THE MISADVENTURES OF THE COMEDIENNE SISTERS : A COMEDY SHORT STORY BY ME.
The Ghost Hunters.
Mom just stepped inside the bathroom when her mobile rang. As usual, the task of answering her phone was entrusted to me. I put aside my long exercise notebook and pressed the green button.
” Hello,” said a cheerful female voice, ” Is this Mrs. Alka Patel? ” I was in a foul mood and decided to vent out my anger on her. I replied, “No, this is Sridevi from heaven.” The girl laughed, ” Are you joking, ma’am? ” I answered, ” Why should I be joking? I am a lady, so I am joqueen.” There was a momentary silence and the girl resumed her telemarketing speech, ” Ma’am, I am calling from Money Bank. We are offering all kinds of loans.” I sighed, ” I do need a different kind of loan. I am looking for a fresh, unused brain in a pristine condition because the one I am using is completely burned out. My wonderful family has this unique habit of chewing my brain. Can you help me? ” The caller abruptly ended the call as I chuckled and Rhea gave her thumbs up. I hated telemarketing call. I was sure if I continued to answer like this, their company would put us into Do not ever call this woman zone.
Finally, I finished my homework and kept my books in my school bag as per the timetable. ” Ding! Dong!” Damn it! What’s it today? Is this International Nuisance Day? Rhea sensed my fury and said, ” Relax, sis! I will open the door.” She opened the door to find a handsome young man with a briefcase. She decided to impress him and said, ” To what do I owe the pleasure of your company? ” He looked confused and replied, ” What? “
I am sure this guy must have flunked ten times in his Kindergarten. I smiled and replied, ” Forgive my sister. She loves English literature and always speaks like Shakespeare. As far as her question is concerned, she simply asked you why the hell are you here? ” The guy was visibly upset and said, ” I think you are being rude. Couldn’t you have used better words?” ” That’s what, my sister did, ” I smirked, ” It’s unfortunate that people never recognize the politeness but quick to point out the harsh truth spoken in front of them. Now, if I said, it’s my greatest pleasure to have my house blessed with your presence, would you please tell me how can I be of service to you, would you be impressed? “
The poor young man looked more confused than ever. I explained, ” I simply asked you what do you want from me? Now you will say that I insulted you but the truth is your brain only accepts direct message, it may be rude or polite. Anyway, would you please be kind enough to state the purpose of your visit so that we can visit the temple of education for our enlightenment? ” Rhea burst into laughter and even the young man joined her. My mom had just stepped into the living room and saw him.
We let the poor guy in and finished our basic introductions. ” The guy ( Naveen Kumar) said, ” Your neighbor, Mrs. Chatterjee, asked me to contact Ms. Lekha Patel, the girl with a big mouth to help me.” I rolled my eyes and replied, ” Really? I can’t believe she said that. Me, a big mouth, huh? Says a lady with such a fat bottom that she can crush anyone to death if she accidentally sat upon them.” Now, everyone laughed. Naveen said, ” I am the estate manager of the Shandilya Mansion in Bandra. Mr. Rajkumaar Shandilya, the owner of the mansion is unable to sell it because of the ghost of his grandfather, Mahendra is haunting the place. He tried every possible means to get rid of the spirit, but failed miserably. He decided to launch a TV show , The Indian Ghost Hunter. He offered a double reward, one for winning the show and the second for getting rid of the ghost. Many people participated but fled the mansion in the midnight itself. Mrs. Chatterjee’s son was one of the participants who failed. So, she recommended you to take part in our show.” ” If I make it alive, I am going to strangle Chatterbox, ” I grumbled. Mom flatly refused to let me participate saying I was too young. But Naveen convinced her that the prize money was ₹20,00,00 ( 10,00,000 for the show and the rest for driving out the ghost). He also said that Mom could accompany me. I hoped she would refuse, not because I was scared of ghost but I had to study for the upcoming class tests the following week.
“When is the shooting for the show? ” she asked as Naveen said, ” Between Friday night and Saturday Morning this week.” Mom looked enthusiastic and agreed to my participation, provided, she was my assistant. Rhea was scared and granny gave my mom a high-five and said, ” Only my granddaughter can scare the hell out of a ghost. Go for it, champ.”
Later, Dad also gave his approval and said he would be taking leave from his office to watch the show. For the first time I wished my mother hadn’t voluntarily offered me as a scapegoat.
Finally, the dreadful day arrived. We left our home and watched Chatterbox waving those fat arms of her happily. She was expecting my death but I promised to give her a much needed heart attack. We carried the basic provisions and a suitcase containing our clothes. It was 7 PM and we were given welcome drinks upon reaching the mansion. It seems we were the only contestants. We had a grand feast and I thought of watching TV. There was nothing scary about the place. We were shown our bedroom with instruction manual to be followed during the show.
Rule no.1 said the contestant will be disqualified if he or she screamed.
