And Then There Was One

And Then There Was One

There is happiness all around.

There is so much love in the air. I am engulfed in bliss and contentment.

The couple walks in hand-in-hand, newly married and gloriously in love.

The rooms echo with their laughter, witty repartees, and occasional quarrels. There are bitter words spoken but are soon followed by tears and heart-to-soul conversations.

Sounds of cooker whistles, clangs of pots and pans resonate from the kitchen. There are lovely aromas wafting out- masalas simmering, tea brewing, and cakes baking, along with the happy sounds of companionship and amity.

There are noisy TV shows blaring out of the living room or loud cricket commentaries accompanied by clamors of pleasure and dismay. There is an equal number of days when soft mellifluous music breezes in filling the room with contentment.

Some evenings, there is fast Jazzy music, the clicking of glasses, and muted laughter of friends.

Then, there are other nights when passionate sounds of lovemaking accompany tender endearments.

In a short time,  growing children create a ruckus, playing, running around the rooms, and racing up and down the stairs. Laughter, arguments, whinings, quarrels, and crying reverberate from within.

But suddenly there are some terrible changes. Their life is marked by discordant notes and jarring altercations.

Some nights, the lights stay on for unusually long periods and are accompanied by total silence. Then the noises of front doors opening are heard, followed by muffled angry sobs and apologetic slurred words.

All happiness is gone. The joy is seeping out and an uncomfortable heaviness is creeping in.

The kids’ yells are smothered with sharp voices banishing them to their room. There is silent sobbing from one room and drunken bawling from another.

The kitchen has been silent for a long time, the warmth of bygone days replaced by a shuddering cold vibe.

Then one fateful day. There are screaming altercations accompanied by wails of agitation from the kids. Almost immediately there is screeching of car tires, thudding of suitcases down the steps, slamming of car doors, the blare of horns, and the squeal of a car accelerating.

Then there is the silence! Harrowing and unendurable. But more disturbing are the painful gut-wrenching cries of agony- the moans of self-pity. The whimpers of regret and remorse.

Many days go by. Then one day there is a new sound. A fan creaking in an unfamiliar effort. Then there is a thud. A final spine chilling sound of a petrifying scream.

Furor and ruckus followed by police sirens and wails of an ambulance and finally, a terrifying silence.

Then one day there is again a creak on the stairs, a screech of a rocking chair, and random lights switching on and off.

That’s how I went from a happy house to a haunted house.

Isn’t it totally unfair to call me a haunted house? Whether it was happy or possessed, it was the people in the house who were responsible. Definitely not me!

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