Dubai Mall has an amazing aquarium. It is a great place for coming face to face with sharks and sting rays.
Summer is here and a certain traipsing around the countryside is done by friends and relatives to catch up with each other in the holidays. Long forgotten aunts come to stay for weekends and poor unsuspecting pals get visits from long forgotten friends.
I am totally afraid of this social exchange. I feel everyone carries an invisible quiver full of arrows to all social events. At a right precise moment people stick in an arrow into your heart with a hurtful statement or comparison. It is like being at a hedgehog convention. I prefer to stay home and let my quills or arrows just wither away into oblivion. I have done enough of biting, chewing and piercing.
As a consequence I find myself home alone while my wife goes on an exploratory mission to our old home town to meet her parents and fast friends. I gloat over my pile of freshly bought DVDs.
This home alone thing has as they used to say in our economics class a diminishing margin of returns. Only one out of ten DVDs turns out to be watchable. That long cherished dream of finishing My Experiments with Truth falters after a hundred pages. The self made sandwiches begin to taste exactly that—self made. And then I do the mistake of selecting a horror movie for my with dinner entertainment. I am not drinking because there is no stopping me if I drink alone. I am concentrating on the family pack of cokes.
It was fifteen minutes into the scary movie that they showed that scene where the heroine is preening herself in front of a mirror and a frightening face appears alongside her in the mirror. This triggered all my hypersensitive brain cells and raised the hair on my arms into attention. I got creeping goose bumps all over my stomach and a proverbial chill went up my spine. I shut off the damned DVD. When I read Dracula in my teens I could not sleep for years without leaving the lights on in my bedroom. I still sit in corners and with my back to the wall. Of course evil spirits can walk through any partition but all good gunslingers and private detectives too like not to be surprised by an attack from behind.
The entire visage of the apartment changed into a malevolent mode. I would switch off the lights and air conditioning of one room and go into another only to find on returning to the first room that the lights were on again and the air conditioning was running full blast. Drawers in the kitchen which I was certain I had closed, I found open after a few hours. The fish too were swimming with desperate speed in the aquarium as if, as if, well, as if they had seen a ghost.
The cushions of the sofa are black on one side and golden on the other. They were placed inside out. I was sure the golden sides were facing the room in the morning. Now the black sides were facing out.I wondered if my wife had done that or a poltergeist was definitely at work in the apartment.
It is the rainy season here. Black clouds gather in the sky within minutes. Moments. The wind howls through cracks and under the doors. Cupboards open and shut with ghoulish groans. I think of my mother. Please mother come and save me from your appointed place in heaven. Similarly Dad. I light a candle in prayer to my personal gods, to my dearly departed parents. Yes I am a heathen I worship the Sun, the winds, the sky, the moon, the trees and the earth. I worship anything that will save my condemned soul.
I can see through the window the tall poplar trees swaying in the dark evening outside. They are waving to me and saying be warned. Then a crow. Very black, it has to be a raven from the hills who has lost his way. Why does it appear on my balcony outside and stare at me so unflinchingly? ‘Kaun, Kaun, Kaun?’ it asks in Hindi meaning ‘Who, who, who?Who is going to visit you now mister smart ass watching horror DVDs?’
The bloody cane chair behind me makes a sighing sound as some invisible person sits down on it. Of course the explanation is that the ropes and cane sticks cool with the air conditioning and creak and moan as if weighed down by sinister spirits. The explanation does not soothe my nerves it still feels as if the chair is haunted. At night I am trying to sleep and suddenly their is this shhheeee shheee tuk tuk tuk. My skin crawls my hair stand on end and I jump up ready to defend myself against this new ghostly invader. There is no one. The sound has stopped. I keep standing motionless. Again their is the eerie sound, I look up, it is the damned ceiling fan. Must be the main bearing. Needs greasing. I increase the speed and the sound disappears.
Damn these movie visions. The scenario is perfect for the appearance of an evil spirit. Damn Bram Stoker for creating such a toothed creature to scare the living daylights out of lonely men. Meanwhile it has turned dark as the depths of hell. Black Clouds swirling and looming.
Suddenly the power goes off and then the door bell rings. How can the door bell work in a power cut? It is pitch dark. I am looking for my torch. The bell rings again. The door bell ringer is an experienced person and shouts, ‘its your pizza guy and not Dracula!’ I find the torch and gather my wits and my money before I reluctantly open the door. It is definitely the pizza man. He is smirking. I pay him quickly and slam the door. The lights come on. This is it. I grab the pizza and my car keys and I drive quickly to the safety of my aunt’s place. That’s what the summers are for. To visit aunts and to socialize and never mind those arrows. They are less hurtful than the teeth of a vampire. I did not switch off the lights because this demented spirit would turn them on anyway.
- Home Alone 3/13 (chandleur.wordpress.com)