family, movie

Why I Should Maybe Stop Watching Horror

And also movies where you have”suspenses”. 

Last Saturday, VJ let us engage in the Conversations about Cinema, and it was super fun. Everybody had stories to tell, but I forgot so many of my own. And that class brought back so much of them. 

I have often been scolded by my friends for spoiling the suspense, which I manage to guess. And there’s this thing I have for animation movies – because I feel they’re like dreams. Anything and everything can happen. 

I don’t remember when exactly I had first seen my horror movie. But then maybe, it doesn’t start with a movie at all? 

The earliest memory I have of anything ