-by KParthasarathi Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Blog this story
Sivamani Iyer had a large family. When he was transferred to Madurai he found an old and spacious independent house within his affordability. Although the house was pretty old with most of the roof tiled except for the front side, it was close to market and bus stand. It was a corner house abutted by main road on the front and a small road at the side with an alley on the rear. There was a well in the compound with a couple of coconut and guava trees. It was Iyer’s sheer luck that he got this house for a small rent as the broker put it. .Iyer brought his family soon. They were all very happy as they lived in a small portion consisting of four rooms in a single row with interconnecting doors. The children enjoyed playing in the garden and his wife was happy at the large supply of coconuts for her kitchen.
It was a month later around 9-30 pm when the family members were chatting in the living room that was under the tiled portion, they heard a rain of small stones on the roof. They could not make out what it was. It had stopped in a few seconds. While they were engaged in surmising what it could be, there was another rain of stones for a longer period. When Sivamani Iyer started to go out, his wife pleaded with him not to venture out alone. Even when they were debating there was another hail of stones. Accompanied by his two young sons, he went out with a torch in hand. There was a small alley behind his house. He could see none in that lane. It was dark with no street lights. After waiting for some time, he returned to the house. There was no further incident that night. But peace of mind was denied to them as the stone throwing continued with regularity at intermittent intervals of a day or two.
Sivamani Iyer’s wife was mentioning these strange happenings to the ladies of the adjacent house keen to know whether they too had similar experience. She came to know that none of the previous tenants stayed in that house for more than a month or two and vacated it mostly in haste. They have heard people say that it was an unlucky house visited by ghosts. This was the reason the owner gave such a big house for very small rent. They could not however enlighten Iyer’s wife what or who threw the stones though they gave the gratuitous advice that it is better not to live in such a jinxed place with young children.
It was then Iyer decided to seek the help of his friend who was an inspector in the police department. Both were certain that this was no handiwork of ghosts. The patrol car visited the side road and the lane a couple of times in the nights for a week and found none strolling in the dark alley. But on one of the nights there was stone throwing. Iyer’s police friend discussed the matter with the owner who lamented that the house remained frequently unoccupied for this reason. He added that some people offered to buy the house at throw away price and that he was not willing to sell. This bit of information set the police man thinking. He devised a strategy to catch the culprits.
On the third day there was the usual downpour of stones on the roof tiles around 11pm.Immediately there after, there was a knock on the front door.Iyer and his wife in a trembling voice asked who it was at that odd hour. It was the inspector who shouted”Iyer, open the door. I have caught the culprits .You can come out safely.”
When iyer opened he saw the neighbour and his two sons standing beside the inspector. He said they have confessed to their intimidatory tactics with a view to scare away the tenants and buy the property at low price. The neighbour unexpectedly fell at the feet of Iyer and begged him to save him from further action. He pleaded he had a big family and his daughter was to get married in a month’s time. He promised that Iyer and his family could live in peace and that he would be eternally grateful for his forgiveness.
Iyer requested his Inspector friend to drop the matter and wanted to know how he zeroed on him. The inspector said it was easy as he had planted a constable for the night on the top of the tree behind the neighbour’s house. Luckily Iyer’s neighbour got into his act the same night.