When we used to visit our maternal grand father at his place, back when we were still in grade school, my sisters and I dreaded one thing: the bathroom. It wasn’t a normal bathroom because it was located outside the house, way back in the back yard, where huge trees grew. The kids from the neighborhood used to tell us that they had heard (from reliable sources, like their parents) that dwarfs and witches roamed about grandfather’s backyard at night. “They hide behind those old trees in the dark, waiting for fresh blood to feast upon,” they told us. My sisters and I had, therefore, always tried our best never to go to the bathroom after dark. And when the situation becomes unbearable, we bring an adult with us.
I don’t know about my sisters, but the fear for huge old trees remained in my mind. I’m fine during the day, but once dark fell, I don’t like looking at trees.
Here in the old haveli in Mumbai where we will be staying for the next three weeks, the bathroom is (fortunately) indoors. It’s a very old structure, built by the British sometime in the early 1900. The huge mansion is made of wood, has a very high ceiling, with huge doors and windows. I threw all the windows wide open the moment I stepped into the rooms, and breathed in the fresh air.
Then I walked into the bathroom and opened the window. Here’s what I saw …
It was broad daylight, still the first thought that came to my mind was, “Oh no! Not old trees!” I decided to keep the window close before sunset. Better yet, I decided to not use the bathroom at night at all. On our first night here in the haveli, I told Masood, “If I ever needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I’ll wake you up.”
Tonight, I looked out of the window (bedroom window, and not the bathroom) and saw this …
I need to overcome my fears.