Theory:

     There were murmurs of applause as well as apprehension among the young men. “If you walk alone at night through the Haunted Desert,” one of them said, “you are sure to meet ghosts. They roam there freely. Strange shrieks and moans can be heard all over the place. Travellers have been looted and killed. Would you really want to go there?” Vijay Singh’s mighty heart missed a beat or two. Why did he have to boast? “Yes, I have heard of the Haunted Desert,” he said nonchalantly. “I think it’s just a fairy tale.”
Explanation:
 
When Vijay Singh announced that he is not scared but wished to fight with a ghost, people started to appreciate him.
 
Vijay Singh's challenge.jpg
Vijay Singh's challenge
 
At the same time, they were scared. One person from the crowd shared his opinion that Vijay Singh could meet a spirit if he walks alone through a haunted desert at night. It is because the ghosts roam there freely.

One could hear strange sounds and crying voices of the ghosts throughout that isolated place. Things had been stolen from the travellers and were killed in and around that place. After describing that isolated desert, Vijay Singh was asked if he still prefer to visit that place?. His powerful heart missed a beat or two after listening to such a description about the ghost's work. Vijay Singh, as usual, fell into trouble on his own. Still, he did not want to withdraw his challenge. He replied calmly and relaxed, saying the haunted desert's stories are a mere fairy tale.
 
Meaning of difficult words:
 
S.No
Words
Meaning
1.
Applause
Noise made by people through clapping their hands
2.
Murmur
To say something in a low, quiet voice
3.
Apprehension
A feeling of worry or fear that something bad will happen
4.
Haunted
Refers to a place a ghost always appear
5.
Shriek
A loud high shout or crying sound raised out of fear or pain
6.
Moan
A low mournful cry expressing pain
7.
Nonchalant
A relaxed and calm way that denotes you do not care
8.
Fairy tale
Magical, unreal stories
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). A Strange Wrestling Match: Indira David (pp. 43-51). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.