LIGHTER VEIN: Cats, Dogs And My Neighbour (Part III)
On Feb 02, 2012
“Yoo hoo!” I greeted the neighbour as cheerily as I did the previous day, as he appeared on the terrace that evening.
“Yooo hooo!” He reciprocated with the same enthusiasm. “Now, did you have two horns yesterday or you grew one more today?” He asked me with a malicious gleam in his eyes.
I glared at him and vowed to break a few more of his window panes as early as I could. But now, I had other important things in mind. My eyes scanned the entire house of the neighbour, carefully noting where the sunshade ended and also the usual position taken by the cats. There was no window shade right under that area and the closest one was just under the broken window pane. I decided that if I shouted loudly enough, it would still scare the cats. I may have to repeat the procedure for a day or two more, but I was sure it would do.
Strangely enough, that night, the dogs did not break into a relentless staccato of yaps at the sound of the cats. They seemed to wait for me and even encouraged me with a few whoofs to climb up the wall. Slowly, ever so slowly I lifted myself onto the sunshade. The cats were about ten feet away from where I was crouching. Slowly, slower than my slow ascend onto the sunshade, I straightened myself up and arched back to bellow a full blooded “BOO”. As my body arched and then straightened with the springiness of a coiled spring and the “BOO” was half way out of my mouth, I saw out of the corner of the eye, a figure clad in black clothes with its head covered, get up from the other side of the parapet of the terrace. This figure appeared so close to me that it was the scariest thing to happen to a man who believed in ghosts, devils and other alien beings. I flung myself around and screamed the entire “BOO” right on the ghost like figure’s face. The creature let out a screech with exactly the same intensity and tone as the “EAAAOOOOHHHHWW” I heard on the day I broke the window pane. I did not wait to see what happened to the ghost after it was hit by my “BOO”. I was sure I heard a loud thud, again, very similar to the thud I heard on the day I broke the window pane.
I jumped back onto the compound wall, down to the ground and was about to race back into the house, when this explosion and brilliantly lit bright light appeared in my head again. And as was their practice, they went off as fast as they came in and me, flat on the ground unconscious.
I woke with the same heaviness in my head. The last three days of practice had not gotten me used to it, but it only got heavier. On careful examination of the concerned area, I found I had three lumps on the forehead and one on the back side of my head too. As I opened my eyes wider and let in more light, more pictures started to appear before me. They were in the shape of my mother, sister and the neighbour. The neighbour was wearing the black dress which I recognized as the one worn by this ghostly apparition on the terrace. I was very amused to see that the neighbour also had unicorn like protrusions on the back of his head. In fact, I liked it so much that I burst out laughing. I was so happy that he who was callous enough to throw stones at the neighbour’s house on mere suspicion that a stone may have arrived from there, is suffering the same way as I did.
“What are you laughing at?” He spat out the question with a murderous intent, but it was lost on me, because I was busy laughing.
“You look like a secretary bird, with that tuft of hair at the back.” I continued laughing
“And you look like a Triceratops with two extra horns at the back.” He quipped back.
“Shut up, both of you. Pray tell me what happened?” My mother got in between us.
“I was sleeping when someone threw a stone at my window and broke the glass. I came to the terrace and was hit by another stone. I do not think that it was the same stone that hit my window that hit my forehead, but a different one, which accounts for this lump on the forehead. Since that night, I would peep out of the broken window pane every night, to see if any one threw more stones. Yesterday, I saw a figure clamber on top of your compound wall, while I was peeping through the hole. So I crept out of the room, crawled myself up to the parapet of the terrace and got up to see who was on the other side, when this figure sprung up and yelled “BOO” at me.
I jumped about five feet high in the air before falling flat on my back; my back side of the head hit the floor which accounts for the other lump on the back of the head. Upon standing up, I saw this figure jumping back into your compound and I threw a stone at him. Only after it fell down and all of you descended on the scene did I realise that it was this idiot who broke my window pane, threw a stone on my head, scared me stiff with a “BOO” and caused me to fall down. I do not understand why this clown climbed up on my terrace and scared me with a ‘BOO”.
“I thought you were a cat,” I ventured my opinion.
“I meant I was going to scare the cats on your terrace with a loud “BOO”, but you got in between the cats and the “BOO”.
“You got onto my terrace to scare a cat?”
“Yes, two cats”
“You mean to say that it is alright to jump on to a stranger’s house to scare off a few cats, when you could have done the same standing in your compound?”
“My dogs have been trying to shoo off the cats with the loudest form of barks, but to no avail. So I thought it was best to get as close to the cats as possible.”
“He is lying about the cats. I have never seen any cat in my compound. He probably got into my house for something else.”
“I think so too. I have never seen any cats around here.” My sister added her two pence.
“NO, NO, the cats were there. You could check with the dogs, if you want. Or you could wait till 11 p.m. tonight and see for yourself.”
But the cats never ever turned up at that spot again. The “BOO” must have scared them away for good. The dogs too have given up barking in the night but the entire episode wrecked the neighbour’s sleep permanently. The entire terrace was brightly lit every night from the next day onwards, to prevent me from springing any more surprise “BOOS”. Every now and then, I would see him prowling on the terrace, in the night or peeping out of the hole in the window pane which he never repaired. In fact, my neighbour had completely lost his marbles. I would also occasionally see him stare into the darkness, probably looking for those cats, which probably chose another place very far away to shout at each other.
My mother and sister have not given up asking me why I jumped on to his house and do not believe that there ever were any cats in the entire neighbourhood. They still believe that nights don’t get more silent than the ones in their precinct.
“It is so peaceful here, in the night. So silent that you could hear an ant burp.”
Previously in Lighter Vein: