Friday, 21 September 2012


The family was all excited for Papa had informed them that they would soon be moving to a new house. Being not too affluent and just an ordinary middle class family they knew that the move was just from one rented house to another. However, the very thought of moving to a new neighbourhood and getting used to a strange environment excited the kids.

Before proceeding further I must tell you a little bit about the family I am portraying here. The parents were both employed and while Papa was an ordinary cog in a mean corporate machine, Mama was a rather special school teacher in a very ordinary school. The three kids, Tee, Dee and Stee were all of school going age and the parents were concerned enough to find a house as close to their schools as possible.

On the pre-determined day the moving van came with four labourers who roughly took apart all the belongings of the family while Mama fluttered around them, concerned that their meagre possessions were packed and carted safely. When the family entered the new house they were quite happy to find the house rather airy and bright though small in size. The first thing that Stee the youngest of them all noticed was the rather quaint electronic door bell. The bell was special in the sense that it would chime a different tune every time it was pressed and therefore did not seem monotonous. Stee and Dee enjoyed playing with it and took turns pressing it and guessing what tune would come next from the compact electronic box.

Mama’s sister had also come over to assist the family in unpacking and setting the new house in order. On the first day after moving in, the family had a veritable feast which Papa had ordered from a neighbouring restaurant since the house was cluttered with boxes and bags and in a state of disorder as result of which Mama could not do any cooking. That night the family had gone to bed tired after a strenuous day of shifting their belongings and unpacking them. They slept like a log but it was at midnight that the bell suddenly started chiming. The children were fast asleep but Papa who was a light sleeper immediately woke up Mama who was fast asleep and they together went to the door to check who could be ringing the door bell at that odd hour.

Papa opened the door and looked all around and could find no one outside. Papa thought it must be a prank carried out by one of the neighbour’s children and grumbling and fuming the parents went back to bed. Within moments they drifted back to sleep. Their slumber was short lived as the bell rang again. This time around, Tee their eldest daughter also heard the bell and woke up along with the parents. They again went to the door step and looked around but could find no one, who could have caused the ringing of the bell. It was pitch dark outside and eerily quiet. The only sound that came to their ears was the howling of a dog in the distance.

Papa, Mama and Tee retreated back into the house and while Mama and Tee went back to sleep Papa laid tossing and turning in bed rather weary and restless.

The next day morning both Papa and Mama frantically readied themselves to leave for work while simultaneously assisting the children in their preparations to go to school. However, before leaving for the office Papa managed to find time to visit the land lord who lived next door to inform him of the strange happenings the previous night.

The land lord too was of the opinion that it could only be the handiwork of some prankster who was deliberately playing the fool with the people who had come afresh to the neighbourhood. The incident was soon forgotten as the family engrossed itself in the day’s activities. The children returned home from school early that evening while Mama returned a bit later. Papa was the last to return home late in the night and after a simple supper the family geared themselves to rest for the night.

The family had slept hardly for two hours before the bell chimed once again. It was a repeat performance of the previous night and Papa became very anxious. He barely slept a wink after that and went to work the next day tired and haggard. Later that evening Papa dragged himself over to the land lord’s residence and informed him once again that the mystery of the chiming door bell had continued for the second consecutive night. The land lord comforted Papa and assured him that he would keep an eye out that night to ensure that no  neighbourhood kids were stealthily ringing the door bell.

That night Papa could hardly sleep and at the stroke of midnight the bell chimed once again. Papa rushed out to the door and once again could find no one there. He switched on all the lights and went to wake up his neighbour the land lord. The land lord was already awake and was surprised to hear that the door bell had chimed once again for he had deliberately kept watch that night and had been sitting at his window from where he could observe the new tenant’s door. That night the bell chimed five times.

The next morning a haggard and visibly annoyed Papa disconnected the bell and removed the small batteries from within the chime box. The family then left for work and school, happy that they had solved the problem of the ringing bell by disconnecting it.

That night Papa felt much more secure and relaxed and slept deep safe in the knowledge that the bell would ring no more. At the stroke of midnight, the bell chimed again.