Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The story teller

It was a dark night. The clock was nudging its way to midnight. As they sat in the balcony of the sixth floor apartment, the children did not notice the passage of time. Periamma* had been way too entertaining for that. First, it had been stories from her childhood. About the fairs which happened every weekend. About how young girls and boys there discreetly cast sheep-eyes at each other while the younger kids played "match the lover-pairs". About how she and her sister shopped around for the best possible thing to buy with the meagre money they had. It was all just so interesting.

But after a while, the children begged, "Please tell us a ghost story Periamma. Please, please." Periamma refused saying, "You will get scared." But she could not resist the appealing looks on the eager young faces around her for long. She launched into another story from her childhood.

In periamma's village, long ago, there had lived a beautiful young girl, the pride of her family, the light of her home. She was murdered one day as a result of a dispute with another family. Since then, every new moon day, at midnight, the villagers could hear the sound of anklets. It was said that it was the young girl's restless ghost roaming in the village, seeking revenge and hoping to regain its former happiness.

Periamma concluded, "That's why we never stayed out past midnight on new moon days."

Looking around, periamma glanced at the sky and exclaimed, "Oh, what a coincidence! Look, today is a new moon day ." The pleasant breeze which had been blowing all along instantly seemed to get colder. The children huddled closer together. Just then, the clock struck midnight. The chimes had barely died away when another sound became audible. "Chan, chan, chan" - the sound of anklets.

The children gave one whoop of terror and jumped up. They ran pell-mell inside the house, jumped into a bed and lay in a shivering heap under the blankets.

Periamma came after them and turned on the lights, "Come on kids! It is not a ghost. It is just the maid-servants from the nearby apartment complexes returning home after a long day at work. You can look outside to check if you want."

The children cautiously peered out of the window. Sure enough, there were two women (with perfect human forms and, more importantly, visible feet) walking down the dark road. Chan, chan - the women's anklets tinkled with every step. The children relaxed. Still, there was very little talking as they quietly got ready to go to bed.

They never pestered periamma for ghost stories again. At least not at night.

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*periamma can either refer to mother's older sister or wife of father's elder brother.

7 comments:

vishesh said...

lol i remember my attai told a story about dog bites and even today i am scared of dogs...!!

rads said...

haha :)

My older cosuin brothers scared the evenings out of me and my other cousin sister. Good fun though those times :)

kurrodu said...

e had similiar experiance too!... but I was the one who told the story and got scared by the end of it..

Joy said...

In younger days one eve, we were playing some stupid/supposed to be scary game of "blood-monster". It is like tag, just that one person is monster and he is supposed to catch others. It was all well till the light went out and we were purged in darkness.... I don't think I ever played any such game again!

SK said...

:--) Reminds me of the time when I was away from parents for the first time, when I was 11, and the 10std akka told us the story of Evil Dead movie in the night, as we were lying down in a row one after the other in a classroom with benches pushed to the side. I dont know how I managed to hear that one!

Anita said...

In school hostel I remember we used to have these sessions. Then one night S started on a long and scary story and when it was time for the ending, she gulped and realised she could not remember how it ended. can't think of a better mood breaker than this. it was fun hitting her with pillows though.

Archana said...

Vishesh - hehehe - adhu appadi enna story?

Rads - I know :-)!

Kurrodu - LOL! Thats funny :-)!

Joy - oh man, I can imagine!

SK - In a classroom? How come? Scary stories heard in a group night are scary but fun too :-)!

Sindu - What an anti-climax!