Rule no.2 required us to put on a brave face, no matter, how scary a ghost might be. We would be given marks on our courage and confidence.
Rule no. 3 : We could do whatever we like without worrying about a script. We had to work on our own script.
Rule no. 4: No profanity or vulgar language allowed.
And the list continued. I glanced through it and dropped it on the table. Mom and I planned to watch Netflix on TV when there was a power fluctuation. It was like a typical badly scripted C-grade Bollywood Horror Movie. I knew what to expect next. I signaled my mom to calm down or we would be thrown out. I told her it was a part of the TV series shooting. She checked her makeup and looked visibly calm. Then, there was a complete blackout. I switched on the torchlight of my smartphone and lit a candle.
I felt like I was a part of a super flop horror movie. The usual storm situation followed and the candle got extinguished. Mom tried to put on a brave face. We started chatting with each other, plotting revenge on Chatterbox without using profanity. Suddenly, a transparent man ( a ghost)came floating towards us. I looked at him and burst out laughing. Mom took my cue and gave me company. ” You should be terrified of me, ” snarled the ghost of an old man, ” Why are you laughing at me?” I said , ” You look as if Einstein got electrocuted while crossing a puddle.”
” You mannerless girl, don’t you know how to talk to your elders, ” glared the ghost.
” Pardon me, grandpa ghost, but I have some doubts. How did the blazer that you are wearing become transparent? I usually thought ghosts wore white bedsheets with slits for their eyes and they made sounds like cackling of a witch. How do you speak English? “
The ghost was getting angrier. Its eyes were glowing red in anger. He said, ” I am the grandfather of the owner of this mansion. I order you to leave right now or you will regret ever setting foot in this house.” I laughed even harder. I said, ” I am not scared, grandpa. Because you can’t strangle with your transparent hands nor can you hold any object? By the way, how did you die? “
The ghost sighed and began, ” Once upon a time…. “
And I interrupted, ” Why do all the stories start with once upon a time? Why can’t it be twice or thrice below whatever?”
Mom kept giggling while the ghost gave her an evil eye. The ghost of Mahendra continued, ” Just shut up and listen to me.”
I : Why don’t I open down and talk to you?
The ghost: You silly girl. You are getting on to my nerves.
I: I always wanted to see a nerve but I can’t see yours. Its transparent. I wonder how you ghosts manage your bowel and kidney moments. There must be an advantage of being a ghost. You can survive on air and don’t need solid food or drink water. So, there’s no question of pooping or peeing, right?
The ghost wanted to tear his hair apart but gritted his teeth and said, ” Listen to me, laddie. I had enough of your cheeky replies. Once I went to market to buy a birthday gift for my wife.”
I smirked, ” Don’t you mean, you went to the market to buy vegetables on your wife’s orders? ” The ghost spluttered, ” How did you know? ” I laughed and said, ” I could see the fear in your eye when you mentioned her. Please continue. Lady Dracula sent you on an errand.” The ghost said, ” On my way, I saw a beautiful girl smiling at me. I smiled back and didn’t notice my devil wife following me with a rolling pin. A whack on my head and lo, I was dead.” ” I am so sorry, grandpa, ” I said.
The ghost was surprised at my reaction and said, ” You must be a very brave girl. Most of the participants in this show peed their pants but you are so cool and courageous. What’s the secret? ” I replied, ” Every day I am dealing with a monster called the Mathematics teacher. We call her lady dragon and she can be a tough task master. You are an angel compared to her. But now I wish to thank you for entertaining us with your story. My mother, here, is an excellent singer. She’s going to dedicate a song to you. ” Then the real horror show started. My mom started singing an old Hindi film melody.
Now, the ghost was so scared by her horrible singing that he covered both his ears. He pleaded with me, ” Please ask her to stop singing. She sounds like a donkey braying. I am getting a headache and I can’t even have an aspirin. I promise to do whatever you ask me to.” I asked the ghost to give up haunting the mansion and move on to the other world. He immediately vanished into thin air and I could actually see a white light for a brief moment. The lights came back.
” Hurray! We won, ” I hugged my mom and danced. We had a special cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows. The next morning, Naveen came to congratulate us for winning the show and Mr. Rajkumaar Shandilya personally came to the mansion to give us a cheque for 20,00,000₹. He dropped us home after a special lunch at a star hotel. Chatterbox was shocked to see us stepping down from BMW with garlands on our necks.
I went to her and fell at her feet to seek her blessings, ” Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. I am not sure whether you would have played this mean trick on your own daughter for money.” She apologized to me for trying to put my life in danger. Mom never forgave her. That evening, the whole family celebrated our victory at a hotel as my dad said, ” Only my Lekha could drive even a ghost mad. I am proud of you, sweetie.” I replied with a smile and a tear, ” I have the best dad in the world. Happy Father’s Day in advance, dad.”
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