In the early hours of 28 January 2022, a 34-year-old kidney patient, Sostika Gurung, died in room 3002 in Silverpine Boutique hotel after her husband could not get her any timely help from the nurse put on their duty or the ambulance he had called for on 112.
The room as per protocol was disinfected by the frontline staff there and left unoccupied.
A few days later from the late night of 6th February onwards the intercom line from the late Sostika’s room started ringing. When the Desuups on duty called the room back it is said that the call was picked up, but no one responded.
This lead to a wave of fear and some panic as the two female Facility Managers who are Desuups cried and so were not in a condition to perform their duty.
They were replaced by two male Desuups as facility managers and even though they entered the room and disconnected the intercom, but the calls kept happening.
A report to this effect was submitted by the Quarantine Facility Management Unit (QFMU) to the Cabinet Secretary Sangay Duba requesting for a Lam to do some rituals from outside since a technician cannot be brought into the isolation center for now.
This report or message submitted to the Cabinet Secretary was somehow leaked in between and it soon became viral on social media with large numbers of Bhutanese sharing and talking about it.
This was especially so, since the painful account of Sostika Gurung’s last few hours shared by her husband Krishna Gurung to the media was still fresh in the minds of the public.
The Cabinet Secretary confirmed he had received such a message and he is not sure how it got leaked out in the social media.
While there were those who dismissed the message as a prank, there were also those who believed that Sostika’s troubled soul as the mother of two was causing the mysterious calls from the room.
However, the real answer may be much simpler and the clue maybe either in the weather or the lines.
The owner of the hotel denied any ghostly presence causing the calls from the room and he said that it was instead a technical glitch with the intercom system that malfunctioned whenever there was some heavy rainfall.
The Hotel’s facebook business page said, “The incidence of intercom malfunction had been reported earlier too by our hotel staffs ever since the hotel was established, particularly during the heavy rainfall season. We had been trying to figure out the issues since then.”
It said Silverpine Boutique is a 3 Star property and a verified Quarantine and Isolation Facility. The hotel management requested everyone reading the viral message to kindly consider it as fake.
The hotel also said that the technical glitches will be looked into in detail and repaired after the lockdown.
The hotel’s owner’s assertion that heavy rains in the past led to similar malfunctions holds some water as the 4th and 5th February witnessed heavy snowfall which started melting from 6th February onwards when the mysterious calls started.
However, an IT expert and someone who regularly installs intercom lines in offices, Dawa, said, “Normally water should not cause calls like this as water can lead to short circuits and not wrong calls like this. A more probable cause could be that the technical person must have made some cross connection mistakes while putting the lines in the hotel and so calls from other rooms could get mixed up.”
He said the only way to get to the bottom of the matter is to get the original guy who put in the lines or another technical expert to look at the lines and the main board.
The Cabinet Secretary said that since the hotel is an isolation center it is not possible to send a technician to see what is wrong and repair the lines.
He said that the hotel has a few patients with three Dessups and a nurse and each of them have their own room.
The secretary said he is worried about the fall out of this online message on the hotel.
The husband in his interview to this paper last week had mentioned that the room did not have adequate blankets and the heater was not working properly.