THE ‘ELECTRIC’ SPOOKIES


Sounds pretty curious, isn’t it? Actually these are three different happenings that I would like to share with the readers of this column – you can also count it as a sequel to “The Ghosts that were not”. All the three have been contributed to me by my senior friend Mr. Paul, who in between harrowing schedule shared these episodes over a cup of tea that started with a particular complaint over his telephone that started behaving a bit eerily.

1.   The telephone
It was during the festive season of Durga Puja. It is the time when telephone activity remains at its peak, wishing people, fixing schedules with visiting relatives, and long calls with the near and dear ones - those who could not be met in person. Then suddenly something went wrong. The telephone worked at its very best during the day. But as night fell and progressed, all unearthly sounds will be emanating from the receiver as one puts it to the ear either to dial a number or to answer a ring. To top it all it coincided with a fatal accident of on of his closest friend’s fresh telecom engineering graduate son whose vehicle rolled down steep hillside while he was moving to perform his duty. Incidentally, the hapless father was also an engineer working in the telephone department looking after a district.  The problem persisted till upto daybreak and as the Sun rose, it worked fine. Even the all-knowing lineman from the BSNL was clueless, his meter reading was within normal limit. And of course, he used to come only during day.

Then our home scientist Mr. Paul, one day, of course in broad daylight (he is very much afraid of ghosts, and you can very well zero down to him given the information that he is the one who carries an umbrella during all days he has to come to office) started tracking the wire starting from his telephone set. As he reached the fence, he noticed that the wire passed by a branch of a guava tree, and for support it was wrapped once there. A few leaves were shrouding the wire, so had to make some arrangement for a closer examination. Then the mystery unfolded – under one of the leaves there was a joint that was not covered with insulation. It so happened that the tip of one of the leaf was just touching the bare part of the joint. So what happens is that as night progresses the dew drops get accumulated on the leaves and naturally it rolls down and provides an earth path to the wire resulting in the eerie noise for its user.

2.   The Bell
In a particular house, the occupants were woken up one midnight by the shrill sound of the calling bell, but as they opened the door after all possible precautions no one was around, no trace was also found for anyone being there. It was raining outside, and if anyone with a flesh and blood body had to reach the bell, there must have been a wet footprint on the veranda as the rain water did not yet wet the veranda fully. So what was it? A ghost? It continued for several nights and it also so happened that rain lashed the place during nights. All the inhabitants started passing sleepless nights thinking it got haunted or some evil spirit has pervaded their dwelling.

Then, during one day during daylight hours as it rained again, the bell started ringing and as they answered the call by opening the door with any second thought no one was standing there. Then it struck their mind. There must be some connection between the ringing of the bell and the rain. So was it. At some point, the gushing wind that accompanies a rain carries some tiny droplets to land on the switch-case, and some part of it that manages to trickle through forms an electric path completing the circuit to make the bell ring.

Everyone, at last heaved a sigh of relief and made necessary arrangement to put an end to the problem.

3.   The light
A certain family had left for a certain period leaving there house locked. After a few days, a neighbour was startled by a tube lighting up suddenly in the evening. As their programme was much longer than that, he thought something must have gone wrong and rang them up. No one answered. But the light was switched off. Then he contacted another neighbour over the matter and went along. The door was securely locked, as it should have been. Then they returned. After that day it was a regular affair as he noticed, his window being directly opposite this particular window. At a particular time, it will be switched on, then again switched off. His neighbours huddled around to discuss the matter but could not make any headway. They were clueless but had no way out to solve the mystery and had to stay put till the return of the houseowner.

The houseowner returned at the scheduled time, and they were duly informed. As they returned during the afternoon hours, after freshening up, everyone sat down for a much needed cup of tea around the dining table. Time ticked by as they talked and sipped leisurely to wear off the fatigue. Slowly twilight set in and it became dark. Suddenly there was a clicking sound and the bedroom tubelight was glowing. Everyone was astonished. The lady of the house ran to the room showing exemplary courage shouting ‘kon, kon’ (who is there?) as her most precious possessions lie there. But no one was to be found even after a thorough search at all the possible places inside the room. Then the lord of the house sensed something and rolled out the mattress that was folded and covered. A few reddish tiny ‘ratkids’ were making near inaudible chirping sounds – there eyes were yet to open up. At once the mother rat jumped out from there onto the mosquito net stand and as she stepped over the bedswitch to run over the wire to the tube perched on the wall the room plunged back into darkness.


About the author: Bibekananda Choudhury, an electrical engineer by profession, has completed his M S from BITS-Pilani in Systems and Information. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems has been published in 'Indian Literature', ‘Poets International’, Poetry International’, Rupsi Bangla etc.  'Suryakatha', the Bengali adaptation done by him of the Assamese novelette in verse in the same title by Prayag Saikia was well accepted. His English translated publications include – one short story collection and four poetry collections and one Information Book on Kaziranga, apart from few others in manuscript form. He hails from Bongaigaon and presently stays at Guwahati. [Read More]

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