The flat that we stayed in was located in a four-storied building but all around it was empty ground and nights were generally eerie. It was dead of a night. The sky outside was pitch dark. The sodium vapour street lights were on and off intermittently. I am not sure whether I got up first or my wife or may be, we both got up together thanks to that deafening noise.
“I heard an explosion. Didn’t you ?” my wife spoke in a low decibel, paying heed to my advice but trembling. “Of course, yes. From very close quarters. That’s what made me get up,” I said. Beside us, our school going son and daughter were fast asleep oblivious of the commotion.
It was a pre-twitter and facebook era. Else, I could have tweeted about it and alerted the entire world and more importantly, our 24 X 7 news channels that would have vied with each other to proclaim, “Your channel was the first to announce the terror strike in a residential hub.” “It looked like someone fired a gun shot,” said I. “Or was that a bomb ?” queried my wife. I secured the door of the bed room and looked out the window. There was no trace of any movement of men, dogs or vehicles. Neither Diwali nor Karthigai festivals were around the season and hence, it could not have been a solitary cracker. The explosion did not go off, far from us. It must have happened in our house.
Normally a very timid person, I gathered courage reciting some slokas, collected my son’s cricket bat and ventured out of the room. Something fell on me and I shouted in full throated voice, “Deyyyyyyy” to take on my enemy and swished my bat 360 degrees with the felicity of a Sachin. I realised that dried mango leaves tied on the doorway for a function long ago had fallen down.
I sniffed like a trained police dog and came across no gas leak in the kitchen. Now, I combed the entire house and declared it free of intruders. Everything seemed alright. Did anything go wrong in a neighbouring flat ? There was no sign of residents in the building waking up either.
My wife and I debated on various possibilities before finally resigning to sleep. The next morning, my wife woke me up with a dazzling face and an air of ‘Sherlock Holmes’. “I detected what went wrong and that’s the least you can fancy.” She took me to the kitchen and opened the door of a kitchen shelf. There it was. A shattered coconut. I picked up her thread and reasoned out, “The water inside the coconut must have got spoiled, generating a lot of gas and pressure and finally, ripping the coconut apart.”
“There you are. In fact, yesterday night, I offered to Lord Ganesha to break a coconut if everything went ok,” declared my wife.