That Night

By Vimala Ramu

I have always suspected that I am not the mundane, run- of- the- mill housewife that I seem to be. I strongly feel that I am a shrewd sleuth who missed her vocation.

You must have heard about “Armchair” detectives. My instincts seem to flourish best under the quilt. . I am confident that the following episode will prove my point.

I remember that day very clearly. It was a day like any other with no hint of any momentous event about to take place. The morning had commenced in the usual manner with the husband and children having their routine breakfast and departing for their work and school respectively at the usual time. I had cooked the lunch as planned and had picked up my youngest from school at 12 noon. Husband had come home for lunch like everyday. The older two kids had come home in the late afternoon, had their snacks and went out for playing with their friends. What I am trying to impress on you is that it was an absolutely normal day with normal activities.

But things are not always what they seem to be.

Around 8.30 in the night, after finishing their homework and dinner, the kids retired to their bedroom. It was a big room next to our bedroom which could accommodate three cots easily but was not equipped with an attached bathroom. The children had to share the bathroom attached to our bedroom.

After wishing them a good night and switching off their light, I prepared to get into my own bed with that supreme feeling every parent with three active kids feels at the end of the day—“All quiet on the Western front” feeling.

With no TV as yet those days to distract us from good habits like reading in bed, we both read for a while and entered the sweet realm of sleep.

In the middle of the night I was suddenly woken up with a thud. I switched on the reading light so as not to disturb the sleeping family. The radium dial of the bedside alarm timepiece showed 12 O’clock.. I looked at the next bed. The bread winner of the family had been sleeping the deep sleep of a man who had done an honest day’s work and had a relaxed evening at the mess with his cronies. He had not heard the thud. Now what should I do? Could it be a burglar who had broken into the house? What could he hope to get in a poor Service officer’s house? (This was way back before the salaries and pensions were revised dramatically).Do I venture alone and take a look around the house? Or should I disturb the deep slumber of the husband? Or could it be what they call a poltergeist-- ghost which goes round rattling things? The tension was building up. The biting chill of Punjab would not let me let go of my cozy blanket and the heavy quilt so easily.

Then to my great surprise, I heard the flush being worked in our bathroom. A ghost didn’t need a flush. It had to be a thief. In the midst of his operations, probably the thief had to attend an urgent call of nature. Well, the thief was at least considerate enough to use the flush. I waited in suspense.

The door opened and to my great relief, my 8 year old daughter came out fumbling her way. She naturally looked extremely sleepy. I asked her, “When did you go in? How long have you been there? Did you fall asleep there? Did you fall down? Are you hurt?”

Mumbling incoherently to all my anxious queries she headed towards the children’s bedroom.

I snuggled back inside my quilt and blanket mulling over what I thought it was and what it turned out to be__an utter anticlimax! But then the maternal instinct took over. While we had been thinking that she was cozily tucked in her bed, the poor darling had dozed off for hours on the most uncomfortable (!) seat.


that night 
very funny Vimal, u r able to bring out the humour in life

That Night 
Comments Hilarious, Vimala. Have always been a great fan of your articles. Love seeing the perspective you have towards life and your …

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