Raju Raghuvanshi is unmarried; he's forty five; his parents are dead; no siblings. He's had to move to Bamni nearby. For here in Katra where he lived, they rush into their houses, locking all the doors, locking all the windows, crying "Ghost! Ghost! Ghost! Ghost! Ghost!" at the sight of him. He was in prison, you see, where he was hospitalised. Rumours were rife: he's fallen ill; he's been moved to another town; he's dead; cremated. Ganeshi, his cousin's wife, performed the last rites so his spirit could rest. "Imagine our surprise when he turned up alive," she said," We thought he was dead." Poor Raju. Poor Raju, Raju Raghuvanshi; he's technically a ghost. "Now I have to prove I'm alive. N.V. Vayangankar, Chief of Police, will help me. I have property, you see, a few acres of land. I know their game. They shall not beat me. I say to them: 'But, can't you see that my feet are the right way round? If I was a spirit or a ghost, they'd turn backwards'. I was not gone long, now I don't exist."
The scenario behind this piece of reportage for solo baritone stems from a true story discovered on BBC News Online a couple of years ago. Whether Raju Raghuvanshi has managed to convince the other inhabitants of his village that he exists is still a mystery. The piece is dedicated to Omar Ebrahim.