Friday, April 25, 2008

Sahayam's ghost

by KParthasarathi Friday, April 25, 2008
Singhal had lent ten thousand rupees to Sahayam five years back. He used to live in the town where Sahayam lived before he shifted to Jaipur. They were neighbours and Sahayam’s family was helpful in the initial days when Singhal had moved to the Southern town.Sahayams had no children. He never lent easily as he was not in money lending business. But his usual caution gave way when his wife pleaded with him on behalf Sahayam’s family. She fell for the sob story of pressing need from Mrs.Sahayam and her assurance that the money would be returned in a few months. Even after a year there was no sign of money being returned. Gentle reminders proved of no avail.There was no documentary evidence for the loan given. Being soft by nature Singhal relied only on polite demands for repayment even by instalments.While Sahayam did not deny the liability, he would always request for more time. It was then Singhal was transferred to Jaipur, his home town. Sahayam assured him that his money was safe with him and that he would return in four installments without fail with the repayment commencing after three months.
It was more than three years since Singhal left. He did not get a penny. It was then Singhal got a tour to Sahayam’s town. He decided to meet him and take something in writing for the loan taken.
When he knocked at the door one evening, a small boy of around twelve opened the door. He said he was Sahayam’s nephew and had come for vacation. He knew from the conversations between his uncle and aunt that his uncle owed the North Indian gentleman some money and that the latter was pressing him to return. When asked whether Sahayam was available the boy asked him to come inside. When asked about Sahayam, the boy replied that he had passed away by sudden heart attack two years back and that he was staying with his aunt since then. He told the visitor that she would be there soon as she was taking her bath. He added that his aunt was scared to live alone as she was troubled by the ghost of his uncle. He frequently came in the evenings around 7 pm and when the door was opened he entered with loud noise with the stench of a drunk. She then saw him throwing about all things. After sometime the ghost would disappear and all turned quiet. It was for this reason he said he came to live with aunt. His aunt suspected that ghost could enter even when the door was not opened. She feared that the ghost was violent when angry.
Singhal became worried and restless as the watch showed 6-45pm.It was then Mrs. Sahayam entered. After a salutation that appeared indifferent, Singhal observed that she was constantly looking at the door with fear in her eyes. When Singhal asked whether it was a fact that her husband came daily around 7pm noisily like a drunk she nodded her head in affirmative, Singhal remembered the boy’s warning that Sahayam turned violent whenever displeased and he was sure his sight would not be a pleasant sight for the ghost. Convinced about the veracity of boy’s statement, Singhal made a hasty exit pleading urgent work elsewhere despite her pleas that her husband would be happy to see him after so many years.
It was after his exit, she asked the boy “why was it that the gentleman looked so scared? Did you tell him that uncle has turned an alcoholic and creates noisy and violent scene when he returns daily from work? In fact Singhalji was not aware of Sahayam turning an alcoholic“. The clever boy said he did tell him about his coming daily at 7pm like a drunk and sometimes violent but did not reveal about his bluff regarding his death and his appearance as a ghost. He also added gratuitously that the North Indian uncle may not come again. When asked why, he said with a tongue in the cheek that it was just a hunch.

1 comment:

  1. poor Singhal!a sense of mystery at the end. good post