I was 14 years old, when my father got posted in a small town near Pune and overnight we left out home and city to join him. We shifted on the first floor of a lovely cottage named "Gulab" meaning Rose.
The cottage was owned by equally loving family, who welcomed us wholeheartedly in the cottage. I started living in the cottage with my parents and younger brother. My father was required to stay at his work place and visited us only on weekends, so mostly it was me, my mother and my younger brother residing in the cottage. The owners had two daughters and a son, elder daughter Sunita, younger one Anita and son Anish. Anita and me instantly became friends as we were of same age. Anita's father was in government job and posted in remote village and rarely visited them. Her mother was a teacher and often visited her husband with her son on weekends and long holidays. Anita's granny used to stay with her.
The entrance to first floor (where we stayed) was at the backside of the cottage and after climbing several steps one would reach at bedroom first and next to it was the living room. I was terrified of these stairs and our bedroom right from day one. Also, the bedroom happened to be the only room which faced the backside of the cottage, and was very dull, gloomy and cold, whereas all other rooms faced the front of the cottage was were very bright and sunny.
I was very uncomfortable while sleeping in the bedroom, which was exceptionally cold at night and even my mother and brother felt the same thing and at times we used to just go and sleep in the living room or balcony. At times my mother used to hear faint knocking like sound on roof above the bedroom, especially at night. However we ignored it and attributed this to our new surroundings.
Anita's elder sister Sunita; used to behave very strangely. Sunita was in junior college and appearing for her 12the board exams. Her room was the only room situated in the basement and was eternally locked. Sunita never allowed anyone to enter her room, not even her granny. Anita tried to take me to her room once or twice but on both the occasions, Sunita scolded at us. We just ignored this as a tantrum from an elder sibling.
One summer evening, Anita's mother requested my mother to look after her daughters for night and sleep at her place as she and granny were required to travel out of town due to death of a relative.
I was super excited about sleepover at Anita's place. I along with my mother and brother went to Anita's place after our dinner and after much debate everyone, decided to sleep in living room. Sunita was behaving rudely with us, she just refused to come out of her room and interact with us and insisted on sleeping in her own room. We ignored her and had gala time chitchatting, singing songs etc. After some time Sunita came out of her room in rush and asked my mother to fetch milk in a big bowl. We all were surprised by such demand at odd hour and my mom refused to comply without an explanation. Sunita was really upset and after heated exchange of words with my mom, just started crying hysterically and explained everything.
Sunita told that, she came to reside in the cottage when she was about 4-5 years old and her room was a nursery with a door opening in the back garden. The first floor was being constructed and family of the building contract i.e his wife and baby boy used to reside in one shed on first floor (which was now our bedroom). Suita used to be home alone, with the maid, most of the time as both her parents were working and granny had not come to reside with them and her siblings were not yet born.
One afternoon, when she came back from school she was told that the baby of the contractor had died (later she came to know that he had crawled down from stairs of first floor, had slipped and fallen down just outside her room and had died on the spot). Sunita could hear his mother crying throughout the night, also there was lot of blood outside her room and she was really scared of all this and never opened the back door of her room again. The baby's mother could not bear the loss and one night committed suicide. After this incident the contractor left the job and things were quite for some time.
Almost every night Sunita, used to hear someone crying near her room, she used to wake up her parents, but they never hear anything and felt that Sunita was too scared due to recent incidences. Sunita started sleeping with her parents in their bedroom, however she continued to hear a woman crying almost every night, but no one else heard it and never believed Sunita.
During this time Anita was born and granny came to stay with them and Sunita started sleeping in her room with granny. One night she just opened her eyes and saw a woman with a child standing at foot of her bed and repeatedly kept on asking for milk. Sunita as too numb to react and just passed out. Sunita became seriously ill and was bedridden for almost a month.
Her parents did not believe in ghosts and spirits and didn't take any of her stories seriously. However granny sensed that, what she was experiencing was really abnormal and called a priest. The priest told that, what Sunita was experiencing were the spirits of the woman and her child, who had died in unnatural manner and asked them to perform a Pooja and keep a bowl full of milk on every full moon's day. Sunita's parents refused to carry out the rituals, but allowed Sunita to keep the bowl full of milk just outside her room on a full moon's day. Sunita started keeping the bowl of milk just outside her room as per instructions and to her surprise the bowl used to get empty within 5 minutes. She used to see the woman and her child occasionally in her room and also hear her crying at times, though the frequency has diminished with times.
The night of the sleepover happened to be full moon night and it was time to offer the bowl of milk. We were numb after hearing all this and allowed Sunita to keep a big bowl of milk at the far corner of her room and thereafter Sunita joined us in the living room. We hardly slept a wink that night and were eagerly waiting for morning.
We all rushed to Sunita's room next morning and were surprised to see the bowl of milk empty and not a single drop spilled. This was really surprising as her room was locked from outside and none of us a had visited the room at night. Sunita pleaded with us not to mention the matter to any one as she feared being ridiculed.
We stayed in the place for few years, however never had any other occasion to confirm Sunita's story. Sunita moved out of the house in a year (went to city for higher studies) and no one else dared to stay in the basement room.