The doorbell pealed suddenly in the middle of the afternoon.
I waited expectantly for the kids, the better-half, somebody, anybody to open the door. I had just sunk into a couch after clearing lunch and was feeling lethargic.
Obviously everybody around was feeling the same;-/.
I reluctantly got up to answer the doorbell wondering who it was. I knew it was not the kid’s friends because those kids never rang the doorbell, they just knocked on the door[by now we are familiar with the different types of knocking and can accurately predict which kid it is even before we open the door;-P]
Who the heck comes visiting right after lunch anyway???
I looked through the peep hole.
Couldn’t see anybody.
Opened the door and looked left, then right, then left again and right and everywhere.
There was nobody out there.
The kids also emerged to inspect the visitor.
All 3 of us looked at eachother in confusion.
Realisation dawned a split second later.
Somebody rang the doorbell and ran away.
The kids were indignant. “The cheek……”
I wanted to laugh.
Whoever it was made a clean getaway.
We went back inside, kids animatedly discussing who it could have been.
3 days later around the same time….
Arriving at the same conclusion all 3 of us hurried to the door to catch the offender.
But by the time we got up from where we were lounging around and rushed to the front door the offender had escaped once again.
The kids were hopping mad. What guts…they fumed.
This time I walked down the corridor to check the lift.
It was stationary.
Opened the door to the staircase and listened.
Absolutely quiet in there.
So it was somebody from our floor itself.
Some kid was right then standing behind his/her door and snickering away silently I supposed.
The kids were heatedly arguing amongst themselves as to who it could be.
My apartment was at the end of the corridor.
The apartment opposite ours was occupied by an Arab couple with a toddler.
So they were ruled out.
At the other end were 4 doors placed close together. All the 4 apartments had kids.
“Mama, I heard the door to the garbage chute bang shut just before our doorbell rang. Which means whoever is ringing the bell is going down this passage to throw garbage and then ringing our doorbell and running away“.
2 days later round about the same time again…
Ting-Tong Ting-Tong Ting-Tong
The kids and I dropped everything we were doing and ran like maniacs to the front door. In those few seconds we heard the kid rushing noisily down the corridor and slammed his/her door just as we opened ours.
I banged the wall in half amusement and frustration.
The kid was getting bolder. A simple ting-tong was now a Ting-Tong multiplied into 3. I was soo hoping to catch the kid red-handed and have some fun.
The kids were boiling in fury. They had already come to a few conclusions by now.
“Mama…we are sure it’s JoJaJo” burst out Nikita angrily.
Most of the kids on the floor were their friends and they played together all the time. JoJaJo were 3 kids with names starting with J[wht else] and the only kids they had some issues with.
“Stop Nikita, we cannot accuse anybody without proof” I warned.
Now we were alert all the time especially after lunch. If we heard anybody open the door to the garbage chute[luckily for us, it opened with a noise] all of us looked up in expectation and waited.
But nothing happened for the next 2 days.
Then at 11pm one day, just as I was winding up for the day….
My heart nearly jumped out in shock. In the silence of the night the ring was so loud that for a moment I just stood there and did nothing. The better-half and kids who had already gone to sleep an hour earlier, got up with a start.
I rushed to the door but again I was too late.
But enough was enough. Being disturbed in the middle of the night was not funny.
We decided to knock on JoJaJo’s house and asked if any of the kids went to drop the garbage a few minutes back.
JoJaJo’s mother was like “No they didn’t, they slept almost an hour ago”.
I knocked on the next door.
They took almost 5 minutes to open the door.
The entire family was already in bed.
At the next house too they denied any knowledge of the incident.
I hesitated to knock on the last door.
The Irani family who stayed there had 2 girls above the age of 10 and the woman of the house was a formidable lady who was well-known for her terror tactics. All the kids on the floor detested her because she was always complaining about the noise they were making. Even we kept out of her way;-P.
Since I knocked every other door I reluctantly knocked on hers too.
She came out and said everybody was asleep and what’s more, nobody from her house will do something like this. Behind her I saw one of her kids peeping from one of the rooms.
I came back all upset and puzzled.
I felt really terrible going like that and knocking on doors in the middle of the night but this was getting a little out of hand.
I related the whole episode to the better-half and kids . The better-half then said he heard a slap and a child crying just a few minutes earlier. We have a window near the bedroom which is left open sometimes and if the neighbours left their window opened too we could clearly hear what was going on there.
The kids & I looked at eachother in shock because the Irani family stayed there.
We couldn’t believe it. Her daughters were almost 14 & 11 yrs old. Even though those kids didn’t come out to play with mine there was no animosity between them as such. So then why…
We went to sleep after that.
The whole incident was discussed and examined with a microscope the next day but no conclusions were reached.
Anyways the problem was solved.
Or so we thought.
The very next day at around 9pm.
To say we were stunned was an understatement. I was at the far end of the house fixing the kids beds for the night. Too far away.
“Nainaaaaaa, open the door quick” all of us yelled at the same time.
Naina was at the water dispenser filling her glass and closest to the door.
So many thoughts went through my mind.
It was not the Irani kids after all.
What will I do when I catch the kid red-handed???
There was no doubt here we’ll catch the budding delinquent because Naina was already opening the door and we could still hear noisy footsteps rushing off.
Just as we opened our door, the door opposite ours slammed shut and we heard the key being turned in the lock.
We were totally taken aback.
How could it be????
The Arab who lived opposite our apartment was a new tenant and as far as we knew, lived there with his wife and 10 months old child. Their names were not even there in our list of suspects.
The better-half knocked on their door.
The Arab came out carrying his baby. The baby is one of the prettiest, cutest and most endearing toddler. My kids loved her and go running to [baby]talk to her whenever they saw her.
Emerging out of my thoughts, I see the better-half explaining the problem.
Within 2 minutes we had our suspect in our hand.
The Arab had his relatives staying with him for the holidays. Looking back now, we remember seeing them once or twice. Their 3 kids[3 cheerful & naughty looking kids of different age;-D ] would come out everyday to throw garbage down the chute. While going back into the house they found it very amusing to ring our doorbell and run away.
The Arab was so apologetic that we felt bad and ended up reassuring him.
Nikita then put everything together and presented her deductions….
“Those kids took turns to ring our door-bell everyday which explains the varying tones in which it was rung” she explained authoritatively. “And Mama, what we thought was footsteps running down the corridor was actually the sound of 3 children rushing through their door one by one” concluded Nikita, wrapping up the case neatly.
Only one doubt remains….
Do you have any such solved/unsolved mysteries to share:-)????