Lately, I have been trying to talk to ghosts. Not all ghosts, because some are bad and grab your feet at night, just the ghosts of those I knew before they became ghosts. The only dead person I know is my grandmother, so lately, I have been trying to talk to a ghost. I was inspired by a dream my professor had about his own grandfather. He shared the story in class, and he looked so sad and he is so old, and I thought about how his grandchildren would be dreaming about him soon, and this made me sad, because I rarely dream about my grandmother even though I was her only grandchild. I needed to talk to her immediately.

I was not sure how to go about it, so I stared fixedly at the clock on the other side of the room and thought quite loudly, “Grandmother, do something!” Nothing happened, so I made the plea again, and then one more time. On my third try, all the lights in the room flickered at once. The change in voltage was so quick that I was unsure whether it had really happened or if I had just blinked. I asked her to do it again, but I think I was being greedy because she did not indulge me.

After class, I went to the chapel in the hopes of having her play the organ, but there were people there performing a different kind of service for another dead person. They invited me to join, but my grandmother did not trust Christians so I thought it best to talk to her at home.

It had rained all day, and a persistent wind rattled the drain pipe next to my window. It was the perfect ambiance for a séance. I sat cross-legged on my bed, stared at the light fixture above me and said out loud, “Grandmother, do something!” The light did not flicker, and my eyes began to water, so I shifted my gaze to my open closet and held my breath. I don’t know what I was expecting her to do, but the clothes remained still on their hangers, their limp sleeves undisturbed. I could hear my neighbor talking to her boyfriend on the phone, and outside, a firetruck blared through the street. There was too much noise.

Instead of forcing her to do magic tricks, I invited my grandmother to appear in my dreams. I told her that I wanted to reconnect so she mustn’t appear in a frightening form, otherwise I would never try to talk to her again. I became progressively more nervous as the night went on. Why was I trying to reach across the veil between this world and the next? What if it wasn’t my grandmother who was listening to me, but someone else’s grandmother? How do you explain yourself to someone you can’t actually see? I slept restlessly that night, stuck between dreaming and waking, seeing nobody and nothing when I closed my eyes. My grandmother did not appear. Instead, I got caught in a night-terror and woke up screaming, right leg dangling off the bed, ready to fall. Either my grandmother had not heard me at all, or she had heard me loud and clear and this was her way of letting me know.

I told my mother about what I have been doing lately, and apparently, she has been doing the same. She talks to my grandmother all the time, mostly about me. I am not surprised that my grandmother did not come to see me, stuck as she is in my mother’s dreamscapes all the way back home in India. Maybe when I go home in the summer and my mother and I are lying side-by-side in bed, she will visit us both, relieved that she does not have to cross oceans to toggle light switches in America.