Archive for September, 2010

I thrive in all kinds of stories that have dark, sinister and haunting secrets to reveal. Although I read a whole lot of popular adult fiction and Booker prize winners, my love for the dark keeps bringing me back to the world of paranormal fiction (even better when it’s coated with romance). I absolutely  love watching films that have got everything to do with mystery, horror, suspense, thrills and chills and I can’t even begin to describe the adrenaline rush that sends my guts shooting way high!

Let me tell you how and when the seed was sowed. Where I come from, when I was growing up, it was extremely popular to sit around a fire outdoors during winter holidays  and have an elder relate ghost stories to us. My friends and I loved listening to tales shrouded with mystery and darkness as we huddled together in front of the fire in the early hours of twilight. What, for others was a recreation became an obsession for me. I usually pelted the narrator with hordes of questions for which, after a while I was often reprimanded for being too curious. My desire to hear more of it was fueled by my mother’s penchant for dark tales and being an excellent narrator  and an avid reader she was at the time, she was a powerhouse of ghost stories (she still is). I relished each story  with a very keen enthusiasm that my mother told, and someday I wanted to write stories that spoke of dark places, sinister people and stories with not-so-happy endings. Of course that was a wishful thinking that I am still pondering  upon two and half decades later.
When I was around nine years of age I used to imagine that I had an invisible friend who came from the cemetery below the town, who could read people’s minds and who told me which teacher in school was kind and who wasn’t. Who I even thought helped me with my homework. At this particular time, I was living as a paying guest at neighbour’s house because my mother had to shift to another state due to work. My father was working out of station too and my brother was tucked away at a school hostel run by the Jesuit brothers. A dark time it was for me as I was extremely attached to my family and this stage of my life encouraged me further to fill myself up with even darker stories so that I would not have to deal with longing for my family. I became quite popular among my class mates for narrating ghost stories during lunch breaks. Sometimes I conceived all my stories up as I narrated it, and with a nine or ten-year old creativity I do not remember how convincing they were but I remember those wide saucer like eyes looking back at me as I narrated my stories. Once I remember telling my friends that I’d spent my winter vacation in Australia with a cousin (I have never been to Australia) , and that we were living outside town in a beautiful cottage with only one neighbour. The neighbour was very strange and mysterious and would never come and say hello and their seven-year old daughter was the strangest of the all. She was always dressed in white and would stare from a distance. She would run away as soon as she was caught staring. One morning I happened to wake up around five and upon going out I spotted the neighbour’s daughter sitting in the front porch on an old rusty swing seat but something was odd. I remember getting all excited as I geared up to tell the others what it was that looked out-of-place – on one of her arm rested a huge human leg which she balanced with her forearm entwined around it in a precarious manner! The leg still had shoes and socks on and I bolted back into the house as she turned around to look at me. That was how my story ended with an afterword of how I demanded to be sent back home from Australia immediately after the incident. I still wonder why I chose Australia.

Unable to move back as a family, I was sent to a school hostel to spend the rest of my school years. I spent the most horrific time of my life there with scarcity and ruin and harsh discipline being the order of the day. The school building was on the verge of dilapidation, it was already crumbling at places, some windows had no glasses in them, the beds were so broken that we literally held it in place with our old school ties to prevent ourselves from falling through while we slept. I identified myself with Jane Eyre when I read the book then, but I had this responsibility to myself to make my life a bit more interesting, and I did. I enriched my life by imagining all sorts of crooked tales and evil shadows that lurked in the dark corridors of the school. I often chose cold lonely abandoned classrooms for my story-telling sessions during times when there was no electricity, and when darkness was fast approaching. After dinner when we were all ushered back into our dormitories, a crowd often gathered around my bed to listen to stories that they most wanted to hear – ghost stories. The saddest part however was that, even though I genuinely made up stories, I fabricated them based on stories I had heard elsewhere and even though I narrated them with a good deal of energy, I never wrote them down. I never made it a point to chart down all those eerie stories that I had conceived and nourished in that tender mind

I wrote letters to a certain “page” when at times I was distraught, when home-sickness overwhelmed me but I have no idea where it all disappeared. Having a kind of life that contributed a whole lot on sowing a seed of this particular penchant for dark Gothic tales, I cannot be more thankful to the turn of events in my life during its early phase. The seed has grown into a full-fledged tree and it is nested by all kinds of deep, dark and foreboding fantasies. The fruit is yet to burst out from the over swollen buds but the process has begun. I guess life doesn’t hurt badly at all when you have so much interesting things going on in the depths of your mind, and when you can breathe life into the figments of your imagination. It’s definitely going super great for me specially since the time Twilight series confirmed that there is love  and romance to be found even in a life beyond the entrapment of death.

I sincerely want my lovely boys Noah and Elvin to inherit my propensity for Gothic tales. So far I see a gentle spark of curiosity for it in Noah but he has declared his sense of fear for it, so I won’t nudge him there : ). Elvin is still too young and my husband Jonas has undergone a tremendous change since the days he used to hide behind cushions and pillows during a horror movie session to the days he started suggesting a “horror film” to me. He has turned into one avid reader of paranormal fiction series and that itself is a huge step towards understanding this wife who delights in pulsating shades of Cimmerian fantasies.


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