icture this. A young, successful husband; a beautiful, stay-at-home wife; a haunted house. What follows is two hours of chills and thrills and a hit Bollywood movie.
But wait, 'Bhoots' aren't limited to the make-believe world of the big screen. Kyunki, Delhi abounds in spots which have acquired the tag of being haunted by ghosts.
The fact of the matter is that what are otherwise suitable residences are believed to be bhoot bungalows haunted by tenants who nobody has a ghost of a chance of seeing! In GK I, for instance, House No W-3, situated opposite the police station there, has acquired the dubious distinction of being haunted by supernatural forces.
The history of the house reveals that an aged couple was murdered at this address more than a decade ago. As this couple had no children, advertisements published in newspapers asked legitimate relations of the couple to show up. Certain people did come forward to lay claim to the house, but due to want of substantial proof, nobody was granted possession.
''Various sounds, ranging from sobs to screams, emanate from the house. Also, certain people claim to have seen an apparition there. Children, in turn, are too scared to even go near the house,'' says Gaurav Kapoor, a software executive who lives in the locality.
Similarly, a 'numberless' house in Defence Colony's C-Block has been lying vacant for more than 20 years now. Apart from claiming to hear eerie sounds, residents of the area maintain that they have seen physical proof of the presence of ghosts.
Incidentally, 44 Ashoka Road — the official accommodation of the late Phoolan Devi at the time she was murdered — earned the reputation of being a haunted house. While the house remained vacant for quite some time, it finally found a taker in minister of state for social welfare Kailash Meghwal, who reveals that his family faced problems after moving in.
''Even after we moved in, neighbours insisted that they often spotted Phoolan Devi in the house. We conducted a puja and everything is fine now,'' says Deepak, the minister's nephew.
Close encounters of the spooky kind are also linked to a tree near the DDA flats in Qutub Enclave Enclave Phase II. People claim to have sighted a corpse hanging upside down from the tree. According to old-timers, the land on which the DDA flats stand today was once a graveyard. ''Though I have never seen the corpse myself, many of my friends contend that they have seen it,'' reveals Amit Kaul, a resident of the area.
According to a senior estate official, ''Some spacious bungalows in Lutyen's Delhi lie vacant because bad omens are associated with them. We do not want to publicise this since these houses are situated in prime locations such as BD Marg, Talkatora Road, Lodi Estate and Pandit Pant Marg. Since these sprawling bungalows are believed to be haunted by the ghosts of the dead, they are mostly used for wedding ceremonies or parties.''
While the existence of ghosts finds its believers, psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh, MD, maintains that such a line of thinking is irrational. ''Rumour works on deletion, distortion and generalisation. A simple example of this is provided by the monkey-man scare. During a state of emotional arousal, people are vulnerable and likely to believe in any explanation, however improbable it might sound. In this context, if somebody has been murdered or committed suicide at a particular address, the house concerned is immediately branded as being haunted.''
Too many spooks spoil the broth. Or so seems to be the flavour of haunted houses. Of course, real home truths are easier to live with than imaginary skeletons in the cupboard!