A Dark and Shiny Place by Pragati Deshmukh, a seasoned film, TV and OTT content creator and writer, published by The Write Order, deals with complexities of mind and human experiences while creating the thrills
Complexity and depths of the mind are still a mystery to most and here’s an intensely thrilling, and deeply emotional, experiential journey of a woman, who begins to lose track of reality in A Dark and Shiny Place (The Write Order) by Pragati Deshmukh, a seasoned film, TV and OTT content creator and writer.
A Dark and Shiny Place is the story of Maya who experiences strange happenings and inexplicable experiences while being trapped alone, in her home, through the lockdown. The book highlights the bond between her sister Meera and her and contemplate the mysterious workings of the mind and the complexities of human experiences.
Here’s an extract from Chapter One – Presence of the book – A Dark and Shiny Place by Pragati Deshmukh
It all started three months before the lock down. We were looking for new apartment to move into. We lived in the current one for exactly three years and I always felt it had an identity of its own. Sometimes the house would speak to me and our dog would randomly bark into nothingness. I was secretly quite sure we had something or someone living with us as a peaceful yet watchful housemate. We hadn’t yet found the new apartment but were looking quite actively, and that’s when the present one seemed to change. I felt like it was upset with us. A sense of unease filled the air and since I was jobless and at home most of the day, I felt the weight – invisible eyes observing me and a constant state of distress in the air. My dog wanted to go out the first chance she got. She sat by the main door like a princess trapped in her tower waiting for the prince to rescue her.
A week later, I started getting glimpses of an entity. Like the child that just ran across the passage while I wasn’t looking or while I stood in the kitchen engrossed in cooking, a presence so close behind that I could almost feel the breath on my shoulders. Initially, I would turn to look behind me but found no one. With each day, the presence got stronger and didn’t feel friendly as it had once. I decided to speak with my husband about it but lately we were not what we used to be. We were married for over three years and dated for almost lately, we had been fighting a lot. The fights got ugly, we got meaner with each other and the make-up period got longer. The house felt like a trap and the presence got stronger.
One evening, after four days without conversation following a massive fight, we decided to step out for dinner. It was a strange feeling of relief the moment we stepped out and sat in the car. I instantly felt lighter. We reached the restaurant, ordered food and had a normal, healthy, lovely time chatting and laughing over delicious food. I was happy again. But when we got back, all of a sudden, I felt the happiness between us being sucked out. The only relief was Bella who was excited to see us and Whined about leaving her alone.
The next day I decided to broach the subject with my husband at dinner. I was slightly wary, but to my pleasant surprise, he did not react badly at all. He agreed to the house feeling like an independent entity but didn’t encourage the rest of my rant. We both realised that stepping out helped us as a couple and since our anniversary was coming up, we decided to drive to Goa with Bella. Those eight days were the best days of my life and I didn’t want to return. But we had to, and we did.
The house was waiting for us. My husband decided to have a little chat with it to let it know that we needed to move on and it should let us go. Sometimes I wonder if he agreed to do that just to keep my whimsical soul happy or if he truly believed that talking to the house was not as insane as it sounded when spoken aloud. We did it nonetheless and within the week we also found our next home. We were both very excited and looked forward to the move. We had a little over a month to do that. But I had a deep sinking feeling that I couldn’t shrug off I was suddenly very afraid of the house. I was terrified to be alone in it when my husband had to step out even though Bella was always there with me. But little did I know that the most difficult and scary time of my life was not far. The small voice in my head warned me that the worst was yet to come, but the big voice in my head said it was already here.
It was only natural to believe the big voice but being an intuitive person, I couldn’t ignore the small voice and a demon of fear and anxiety started growing within. Now that we knew when we were moving, I had started packing. Being a very organized person can be accurse and I was living it. The linen needed to be laundered before going into labelled boxes. A lot of discarding happened. Piles to donate – to the domestic help, the driver and his family and whoever else we could- were all sitting in their designated corners. I busied myself with the packing and was happy with myself for some time until that dreadful evening when I couldn’t find my planner. It was a small yellow block printed diary in which I had listed every box in detail. I could swear I had left it on the glass table in the living room. But it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere!
Panic gripped my heart. The panic that my mind was fuelling with all sorts of possibilities. Was it the little boy I saw some weeks ago? Could the house move things now? And while I was frantically looking for it all over like a mad woman, I saw it! A shadow. It was not for more than a few seconds may be, but I was sure it was there, the shadow cast by a person standing in the passage against the low lamplight from the study. I froze. It took me a full minute or maybe more to gather the courage to move. Instinctively, I looked around for Bella. She sat by the main door as usual, unaffected by the shadow. Aren’t dogs supposed to see things? Aren’t they supposed to sense spirits and ghosts or beings from the other realm? Aren’t they supposed to sense if something is out of the ordinary and react? The fact that she didn’t react gave me some relief and I quickly shrugged off the sighting as a play of light. I walked over confidently to the passage and turned on all the lights. The small voice in my head asked me to flood the whole house with light, leaving no space for shadows and so I did!