It’s funny that I’ve never discussed this on my blog, but I’m a total sucker for ghost stories. Once I feel I know a person well enough for him/her not to think I’m a weirdo for asking, I ask them if they have any ghost stories they can tell me. Most often than not people say they do believe in ghosts but never have any concrete instances to tell me about.
Of course the next question is, “Do I believe in ghosts?” The answer is No. In fact I don’t scare easy either. But that doesn’t stop me from getting that pleasurable goosebumpy chill when I hear stories about things that go “Do you remember me? I’m back!” in the night.
I, in fact; had I been a believer, have had ample ‘evidence’ of the supernatural. Who hasn’t woken up from a perfectly undisturbed sleep in the middle of the night with one’s heart thumping, and eyes swiveling around looking for…God knows what. It isn’t a bad dream, it’s a sudden certainty of something horrifying in the room with you… you just can’t SEE it.
Then there was that time when I was 7 years old and I had a 104 degree temperature. It was broad daylight and I saw a man, dressed all in red, grasping the second story window grille from the outside and looking in on me as I lay alone in bed. I had been so sick that both my parents were at home looking after me, and my panic stricken screams made them rush in from the next room. Of course that can easily be explained as delirium, which it was -- or Spiderman. My point is, if I wanted to believe, I had an actual ghost sighting – right there.
Then much later, a very lovely couple who still are very good friends took me in when I was a singleton in Hyderabad. They had a soft spot for strays so I and the two stray dogs fit right into the establishment. Weird stuff used to happen in that house. (No I don’t mean my money disappearing; that was the maid.) They would some times go out to do couple things like attend parties and whatnot and gave me and the dogs the run of the house for the entire evening.
I’ve always enjoyed having a house to myself. When I was a kid in Calcutta, I would try on my mother’s lipstick and my sister’s earrings. During this Hyderabad phase when I got some time alone, I would watch all the TV I could manage without having to worry about intruding.
One such night, as I watched the same Friends rerun for the umpteenth time with my favorite dog, Tiger (a mongrel with Alsatian blood) curled up next to me, a strange thing happened. He sat up with a start and looked directly at a point several feet off the ground in the doorway connecting the bedroom (where we were) and the living room. I thought maybe my friends had come back much earlier than planned, and expected to hear the front gate open any minute. (Tiger had wonderful hearing, he could tell his masters were home from the time their car drove up 3 storeys below.) What must be obvious to those who’ve got the drift of my story by now, no such thing happened. Tiger growled low and deep in his throat and stared unblinkingly at the connecting door for a few more seconds. Then, growling all the while, his eyes moved from the door, following a trajectory that cut across the TV, past the dressing table mirror and towards the bed where I lay.
It was at that point that the charm of having the house to myself began to pall. I had watched enough TV and felt an overwhelming need for human company. So I called a friend up and kept up a hectic pace of conversation until my friends returned from their party.
Another story, of course no ghosts feature in this, I find fairly sinister. I moved out of these friends’ place (I leeched off them for 6 whole months and we still remain friends!) and into a shared accommodation with two other girls. I was an illegal sub tenant of one of the girls, and was to share her room. I was her ‘sister’ if the landlord ever asked. Well this girl was terrified at night. She would ask to leave lights on, she would start at the slightest noise, and by the end of it I was as much of a basket case as she was. Later I heard from my second flat mate that this girl was a widow and that her husband had been cruel. He beat her and never let her meet her family or friends. When he died of a heart attack, she was glad. At least that is, until night fell every day and she drove me up the wall with her “what was that? Did you HEAR that??”
I cleared out of that place in double quick time let me tell you.
What was the point of this post you ask? There isn’t that much. Except that I’m alone at home, and had just turned in for the night. As I lay in bed, my mind had just started to skate into nothingness, when all of a sudden I was jolted wide awake…
So I turned the lights on and sat down to write this post.