I went to a boarding school nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern Pakistan. Located on 100 acres of rolling grounds, nature isolated us from civilization, with a stream cornering the campus from one side and unkempt wilderness of trees and foliage surrounding us from the other three sides. Cries of nocturnal creatures would punctuate the silence of the night. As you lay in bed, you couldn’t help but listen hard and, amidst the odd assortment of sounds of roosting owls, chirping crickets and howling wolves, try to make out the mournful cries of the entity we knew as “Deedam”.
My school was a bastion of proud traditions with an imbibed institutional cultural and hovering at the sidelines was Deedam. Deedam was why students preferred to not venture out of their dorms after daylight faded. His legend has passed from generation to generation of students and the malevolent creature has tried to claim many victims over the years.
It had begun innocently enough. A bright young boy, a swimming champion and a brilliant student with a promising future awaiting him, decided to play around the rules and indulge in his passion- swimming. At night, after the house warden had made his rounds, the student disguised himself with white bedsheets and snuck out of his dorm. He made his way around the night watchmen and climbed over and across the wall of the swimming pool. Changing into his trunks, he jumped into the pool.
Only to never come out again.
They had drained the pool earlier that evening. He went headfirst into the concrete to never rise again. His body was removed the next morning, but it seems that his spirit could not find respite. His spirit is angry and vengeful at how his life was cut short and has come back to enact revenge and take the lives of others by drowning them in the pool where he died. Since that tragic day, many people have seen a tall, hooded creature clad in white roaming the school grounds.
One story of lore is that of an accountant in the school administration. It was a busy time of the year in the Accounts Office and it was only after midnight that he managed to call it a day and get ready to go home. He briskly made his way across the campus when he turned a corner and came face to face with a tall, hooded creature- Deedam.
It grabbed him with tremendous power and hauled him towards the cursed swimming pool. The accountant began reciting various prayers from memory and shouted relentlessly for help. He was taken all the way to the pool and had his face pushed into the water while he flailed about trying to keep his head above water. It was then that two night watchmen reacted to the cries for help. They fired blanks into the sky and blew their whistles to alert all on campus. The ruckus had the creature instinctively slink into the pool and disappear, leaving the poor man sputtering and gasping for breath.
Deedam is one of the reasons I’m a bad swimmer. One could almost feel the malevolence in the water. Though I never had any first-hand experiences with the elusive creature during my time at boarding school, every night I would lie wide awake trying to make out its wails of rage in the music of the night.