Monday, 5 May 2014

Room no. 112

It's unusual how you go on building your own world around yourselves and suddenly, that world becomes so real that it's hard to ignore. Having researched and talked so much about the grisly and gory supernatural phenomenon in the past, I was least expecting to encounter something in what was just another usual affair. A visit in a hotel for an official purpose, a good enough room with jovial members of the hotel in the room service and with that one portrait right in front of me. This maybe the first time I write an account on my own encounter but this goes to the lady who kept me awake for 4 nights!

This may seem fatuous at once for I myself claiming to be a paranormal researcher and may even project me as a charlatan, but I just have to share this. The room was normal except for that woman, a statuesque lady from the 20's maybe, whose portrait was emblazoned right in the center of a rusty mechanical frame. As it seemed, her portrait, as slovenly as it became with time, just belonged to that wall. It simply owned he right to remain there, till eternity maybe. In an archaic backdrop, a belle, holding her head down, eyes closed, with surreal serenity and classic mellows as you could hear, she was waiting for something to happen.

I, having acquainted myself with such portraits and the ingenuity of the ouevre before, knew it represented either remorse or regret. I knew that the portrait stood for some abject misery hat fell upon her and forced her to opress the smile she would have donned otherwise. What I did not know though, was that the picture had a life of its own! In an eerily silent way, it condemned what happened to her, and it made you scorn the same. It was too difficult to believe it was just an artist's imagination or a pastiche of some real art. That lady, in herself, was real, and she wanted to say something for real.

Having the avarice I have for such contrivances, I had to use solace to see what she wanted to say. I knew she won't manifest, she won't come out, she won't relent and she won't open her eyes or come out. Those things were too arcane for her to do. She was too simple, too ingrained in the past to be in our present. She just wanted herself to be heard, her misery or maybe her reminiscent from her jubilant times. She just wanted to yield, not through form or expression, but through time, which probably took her away with it.

For those 4 days, diurnally, I was lost in places, talking to people, collecting elements for making reports but as I came back, her face was the first thing to catch my sight. What would once have been a visage full of conviviality was now portraying something poignant in a macabre fashion. She did not want the wrath to fall upon others. She simply wanted people to witness her times, her past and her last. That's all that she wanted and I had to accede.

I wondered how without her coming out, which would have knocked me down and made the hotel room my casket, would she tell me her story. I just closed my eyes with somnolence engrossing my senses and despite being dead tired, either an olfactory interruption or something else, would always wake me up. I checked for mice, for wavering polythenes, pages but nothing. The sound of swattering pigeons on the back of the AC would be distinct. The sounds, the feeling was emanating from somewhere else. Maybe, it was her.

I tried hard to slip into the indulgence but my sleep never lasted more than 30 minutes. Yes, this time it would have been that trepidation of knowing there is something else with you, but it was more of what she apparently wanted me to do, to listen. I switched on the lights, scurried for anything and then tried looking at her for a while. I expected to see a change but she was still the same, lachrymose and mawkish. I switched on the TV, and looked what was up for me. The sulky movie channels had horror movies all over them. The Ring, the house on the haunted hill, premiere view of the Haunting in Connecticut 2. For a moment, I refrained from looking at her, thinking she wants me to witness the fury, but then I tuned into Chupa Rustam, the pal from old times, with their gags.

I found it hard to believe but I never laughed as much as I laughed after watching their gags after a decade at least. They show was on air after so much time and without any jamboree. If it wasn't for that day, I would have never watched any of it. I nearly died laughing knowing that the hotel walls would isolate my laughter from exasperating anyone. I got so lost in the merriment of the moment that I forgot what I was upto and it was only after it got over that when I looked at her. The grimace, the dejection was gone!

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