A ghost story

The stories I had read about haunted houses have not frightened my rational mind.

I was sent to Nellikuppam in Tamil Nadu to work in a sugar factory. I was allotted company's quarters. My house was at the end of a row of similar houses. Next to my house was the compound wall. I occupied the house. I went home from the office in the evening , had a wash and sat for my evening meal.

I saw smoke coming in through the window facing the wall. I did not pay much attention to this, thinking that someone may be cooking or heating water. I went to the office Monday morning. One of the clerks came and stood in front of me. I asked whether he has any problem. He said he has a problem that is not his but mine. I told him to sit  and explain. He said, " I think you have occupied the quarters allotted to you. If so you are next to a cremation ground. The company knows that, being an outsider you will quietly move into it."

Dismissing this as a usual stance of a low-grade employee against the company I simply said that I would speak to the concerned person about it.  I thanked the clerk when the company allotted me another quarters far away. I shifted to this new one the same day itself.

Free from any kind of smoke I soundly slept upstairs. I went to the office the next day when the same clerk came and sat in front of me. “Any problem?” I asked. “It is a nice house you have moved into, sir,” he said.

“The only snag with it is Aravumudham, whose place you are occupying now died in a road accident and his body was brought into the house before the cremation.

Aravumudham liked the house very much and had some alterations made on the advice of his wife. Just when he had settled down happily he died. You know much better than I do that when a person had dreams of living happily in a house and fate wills otherwise he haunts that house.” The stories I had read about haunted houses have not frightened my rational mind. I just smiled away the clerk's narration as a cock and bull story.

 I went to bed upstairs, switching off the light. No sooner I did this I heard voices of a man and a woman. I got up and switched on the light. I saw through the window the Trichy- Chennai train passing, making the usual noise. I then lay in bed with the lights on.

When I heard nothing untoward I switched off the light. Again I heard a man-woman conversation in a low pitch. All this was happening while I was alone. I took a couple of days off and came to Bangalore. I decided to take my wife, daughter and our dog with me. My wife and daughter are very talkative and the bark of our dog added, perhaps, drowned the man-woman conversation. We slept soundly. Perhaps his privacy lost, Aravumudham would have vacated his haunt and left us in peace!    

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