The story begins with a young man named Mahendra narrating an incident to a fellow man named Ganesh. Ganesh, a journalist, was working on a book about "Servants in India". As a part of the project, Mahendra invited Ganesh to listen to the story of his cook named Iswaran.
Mahendra was working as a junior supervisor in a company. The company offered on hire many supervisors to various construction sites on a contract basis.
Mahendra, a junior supervisor
The supervisors got posted at different construction sites like factories, bridges, and dams, and Mahendra was one among them. Mahendra’s job was to keep an eye on the workers whether they were doing their work or not. As Mahendra was a site engineer, he had to change his workplaces often because he had to work at various locations as per the instructions from his head office.
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The junior supervisors had to work in various sites like bridge construction, factory construction and dam construction (left to right)
At first, Mahendra worked in a coal mining area; then, he shifted his work spot to a railway construction site. Later he was scheduled to work in a chemical plant construction site which was coming up somewhere.

As Mahendra was unmarried, he was able to live in the temporary quarters provided at the construction sites. Mahendra had to stay in an ill-equipped circuit house or sometimes he had to stay in his construction site by making a portable tent. Mahendra, a humble man, adjusted well in all these circumstances and lived without any hesitation. It shows how simple Mahendra was.
Sometimes Mahendra had to stay in a canvas tent
Mahendra's biggest advantage was that he was always accompanied by his cook Iswaran. Iswaran was not only his cook, but he was also a good caretaker. He was Mahendra's best companion and was very important to Mahendra. Iswaran was very close to Mahendra and accompanied him everywhere. Iswaran did not complain to Mahendra about the tough conditions in which he had to live. Iswaran cooked food for him, washed his clothes, and gave him company by talking to him at night. Iswaran had an extraordinary talent: he was good at telling stories. He entertained Mahindra with his stories based on different themes. Iswaran narrated stories with lots of expression and gestures. As a result, the incident would appear in front of the eyes of Mahendra while Iswaran narrated it.
Iswaran was a good cook as well as good storyteller
Iswaran was not only a good storyteller, but he was also a great cook. Mahendra was always surprised by Iswaran's capacity to cook delicious food using fresh ingredients, especially within an hour of their arrival at their new accommodation. They lived in areas where they could not find any house and people, and they stayed under temporary shelters made of roofs with zinc sheets. As they lived in the middle of a desolate landscape, there would not be any shops nearby. Iswaran would have to walk a longer distance to find a grocery or vegetable shop. Here, Mahendra describes the talent of Iswaran as he would get the fresh vegetables and ingredients needed for cooking from the desolate landscape, prepare delicious food, and everything within an hour's time. Cooking was an art, and Iswaran was good at that.
A man cooking delicious food

Mahendra would wake up early in the morning, get ready and leave for work after eating his breakfast. Also, he would carry his lunch along with him. After he left, Iswaran would clean their living place, wash Mahendra’s clothes and have a nice bath. He would pour several buckets of water over his head, and he would always mutter a prayer. Later, he would eat his lunch. After lunch, he had a habit of reading books. Iswaran was interested in reading Tamil thriller books, and the book would contain a lot of pages. While reading the story, Iswaran would go deeper into the narrative style and descriptions given in the book. He feels very excited to read the thrilling stories. After reading the book, he would take a nap.
Iswaran was greatly influenced by the Tamil writers and he used to read their stories with great enthusiasm. The descriptions and scenes used in the story attracted Iswaran, and he used to narrate the stories to Mahendra in the same tone. Mahendra remembered that Iswaran would describe even a minor incident with a lot of suspense and surprise, making it very interesting for the listener. For instance, instead of saying that "he walked down the highway and came across a fallen tree on the road", Iswaran would use his facial expressions, bodily gestures and exaggerated descriptions to narrate it. Iswaran would raise his eyebrows and stretch out his hands to show the dramatic descriptions.
First, Iswaran would say that the road was empty and he was all alone on the road. This would create suspense in the listener’s mind. Then he would say that suddenly he had seen something which seemed to be like that of a giant beast lying across the road. As he walked ahead, his mind would be telling him to turn and go back. As he reached closer, he would have seen a tree that had fallen and lying on the road. The branches of the tree had spread out and seemed to be a giant beast. Mahendra says that the talent of Iswaran made the simple story fascinating, and it attracted him.
The fallen tree seemed like a beast

Although Mahendra knew that some of the stories of Iswaran were not true, the way of narration and description was very exciting. So Mahendra would not say anything but would listen to him quietly. Usually, while listening to Iswaran's story, Mahendra would stretch himself, as he sat on a canvas chair, and listened to his stories curiously.
Mahendra recollects another story told by Iswaran, and he narrates it to Ganesh. Iswaran describes his town to Mahendra. He said that his native town was surrounded by a big forest full of trees and it was famous for timber. One can see lots of timber trees in his town. As a result, one can see wild elephants in his village. The woods of timber were sold for commercial purposes. They were transported onto the lorries with the help of elephants. The elephants would carry the timber woods and leave them in the lorries.
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The elephant carrying timber woods and leaving them in lorry

