I took an instant dislike to them the moment they were within my four walls. I hated that halo of exuberance and hope around them! I do not think they liked me much either. The girl Anita, in particular was very vocal about it. “Oh, how dark and dingy! “ was her comment when she closed the door to the room they were occupying. The husband Shyam seemed to be more discreet about his views.

“Shyam, please, I cannot stay here alone when you are away” she said. “ It seems to be haunted”

“Don’t be silly. It is just a badly constructed house. You will get used to it in a few weeks. We can then slowly convince aunty to make a few changes. You know knock down that wall over there and have an open balcony to let in more light. “ he said trying to reassure her.

What? They were planning to knock down a part of me? I was furious…! Who did they think they were? Yesterday’s children…!!! Younger than me by at least two decades! I was growling with rage.
But wait what did she mean by saying “When you are away”. Where was he going?

I learnt that soon enough. He was a marine engineer by profession and spent most of his time on the sea. The idea of moving in with his aunt was to have someone look after his wife while he was away. She had no family of her own and she was in the family way!!

Aha! So she was pregnant…! That would mean an additional member within my four walls. I was sure I did not want a young child living here. I did not want my silence to be disturbed with the sound of a wailing baby and later on a shrieking child. And who knows what companions a child would bring into the house … My decades old peace was bound to be disturbed.

I looked at her with interest…..!!! From their conversations I could gather that the baby was not due for another six months or so.

I watched them together as they tried to make themselves at home. She struggled to cook in the kitchen. He tried to clear out a patch of grass outside the kitchen door for a vegetable garden. I laughed quietly.. !! Fools …!! Did they not know that reclaimed soil is full of salt and does not support any vegetable life?

They struggled with the ancient light switches which refused to come on easily. They ruined the kitchen switch in the struggle and I gloated in the darkness that followed. He went around the town trying to get a replacement but the idiot did not know that they would have to go back five decades in time to get it in the electrical shops in the town.

And then there were the ancient bathrooms adjoining the rooms that they occupied upstairs. The flush was long broken. The sewerage system just about functioned. He helped her lift buckets of water to pour down the toilet as she collapsed on the bathroom floor with exhaustion after bouts of vomiting in the mornings.

All the while the mistress of the house watched the proceedings passively. I was reassured when I saw that she was not going to make any of the changes that they wanted. It was not a question of money. The old lady was not exactly poor and anyway these youngsters had offered to bear the cost. I understood and appreciated her stance. After all wasn’t I part of her late husband’s memory? If people wanted to make their home with her and with me, they would have to accept us with our darkness and dents.
But did these two understand? I don’t think so.. Actually he gave up after a point. I suppose that was because he knew he would be leaving by the end of the month and did not have to deal with me and my quirks after that.

She however was something else!!! I watched her struggle to open window shutters that had been shut for decades. She managed to push some of them open. She was putting up sheer lace curtains on some of them. She bought tins of paint and painted doors and windows. She managed to get the bathroom flush repaired and the wash basin replaced. She brought in potted plants with fertile soil and lined them on the window sills. She hammered nails into my stubborn walls and hung pictures and artifacts.

It was almost as though she had understood my resistance and was fighting back. I smirked …!! This twenty something girl obviously thought she had won over my stubbornness. She did not know the struggles that lay ahead…

Wasn’t that husband of hers due to leave for the port tomorrow? After that it would be just her and the old lady. She would be all mine.. she and that unborn child inside her…!!

I looked forward to dealing with both of them. Brick and mortar against flesh and blood… I was mentally drawing the battle lines. Victory was only a matter of time.

( to be continued)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    Dec 24, 2014 @ 02:49:36

    You are making it scary. I hope the young thing would prove to be tough and overcome the machinations of the evil thing.


  2. Meera
    Dec 27, 2014 @ 19:55:02

    🙂 Ah Finally a comment 🙂 Thanks KP. I am still struggling to come up with part 3


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