I cannot avoid thinking of ghosts whenever my husband goes on work trips. It is crazy but my imagination works overtime to create ghosts in the closet, in the washing machine, in the playroom and most of all, in the creepy bathroom.
Yes, the feeling is not funny. The first day of my husband’s absence is worst. I don’t look at myself in the mirror at night because I think my reflection smiles crookedly at me. I avoid looking at my shadow out of the fear that it would act in a wayward manner. I barely look at my painting of a girl whose smile otherwise benevolent decidedly turns sinister when I am alone. I keep my kids awake for as long as I could and when they fall asleep, I try to hold them closely causing them discomfort. Soon, they roll over away from ‘poor and scared’ me.
Soon, illusions totally take over my common sense. I see shadows lurking in the closet just ready to grab me. The sound of the dishwasher sounds ghastly to my ears and the distant sound of a vehicle approaching is eerie. And the worst of all is the fact that our Smart TV is so dumb that it switches on out of the blue…sometimes at the middle of the night, sending shivers down my spine. I chant mantras and the all-powerful ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ to find strength and peace from my imagination.
At times, I lie down sleepless in bed and think of the tenants before us. Had they died in this very apartment? Were they into voodoo and witchcraft? And then I would sleep fitfully and wake up scared and again go back to sleep, dreaming of the imaginary dead tenants. All this is laughable in broad daylight but they feel very real at those long scary nights.
When the clock strikes 4am, I find my peace and sleep like a baby with my kids. It is considered that 4 am is ‘Bramha Muhurat’ or the Godly hour. No ghost dares to disturb me and I feel so safe.
But this time, when my husband left, one of my fears almost came to life. It was late in the evening. All was dark and quiet. I was in the bathroom trying to avoid my reflection, when I heard my older one talking to someone in the living room. I also heard someone replying to him. The baby was asleep and there was no one around. My apartment was locked from inside. But he was distinctively having a conversation.
The answering voice sounded distorted and strange. Fear paralysed me and I felt as if I would faint any minute. I couldn’t call for help as my phone was in the living room. I thought all the horrors in my mind were coming to life. But I had to rescue my child from the spirit that was possessing him.
I mustered courage to move towards the living room. It was a rainy evening, the setting was perfect for a horror film. I could hear him clearly now, he was saying, “It is a dark, rainy evening”. The voice mimicked him, “It is a dark, rainy evening”. He laughed, the voice laughed. I almost cried.
I walked closer towards his room…the other voice sounded familiar. But since my logic had deserted me, I failed to recognise it. After a heroic effort on my part, I peeped into the room. And what a sight it was! I found him talking to the Talking Tom app on the iPad. I felt stupid but relief flooded over me.
He sensed my fear. He said, “Talk to Tom, Mumma. You will feel not be scared.” I said bravely, “Mumma is a strong girl, She is not scared”. And then, I looked at Talking Tom. I can tell you for sure that his grin looked very very evil.
But thankfully, my fears remained restricted to my over ripe imagination!