This is a true story, and I kid you not.
My friend N is a unit manager at one of the top Thai restaurants here in Bangalore. Before coming here, he was in charge of an entire mall in Kolkata (am not disclosing the name and area of the mall for obvious reasons), responsible for overseeing the operations of the eatery and the movie section of the mall. Last night, somehow the topic veered to (yeah, what else...) ghosts, and what he narrated in the course of that conversation, made me think. That ghosts, are...well, some ghosts are nice and they're best left alone. And they allow you to do your thing. Read on.
The year 2000. N had just landed a job at the mall (let's call it 'The Plaza complex'. If you remember, all these earlier versions of malls sans the movie halls were suffixed with 'complex', as if that'd make things any easier), and it was business as usual till one evening, when he stepped into a pub in the same vicinity around five, to check on the stock - the beer mugs, bottles, inventory and stuff. It was a fairly quiet evening, as the stewards went about their business readying the place for the guests who'd start trickling in by about six. N headed to the bar counter where a steward was wiping glasses, and generally humming a tune. After a cursory 'good evening sir', 'how are things' kind of a dialogue between the two, N walked to the men's rest-room and he'd barely closed the door from the inside when someone knocked - hastily. Five to six quick knocks. Irritated, N pulled open the door to give the steward (who else could it be, customers hadn't yet arrived) a piece of his mind. But to his puzzlement, there wasn't anybody outside.
N walked over to the steward at the bar counter who was oblivious to the entire thing and had his back turned to the counter.
"Hey, listen," N said.
"Why'd you knock on that door when you knew I'd just stepped in?"
"Which door, sir?" the steward said, surprised.
"Arre, the rest-room's. Just now. Didn't you knock?"
The man shrugged, and then suddenly as if realization had dawned, he muttered a quick excuse and sauntered out from behind the counter and headed to the exit.
All the more puzzled, a bit annoyed even, N followed him out.
"Why'd you walk out on me, I was speaking to you, wasn't I?" He brought on his 'manager-to-steward' tone.
"Sir, you'll have to forgive me, but I had no choice."
"Sir, what's the time now?"
N frowned at his wrist. "5.20, why?"
The steward nodded his head sagely. "Sir, that's the problem. The time. You should'nt have gone to the rest room now."
"What nonsense, why not?"
"Sir, keep this to yourself, but there's a ghost in that rest-room, and he is around between 5 and 6 in the evenings."
Unable to believe his ears, N put his hands on his hips with that 'yeah-right-like-you-want-me-to-believe-this' look. The steward called out to a few other staff guys, the janitor, a security guy, and a couple others and they nodded their collective heads in ghostly unison.
"This is truly ridiculous guys, you want me to believe this?" N shot back at the pale faces.
The janitor, the senior most, spoke up slowly. "Sir, if you don't believe us, please step into the rest-room once again. There's no one else around, right? And this door is quite a distance, so none of us can follow you."
N mulled over this. The janitor raised his eye-brows, as if to dare N. So N sighed and walked back to the rest-room, and just as he was nearing the place he turned to check. Yeah, they were all outside. He shook his head and went to the door.
This time round, the door was locked from the inside.
(More such 'booo...s' that happened in the very mall;in the next post).