Exodus: The Untold Chronicles — Chapter One — The Living Ghost of the Village Peeparla



The first chapter of a featured historical series Exodus: The Untold Chronicles. A story of a man driven to madness by a ghost town.
Reading time: 5 minutes.

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The pages of history are often drenched in the blood of innocents. The injustice and tyranny of cruel rulers still echo through the dark and unlit corridors of time. One of them was Deewan (Minister) Salem Singh of my hometown Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India.

Deewan Salem Singh is still infamous for his cruelty and his unquenchable lust. He used to be the army commander and the minister to king Moolraj of Jaisalmer. It was back in the early 19th Century. The king had retired, and Salem Singh had taken over the responsibilities. Instead of crowing the prince, Salem Singh tricked the king into making him the official or acting ruler of Jaisalmer. He had conspired against the prince and gotten him exiled. That was the time when his atrocities began. There used to be a haweli (Villa) about eight to ten kilometres away from the city. Nobody knew about it; it was in the middle of nowhere. You can still find its ruins if you get a good tourist guide like my father. Salem Singh used to fulfil his lustful desires in that haweli. The girls were not at all safe under his rule. If he laid his eyes on someone, she would either have to agree to marry him or become the prey to his atrocities.

He, alone, was responsible for an exodus of eighty-four villages. Amongst those villages was now the world-famous haunted site Kuldhara.

The story of Kuldhara is unique. It can easily be found on the internet. Common folks came together and left the village overnight to save a young girl's life. She had caught the eyes of evil Deewan, and it was well known that any girl chosen by him was destined to disappear forever.

Kuldhara became famous, but eighty-three other villages were also involved in the exodus. Their stories remain untold. XTales.net brings a series called 'Exodus: The Untold Chronicles' to bring forth these untold stories.



Chapter One – The Living Ghost of the Village Peeparla


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Peeparla is one of those eighty-four villages, and unlike Kuldhara, no one knows its story. Its ruins are scattered about thirty kilometres away from the city Jaisalmer. Myths have it that this village comes to life at midnight. It stays alive until dawn. Following is a romanticized version of a man’s story, who swore his wife was from this ghost village.

He called his wife as soon as he entered the house. The cold wind played eerie music on a damp evening of late August. He called again, but there was no answer. His eyes had less fear and more need, a desire, a wish for all of this to be a dream. He wanted a reason to disbelieve his eyes and ears. He needed to forget what he had seen and heard.

He was coming home from one of his projects when he passed by the town where his in-laws lived. He thought he'd visit them, give them a surprise. It would have been a good one if the entire village was not in ruins. He could not believe what he saw. ‘How could this be?’ he thought. He remembered clearly that’s where he got married. He had previously visited them too on festivals with his wife.

He scoured the entire ghost town and found no one. Half an hour later, he was on his way back when he met a stranger. He stopped him and asked him about the village.

"Excuse me, brother. Can you point me in the direction of Peeparla? I think I lost it.”

“Yeah, you did. You missed it. It's back there." The man pointed in the direction of the ruins.

“The ruins?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“But, where’s the village?”

“That’s the village.”

“No, I mean, where do people of the village live? My in-laws live there.”

"People?" The stranger looked shocked. "There are no people there," he said. "It's a ghost town. It's been like that for centuries."

“No, that can’t be true. My wife’s from there. I got married there.”

The stranger took some time to think. Then he asked, "Was it dark when you went there?"

“Of course, it was night. Who gets married in daylight?”

“No, I mean, have you ever been to the village in the day except for today?”

“Uh—no.”

The stranger’s face had a look. He told the man about the haunted village and the myths around it. Peeparla had a history of coming to life during the dead of the night. The man could not believe it.

“But my wife? She lives with me at my home.”

“I don’t think she’s real.”

The man grabbed the stranger's collar in anger, confusion, and desperation.

“What the hell are you talking about? She is real. She lives with me.”

"Hey, brother, I know how you feel. But I'm telling you, it's not the first time. It has happened before. It will happen again. If you don't trust me. Go to your home and find out. Now that you know the truth, she can’t stay. She’ll be gone.”

The man did not stop to say anything else. He rushed home as fast as he could. On his way home, he remembered everything.

He always had this feeling. Something was off about his in-laws. They always wanted to meet them after sunset. He did not think much of it at first. Now, it was making sense, but he didn’t want it to make sense. He just wanted to see his wife. He loved her more than anything else. The mere thought of losing her scared him more than the whole story of the ghost town. He could not lose her. She was everything to him.

He remembered how she had solved his life into a simpler one. There was nothing she couldn’t do. And the speed at which she would do her chores, he could not understand. Now, he did. It made sense.

He still did not care. That's why he called his wife's name as soon as he entered the house, but she was gone. He kept calling her. He wailed like a wounded dog. He went back to the ghost town at night in an attempt to find her back. He waited there for weeks. He destroyed his life searching for her. By the end, he had become just as much a ghost and ruined as the village of Peeparla.

People say that he can still be found near the village. He's an old, erratic man now, who the kids trouble all the time. He curses at them. Someone sometimes gives him food and old clothes, but that's it. He still wanders around the ruins of this village as a living ghost of Peeparla.




If this series can generate enough interest in you readers, then XTales.net will soon be back with another untold story in our featured series 'Exodus: The Untold Chronicles'

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