The Plaza Complex is apparently a squarish structure with a huge light well in the middle, like how most malls are. Well, this wasn't exactly a mall, but back in those days, most shopping 'complexes' (I still can't figure out why they called 'em that), were designed in pretty much the same way, and this too was like any other. Except, this one had an adjacent building, 'wing' as the staffers would say, that was kind of attached to the main building through a 'skywalk', more like a narrow suspicious corridor you see in those crime movies (Remember? - close-up of a cop quietly slithering along the dank path, no background music, only his hushed breath?).
Now, this other building housed a nightclub on the fourth floor, the access to which was from the basement parking lot of the same building. Long story short, the 'mall' side of the building had it's doors closed to this wing (for obvious reasons), so the 'family types' could shop in peace and the night birds could prowl around safely on the other side.
The basement had two elevators that carried folks. One of the elevators was dead. Meaning, it had been non-functional for more than a decade and a half. Reason? It had an old fashioned door, with a huge padlock, the keys to which were with the owner of the complex, who happened to be somewhere in Mumbai. Well, anyways, it didn't work, and nobody bothered to fix it. The other one worked just fine, so why bother? And in any case, the night club on the fourth floor was the only place worth visiting in that wing, the rest of the floors were also kind of deserted (yeah, yeah...I see where you guys are heading. It'll come, don't worry).
So. Two elevators. One functional. Aaaand....the parking lot was manned by a security guy who, more often than not, was found flirting with the women employees in the adjacent building, which was apparently a beauty parlor.
One night, As N walked out of the nightclub, after having filled in for a colleague who was in-charge of the place, he heard hastened footsteps up the stairs. He stopped in his tracks.
The security guy.
"Sir, sir...," he huffed and puffed.
"Sir, I won't keep watch over the parking lot tonight," he said, his face resembling the white-washed wall of a new flat.
"Sir, I won't...please don't ask me. I just cannot."
N kind of knew what was coming. But he waited.
"What did you see?" He asked, coming to the point.
"Sir, in the lift that doesn't work," he said between breaths, "I heard a sound and I turned to the elevator...and I saw a hand beckoning me, from inside...sir."
"How the hell could you see a hand? There's no light in there."
(Remember those paleolithic elevators - wooden doors, a small square glass pane in the middle?)
"I could make out sir, in the light of the basement."
N raised his eyebrow. So much for being a security guy. Just then another staffer walked out and he heard the conversation. Something fishy. He stopped and craned his head with a question mark on his face.
N turned to him and said, "Have you ever seen a hand in that elevator? It's been dead for God knows how long, and this guy thought he saw someone inside."
"Oh that? That's her...", the guy said matter-of-factly, like he waved at the hand every day.
N frowned. "Another ghost?"
"Sir, there are many in this building."
N suspected if any of the staffers in the place were ghosts themselves.
Then the guy turned to the security guy. "Hey, how many times have we told you not to turn around if you heard a sound? Huh?"
The security guy just shook his head stubbornly. "I don't know all that. I want to go home, sir."
N waved him away and walked down the stairs with the other guy. "Let's see, I want to meet this lady."
"Sir, please don't go there now, sir. Why disturb her?"
N shook his head sorrily and hurried down. When they reached the basement, it was quiet. N cupped his hand and peered in. Suddenly, there was a loud metal groan as if the cables came to life, and the elevator rose up. The two of them watched in mute horror as the cabin traveled up. And then, they heard it. Female laughter.
(Watch this space for more such 'boooo...' stuff).
Happy Independence day tomorrow, folks!