Haunted Kitchen, Mumbai (Bombay)
February 1, 2010
Most of us have heard a bump in the night and how do we react? We run to hide under the covers and await dawn. We keep quiet about it until someone else in the household speaks up about the situation. Until, then we don’t get up to use the bathroom at night, make sure there is a big bottle of water on the night stand and keep the covers above the head at all times.
But what if all such events never occurred at night but at daytime? When the sun was shining bright and you were wide awake planning your day? Sounds unbelievable? I thought so too but then things slowly began to make more sense. One thing I learnt from this experience was that never second guess yourself because these ghosts, spirits, entity – whatever name you prefer to give them, they certainly do exist in our world. Let me tell you how it all began.
I shifted to a new flat a year ago. I didn’t get acquainted with any neighbors except for the airhostess, next door. Tara was a typical flight attendant with exquisite features, hourglass figure and the make-up with the tight-fitted uniform, turned a lot of heads.
We got along like two pods in a pea and I really missed her company on the nights she was away across continents. Often, she got me souvenirs and I kept some dinner for her when I knew she would be home late.
I rarely visited her flat as she preferred to come over and lounge in my room. I didn’t mind it though. One evening, she looked very pale and distraught.
“Do you know who lived in your flat before you moved in?” she asked.
“No, not really. As far as I know these flats have been newly constructed and we are the first ones here.”
That seemed to have consoled her a bit. But she changed the topic and told me about this new guy she met in-flight.
Few days later, she asked me if I could water her plants while she was away. She gave me a set of her keys and said she would be away for a week or so. I really didn’t mind it. I am an artist so a change of venue for my creativity is always welcome.
Her flat was neatly styled. It was minimal yet inviting. She had a lot of ferns, aromatic herbs and roses neatly arranged in her balcony. Sunlight glared brightly through her French windows and the fragrance of the flowers swept across the rooms. I went to check if she had any leftovers that needed to be discarded and I stepped into her kitchen.
A draft of chilled air brushed past my face giving me goose bumps. It did surprise me but I didn’t think of it much. I checked on the contents of the fridge and left for the day.
My flat was designed in such a way that the passage connecting from my living room to my study overlooked her kitchen window. I am sure you must be wondering why I am suddenly describing my floor plan in the middle of this story but this is vital later on.
I went about my household chores as usual and as I was about to enter my study, I felt someone was watching me from Tara’s kitchen window. I took a step back and looked again, but there was no one. It seemed a little weird but it could have been a reflection from the windows from the flat downstairs.
Couple of days later, I found someone standing and looking on my side of the flat from the kitchen window. I walked to the passage to check but again there was no one. I was sure it wasn’t Tara because if she had returned she would have definitely drop in to tell me that she was back and also her windows would be open.
Slowly, this became a regular feature. Every time, I would step into my study from the corner of my eye I could sense someone was standing and looking through the kitchen window. When I looked closer there was no one. I didn’t stop watering the plants but made a quick dash, poured the water and hurried back.
One morning, I thought- “I am being silly; let me go to the kitchen and check. Maybe there is a cupboard and its refection is creating a shadow effect.”
With a positive and open mind, I walked into her kitchen. Suddenly, a mesh of cobweb fell over my face. I felt extremely cold. I could feel the hair at the back of my neck stand up. I stood frozen for a second and scrambled to reach the sanctity of my own home. I sat panting for eternity-well that’s how I felt then.
The same night, Tara was back. She was her jovial self and told me all the exotic locations she travelled. She did notice my anxiety and my lack of enthusiasm in looking at her travel photos. I was lost in thought, wondering if I should share these episodes with her. I decided I would tell her eventually but not today. I needed to rest and figure out the best way to break this paranormal situation to her.
Tara had few days of leave and stayed at her place sleeping most of the day. Evenings she would come over and we would chat up. We were enjoying our tea in my study and I was seated in the corner where I could see her kitchen window. I consciously looked away and Tara sensed my distraught look.
“It may sound silly,” she said “but I really get freaked out at my place.”
“What you mean?” I asked.
“I feel someone is watching me all the time. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is but I feel someone is watching me from behind. I really don’t know how to explain this. I know you must think I am on dope.”
“No, I understand exactly what you mean.”
Now was my chance to give her all the details of the incident.
“Who do you think it is? The previous owner?”
“Tara, this is a new building. We are the first ones here. But I agree there is something or someone’s spirit that is lurking. It knows that it has got our attention. So far no harm has been done so at least we know it’s not violent.”
“Thanks for the reassurance but I am not going to sleep there tonight. I am staying with you.”
“That’s no problem but then we have to find a solution to get rid of it otherwise it can come over to this flat too.”
“What you mean? It will follow us here?”
“Why not? It makes me uncomfortable in my flat. What is stopping it from come here?”
That night, we sat and researched on the internet and found out about different cleansing rituals. We bought all the things listed and started trying it out from the following morning. There was uneasiness and of course we were scared but we kept at it and after a month of cleansing, it left and went away.
The kitchen seems warm and inviting now. There never were any cobwebs but somehow on that day, it appeared out of the blue. Everything has settled down and the kitchen is no longer haunted.
©Nayna, 2007-2010. All Rights Reserved.