Tis the season when, to quote a former Viceroy of India, everyone’s “brains are grilled before 2 pm and don’t get ungrilled till 2 am.” The Man from Madras Musings attributes this to be the sole reason for the spate of horror films that are being released. MMM uses the term ‘horror’ more for the way the movies are made than for the subject matter. Given that the central idea of locally made spooky films is for the hero/heroine to masquerade with an extra set of canine teeth, these could actually be classified under whimsical comedy.

But before you get the impression that you have wandered into a column by a celebrated Bald Reviewer (and here MMM must add that the BR in question, unlike MMM, goes around that way by choice, meaning he is not naturally endowed with baldness like MMM), let MMM get on with the subject of this article and by now his pet peeve – the story that is doing the rounds that DeMonte Colony is haunted.

Of course, in a city where every inch of land is looked at only for its real estate (aka BHK) possibilities, it must be a surprise for everyone that there is a colony of green trees, seemingly abandoned houses and deserted streets. And so the ghost story is one of three natural corollaries – if it has not been built over, it must be a star-crossed property or haunted or under litigation. In fact, on days when MMM is below the weather, he often thinks that the only protection that heritage buildings have is the above-mentioned trio of attributes. And he can list several structures and precincts that are standing only because of these.

The Chief has written reams on how this Demon’s, sorry, DeMonte, Colony came about and what are the real reasons for it to remain unoccupied and (thankfully) undeveloped. But those are not the kind of reasons that interest most people. They imagine ghosts and, in the absence of any, have begun demanding them. This is probably the reason why one of the signboards to this road now reads as Demandi Colony. And the popular press has been going to town on the subject.

Several of what is known as the Fourth Estate have been haunting MMM’s footsteps wanting to hear all about DeMonte Colony and its encounters with the Fifth Horseman. They lurk in his email, call him from unknown numbers usually in the dead of night, and one or two have also landed at his doorstep, thankfully not in winding sheets. MMM has been denying all theories of the area being a favourite destination for the spirits, his logic being that there is no bar anywhere in the vicinity. He has also been directing all callers to the Chief’s columns only to have them call back stating that they have read it all, but could MMM please give them a sound byte on the subject, a request that makes MMM grind his teeth in despair. The only option now available to MMM is to sport a set of fangs, sharpen his ears till they stick out, don a bedsheet and dance around DeMonte Colony in the dead of night.

The residents of DeMonte Colony (the still living ones that is) have, thanks to all this attention, begun to have delusions of grandeur. Thinking that they needed to become Greta Garbo-like after this publicity, they have barricaded themselves, denying public access to what is, after all, a public road. This demented behaviour has since been knocked on the head by the police who have opened the place up once again. MMM recommends the strewing of garlic and the strategic placement of some crosses (this is, after all, church property) as better deterrents.