The elephants were big, and if they went mad, they would get out of control, and even the elephant's caretaker would not be able to control them. After his introductory session about the giant elephants, Iswaran started narrating a story based on an elephant with his gestures and exaggerated descriptions.
One day, an elephant with long tusks escaped from the forest and roamed all around the places. It stamped on the bushes and crushed them, tore the creeper plants and broke the branches of the trees that came on its way. Iswaran asked Mahendra whether he knew how an elephant would behave if it went mad. Then, to make his story more interesting, Iswaran stood up and jumped around the place, hitting his foot on the ground to show the actions of a mad elephant.
A tusker
Later, the elephant reached the outer boundary of their town, and it broke the fences like matchsticks. Here, Iswaran portrays how the walls were broken like matchsticks. Then, the elephant reached the main road and broke all the stalls selling different things like fruits, mud pots and clothes. The people ran here and there with great fear and confusion. After that, it broke the walls of a school and entered the ground.
The mad elephant broke the school wall
When the elephant entered the school, the children were playing in the playground. On seeing the elephant, all the boys ran back into their classrooms and closed the doors tightly. At that moment, the elephant screamed and roamed around the school ground. As the elephant lost its control, it started to break things.
At first, the elephant broke the goal post on the football ground, then it tore the net that had been put up in the volleyball court, and later, it kicked out the water drum and broke it. Moreover, the elephant pulled out many plants with its trunk. Due to fear, the teachers ran to the roof of the school building and watched helplessly as the elephant destroyed the school property. They were eagerly waiting for someone to save them. But there was not even a single person to be seen around the school. All the streets of the town seemed empty. People were scared of the mad elephant, and so they were inside their home. The roads looked vacant as if there were no human inhabitants in the town.
At the time of the incident Iswaran was studying in the high school. He was watching the elephant and the destructions caused by the elephant from the rooftop. To his surprise, Iswaran decided that he should do something about the situation. He took a stick from one of the teachers and ran downstairs towards the school ground. At that time, the elephant grunted when it saw a schoolboy coming near it. Then, the elephant pulled a tree and threw it.
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The elephant lifted a tree with its trunk
Later, the elephant stamped its foot on the ground, which caused a lot of mud and dust to fly into the air. The elephant seemed to be threatening Iswaran, but Iswaran was not afraid of its behaviour. Slowly, Iswaran moved towards the elephant with the stick in his hand.
The elephant stamped its foot on the mud in anger
Many people had climbed onto the terrace of their houses and were watching the incident. They were standing still and were curious to see what would happen next. Iswaran saw that the elephant had red-coloured eyes. It shows the elephant was in anger, and it was continuously staring at him.
The red-eyed elephant
The elephant again lifted its trunk and made a loud noise. Within a moment, Iswaran moved forward, gathered all his force, and quickly hit the elephant’s third toenail. The elephant stood stunned for a moment, and it was not sure what happened. Then, the elephant shivered from head to foot, and it fell on the ground and became unconscious.
The elephant fell unconscious
While narrating the story of the wild elephant to Mahendra, Iswaran left the story without finishing it. Iswaran in a soft voice said that he would return after lighting the gas stove because he wanted to warm the dinner.  Mahendra was very curious to know what happened next, but he felt disappointed that Iswaran had left the story unfinished. When he returned after warming the food, he did not continue with the same incident, as he wanted to create curiosity in Mahendra. Mahendra was eager to know how the story ended, but Iswaran wanted Mahendra to remind him to conclude the story. It shows that Iswaran wanted to know how curious was his master in listening to his stories.

When Mahendra reminded him about the same story, Iswaran said casually that a veterinary doctor was called to treat the elephant. The veterinary doctor brought the elephant back to consciousness. After two days, the mahout took the elephant back to the jungle.
The veterinary doctor brought the elephant back to consciousness
After hearing his exciting story, Mahendran had a few doubts in his mind. So he asked him how the young Iswaran managed to overpower the vast elephant and the method he followed to bring down the beast.

At that moment, Iswaran said that he probably performed Japanese martial art. He said it was called Karate or ju-jitsu. Iswaran added that he had read about it somewhere in a book. It was mentioned that a technique from the martial art would make a person unconscious and it could paralyse their body. At last, he said that he followed the same principle on the elephant and made it unconscious.
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Iswaran performed a Japanese martial art on the elephant
Every day Iswaran would narrate a story. The stories would be filled with adventures, horror and thrill. While Iswaran was telling a story to Mahendra, sometimes he felt that the story was real or unreal. Even though the story seemed true or untrue, he was never bothered about it. Instead, he would enjoy listening to his stories because of the unique way in which Iswaran narrated them. As there was no television in their room, these stories would entertain him. He was never bothered about the absence of television in their dwelling place. It was all because of Iswaran's storytelling skill.

