Ankur had moved in with his younger brother Apurv and his parents to a new house. Moving house this time had been much more tiring then he had expected it to be. Before moving he had had to pack all his books and clothes and now he had to unpack them! What’s more, Mom had asked him to take care of Apurv and help him in his unpacking too.
Apurv as usual had been too slow in doing anything and always complaining about everything. To top it all Apurv would sleep in his room as the other room was full of unpacked boxes. He was tired; he missed his friends and had to listen to the endless jibber –jabber of his younger brother. He wondered if he had also been so irritating when he was younger or was it just Apurv. Well, he would never know as there wasn’t any elder sibling to tell him about that.
These were the thoughts passing through Ankur’s mind as he lay in his new but immensely disorganized bedroom. Apurv lay beside him and was already snoring. Ah! Thought Ankur another pain added to the list, snores of Apurv! As Ankur began thinking about his days ahead in the new apartment and the new friends he would make he dozed off to sleep.
He awoke up startled after a while, thinking that he had heard a weird sound. He thought it must be Apurv with his weird snores and was about to shake him awake when he heard the sound again. It was like a muffled howl that came from the toilet. He looked towards Apurv again and wondered why he didn’t hear it; Apurv slept peacefully and remarkably noiselessly too.
Ankur wondered what to do and was terrified, should he peep into the toilet to check what it was or was it just his imagination. Just as he was thinking he heard it again, this time a little louder and longer! He jumped out of the bed and ran to his parents’ room where he found them in deep slumber after a long and tiring day. He shook his mom awake and said, “Mom, there is somebody in my toilet!”
Mom said sleepily, “It must be Apurv.”
“No; it’s not Apurv, he is fast asleep. I think it’s somebody else,” said Ankur urgently.
Mom said, “Darling I think you are imagining things; go back to sleep. May be it’s a mouse or some other animal”.
“No Mom, you have to come and check!” insisted Ankur.
By this time dad had also woken up and he said with a big yawn, “What’s the fuss about, Ankur?”
“Dad, there is someone in my toilet; I can hear a howl coming from there.”
Dad said a little sceptically,“Okay let’s go and check. You want to come along Ankur?”
Ankur was scared, “After you Dad! Should I carry my baseball bat?”
Dad said, “Yeah, if it makes you feel better.”
So Dad walked sleepily towards the toilet, Ankur trudging behind him with his baseball bat in his hand. Dad opened the toilet door slowly expecting a rat or a maybe a family of baby mice to jump at him, but nothing seemed to be in sight. He went in, checked right, left, up, down and there was nothing!
“It’s all clear here; Ankur you want to come in and see?” asked Dad.
Ankur walked in gingerly and was surprised to find nothing.
Dad said, “Ankur, maybe you can go and sleep in the other room and I will sleep with Apurv here”.
Ankur was relieved though confused and happily went to sleep in the other room. Mom asked him, “What was it Ankur?” He said, “It was nothing Mom.” She said, “Hmm,” and went back to sleep.
Everybody forgot about this and got busy setting up the house. Ankur also slept peacefully for the next couple of nights.
A few nights later he suddenly heard the same sound. Now Apurv slept in his room so for a minutes he thought it was his little brother snoring. He waited with baited breath and prayed that the noise would not come again. He did not want to disturb his parents again! However his prayers weren’t answered, he heard the howl again and after a while yet again.
Ankur was in a fix! He went to his parents’ room and softly tried to wake his father, “Dad, I can hear that noise again!”
Dad said wearily, “What, Ankur? Again? Didn’t we check last time? There was nothing there.”
Ankur said, “Dad I know you did but I heard that noise again three times right now. Maybe it’s a ghost!”
Dad was surprised and amused, “Ankur, there are no ghosts! Let’s go and sort this out. Get your base ball bat if you must!”
Ankur and Dad went towards his room. Dad opened the door to the toilet and looked around, “Let’s leave the door ajar and wait for the noise to be heard again”
Both of them waited in silence, minutes went by and nothing happened. Ankur offered an explanation “Maybe the door is open that is why…..” he trailed off.
Dad shut the door and continued to wait. After a while there was a distinct and long howl! Dad was surprised and Ankur had the expression ‘see-I-told-you-so!’
Dad went to the toilet and looked around yet again; he did not see or hear anything. He waited a while, then he heard it coming from the direction of the small window that was near the ceiling. Dad got a stool and torch and climbed on it to investigate. He took the torch and tried to look outside when he heard it again. The only thing Dad could see outside was a pipe and lots of cobwebs.
He got down from the stool and continued to be confused. Just then the howl was heard again louder, he saw the shower curtain flutter spookily and then it struck him.
There was no ghost! The howl was the wind passing through the pipe! He called Ankur in and said, “I found your ghost! It is the wind! Just like when you blow a whistle, the air that comes out from the other end makes a sound, similarly when the wind blows it comes out from the opening at the top of the pipe it makes a howling sound.”
Dad said, “Just wait; next time when you hear the howl look at the shower curtain too. Louder the howl, the more the curtain flutters.”
Ankur waited and saw the curtain flutter and then heard the howl simultaneously. He said, “Oh! You are right dad!”
Dad said, “Ok, we busted the ghost and I am hungry after all the ghost hunting! Let us eat something.”
- slumber: sleep
- sceptically: doubtfully, unbelievingly
- trudged: walked, plodded