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Granny Saw A Spirit


I'm sharing this story which was told to me by my grandmother (who passed away over three years ago) when I was a child. This incident took place sometime in the 1960s in a chawl in South Mumbai.

For those who are not from India, a chawl is a common housing system which used to be generally occupied by people from the lower income class. As many as 10 people used to stay together in minuscule spaces, sometimes just a room. It was very common in Mumbai until a decade ago. These chawls are now getting razed for multi-storeyed buildings or their original tenants have made way for small vehicle spare part shops. Coming to the structure of these chawls, they are generally one, two or three-storeyed. Each floor can have 5-10 houses sharing a common balcony. Chawls used to be close-knit communities or ghettos and people used to stay like one big family. And generations of tenants have stayed here.

Sorry for the long intro, but it was necessary for the narrative. So, as my granny told me, this incident took place on the night before 'Holi', the festival of colours. On this night (which is always a full-moon night), people gather and create a bonfire to commemorate the destruction of a mythical demoness (Holika) of yore. This is accompanied by a puja. Accordingly, the chawl residents gathered.

My granny had told me that she had just returned from a visit to their ancestral village with my grandpa on that day itself, so she and grandpa had just dumped their baggage in their room, freshened up and rushed to the common ground (maidan) in front of the chawl to participate in the celebrations. They were staying there with her parents, a sister and two brothers. It was a joint family.

After about an hour or so, around 9 pm, an exhausted grandpa told her that he's going upstairs. Grandma also followed, but was met by a neighbour and she stopped to chat for a minute. The rest of the family were still downstairs. They lived on the second floor of the two-storeyed chawl and the stairs were not so very well lit. She told me that she started climbing the stairs and saw my ajoba (grandpa in Marathi) climbing the stairs ahead of her. She wondered a bit, but then thought maybe he also met somebody on the way and stopped to chat. She quietly followed him up the stairs. When they approached their floor's landing, she was surprised to see ajoba turn right when their house was on the left. She even called out after him, but he did not reply and faded into the darkness.

At that moment, she thought it must be her exhaustion and she's seeing things. Thinking that maybe grandpa had stopped at somebody's house on the lower floor, she took out the house keys only to see the door to their house unlocked. And inside, ajoba was lying down on the bed. She told him the incident. He told her he had reached home just a few moments ago.

Wanting to clear her doubts, she enquired with her neighbours the next day. She was told that a few days back, a man had died in the house next door. She was shocked. She mistook this man's spirit (most of the people used to dress in kurta-dhoti on religious occasions) for her husband because both men had a similar built and in the darkness she couldn't tell one apart from the other.

It was only then it dawned upon her that this particular family had not attended the celebrations as they were in mourning and that the 13th day ritual was not yet done (Hindus in India generally observe a year-long mourning called 'sutak' in which they do not celebrate festivals. They also do not conduct pujas at home for 13 days). After the ritual, she said she did not experience any sighting.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, allesgute154, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

allesgute154 (3 stories) (254 posts)
3 years ago (2015-03-17)
Thank you for your kind words, notjustme. My daughter is a big girl now. Will join pre-kindergarten (nursery/mini-kg) this June. I've my hands full with just this one (and her father, and the job) LOL. Though I do pine for a second one very often. Love, Allesgute.
notjustme (17 stories) (784 posts)
3 years ago (2014-10-09)
I always enjoy your stories, as I love family/friend visits and intimate encounters. I hope to hear more soon! Thank you and I hope your daughter is doing great. You probably have another by now...? With love, notjustme
allesgute154 (3 stories) (254 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-31)
BadJuuJuu, Lilady4, myra, thank you for your encouraging responses. When I was a kid, my granny has told me this story so many times - on my insistence. I knew I just had to share it with the discerning readers here.
BadJuuJuu (13 stories) (1034 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-30)
Very interesting experience. My first thought was maybe she was seeing a living residual, but then when he turned right, like Lilady I thought doppelganger. Your grandmother must've had nerves of steelnot to run out of the building when she realized what she had seen. Thank you for sharing her experience.
Lilady4 (7 stories) (425 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-29)
Interesting story here, allesgute154. At first I was thinking that this Spirit was a Doppelganger, but then I read your story more and realised it was just a normal Spirit. Great story by the way.
Love & Light, Rachel ❀
myra (6 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-29)
hey something like that also happened with my maushi (meternal aunt) .She also used to live in mumbai chawl, it happened there. When one night she came out side because she couldnot sleep she saw a lady and thought it was her neighbour.
allesgute154 (3 stories) (254 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-29)
Shady4u, thanks for the encouraging compliment. I have submitted another story regarding my experience with my grandma's spirit. Waiting for it to be published:)
Shady4u (2 stories) (185 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-27)
Thank you for the reply. I bet you're beloved and respected grandma is at peace now. Can't wait to read more of your stories, just love the way you narrate ❀ Keep posting 😊
allesgute154 (3 stories) (254 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-26)
Shady4u, you're right. It indeed was the deceased neighbour's spirit that was wandering about. Thanks for the condolences. She's at peace now. I've another story about her passing, which I shall share once story submissions open up.
Shady4u (2 stories) (185 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-26)
Hey there! I believe it was the spirit of the man who was your grandma's neighbour. Probably the spirit was just wandering around his home before he was completely put to peace. Sorry to know about your late grandma. Good story. Thanks.
allesgute154 (3 stories) (254 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-25)
Thanks Ari, it was indeed a scary experience, if not for her, for me at least. Her narration used to make me put on all the lights in the house when I was a kid. I think she tackled it rather bravely. I was the ball of nerves!

About the literary experience, I guess a Bachelors in English Literature, 8 years spent copy-editing in a newspaper and passion for reading might be responsible;)

Actually, the thefreedictionary.com describes myth as 'A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people'. But you are not wrong in pointing it out that Holika is a part of the larger mythology. I was merely trying to use 'mythical' as an adjective for her.:)

Val, do let me know if you have problems understanding any part of the story, would love to help you out 😁
valkricry (39 stories) (2731 posts) mod
4 years ago (2013-05-25)
Hi allestute,
I read your grandmother's encounter (I stumbled a bit because of lack of knowledge on my part) but none the less found it very interesting. Chawls sound a lot like our apartment complexes.
I have heard of similiar encounters happening in various areas. I'm assuming your grandmother wasn't too frightened as she thought it was your Grandfather. Must have been one heck of a shock when she learned the facts though.
Thanks for sharing!
Sceptic-Ari (2 stories) (604 posts)
4 years ago (2013-05-25)
Dear allesgute154,
Thank you for sharing this story with us. Must have been a spine chilling encounter for your granma! 😨

And it shows that you belong to a literary circle😁

Respectfully,I just have a mild objection, mild because I know that that'll suffice.
Holika is not Myth but a part of Mythology.


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