When Ajay and his family first moved into their new home, everything seemed to have fallen into place for them. It was the ground floor of a corner building plus the rear portion of the first floor, and easy access to it coupled with ease of parking alone were enough to make Ajay and his wife Savita feel years of saving money to buy such a house had been worth it. The interior of the spacious three bedroom house too was just what they’d always wanted — one bedroom for themselves, one bedroom for their children — two boys aged four and seven — and a bedroom for guests.

The rear portion of the first floor was to be used for a tailoring unit which Savita has been running for several years. Before moving into the new house, Savita had taken a lot of pains to do it up in accordance with long cherished dreams. She had devoted special care and attention to the children’s room. It was large enough for one side to be set aside as a play side, with tastefully designed racks for the children’s toys, gadgets and sport items like bats, balls and racquets. Both the boys had a fascination for cars, and they were all neatly ‘parked’ under the rack.

One side of the children’s room was set aside as a computer, video games and TV section. The children’s beds were placed on the third side, besides the door to the attached bathroom. On the fourth side, Savita put up funky, colourful posters which she knew were the children’s favourites, along with erasable sheets on which the children could draw, paint, write, doodle, whatever. All this was meant to be a big, grand surprise for the children. When the children walked into their room, seven year old Sunny’s eyes opened wide in amazement and with a loud ‘wow’ he did a back flip onto a bed. But four year old Bunny’s reaction was most unexpected.

He began howling. “No mama, no, not this room, not this room….” he kept repeating, his eyes full of tears. “But why?” asked Savita and Ajay in anguished unison. “Bhoot, this is a bhoot’s room,” cried little Bunny. They calmed him down and then tried to understand what it was that had brought a bhoot — a ghost — to Bunny’s mind. It wasn’t the carefully chosen posters, it wasn’t any of the toys, there was nothing resembling a ghost on the computer, in the video games or on the TVs screen. Then what was it? It took a lot of cajoling to persuade Bunny to re-enter his room and a lot of firmness to ensure that he slept in it that first night. “We were very concerned by what it was that was disturbing him so much but we also didn’t want to set a pattern by letting the children sleep with us on the very first night”.

Ajay and Savita were discussing the issue  when they were startled by a piercing scream which seemed to come from the children’s room.  But the children were out playing in the park, so who or what could it be?

Very early the next morning,  Savita and Ajay were woken up by shouts which seemed to be coming from the children’s room. Rushing in, they found Bunny fast asleep despite the shouting but Sunny was screaming his heart out. “I saw, I saw”, he said. “the bathroom door opened and an arm and a hand were stretched out”. “Rubbish, you must have dreamt it Sunny”, Ajay rebuked him. “See, there’s no one in the bathroom and anyway, your lights were off, weren’t they…? So how could you have seen anything in the dark? Now go back to sleep, its only a little past five  o’clock”. Sunny only half accepted his father’s reasoning, mumbling “but I saw” as his parents were leaving.

That evening brought a further shock. Ajay and Savita were discussing the issue  when they were startled by a piercing scream which seemed to come from the children’s room.  But the children were out playing in the park, so who or what could it be?

They found their maid, Meeta, lying unconscious next to an overturned chair in the children’s room. A terrified look came on her face when she regained consciousness and she could barely narrate what had happened. She had gone into the room to collect the children’s empty milk glasses and as she was about to pick them up a young girl, her long hair open, materialised, and stared at her. The house was haunted, Meeta insisted, and didn’t want to continue working.

The next day witnessed the strangest happening of all. The boys had a remote controlled red car which was “parked” with the other cars below their toy and gadget rack. Suddenly, the red car started on its own, emitting its loud siren like “whee” sound,  did a round of the children’s room and then re-parked itself. Ajay and Savita didn’t believe Sunny and took away the remote from him — till they themselves and others saw the red car doing impossible things on its own. In the days that followed, the tailors working upstairs told Ajay and Savita that when no one was at home, they had heard the red car’s “whee” sound and on investigating found that it was doing a round of the kitchen in a very controlled manner after which it toured the dining room before returning to the children’s room and re-parking itself.

Soon, the red car’s tours became a regular feature and a distraught Savita decided to give it away. “But that’s not going to solve our problem”, Ajay pointed out, “we have to get to the bottom of all these inexplicable happenings”.  After visiting their house, I advised them to contact the previous owners. It transpired that they had a lovely, bubbly daughter aged twelve named Rosy who unfortunately, suffered from epilepsy. She loved toys and gadgets and her room was the same as that now occupied by Ajay and Savita’s children. One day, her parents found Rosy lying dead in her room, with remnants of froth round her mouth indicating that she had suffered a fatal epilectic seizure. The mystery of the strange happenings  was solved but the problem will remain unsolved till steps are taken to ensure that bubbly, toy loving Rosy’s soul finds peace in the other world.

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