One fine morning, when Mahendra was having his breakfast. Iswaran asked him whether he could prepare a special meal for dinner as it was a special day. Iswaran added that according to the Hindu tradition and belief, they would prepare different varieties of delicious food items, and offer them to their ancestors on a full-moon night. It is believed that the spirit of the ancestors would come to enjoy the feast. So, he asked Mahendra about the preparation of the special dinner.
Full-moon night
After having breakfast, Mahendra moved to his work site. Later, Iswaran started preparing a variety of dishes for dinner. Finally, Mahendra returned home from his site. The night had come. Iswaran started serving the cooked food items. Mahendra enjoyed the feast and praised Iswaran's cooking talent. Iswaran felt very happy when Mahendra was praising him, but suddenly, Iswaran started narrating an incident relating to ghosts or supernatural beings.
Mahendra enjoying the dinner
Iswaran said that the factory Mahendra was working was once a burial ground. On hearing that, Mahendra felt uncomfortable.

Iswaran continued his story and started to tell that on the first day itself he saw a human skull lying on the ground while he was returning after buying vegetables. Later, he continued that he had come across several skulls and bones lying around the place.
Iswaran saw many skulls on the ground
Iswaran continued his story. He stated that sometimes he saw ghosts at night, but he wasn't scared of them because he was a brave man. On the other hand, during the full-moon nights, he often saw a horrible ghost. It was a ugly female ghost with rough and unkempt hair, and a bony, wrinkled face. The ghost looked like a skeleton holding an unborn baby in its hands.
Iswaran saw a female ghost

After hearing the frightful description, Mahendra became nervous, and he started to interrupt Iswaran from talking about the ghost. Mahendra was angry, and he scolded him and said that Iswaran had gone mad. Mahendra contradicted by telling that the creatures, like ghosts or spirits, did not exist in this world. He added that it was all about Iswaran’s imagination. Mahendra thought that it was all because of reading horror books. Mahendra asked, "Iswaran to get himself checked up with a doctor". He used the statement figuratively to suggest that Iswaran has gone mad as he was talking about ghosts in the middle of the night. In addition, Mahendra also asked him to test his digestive system. The reason behind the statement to get his digestive system examined was because people tend to lose sleep if there was some problem with digestion. So, that would lead people to imagine things that are not real.
Later, Mahendra left the room and went to bed. While thinking about Iswaran, Mahendra had expected that Iswaran would remain quiet for a few days because Mahendra had scolded him. But the following day, Mahendra was surprised to see a cheerful Iswaran, and he spoke to him in a casual way. It shows Iswaran had forgotten what happened in the previous night, and he was speaking to his master in a relaxed manner.
Mahendra thought that Iswaran would remain silent for few days
Even though Mahendra bravely spoke about the lack of existence of ghost or spirit in the world, Iswaran's ghost story lingered in his mind. So every night before going to sleep, Mahendra would look out of the window next to his bed to confirm that there was no ghost or movement of any dark shades. But instead of ghosts, Mahendra saw only the dark landscape with the twinkling lights of the factory, which was shining miles away from the living place.

Mahendra was a nature lover, and he liked to see the white coloured landscape during full-moon nights. So during full-moon nights, its brightness hits the landscape, and seemed to be milk-white colour. However, after hearing the story of a ghost woman, Mahendra stopped enjoying the full-moon night and its beauty. So whenever it was a full-moon night, he would remember Iswaran's ghost story.
Mahendra liked to enjoy the white coloured landscape on a full-moon night
Mahendra got scared whenever he thought about the ghost story. Then, one night while Mahendra was in his deep sleep, he was awakened by the sound of someone crying. He thought that it could be the sound of a cat because the cats tend to roam here and there in search of mice during nighttime. So he tried convincing himself that it was nothing and tried to get back to sleep.
Again Mahendra heard the same sound, and it became harsher and seemed to be horrible. Mahendra wanted to look out of the window, but he had stopped himself because he was worried that he might see something terrible that could stop his heart. Later, as time passed, the crying sound became louder, and he concluded that it was not the sound made by a cat.
Even though Mahendra was in great fear, he could not stop himself from knowing what was happening around him. So he lowered his head nearby the window to see whether anything was there. In the moonlight, Mahendra saw something that seemed to be in the form of a dark cloud. The dark cloud seemed like a ghost holding a bundle in its arms.
Mahendra saw a ghost
Mahendra panicked after seeing the figure, and his face was filled with sweat because of anxiety. He started breathing heavily and fell back on the bed. After some time, Mahendra slowly recovered from the scary experience and told himself that his thoughts were the reason behind everything. Mahendra assumed that he had been thinking about the ghost throughout the night and that's why the thoughts in his mind had appeared in front of him like a ghost.
The next morning Mahendra woke up from his bed, took his morning bath and came out to have his breakfast. The horror experience from the previous night had faded from Mahendra's memory by then.
Later, Iswaran met Mahendra at the door to give him his lunch packet and bag. As Mahendra was about to leave the house, Iswaran smiled and said he had heard the moaning sound of Mahendra from the room the previous night. Iswaran reminded Mahendra that he had scolded him for discussing the ugly ghost, but Mahendra himself saw the same spirit last night. Iswaran tried to prove him that these horrible things would happen around their living place during full-moon nights.

When Iswaran reminded him of the previous night Mahendra got scared again. Mahendra did not wait for Iswaran to complete his sentence about the ghost. Mahendra hurried off to his office, and he decided to resign from the job and leave the haunted place the next day itself. He could not live in the scary place any longer.