undead – Incarcerated between earth & hell

As described by Pradhuman (Pune)

India is full of myths and legends – the roots of which sometimes take you back by centuries. The historical monuments, excavation sites, abandoned villages and dark forests – each of them have a typical set of haunts attached to them. Indians have always cherished these haunts & the Indian ghost stories associated with them – the legends run through generations.
Chhalava (pronounced as ch - huh – laava) is one such age-old legend which still haunts north-Indian villages. This legend is quite popular in the remote villages of the state of Uttar Pradesh. According to what Pradhuman narrated me – a chhalava is not a ghost as such (no mantrik would be able to locate and destroy it). He is rather a spirit trapped between earth & hell. A chhalava, is supposed to be a legend dating centuries back, a notorious warrior who was punished to be trapped in transition for centuries. He is known to haunt single men (generally those who have their marriages scheduled in the near future).
Chhalava is different than the normal league of Indian Ghosts. He will never pounce upon its victim directly. It will follow you, sometimes even for months. The villagers say it walks in the daylight in the form of an abandoned ox – though it is much bigger & fierce-looking than the normal oxen. While it follows its victim, the chhalava gather information about the voices of the victim’s family & friends (and of the victim himself). Finally, when it is all set, it will confront the victim in the middle of the night. He will call the victim in the voice of his family, friend or him himself. If the victim looks back, the chhalava will challenge him to a duel which shall long till the first rays of the sun. If the victim loses, the chhalava rips him off. Though a person cannot win over this Indian Legend, the people believe that one who overpowers the chhalava will be granted enormous luck for his next seven generations.
Pradhuman tells me of a native of his village (located in Uttar Pradesh) who was haunted by the chhalava. Harinder (21) was a farmer’s son, a bachelor soon scheduled to a wedding. He was known for his enormous strength; the villagers quoted that he used to fight off a raging a bull.
On a cold dark night (at about 11 pm), this Harinder was patrolling his fields when he heard somebody walking behind him. He felt a strong hand on his shoulder. He looked back and saw a brawny tall person looking at him. The only unnatural fact was that the person had the lower half of an ox and his eyes were pale white without pupils. Harinder, well accustomed to the local stories, instantly understood what it was. The chhalava challenged him to a duel which lasted till the sunrise.
Nobody (not even Harinder) knows what happened next but the next morning, the villagers found Harinder lying unconscious in the fields. After treating him to a local doctor, it was declared that Harinder had suffered hemiplegia (a condition wherein the arm, leg and trunk on one side of the body is paralysed). Harinder just told that the last thing he could remember was he started fighting the devil.
Today, about seven years later, Harinder is still partially paralysed, though his financial condition has improved drastically. Earlier, there were times when his family ate raw potatoes while today, he owns a fleet of luxury cars and is the owner of a mojor chunk of land in his village and beyond. 
For any queries pertaining to this topic, you can communicate with Pradhuman here.