Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Ghost Story.

I first saw him the night I'd read a short story on a teenage ghost. I thought too much about it and dreamt all sorts of disturbing things. It was when I woke up, a little weirded out, that his presence struck me. Naturally I thought I was still dreaming. Which wasn't a huge comfort, 'cos hey- I might well choose a supernatural world over creepy dreams that felt so real. Anyway, there he was- looking as though he'd just come through the window and didn't know what to do next. Faint, and sort of colourless, but with all his lines so well-defined that he appeared intangible and material at the same time.

If I had looked closely enough, I would have been able to make out the pupils of his eyes. As it was, I noticed the hint of a belt below shirt-folds. A fraction of skin (or were they socks?) peeped out from under just-a-bit-too-short trousers. I remember wondering whether his shoes were polished... I couldn't tell because he glimmered all over. Yes, they do glimmer in real life. Or the afterlife, call it what you will. It struck me even at such a time. And partly to calm myself, I said out loud- 'What my imagination lacks in originality, it makes up for in detail.'

The words sounded so ridiculous in the night air. The abstraction practically ricocheted off the walls with a loud, dull thwack. He merely looked me in a way I couldn't fathom. Then took out a cigarette from his pocket, and lit it. Soon, he was wreathed in curls of smoke that somehow were even wispier than the usual.

'You know I don't believe in you', I said, rolled over to face the other side, and went right under a pink flowery blanket. When I woke up, my room was empty and I thought last night was done with. Sleeping in a pink flowery haze would effectively neutralise any twisted freak of mind. But 'I don't believe in you' was a statement I had to repeat on many more occasions.

And he never seemed to care. Sometimes he'd just look blank (he never spoke), sometimes mildly curious, sometimes faintly apologetic for shaking my skepticism to its foundations. I just couldn't figure out why he was there. Initially I thought it was by accident, and his lost puppy-dog air seemed to confirm my hunch. But he was surprisingly at ease with his company and whereabouts. His confusion seemed more linked to his state- as though he needed time getting used to being a ghost.

Ghost. I took care to avoid using the word. Firstly, ghosts weren't real. I stuck to that. Secondly, it might offend him. Who knew? Maybe Disembodied Spirit or something more technical is the term they prefer. But despite being so cautious, I slipped up in an entirely different way. I blame it on the moonlight.

Of all moments, he looked most substantial in the moonlight. It's funny really. When water merges with wine, the result is still a clear, light liquid. But when he stood in a flood of silvery light, the various shimmering translucencies came together to give this depth to his form. And he was posessed with a radiant energy, that was- well- so alive. Then, it didn't matter that his feet hovered above the ground, that he walked through walls. I felt- that I could touch him. So I did. Of course my hand went right through him like he was a cloud.

And suddenly, this whole new part inside me opened up. A pulse, a bloodrush- but with none of the warmth associated with those. Not that I got chills either. How would you describe certain things- like bookends, spiderwebs, dusty leaves? The earth after rain, the keyhole of a never-opened door. Flashes of these and more, swam about in my head. The very air I breathed had the quality of morning mist, and it filled my lungs till the point of bursting. Reeling slightly, I sank back on my bed for support, my vision branded with burning spots.

When it all cleared, he was gone. And he hasn't returned since. I wonder why... I didn't think he'd mind. After all, he'd hung about in my room for quite a while. Without my permission at that. But always for a short while, and never at an awkward moment. It took me so long to accept that he wasn't imaginary, I found no time to panic.
I guess I do miss him, and the novelty of what he represented. Cigarette ends glowing pale blue, ash which looked like stardust. Wordless responses. But that touch, it's done something to me.

There have been moments since, when I've felt someone reach into me, tap out a code and unlock those hidden dimensions. It happened that time I saw a tribal dance on T.V.- the drumbeats, the sways and leaps, and the chanting, oh god the chanting. It was an intoxicating whirlwind of the rawest elements, but too mystical to be earthy. It left me breathless. The same happened when my pet dog gave birth to puppies.
I realised then that my ghost- I mean, whatever he was- has left his imprint on me. I suppose I'm glad. Just a bit nervous, thinking about what my first kiss could do to me.

13 beep/s:

Amrita said...

vowww..i just loved ur post..
from a very personal perspective, i really do not believe in ghosts and yeah there have been times when i have exactly felt the way u did but i olways put it down as a figment of my weird imagination. i prefer to believe they r not real for reasons best known to myself.i dont believe in ghosts but i do believe in the accurate difference between the two is something that i am yet to figure but i do know..spirits exist..

Roshni said...

'Yes, they do glimmer in real life. Or the afterlife, call it what you will.'
I love the way you inject so much fun into it without seeming to try.And ooh,the ending :D
'Cigarette ends glowing pale blue, ash which looked like stardust. Wordless responses.'
Okay,I'll refrain from quoting anymore.You get the drift na?I love this :)

JD said...

Somehow, ethereal and cigarette smoke invariably go together eh? Although I've never even had a drag or anything, there's still something incredibly artistic about a bunch of guys smoking at late nights in hostel. I always make it a point to go sit around and soak in the moment.

That bit of irrelevant blabber being said, this one's one of your best ones since I started following. One of those which push you to overthink, to just glide around the thoughts idly.

And so totally true @Roshni. Another place where I sniggered aloud was "Maybe Disembodied Spirit or something more technical is the term they prefer."

Good stuff! :)

Aditya said...

Wonderful. A brilliant post. Should i call this a short story, or an amazing observation of thoughts, I'm not sure.

But this is brilliant work. Details out everything to a visual perfection. And yes, i agree with Upasana. Occasionally being funny without excessively trying to be so.


Kirra Serra said...

Fine, not entirely. I just loved the tone you used in your narration!
Okay, now, wordless.

Trisha said...

I agree with JD. definitely one of the best things you've ever written on this blog :D

Anushka said...

Yay =D

Prince of Mirkwood said...

I liked the last part. Gave me an idea, it did.

blinknmiss said...

"I don't believe in you."

"I blame it on the moonlight."

"But that touch, it's done something to me."

How poorly disguised is this soul-baring from a maiden so in love.

Riddhi G.D said...

i like the effortless detail in this- especially the pink flowery blanket bit.heh.
and the imagery at the end is exquisite :)"pale blue ash which looked like stardust"
first kiss? hehe, let's ask the singer

Anushka said...

@Noor-Yeah? Did it include nose-picking, hair or loud noises? Or gooey food? Or anything else that acts as your muse in VIT? :D

@Shalmi- Fie Shalmi, fie! Erokom Exposure.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Ash said...