Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cots, Cupboards & Goosebumps

After fretting about my morose inducing posts over the last 2 days, I force killed certain programs running in my mind that had me writing only about stuff so serious in nature and heavy in content, I often wondered if I was doing this to lose the extremely puny readership that I have. When I look back at my blog after a few months, by which time I am sure my zeal for churning out posts would have died a slow boring death, I would like to reminisce about things that was my childhood and how naive and innocently ignorant we all were as little boys and girls. This, will bring about a smile on my face and I would momentarily forget that I have turned into a materialistic & self centered adult. 

It was probably after my 7th birthday when my parents decided that I was entitled to my own room where I would be confined to, for the entire night. The independence and isolation we so yearn as teenagers was a curse in our preteens. 21 years since our house was constructed and I faintly remember loud screams of terror and pleads for a reconsideration. It was me - trying to negotiate a deal with my parents to reverse their draconian dictum that would make me spend a whole 10 hours in a room several yards away from safety i.e. my parents' room. 

I probably cannot trace the root of all children's inherent fear of the spirit world. It is hard to understand that a 7 year old has been indoctrinated with the idea of a 'ghost' that haunts people, especially naughty 7 year olds who throw tantrums and refuse to eat 'Chapati' with curry and dunk a glass of milk. Perhaps, the blame would lie with the grandmas who constantly frighten the poor little kid of a deathly confrontation with a ghoulish creature that would take you away to it's lair, lest you behave and obey your grandma's instructions. 

My very first night alone in my room was that of dread and unimaginable fright. The goosebumps could have easily lasted for an entire hour or so. Sensory perceptions were on an all time high alert and the sound of a leaf ruffled, the noise of a cricket rubbing its flappers, the distant croak of a toad and the occasional hoot of the barn owl would all be processed instantly by the young brain to create an instant adrenalin rush. 

Mom's kind soothing words and on nights when she would be in a particularly nice mood, a lullaby would be thrown in. These words and verses of reassurance would have no bearing on the shit scared child's mind who would be preoccupied with dealing with the monsters under the bed and ghosts hiding in the cupboard in front of the bed. 

A child's imagination in such instances goes into overdrive and draws pictures of creatures so vile and scary that it would resemble the most ugliest monster that Hollywood ever has managed to create on screen. 

Then, there were the after play meetings that we kids used to have. On rare occasions when some of us felt extremely brave and fired up our curiosity to hear stories of the supernatural, the older one among us would assume the natural position of story teller. He would narrate a story so grim that would leave us clutching each other's hands in sheer fear. Just imagine our plights when all of a sudden there would be a power cut (we all would play late into the evening only during the long summer vacations, when the power outages were common). The lingering images that we all would have conjured up in our minds would haunt us all for the rest of the night. 

Being the only kid to my parents, my situation on such fright nights was significantly funny when I think about it now. For my age back then, my pulse rate and probably my blood pressure would have recorded abnormal figures when the house lights were all turned off. I am sure many of my 'brave' friends would have experienced similar bouts of frights in their childhood or am I the lone member of this club? 

Kids mature real fast and they soon realize that they had been fooled into believing fantasy tales of ghosts and spirits. Nevertheless, kids being kids find it necessary that they pass in this legacy of cots, cupboards and goosebumps onto the new kids on the block. Its their time to be scared too. 

I recall this particular incident, when 'mua' had narrated a cock and bull story to a neighborhood kid at his home. Those were the days of DD and frequent power cuts and we used to enjoy the extra time we used to get during these power cuts. It was probably the time when the 'Evil Dead' series were doing their rounds in sinister looking cinema houses located in  shady alleys of  lowly localities. However, posters were aplenty and left a lot to be imagined. Since such movies were out of bounds for kids of our age, all I could do was  cook up a story of my mine. With the experience of being a scared listener of many such ghost tales, it was anything but hard for me to pull out a tale from the crypt. I sometimes amaze myself with the easy flow with which I built castles in the air. I narrated a story that could have easily qualified as a Ramsay screenplay. It however, scared the shit out of the poor kid, his was a duplex house and his room was strategically located on the top floor which was accessible by a narrow flight of stairs. His mom then yelled at him from the kitchen to get something from the room and I was laughing so hard inside when he was so petrified that he could not even set foot on the staircase. You guys gotta believe me, this is a true incident. 

The next few days was a laugh riot when I had leaked out this small incident to all my cricket buddies and we all had gut splitting laughs at the expense of the poor scared kid. 

The child's innocence is such a wonderful thing and it is the purest form of creativity that man has observed. Untarnished by anything evil & unblemished by the influence of the materialist - dog eat dog world. I am not being a psycho enjoying the sight of a frightened child, because I know that every child will sleep under a magic spell, easily forgetting the ghosts and spirits that threatened to haunt him. It is the purity of the child's thoughts that immediately turns fear to fantasy. It's a new day tomorrow and a new adventure and a new fantasy awaits. 

- Good Night, Sleep tight, Don't let the monsters bite. 

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