On the tree-lined avenue of the faithful-beloved, in the plush neighbourhood of Taman Salar, there is a house where a family of five and a maid used to live. Mama and Papa, who were were very loving parents had brought their three children up to be polite and well-mannered, and well-liked by friends and relatives. Both Mama and Papa came from large families themselves and because of their affability, their house was never short of visitors - ranging from acquaintances, work colleagues, school-mates, and also relatives from both sides. Occasionally they even welcomed sleep-overs, perhaps a cousin or a nephew or a school-mate of the children.
Sometimes Bibik the maid, a middle-aged and slightly cantakerous lady, could not quite keep track of the visitors coming and going. She would get most irritated if she found the downstairs bathroom occupied at dawn, when she wanted to take ablutions for her Subuh prayers. She would then knock hard on the door and demanded whoever it was inside to hurry, and then would go to the kitchen to put the kettle on. The bathroom would normally be vacant when she came back: such was the fierceness of her voice.
Not only Bibik, the children too once in a while would forget who was sleeping over. Especially Angah, who was at that time preparing for his PMR. He preferred to study in the living room with the television on. One night as he was half-studying and half-watching tv, an unkempt boy about ten years old walked in through the front door and asked whether there was anything to eat. Thinking he was Adik's friend, Angah nonchalantly told him to go and see for himself what was in the fridge. The only thing was it was a school night and Adik's friend shouldn't be spending the night, according to house rules.
As with all foreign domestic help, one day Bibik had to return to her home country and so the household was without a maid for a couple of months. Mama had to re-organise her schedule so that the house was at least ship-shape and the meals ready before Papa came home. She was quite efficient at it and usually by half-past six in the evening, everything would be ready and she could enjoy a shower. While in the bathroom one time, she heard the voices of children playing outside. What was weird was that when she stepped out of the bathroom, the voices stopped. Upon her peering outside the bedroom window, there was no one. Well, she thought, it must be the ringing in her ears that had not really gone away after her recent flu.
All these occurrences finally culminated one day when Mama came home to find Along's room in a big mess. She was in there to look for the video-cassettes they had rented the week before and which were now over-due. She was muttering angrily under her breath about a pig-sty but did not want to make a scene. On the way to the video shop she told Along in no uncertain terms to tidy up his room or else!
When they returned home, Along immediately went upstairs with the intention of tidying up his room. On entering he immediately called out to his mother, "Mama, thank you for cleaning my room". Mama shouted back "I DID NOT clean your room!" but went upstairs anyway. She couldn't believe her eyes! The room was as clean and tidy as if a cleaning lady had gone through it with a damp duster and a mop. Everything was arranged neatly, even the socks and underwear in the drawers, the clothes hanging in the wardrobe, the books, files and papers on the shelves, everything.
Goosebumps rose all over Mama's arms and neck. Not even Mama could do a cleaning job like that. They related it to Papa over dinner, who recalled that a few nights before when he returned home late after a function, an elderly man wearing a kupiah had greeted him with a salam just outside the gate under the big tree.
That night, feeling drained from the evening's episode, Mama left a couple of coffee mugs unwashed in the kitchen sink. The next morning, she was aghast to find that they were both clean and stacked neatly on the dish-drainer. Everyone denied washing the mugs.
Mama was extremely bewildered. This is all too creepy.
Who was it that Bibik said was frequently in the downstairs bathroom?
Who were they that Mama had heard in her bathroom?
Who was it that Angah had told to go check the fridge?
Who was it that had cleaned up Along's bedroom?
Who was it that had greeted Papa?
Who was it that had washed the dirty mugs?
They consulted someone learned in these matters. Apparently "who" was a family from a community of ANOTHER DIMENSIONAL PLANE who had already "occupied" the area for 5,000 or so years. They have staked their claim on the house and it would be almost impossible to shift them. There's nothing that could be done.
Well, Mama, Papa and the children had since moved to Laman Canna.
Would a two-storey bungalow with all modern conveniences plus an invisible but competent maid be of interest to you?