I was one of the owls in Junior School Boys’ Dormitory who slept very late. My partner, with whom I used to talk, was our immediate senior Kamaljeet Saini. He was from Punjab and was very much interested in listening to my stories. My stories comprised of mischief of village folks in Bihar. As we used to be awake till midnight, and after hearing many horror stories of our campus, I often heard the sound of an anklet, always started nearly at midnight. I asked my senior who was next to me, addressing him, “Kamaljeet Bhaiya, can you hear the sound of anklets?” We kept quiet for few seconds and he heard it. It seemed as if a lady with anklets was walking and suddenly taking a turn and then running. These were our assumptions based on the sound we heard. And then I discussed it with my classmates, in fact most of them had already heard the sound and they were also suspicious of the same.

Now what, this rumour about the ghost spread like wild fire, and on that particular night almost all the Class IV Boys were awake and a few seniors of Class V too.

In a group, we went to the toilets and as soon as we heard the sound, we ran back to our beds. A whole night of running from toilets to bed, or covering just half the distance and running back, I am sure locals and staff members must have wondered if that night all the ghosts had gathered in the Junior Dorm. As the frequency of sound increased, we got more scared, we joint our beds. We were planning how to trap those ghosts, so that Big Ma’am and teachers would believe us. I still remember my classmate Noorul’s advice that let’s place a video camera near the door of Mrs Shukla’s room facing the shoe coops and mirrors. According to his logic, as soon as the ghost would cross the mirror area to enter the dormitory, a reflection off the mirror could be captured.

While we were discussing, another group went to the toilet and heard the sound. They came running to their beds wearing washroom slippers, which made the loudest noise. This time, the disturbance was enough to wake Ma’am Thapa, who was our Dormitory Supervisor. Amongst that group, a few were lucky enough to get into their beds before the lights were switched on. It was around 2 or 3 am. A few others were caught and made to stand near the main door.

The next morning was very horrible for us, she called 2-3 Seniors of Class V and asked them to find out who all were involved. Those who were caught, started disclosing the names of others. Around 10-15 names came up, including mine, but being the favourite of one of the seniors, I was spared. The rest were punished, but still we heard that same sound over and over again. Guys started keeping ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ to safeguard themselves from this ghost. Till our stay in Junior School, we heard that sound every night.

Once, I was at home, and I heard same sound again. Next day, early in the morning, I asked my mother what was that sound about. She said this sound was of an insect called cricket. I asked If she was sure. She said, ‘yes’. That day I realised that the sound which we heard was not a ghost, but just an insect. But this truth dawned later, in Class VII or VIII. Till our stay in Junior School, cricket ghost frightened us a lot and even stopped our frequent visits to the washroom.

Something similar happened in Class VII, this time –


Priyabrat, Harsh Anand and I were coming from washroom. The lights were put off, as we entered the dormitory, Harsh kicked a banana peel and it slid across the floor. He started shouting “Snake, snake!” and we ran to our beds. There was a lot of commotion. Soon, Mr.Om Prakash, Dorm Supervisor, came out of his room with his headlight torch. Priyabrat was called by one of the seniors for running. He explained the reason why he ran. Harsh Anand was called and he explained that he noticed a snake. The most hilarious part was when he was asked about the size of snake. With every slap on Harsh’s cheeks, the snakes shrunk itself and became less in size. It started from one hand long and ended up being as small as the size of palm. Now, the search for that one palm sized snake began. Lights were put on. Everyone carefully searched for the reptile that created havoc. And we laughed madly, when we spotted the so called reptile. It turned out to be banana peel. But I still remember the best part of that incident and that was with every slap, snake shrunk itself.

Excerpt from my book “The Life Around An Acorn”.

– Modassir Mushtaque

This piece was shared by Modassir Mushtaque (School Vice Captain, Patel House Captain & School Cricket Captain, Session 2009-10) on April 17, 2018.


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