In the 90s, rural parts of Bangalore in India were haunted by a fear of a ghost walking from door to door. To protect themselves from death, they used to write Nale Ba – come tomorrow.
The sound of a knock on the door can be one of the more terrifying things when you are not expecting someone. In lores and legends, opening the doors for strangers are the biggest mistakes you can make, as you have no control once the door is open.
But what if the voice on the other side sounds familiar, like that of a friend or a family member. What do you do then? Before the big urbanization of Bangalore in more recent times, there used to be some pretty rural parts where a particular urban legend struck fear in those who lived there.
Nale Ba or Come Tomorrow
The story of Nale Ba is a popular folk legend that is told primarily in Karnataka, in the south western region of India that truly blew up in the 1990s, making it perhaps more of an urban legend than folklore as it was centered around the more developed areas.
During the crazy times in the 1990’s there were around 5 million people living in Bangalore and city experienced a rapid urbanization that turned the place to one of India’s most populated cities.
But this was then and many of those living there lived in fear of Nale Ba. Villagers wrote the words Nale Ba on the walls and doors for many years to protect themselves, giving the name to both the legend and the creature haunting them. Nale Ba or sometimes spelled Naale Baa (ನಾಳೆ ಬಾ) is a Kannada phrase that means come tomorrow in English.
They wrote this exact phrase to protect their home from an evil spirit that tries to break in. What type of entity Nale Ba was supposed to be, was unclear. She was often referred to a so called Bridal Spirit as she was out to get a man to stay with her for eternity. She is also sometimes also referred to as a witch more than a ghost.
What her intentions were varied, but in some of the earlier versions she wore ragged clothes, had messy hair and asked for alms like a classic ‘do not open the doors to strangers’ legend.
But one of the more popular and retold stories is that she is roaming the streets hunting down the men to claim for herself.
The Manhunt of the Bridal Ghost
In some variations of the Nale Ba legend it is a bridal ghost that is looking for a husband among the villagers, and she will stop at nothing to get him. Although the legend will probably never be as infamous as it’s peak in the 1990s, the urban legend have a habit of popping up from time to time.
What is also curious is that it is very similar to the widow ghost legend in Thailand where there also is a female entity hunting down the men:
The bridal spirit will usually go for the only son or the man of the house who is the only member of the family earning money, and therefore bringing bad luck not only to the poor man that is taken away, but to the entire family as they are left in ruin.
She goes from door to door in the night and knocks on the doors, trying to get in. When she speaks through the door she speaks in the voice of your kin or familiar person, calling you by the name, so that you will open the door for her. But if you open it, you will most likely die according to the Nale Ba legend.
This is why the villagers came up with the idea of writing Nale Ba on their doors and walls of their homes to protect themselves. The idea is that the bridal ghost or witch will read the words and come back another time. And the cycle will only continue and you will be protected.
Leaving Nale Ba in the Past
The legend of Nale Ba, the haunting bridal ghost roaming the streets of rural Bangalore, continues to captivate the imaginations of locals and visitors alike. While the fear it once instilled may have subsided, the tale remains an intriguing part of the city’s folklore.
Over time, as Bangalore underwent urbanization and transformation into a bustling metropolis, the legend of Nale Ba gradually faded into the background. The growth and development of the city brought about new stories and urban myths, yet every now and then, a whisper of the infamous bridal ghost resurfaces.
In today’s modern era, the streets of Bangalore are abuzz with the sounds of progress and innovation, leaving behind the ghostly echoes of its past. Yet, hidden beneath the surface, the essence of these legends lingers, shaping a city that embraces its rich heritage while moving fearlessly towards the future.
So, next time you hear a knock on your door late at night, remember the spirit of Nale Ba and the importance of remaining vigilant. And should you ever encounter the whispers of an ancient legend, embrace it as a testament to the vibrant history and enduring spirit of the city of Bangalore.
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