As the hands of the clock are close to forming a 90-degree angle in the early hours of the morning, a Netflix session is interrupted by your dog who was sleeping soundly but has now joined the progressive howling of his friends in the neighbourhood.
Peeping from behind the curtain in the dark, they seem to you to be barking at thin air. Perhaps not though, as it is often said that animals can sense paranormal activity.
Folklore is part and parcel of any place that has existed for centuries. Therefore, it is not unusual that Goa is home to myths and legends of ghosts and haunting spirits that have roamed the land even before any of us were here.
Amidst hundreds of stories of ghosts and spirits from the netherworld, is a tale as old as time. Legend has it that a few villages of Goa have seen, heard and experienced the presence of a guardian or protective spirit, locally known as the rakondar/rakhno (guardian) or devsar (devil) in their mother tongue Konkani.
This legendary character has had various descriptions that have been narrated and passed down from one generation to the other. Commonly described as a tall, strong and well-built male figure that roams with a staff in his hand, these beings are considered deities and even worshipped by some of the believers residing in the villages of Goa.
They are usually known to have an assigned path that they walk on that should essentially not be encroached on by human beings.
This phenomenon has been experienced in different villages all over Goa. Just as his name suggests, the rakondar is known for guiding lost people home and ensuring that they have reached their destination safe and sound.
But beware – being disrespectful will guarantee you his wrath. One story tells of a man who supposedly abused the rakondar, and in doing so gained himself a seat on the top of a tree where nobody could find him. As for if and how he managed to get down, nobody knows.
Many people have claimed that the rakondar walks behind people that are lost and escorts them home, especially after dark. His heavy feet and the staff in his hand hit the floor as he takes each step.
Once he has dropped the person home safely, he warns them not to look back, and before you know it he disappears.
Although most have not been able to get a proper look at this guardian spirit, the thought of him lingers on their minds long after he has left.
But what will never be forgotten is the mental compilation of the stories and descriptions that have been shared and passed on among the people
Just as they had started, the dogs abruptly stop howling. Nobody knows where he comes from or where he goes, but as for the people in the village, he is an amalgamation of both, the fear of the unknown and a sense of safety.