Maryann is freelance writer and editor with a persistent love for words and emotionally wringing stories. Armed with a Masters in Media & Communication from LSE, she has written extensively, from lifestyle and travel features to news articles and eBooks. She has worked at Google, as a lifestyle journalist for the New Indian Express and as a blog writer and editor in reputed education companies. Her work has been published in the Guardian, LSE’s student journal The Clare Market Review and the Hindu, a leading news daily in India. When she’s not embarking on new flights of fancy, she also enjoys cooking, travel and curating stories about music for her pet project, Songs of my Life.

As a Story Terrace writer, Maryann interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

The Ghost of Roseberry Hall

I shivered as I stepped into the rainy wind which greeted me outside Angel Tube station in Central London. Hailing a cab, I lugged my heavy suitcase which seemed to be about to burst at the seams. Its contents were becoming more precious by the minute, and it included banana chips, fried murukkus, spicy pickles, and various curry powders and masalas, to season and accompany my meals for many nights to come.

I had travelled from India to pursue a Master’s degree in Media & Communication at the London School of Economics (LSE). It was my first time in the city, and I stood in immediate awe, feeling lost in the crowd of London’s cosmopolitan bustle.

Over the next weeks, I settled in at my university accommodation (Roseberry Hall) and had even attempted a few home cooked meals with ample assistance from an Indian cookbook and a couple of expensive long-distance calls to my mother (no Whatsapp back in the day). Considering my previous reputation for self preservation, this merited a few medals in itself.

Mightily pleased with my survival skills, I began to perfect the art of preparing and storing batches of food to save me the trouble of having to cook everyday. If you’re a bachelor whose day consists of juggling work or study or a combination of both, you’ll know how convenient (and lifesaving) this can be.

The temperature began to plunge to single digits as the days rolled into December. I started to notice that my food was depleting itself more rapidly than usual. I thought to myself, “Did I really polish off that much last time?” But it happened again. And again.

The final straw came later that week. One miserable cold evening, I returned home after a long and exhausting day holed up in the confines of the library, following many gruelling sessions in class debating multiple facets of identity, transnationalism and the media.

At least there’s hot chicken curry and rice to warm my spirit. I checked the fridge eagerly, and much to my disbelief, I found that most of the dish had disappeared.

My heart sank like the Titanic. I was beyond hangry now and felt like strangling the food thief.

Surely, there must be a way to stop this daylight robbery? Or is it nighttime robbery? I thought I knew everyone on my floor. It couldn’t be Mark, he cooks his own food. Not Jasmine for sure. She smiles at me all the time. Iris? She does hang around the kitchen a lot. I run through names in my mind, but couldn’t imagine it being any of them. How petty of me.

Feeling like a bit of a sneak, I talked to the hall warden on my floor. She said: “Ah, It must be the friendly Roseberry Xmas ghost that wanders the kitchens around here.”

I stared at her with an open mouth but no words came out. I felt too embarrassed and small to make a row about something seemingly inconsequential (but important to me at the time).

Then a brainwave hit me. I stuck a note on the fridge. “Feel free to take my chicken, but I’ve spat in all of it, thief.”

It was crass, but it worked. My food stopped getting stolen, but I suspect that the thief directed some choice curses my way. Happily for me, there were no more ‘porridge’ nights.

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