Since 1995, I live with my husband and my in-laws in a rather large bungalow in Karachi.
The building is not very well maintained, and the number of visible inhabitants (my mother-in-law, father-in-law, husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their two kids) does not justify its size.
The building makes a rather sad impression, and its inhabitants are at constant loggerheads. We had found some strange taweez (amulets), nails, and whatnot. There is a big persimmon tree in the backyard, and there was also a tamarind tree.
In this house, it often feels like someone is hushing around, but when you look, no one is there. Sometimes it gives off an immensely sad feel, sad enough to make you cry, and at other times, it feels so creepy that it makes your hair stand.
The people living in this house might have their set of differences, but they are all sure that there are some 'others' living as well. As for my gut-feeling, 'they' are not evil, just a bit naughty. They just want to live there, and there should be nothing wrong with it, After all, 'they' also have got right to live somewhere.
Usually, they do not make their presence felt, but there were some incidents that were definitely not caused through any human occupant:
1) The missing shoes
Before entering any of the carpeted rooms (bedrooms and drawing room), we usually take off our shoes and leave them in front of the door.
One day, I had gone into my bedroom, and when I came out, my shoes were gone. I looked under the couch in front of the room, but they were not there. I looked near the kitchen, but they were not there. I looked in the remaining rooms of the house, but the shoes were gone. I was a bit irritated, and thought that maybe the kids had hidden them, but they were not even at home.
I resumed my search, and finally found my shoes... In the cat's litter tray!
After cleaning them, I placed them in front of the bedroom door. When I came out again, I found only one shoe. The other was missing again. Feeling that 'someone' was being naughty, I went to the litter tray, and there was it! My missing shoe. I cleaned it, scolded 'someone', and then for the remainder of the day, no shoes went missing.
A couple of days afterwards, my husband was looking for his shoes, for one of them to be exact. I tried to help him, and first looked into the litter tray. No shoe. I looked under the sofas, chairs, in the corners, everywhere near the door of our room. No shoe. Finally, in the afternoon, the shoe was found in the farther off corner under an old bedstead.
Again, a couple of weeks later, my other sister-in-law came to visit with her kids. The whole family sat with her in her mother's bedroom. (shoes placed outside, of course) When I went out, my shoes were gone again. I was a bit irritated, as the shoe story had become repetitive. I went to the litter tray. No shoes. I looked under that old bed stead. No shoes. I looked everywhere else. No shoes. When the kids saw me look for my shoes, they quickly joined me. In no time, we had looked through the whole place. No shoes. We re-searched the place. Again, no shoes. Finally, I thought forget about them. Either 'they' like them or need them. I then returned to my mother-in-law's bedroom, and there they were - my shoes! Placed neatly one next to the other.
2. Knocking the bathroom door
That must have been some four years ago. It was pre-dawn, and we had just gotten up to offer the prayer. My husband had taken ablutions already. After leaving the bathroom, he closed the door. I was still lazying around a little. Suddenly, there was a distinct knocking on the bathroom door. 'Tuk tuk tuk'. Startled, I looked at my husband. Again. 'tuk tuk tuk'. That was a clear knock, and no, I was not crazy, my husband also heard it, as clear as I did. 'Tuk tuk tuk' it went on. A weird feeling started to creep up. We finally recited some prayers, but the knocking continued. After a while, my husband looked at me and said: 'Time for prayer... I am going to the mosque.' I looked at him, a bit flabbergasted: was he really leaving me all alone with the 'knocker'? But I still somehow managed to tease him: "So you are scared, huh?" He smiled and left.
Well, the knocking still continued. I was sitting there, looking at the door, imagining all kinds of weird creatures sitting in my bathroom and waiting to get out. Finally, curiosity got the better of me. I put together all my courage and opened that bathroom door. There was nothing. Not even a lizard!
Anyway, annoyed for the scare I had got, I decided to douse the whole bathroom. I didn't come out until I had scrubbed the whole place and finished off with some phenyle. In the meantime, my husband had also come back. He appreciated my 'bravery' and also joked that I must have given 'it' a good wash, too. We heard no knocking after that.
3. Who took my almonds?
I am quite fond of almonds. Last year, a friend had gifted me with a whole kg of dried fruits, including almonds. I happily placed the bag in my kitchen cabinet. I had not opened the pack yet. A few days afterwards, I wanted to take some of the stuff and also share it with my in-laws. But the bag was gone. I first thought that maybe some family member took it to tease me, but that was not the case. I had pestered all sundry to give me back my almonds, but when my pestering made them cross with me, I realised that I had probably suspected them wrongly. But the almonds were still missing. I was angry, and shouted in the lounge: "You better keep them back from where you took them, otherwise you'll be in trouble..."
When the family asked me who I was shouting at, I was actually short of an answer. Anyway, the bag with almonds was then back in my cabinet, unopened, just as I had left it.
4. The bursting cooker
We use pressure-cookers to speed up the cooking process and to conserve energy. Although I am not fond of cooking, I know very well how to use such a cooker. You place the lid tightly, lock it, place the weights. In case you need to open the cooker (to check the liquid or tenderness of food) you take off the weights, wait until all the gas evaporates, the safety valves go down, and the lid makes a light 'click'. I have done it a thousand times, after all.
So, a couple of days ago, I was using the cooker. I had turned off the stove maybe one hour earlier, so all gas, heat etc had evaporated already. I opened the cooker (pulses and meat for kebab), and after being satisfied with the degree of tenderness, I replaced the lid and locked it to make sure it won't fall off. I had hardly left the kitchen, when I heard an explosion like sound. All I could see was the lid flying off the cooker and landing on the floor!
The noise had startled my mother-in-law. She came out of her room and seeing the lid on the floor (with handles broken) she first suspected me having made the mistake of forcing the cooker open. I told her that the cooker was cold, that there was not gas inside, and that I had already left the kitchen when it flew off, but somehow she didn't look convinced. After a bit of mumbling, she touched the cooker, and when she also found it to be cold, she said: "Well, seems like any of 'them' was in a bad mood today."
Well, perhaps it really was, or perhaps it was just not happy with my cooking...
I am SURE these incidents were caused by some naughty jinn living in our house. Maybe they tried to cheer up the gloomy atmosphere, or they were just as bored as we sometimes are.