Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A ghost has left me in the lurch!

There's been a host of spooky stories doing the rounds of late. Such as cooking range turning on by itself, headless bodies floating around, figures sitting on sofas in living rooms, kids' defunct toys functioning and so on...

I've heard several such first-hand and retold-accounts over the years [below are a selected few], and have duly ignored all of them. But for the latest one. I'm still reeling under its effect.


1. A family in Allahabad would hear the sound of a woman's anklets  everyday precisely around midnight. The sound would enter the house from the garden and walk off into the courtyard and disappear. The
narrator, who told me this, one night questioned his aunt about the sound. She, inturn, casually said. "Remember the bhabi who passed away a few years back. She comes to check on us. In fact, I keep water in the courtyard for her every night. Haven't you seen?"

2. While on the topic of water...my maternal grandmom doesn't have breakfast without offering the plate of eateries, including glass of tea, to her son who left her almost two decades back. She says the
'offered tea' is tasteless, sans sugar, when she drinks as her son has had it.

3. My editor told me of his father visiting him while he was fast asleep one night. On hearing someone enter his pitch-dark bedroom, he reached for the switch, only to see "dad in his trademark headgear and
payjama" sitting crouched beside him on the bed, "looking worried". The old man requested his son to get married, who in turn had to assure him he was capable of taking care of himself and pleaded with him - "please go back to where you have come from and rest in peace".

4. My senior said how he waited anxiously to check out a silhouetted figure of a woman in a burqa pass by the corridor. Every evening, around the  same time, if he sat with the front door open he would see
the woman walk across. But all his attempts of taking a closer look was in vain. The moment he ran out to pursue her she would vanish.

5. Another incident in the same building relates to three headless bodies suspended in air hanging out near the balcony that leads to his bedroom. These 'objects' made an appearance quite late at around 2am at night. When the narrator stepped out into the balcony one night, these 'objects' started to come nearer to the wall. Apparently, they had no distinctive features, yet they resembled human heads. He told aloud: "My God protects me. Don't enter my home. Whatever it is you'll want to do, it should be outside the walls of my home." And he saw the 'objects' slowly float away.

6. A man was knocked down in a north India state after peeing on a cemetary. The blow was so bad that it took him almost a month to walk unaided. This guy, a non-believer, to prove his people wrong went to
the place a few days later and did the act again. This time not only was he knocked down unconscious but on regaining his senses, the hitherto desi guy spoke only French. It is believed the tombstone belonged to a very distinguished and learned man from the days of the British rule in India. "He felt insulted."

Well, it's up to each reader if you want to believe in jinns and ghosts and spirits or not. I guess the effect defines beliefs. If the experiences affect you [in some way, positive or negative] then they become incidents else they remain stories...

But one such tale has left in the lurch...

Househelp saga

"My husband hits me. He pulls my hair and throws things at me. He refuses to eat what I cook. I can't lift my arm..." These are excuses my househelp gave me last week minutes before she announced, "I cannot
come from tomorrow."

I'm no elitist. Trust me. But cannot fathom how domestic help across boundaries cite similar problems to switch jobs!

"So what's your salary expectation," I ask. And there she begins singing my praises. It was an impromtu act, else I would have recorded it to bargain with her successor. "You are the best madam, I've worked for. You gave me more than what anyone has ever given me..."

I didn't hear the rest as I was zeroing in on friends who could give me househelp contacts.

Well, the long and short of her announcement is ever since she moved into her one-room sharing accommodation a year back, she's had no peace of mind. Because years ago a woman was murdered by her man in that particular room. Since then, couples renting the room have been fighting with each other, told neighbours. So she's found a safe place on the outskirts of the town and cannot commute everyday to help me out.

So much for the ghost who hates families...I'm left in the lurch!

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