I said, “Why did you tell him to keep a tight hold of his pants?”
She said, “You don’t understand. It is simple. He had all his pants made when he was young, and now they were all loose because he had lost weight. So I was always afraid someday or other he would create an embarrassing situation where his pants would suddenly fall down.”
I then remembered that he always kept his hands in his pants pockets, but naturally, when you meet ghosts you cannot remember to keep your hands in your pockets and to hold on tightly to your pants. Who cares about pants when there are so many ghosts jumping out on you? He did one more thing before he left…. I don’t know where he went. In this world there are many things which are unanswerable, and this can be counted among them. I don’t know why, but before he left he put out his kerosene lamp. That is another question about that tutor which has remained unanswered.
He was a great man in a way. I often wondered why he put out the lamp; then one day I came across a small story, and it was solved. I don’t mean that the man returned, but the second question was answered.
His little boy would not go to the bathroom without his mother standing at the door, and if it was nighttime, then naturally she had to keep a lamp there. I was visiting the house and heard the mother say to the boy, “Can’t you take the lamp yourself?”
He said, “Okay, I will take the lamp because I have to go. I can’t wait any longer.”
I said, “Why use the lamp in the daytime? I have heard the story of Diogenes; is he another Diogenes? Why the lamp?”
The mother laughed and said, “Ask him.”
I said, “Why do you want the lamp during the day, Raju?”
He said, “Day or night, it does not matter; ghosts are everywhere. When you have a lamp you can avoid clashing with them.”
That day I understood why the tutor had put out the lamp before running away. Perhaps he thought if he kept the lamp on, the ghost would find him. But if he put it out – and it is only my logic – if he put it out, at least they could not see him and he could dodge and escape. But he really did a great job. To tell you the truth it seems he always wanted to escape from his wife, and this opportunity was his last. He used it to the fullest. This man would not have come to such an end if he had not started with his fearlessness, and by saying, “I’m not even afraid of ghosts.”
“But,” I said, “I am not asking you.” And his pants were trembling when he said the word ghosts.
I said, “Sir, you have very strange pants. I have never seen anything tremble like that. They look so alive.”