Body In The Bedroom!
by Vimala Ramu
The houses these days are planned well. Every comfort and convenience of the residents is taken into consideration. For example, the light switches are placed in such a way that the people need never enter a dark room. The switches are accessible from outside and the person enters a lighted room after switching on the light.
In my mother’s rented house in 1940’s no such attention had been given to the location of any of the switches. One had to venture deeply into a room before one could access the switch. This would result in traumatic experience to faint hearted persons.
In the above mentioned house, the third bedroom could be accessed either through the second bedroom or from the inner courtyard. Unfortunately, the light switch had been located next to the courtyard entrance. With that door closed shut most of the time (to provide extra space), the third bedroom could be entered only by the door linking it to the second bedroom and thus far from the light switch.
My niece was a nervous type of girl, with lot of fertile imagination and wild fantasies. One night she had to fetch something from the inner bedroom. Unfortunately the light bulb in the second bedroom had fused out and had not yet been replaced. So, she hesitantly tiptoed through the second bedroom
in dark and reached the third one which was even more dark, if such a degree of comparison existed between ‘dark’ and ‘darker’. On her way to reach the light switch she must have fumbled and moved her hands.
We saw her rushing out of the room screaming. We were all shocked at her strange behavior. We asked her to control herself and tell us what the matter was. Shivering, she said, “There is a body in the bedroom hanging. I could feel it swinging.”
We were stunned. This was downright inexplicable. We looked at each other. Every member of the joint family could be accounted for. No outsider could enter the house without alerting the inmates. Whose body could be hanging there?
I have always boasted of better night vision than others, probably because of the brownish tinge in my Iris. With great bravado I entered the room and reached for the switch directly.
When the light came on, everything was clear. There indeed was something hanging. It was not a body but my brother’s coat. It had been hung on to the corner of the rectangular wooden frame on the cot which was used for draping the mosquito net when needed.
So, this coat swinging in mid air when disturbed had created all the panic in the pitch dark third bedroom!