Last night, I thought I would write about nocturnal adventures of the paranormal kind. For some reason,most people seem to prefer them over poetry or serious stories. It makes for popular literature,at least in Singapore.People love getting spooked. I don’t. My sons love it. My husband loves it. My friends love it. My brothers-in-law love it. I still don’t. However, conceding to popular tastes, I thought I could try my hand at a few ghost stories… Perhaps, I could do a story about a ghost dating a youngster or a ghost far from home, lost… All these ideas haunted my mind as I thought of the stories my son carried home from his training camp dorms,the most alarming being his dorm mates had seen a white lady ghost hovering near his bed around 2 am or 3 am in the morning! My son had never seen her! He responded by guffawing and telling his batch mates, he was dating her…of course he was joking but he was also being very irreverent,I thought. I always hold ghosts in reverence as one never knows if they are real or not…I would prefer to leave such areas unresearched . I do not ever want to encounter a spook. I was spooked when I thought of the silent floating specter in the quiet,dark night with the river flowing silently in front of our house. I was afraid that I would see the white ghostly lady’s translucent , pale friends and relatives from the nether world waving at me or making faces at me when I looked out of the window. I was so scared that I stopped writing. I prayed for my son’s safety. I hoped he was having a peaceful and good night. Earlier in the day, one of my friends had told me that horror stories were most effective when they included sounds of creaking doors and trailing chains and all kinds of spooky noises. But, the funny thing is all the ghosts in my son’s dorm are silent! They do their rounds around 2 am or 3 am but are definitely out by 4 am, when my son wakes up to the sound of the alarm. This week, I heard, four ghosts haunt their dormitory and one, their laundry. The laundry area is haunted by an old lady who just hangs around the machines till it is time for her to turn in …I suppose, back to her grave. My son has never seen her but his dorm mates have. They have been instructed to visit the laundry in pairs, never alone…a necessary precaution as no one knows when or what she might do… The ghosts in the dormitory are just hoverers if you do not mess with them, I have heard. They do not make noise, but people who see them still get scared, despite what my friend said about sound being the thing that induces fears. Some of the boys pray whenever they have spare time so that spooks don’t harm them! The white lady near my son’s bunk just hovers and leaves. The grey lady gaurds four bunks ,two of which are occupied. The occupants have seen her .Then, there is a Japanese soldier ghost that sits on top of the locker clutching his bayonet. He just sits there. Maybe, he is lost! That is why I thought of doing a story about a ghost lost and far from home. Then, I thought ghosts could materialize anywhere,anytime…and that is when I started getting goosebumps…. Could there be a ghost in my compound? Could there be a ghost in my house? Or, in the shopping malls? My sons swear that shopping malls are so noisy that ghosts would be spooked out of them! Perhaps,that is why women love shopping malls. They are spook-free. Or, are they not? Are all the people in the malls alive and not ghosts? I realize I have wandered off the course. I was focussing on the four ghosts that hover in my son’s dorm between 2 am and 3 am but are definitely out by 4am. The fourth ghost is a shoe polisher,a bit in the tradition of the elves in Elves and the Shoemaker by the Brothers Grimm. It seems he polishes the boots of one of the boys in the dorm. This boy has the shiniest boots in the whole institute. Shoe polishing is an art that boys need to master while training . They have to have very shiny boots or they have to do push ups or sit ups,it seems. The whole batch gets punished if even one person has less polished boots! I have seen my son sit by the hour and polish his boots during weekends,even in the middle of birthday parties. He even polishes his boots with a computer app that teaches you how to have the shiniest boots in the whole universe…he sits with his laptop and boots and polishes the weekend out! The reason I elaborated on the shoe polishing bit is so that you can figure out how important it is to have shiny boots and what a huge favor this ghost is doing for the trainee whose shoe he polishes regularly! So, is this a “kind” ghost? And yet the boys get scared (except some disbelievers, like my son) and pray that they are kept safe from him. Actually, I would too! I do not want to have ghostly visitors, however kind and good. With due reverence to paranormal creatures and believers, I would love to live in a world without spooky fears !