Humour: Long after the granddad is gone...

Humour: Long after the granddad is gone...

A granddad haunts a house in a strange way

But what's that noise?

It was the early 80s. Days when contraptions like showers were almost a novelty. Especially in the interiors of Kerala. My grandfather’s bathroom boasted of one. This particular bathroom was about 50 metres away from the house (as even attached bathrooms were a rarity then), and the water for the shower in it came from an overhead tank that pumped water from the well. My grandfather, who was in his late-60s, used the shower religiously. And our domestic helpers, who held him in high regard and respectfully addressed him as ‘Kochu pilla’, were aware of this.

As fate would have it, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. It was a big blow to all of us, including our domestic helpers who dealt with him on a regular basis. We were all trying hard to come to terms with his sudden demise. Lost in our own thoughts about the man who had given us many reasons to smile, we went about our daily activities in a daze. Amidst all this unexpected turn of events, none of us even thought of using the shower. As far as we were concerned, it was sacrilegious to indulge in an activity, which my grandfather dearly enjoyed, so soon after his passing.

And then it happened. Yes, water from the shower kept running down at regular intervals. Or so our most trusted domestic helpers, Karambi, Velumbi and Kochucherukkan, told us. According to them, my grandfather came home every day to take a shower. After all, it was one of his favourite activities. Also, he loved us all so dearly that he’d come back every day to check on our welfare.

At first, we did not believe them. But then, why would they lie to us, we thought. So, off we went near ‘the’ bathroom. The door was firmly closed. We pinned back our ears to listen to any sound that came from the bathroom. And there it was. Slosh… tluck…tlock... tluck…tlock. Slosh…. tluck…tlock... tluck…tlock. The sound of water running from the shower. First in a burst, then in a fizzle. At regular intervals.

We were convinced. Karambi, Velumbi and Kochucherukkan were right. It was indeed my grandfather who was taking a shower. Our joy knew no bounds. At the same time, we were terrified, too. We didn’t know what to make of it. Should we rejoice that he was around us, or, was there a cause for concern? We were clueless.

But then, we had to find out. The 12-year-old in me prompted me to take the lead. After all, I was my grandfather’s dearest grandchild. He was my favourite, too. But, what would it be like to meet him after his death? But, keeping my fears aside, I decided to venture into the bathroom. Though shaking in my boots, I gingerly creaked open the bathroom door. I peeped inside. Water from the shower sloshed, tlucked, tlocked. Again, at regular intervals. But, there was no grandfather. I waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing happened, except for the slosh… tluck…tlock. I was a tad disappointed. Not only had I wanted to solve the mystery, but had also secretly hoped to meet my grandfather. Alas!

However, the mystery of the running shower had to be solved. That was when a plumber came into the picture, armed with his tools. We accompanied him to the bathroom to get to the bottom of slosh… tluck…tlock. Even as we entered the bathroom, the plumber looked at the shower head, and at the water connection pipes, and beamed a ‘I-know-it-all’ smile. We looked at him expectantly. All he said was, “The excess water collected in the shower head needs an outlet, you see.”

It took us some time to realise that the old-fashioned shower head, with its broad base, collected water and expelled it at will in slosh… tluck…tlock. Bah!!! So much for our imagination. But, to this day, I wonder if Karambi, Velumbi and Kochucherukkan believed in the plumber’s explanation. What say you?

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox