Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday Scribblings - "Bump in the Night"

Have I written about this before? I may well have, but if it’s been long enough for me to have forgotten, it’s a dead certainty that nobody else is likely to remember it. (Scintillating read though it would have been.) Which is good enough reason to take on this week’s Sunday Scribblings on things that go “bump” in the night.

I’m not a believer in the supernatural. (I aim to withhold judgment on this until I’m personally provided proof of the existence of God or any other supernatural being.) I especially don’t believe in supernatural entities of the malignant kind that are traditionally believed to be the cause of unexplained "bumps" in the night. Besides, if there ARE ghosts, I think they'll be around all the time, not just at night. (What are they meant to do in the day? sleep?) So, within the narrow bounds of my first-hand experiences, I’m the only thing that has gone bump in the night, to my knowledge. (It was pretty painful, and very disorientating, I might add.)

This incident happened when we were living in Madras, renting the ground floor of my uncle’s house in Adyar. It was a small house, kind of sunk between the two buildings that flanked it because our neighbours had raised the ground levels and added extra storeys. This effectively ensured that we didn’t get much natural light in the living room and bedroom, even in the blazing summer. (We got all the heat, though.)

Anyway, for some reason I was alone in the house that night. I had opted to sleep on the floor in the living room, to make the most of the stone floor. A power cut woke me in the middle of the night (when the fan stopped, the mosquitoes homed in – the deepest sleeper was guaranteed to awake pretty sharpish, believe me). When I opened my eyes, it was pitch dark. I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. I didn’t have a torch handy and did not even know which direction I was facing.

I tried to grope my way to a wall, the idea being that I would feel my way along the wall to the front door. It was only a small room, dwarfed even more by the furniture in it - all of which seemed malignantly intent on getting in the way of my feet and shins as painfully as possible. It was an utterly weird experience - no matter which way I turned, all I came across was more unyielding furniture and there seemed to be a lot more of it than was spatially possible.

I don’t know how long I would have gone around bumping into things, or even if I would have eventually come across a wall (logic said they were there, after all)… but thankfully the power came back on then, and I could see again by the light of our neighbour’s night lamp. Strangely, the furniture was no longer clustered around my shins, there weren’t more sofas and side tables than usual, and what’s more, they were all in their right places. Odd.

Ok, so this wasn’t exactly breathtakingly adventurous, but it had a lasting impact. I never sleep without a night light handy, and I find the moonlight or reflected streetlight that shines into my bedroom to be quite friendly. Unlike my husband, who likes to shut out all the light. But then he’s never gone bump in the night.


umm oviya said...

welcome back!!!!! nice to bump into you again :)

Kamini said...

Yay to read something here after a long gap! As a child I used to desperately want to believe all the ghost stories that were floating around - my college was rumored to be particularly rich in them - but now as a boring, rational adult, I can only roll my eyes at those tales!
Your experience in the dark room was quite spooky, though. You have described it wonderfully well.

brinda said...

yaay! she lives :-)

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Was wondering WHEN you would post again. I am amazed you managed those bumps without screaming.Brave cuz!

Kamini said...

Happy Deepavali to you, your family and all your readers!