Mr Shyamalan came back from office at around seven in the evening; a tad later than his usual. In his late forties, he was quite famous in Fosterganj for his condescending demeanor. Though he carried his own stereotypes, he liked to showcase the world that he is a rational person.
“Only a fool craves to be caged in the system of marriage” is what he used to proudly announce, having lost any hope for a possibility of marriage. So his house, the last building in the main lane of Fosterganj, was left to the care of Ramu, Mr Shyamalan’s help. Ramu took care of anything and everything that Mr Shyamalan or his house demanded.
The evening hours on this particular day passed by like usual and Ramu left the house after leaving Mr Shyamalan a jug of water next to his bed post his dinner. Mr Shyamalan settled down in his bed and tuned into Vividh Bharati station in his age old Radio that he had received in ancestral property along with the house. In the times of modernity, you can say that Mr Shyamalan’s house was a world of its own that still resembled the old days of simple things. In fact the only new thing that he had bought for the house was the Air Conditioner for his bedroom the previous winter as last summer in Fosterganj was unbearable, even for Mr Shyamalan.
Mr shyamalan was woken up suddenly by the sound of something falling all of a sudden as he was about to fall asleep. He thought he heard it coming from the living room. But finding everything at their own places neatly, he came to his bed surprised.
“Maybe it was a dream.”
And as he was about to settle down again in his bed, he heard something moving in the bushes next to his window. Being the last building in the lane, the plots next to his window were mostly left unattended and it looked like a mini forest with its wild creepers and bushes. Mr Shyamaln never used to sleep with his window open. He sensed something was wrong. He opened the window gathering some courage. Switching on the flashlight, he tried to inspect the bushes that his old eyes allowed him. The sound of crickets was filling up the air.
” Strange”, he thought as a sense of fear crawled in his head. He got reminded of the gossip in the market, of Mr Mehta seeing a ghost a couple of days ago. He closed the window as fast as he could. His show of rationality left him instantly in the face of something unfamiliar as the air felt colder all of a sudden. He hurried back to his bed and sat there under his quilt with wide open eyes for some time.
“Plop”. His heightened senses made this sound appear as something sudden, which was loud enough to break his trance as his body started to shiver. He gathered the last ounce of courage to check his bathroom.
Nothing there as well, as the taps were tightly closed and the floor was dry. He came back to his bed.
It seized his body with a sudden horror; his skin hair started bristling out of fear. He felt heavy as if he had lost control of the motor functions of his body. He sat still in his bed frightened to the core as he could hear his own heart beats even amidst the noisy crickets.
The sound of it was not as loud as it appeared to Mr Shyamalan. The shock of a sudden sound was severe enough to push his heart pumping to the roof. Suddenly he was no more an atheist, as he started fervently praying every God he could possibly remember.
Maybe his prayers were answered as nothing unusual happened for sometime allowing him to fall asleep.
Ramu came the following morning at his usual timing.
“Oh, the rats. I have to do something about them”, he murmured seeing Saheb’s book lying on the floor in the living room.
He came to wake Mr Shyamalan with his morning tea. Mr Shyamalan sat a bit puzzled in his bed as the whole incident from the night before felt like a dream. As he was about to sip from his cup he heard,
The daylight and the presence of Ramu in the house gave him enough courage to open the window again. He looked around.
He looked up as the water drop gathered again at the AC outlet to fall. Sighing a long breath of relief, he was back in his characteristic condescending mode. Grandly he walked back to his bed and started sipping his tea.
Mr Shyamalan looked up to find Ramu standing at the door.
“What is it?”
“Saheb, I need some money.”
“What for”, Mr Shyamalan raised his eyebrows looking in Ramu’s direction.
“I had wished upon giving two coconuts at Jagmata temple if my son’s health improved…”
Mr Shyamalan cut Ramu in between.
“Ramu… how many times do I have to tell you! Gods and ghosts exist only in your head.”