New age ghouls and ghosts

Now, there were certain characteristic monologues that matched in style and meter across the nook and corner of the Valley, revolving around a handful of super terrestrial characters bearing horrendous lineaments. These were the semi-people, folk-loric, often charismatically ostentatious forbearance with magnificent powers to knock the very daylights out of us kids. There was the “Pasekhdar” – supposed to be a house-warmish, ever protecting character, who would spend his days and nights up in the attic and would get very angry if you dirtied the rooms or peed in bed or on Mom’s favourite rug; there was the “Tasrufdar”, the “Mouakldar”, the “Brem Brem Chowk” – guy with a lighted lamp sitting atop his head and someone you were chanced to meet only in the dead of the night on lonely street corners – and other such characters long forgotten now. Given their creepy style of these characters sneaking up on you, you were bound to get goose bumps, but yet there was a sense of latent security and family privilege that bound these characters to the psyche of the young ones. It was part of folk lore in Kashmir and had its literary bents and benefits. On a fair scale these “Tales of the Crypt” and the faces which “brought them to life” comprised a collective reality of Kashmir and its people. And notably, almost all the characters of our traditional horror lore bore a vivid and vivacious human side, a non-antagonizing lethargy so very characteristic of Kashmiri people.
As years passed us by and a new generation of kids woke up to the realities of the world, the mythic side of our heirloom passed on in the shape of ghost stories and stuff had somehow disappeared or perhaps degenerated into something else. My worst fears strike when I begin to realize that the “ghoulish beings” of yesteryears may have forfeited their rightful places to new age “demons”. Eventually, when you attend to this whole idea in the light of the current scenario you find that our children are tainted by a totally trenchant genre of “wickedness”. The ghouls and ghosts of today do not need the spine of the story to irk our children for they live by altogether different measures and means. So what is the modern day lore that haunts the psycho space of our children? Well, its body is comprised of the extra draconian laws and the characteristic faces are the very people in uniform who violate the code of humanity, day in and day out. Our children do not need our “Pasekhdars”, “Moukaldars” and “Brem Brem Chowks” to knock the living day lights out of them, for we have platoons full of discreet faces that are out there to nibble them, knock their heads off, drown them and put them to eternal sleep.


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