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Gloria was a pretty, bubbly girl, who would admire nature like her parents and would always be engaged in solving puzzles and quizzes. As soon as she would return from school, she would go to her play room, pick up the mat and the puzzle games and bring them to the lawn. She would sit and start playing and solving. Gloria might not be having limitations of time, but time does have its own limitations. It takes with it everything when it moves ahead, sometimes it takes away even the happiness from a child’s heart. So the time came when Gloria was about to turn 13 years of age.
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As the clock struck 12, Gloria shivered. Her phone started ringing. “Tring trying”, “Gloria, pick up the phone darling, it must be for you only”, Gloria’s mother was calling out from her bedroom. Gloria, fearfully stepped ahead to pick up the call, but she was so terrified that phone call stopped by the time she reached the phone. For two minutes she stood and stared at the phone. Again the phone rang and she suddenly got started. Terrified, she picked up the phone, “hello”, she said. “Hi Gloria, wish you a very happy birthday dear, lots of wishes for you my dear.” It was Gloria’s friend, Anna, who would never forget to wish Gloria at the midnight hour on every birthday of Gloria. Hearing her friend’s voice, Gloria calmed down and started talking to her. Both the friends talked for about half an hour and then Gloria forgot about her fear. She just went to bed and slept.
But the next morning when she woke up, her fear got back into her mind. This phobia which Gloria had is called 13-digit phobia, or “Triskaidekaphobia”. This is a term which is used in abnormal psychology for the phobia of 13 digit number. Some people suffer from the phobia of 13 digit number. Gloria also suffered from this phobia.
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Her parents had kept a big party as her birthday surprise. A lot of friends and relatives were invited and she too was gifted a pretty dress by her parents. The party went very well, everybody enjoyed, sang, danced, and had the delicious food. Only one person did not enjoy at all, sadly, that was the birthday girl herself. She pretended as if she was happy, but her fear did not let her enjoy even a single moment of her special day. Such was the adverse effect of phobia on Gloria. She developed this phobia in her childhood days only when she heard people around saying that 13 digit number is an evil number.
Gradually, Gloria’s phobia overpowered her each moment. She would neither study nor would she be able to enjoy her puzzle games anymore. All the time she would be thinking about the evil and the mishaps that might happen with her or with her family. At times she would start crying in the night, she would suddenly get up from her sleep and would give a cry, call out for her mother. Her parents would rush immediately to her bedroom and pacify her. At the day time also, she would not be able to concentrate in the class, while the teacher would be teaching the important lessons. Days and nights went like this only when Gloria would spend her moments in fear and would be left alone because nobody was able to understand her pain and the problem of phobia.
Ultimately, her parents took her to the psychologist, who referred her to meet a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist spoke to her and enquired every minute detail about her fear. “Hi Gloria, how are you?” asked the psychiatrist. “Hello”, Gloria replied. Her hello sounded very low, she appeared frail and weak. Her mother had been crying for the past month for her daughter, as to what had gone wrong with her. Her parents were grieving and they were begging the psychiatrist to treat her and make her fit and fine as soon as possible.
The psychiatrist recommended her parents to get her admitted to the mental hospital as soon as possible, for the treatment to begin immediately. “The earlier, the better”, said the psychiatrist. And so Gloria’s parents without wasting a single moment, got Gloria admitted to the hospital. Gloria cried, saying “momma, papa, I’ am not mad. Why are you putting me here?” Gloria’s mother lovingly put her hand on Gloria’s head, “I will be here with you, don’t worry. Both you Papa and I will remain with you one by one; so that one will look after the home, while the other will be with you.” Gloria breathed a sigh of relief.
If time is the giver of pain, only time can heal it. Gloria’s phobia and her pain were destined to be ended here in the hospital. Fortunately or unfortunately, she got the ward no 13. She was again in terrible fear. All the patients of that ward would tease her and irritate her and they would call out names for her. her condition thus did not improve. No medication and no therapies proved successful. all the more, the ward no 13 had a ghostly environment. At 12 o clock every night some or the other things would happen, some noise would be made as if somebody is coming and going out of the room. There would be sounds of glass breaking. Her mother lived with her for four days, but on the fifth day, she herself fell ill. So both the parents could not visit Gloria the next day.
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That night, when her mother was not with her, she saw somebody coming closer to her. As she was lying in her bed, she fearfully pulled up the sheet on her and covered her face. She shivered with fear, terribly. For the next moment, she could sense that a ghost was standing just on the side of her bed. She murmured fearfully “go away, don’t frighten me, go, go.” The Ghost giggled and called out her name “Gloria, please get up from the bed, I want to speak to you about something.” Gloria was stunned to listen to a ghost’s words for the first time. The voice of that ghost was compassionate enough to break the chain of fear and Gloria at once got up to see how come a ghost wants to talk to her.
Surprisingly, the ghost was a small girl, younger than Gloria. The small girl’s ghost told Gloria that she was just 5 years of age when she passed away. Gloria replied with faltering tone “so, ssssoo, what is it big then? Why are you here, what do you want from me?” The girl’s ghost smiled and told her that Gloria had saved this ghost’s mother. “One day, my mother and I were out on shopping. Suddenly my mother’s hanky fell on the road. You saw it and indicated my mother that the hanky was on the ground. As soon as she bent to pick up the hanky, a lorry came and hit me, but my mother was protected. Dear Gloria, I’ am grateful to you that you saved my mother. Had you not told my mother about the hanky, she would not have bent down and would have been hit by the lorry. I want to save you from this ward. You are not mad, but you will go mad if you stay here anymore. This ward no 13 has some evil in it, but all the people call you mad because you have told them that there is some problem here in this ward”, the ghost talked to Gloria in a soft tone.
After talking to the ghost, Gloria became quite normal. Next day when the psychiatrist came for her check up, Gloria was not on the bed. She was standing at the gate of the ward, holding her whatever little luggage was there with her. The psychiatrist called her to come and lie down on the bed, as he would interrogate her, but she boldly and confidently said, “I’ am absolutely fine, and I ‘am going home.” She left the ward immediately, took a rickshaw and very innocently told the rickshaw puller that once she reaches her home, her parents would pay him. She reached home and her parents were surprised to see her. She told everything to her parents. Her parents gazed at her innocent face and tears rolled down their cheeks.
Many years passed away. Gloria won over her phobia of the 13-digit number, studied well in the rest of her student life and she turned out to be a real victory as she became an IAS officer. “Tring, Tring”, the phone rang.
“Hello, is this Ms Gloria?”
“Yes, Gloria speaking.”
“Hi Gloria, wish you a very happy birthday my dear. This is Anna, you recognised me?”
“Of course Anna, why won’t I recognise you? Thank you for your lovely wishes.”
And the friends chatted for two hours. It was Gloria’s birthday again and celebrations for her life began. In short no 13 had become her lucky number.