I Live in a Hundred Years Old House!
“It’s been over a century now since the time the construction of this house was begun. There were so many people who lived here, many of them died here…. The walls of this house have seen so many things, and recorded them in a form you and I may never know. But record them, it has. And in some strange and inexplicable moments does this house convey fragments of the past to the inhabitants, in what eventually turns out to be something bizarre…
“Grandpa, there is no way you can get me to sleep with another of your ghost stories… I am not really scared of them anymore. And it’s not like you could scare anyone to sleep anyway.”
“O, okay! Just go to bed before your mom and dad are back. And, by the way, these stories are not made up, you know. Did I tell you that your great grandmother walked out of this very bedroom for an evening walk, and she never returned? They never found her again. Yet sometimes, when the moon is a sickle and the curtains billow in the cool breeze of the night, they say you can hear a soft, gentle voice, humming her favourite song.”
The night was cold and dark. And outside the little window, the boy could hardly see the flicker of light from a distant lamp. Electricity was a scarcity in these areas – there had been no electricity in the grand, old house for an hour. The burning taper rose and fell in the socket. The boy’s room was engulfed in darkness, and the howling wind sent a shiver down his spine. He got up to close the window, and then jumped right back into bed. He slept, and he dreamt horrible dreams. It was only a matter of hours before the sun reached for the sky, whispering into everybody’s ears, “You can wake up now. It was only a dream.”
Sitting up on his ancient bed, the boy wondered what his dream was all about. “Was it because grandpa told me those things last night?” Whatever it was, the boy decided that he was fed up of those stupid old stories. There were no such things as ghosts anyway!
It was evening by the time he got back from the play field. He took the stairs, and as he walked in through the door of his room, he felt something crawling up his back. “Probably an insect,” he said to himself, and grabbed it. He let out a blood curdling scream when he realised that it was a large bat in his hand. He let go, lost his balance and banged into his study table. His mother came running in.
“What happened… are you alright?!”
“Nothing… nothing, mom. It was just a bat.”
“Well, you ought to be more careful. You know there are bats and owls flying all over the place at night.”
“I know I know, mom.”
His mother got busy with her work. He pulled his study table back to its original place. It was then that he noticed something strange. The walls of the house were not made of brick. They were made of something else, and had several layers of plaster over them. The table had created a small crack on the wall, revealing tiny shreds of dark blue plaster. He cleaned up and put his table in front of the crack so no one would notice it.
“So you little devil, did you have a nightmare last night,” asked his grandfather to the little boy as he walked into the dining room for tea.
“Will it pleasure you if I said I did, grandpa?”
“He, he… so you are afraid of my stories aren’t you?”
At that very moment, a brilliant idea struck the little boy. He looked at his grandfather with a solemn expression on his face and said, “Say grandpa, have you ever been to a place for the first time and felt like you’ve been there before?”
“What are you talking about my boy?”
“It’s the strangest feeling that I’ve had. It’s like I have faint recollections of seeing this house the way it was before I was born.”
“That nightmare really had you bad, didn’t it?”
“No grandpa. Tell me, weren’t the walls a dark blue before?”
“They were! My god, they were!! However did you know?”
“I told you grandpa, it’s like I’ve been here before I was born.”
“It was a long time ago… my grandfather had the walls painted dark blue. We didn’t even have cameras then: you couldn’t have seen it on a photograph.”
“Duh, if you did have cameras, they would’ve been black and white.”
“What else do you remember?”
“Uh… uh, there was pond right… right next to the gate?”
“Amazing! This is truly amazing!”
(“Phew! That was a close one!!”)
“What else? What else?!”
“Grandpa, did I mention I had faint recollections? It was more like a dream. Here comes mom now with the pancakes.”
The old man stared at the boy in bewilderment for quite some time. He concluded that he was a reincarnation of someone who had lived in this house before.
“Dad, what’s on your mind?”
“It’s the most amazing thing! Your son, here, is actually a reincarnation of someone who had lived here before.”
“What?! Are you feeling alright, dad?”
“Ask him… tell her grandson.”
The boy was in a fix. He knew it. He pulled on a confused look and said, “Uh… mom, it’s nothing… uh… I think grandpa isn’t feeling very well.”
“Oh, I am feeling fine. The boy needs help, I tell you. There is a fakir in town for a day or two. Tell him to come and see us… your little son is possessed I am afraid. He’s been saying weird things… as if he knew this place before he was born. And now he looks so confused, like he didn’t know what he was saying.”
After the much deliberation and hours of discussion, and taking into consideration that the boy kept saying his grandfather was in over his head, it was decided that the fakir be called to the house. The lady of the house was away visiting her parents the night the fakir was to show up. The old man was asleep, and the boy was at the gate patiently waiting for him. When he did show up, he politely introduced himself, and told him that his mother would be with him shortly.
“It’s my grandfather, sir. My father used to come back from work late in the evening. A few years ago his car met with an accident… and he never returned. I still remember the way he used to hum ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’ when he walked in through that door… always a spring in his step.” A tear ran down the boy’s cheek as he continued with his story. “My grandfather always waits for him to come back… hoping that he would rise from the dead one day and come to see his father.”
Just then, the old man, awoken by the sound of voices, remembered that he was to expect the fakir. He washed up and came downstairs to find his grandson and the fakir in the sitting room.
“Ah, we’ve been expecting you. I see you’ve already met my grandson. His father should be here any moment now. We will talk then. In the meantime, let me fix you a cup of tea.”
The fakir looked at the boy. “I see what you mean little boy. Perhaps you could give me and your grandfather a moment.”
“Sure. I’ll just go to my room.”
The old man came in with a tray. “My son should be here just about now,” he said to the fakir. Just then, the back door clicked, and a man walked in humming ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head.’ He was cheerful, and his clothes were dirty from a hard day’s labour. The fakir jumped up in his place and looked at him in horror, and in a split moment he was out the front door, running like the wind.
“And what’s wrong with him, dad? He looked like he’d seen a ghost. I told you it wasn’t a good idea to call that fakir here. There’s nothing wrong with a little boy’s imagination running wild anyway, is there?”
“I believe you’re right. I did overreact a little.”
This article was posted on August 18, 2005