This is one of my favourite childhood stories. My mom was a great story teller and I was always amazed at her experiences. She had a peculiar way of telling stories to children , each and every experience of her student life in Indore and her work in Bombay she told us children so vividly that we could picturise those places and incidents in our little minds. This story however she claimed actually happened to her and is no fabrication. So I will just try putting it in words avoiding any fabrication.
This must be in the late seventies when mom joined Holy Spirit hospital Andheri, Mumbai then the mighty Bombay. The hospital was run by Sisters of Holy spirit congregation and mom’s sister was a nun from that community. It was a vast plot which was more or like a jungle near to airport and earlier was a cemetery. It used to be windy and at nights the doors and windows opened and closed making thud sounds like in horror movies. And they had no milky white lights those days so in night shifts you had those dim lit bulbs and since it was a missionary hospital they had very few staff. Mom says those days in emergencies nurses had to go and fetch doctors from quarters and many nurses have seen a headless man walking among bushes and many have fainted out of fear too. Mom recollects to have seen black cat with a bell around the neck jumping in front from no where and vanishing suddenly. However mom says she was never scared and always tried telling her friends never turn back when you hear foot steps and if you fear then you were paralysed so be brave. She says there used to be a sweet smell like that of cigar or cigarette burning at nights and clubbed with footsteps it made people feel that these were some male ghosts.
As many medical students and nursing students do for fun to test courage once mom’s friends took a bet to sleep on the stretcher because it carried dead bodies’ people were quite scared. But one lady once took this challenge and dozed off. All heard her yelling and went to the room and she was found dishevelled. She said she found a burning cigarette in her pocket and got up and someone tried strangulating her. Now was this a prank or her mind working no one knew.
Now the real story starts here. Mom is the heroine – she had night duty and there was a lady very serious and was expected to pass away any moment mom checked on her and went to next patient. As she stepped out she saw a man in suit with a bouquet walking towards this lady’s room. Since it was late night and guests weren’t allowed mom wondered how he got in. Mom asked him who he was. He said he was the patient’s husband and came to take her with him. Mom said he could not do that perhaps he is unaware that she is seriously ill and cannot be discharged. Mom asked him to be with her in her last moments and left. When she came back the patient had passed away. Mom went to the bystander waiting outsider and enquired where the patient’s husband was. The bystander said the patient’s husband was in military and died years ago. Mom gave the description of the person she saw a stout guy with a bushy moustache in suit . The bystander said the description matched but the person had died years ago. Mom must have felt dumbstruck not understanding whether her tired mind was playing games or did she really speak to a ghost? Mom claims it’s a true story though I argue it must have been a hallucination .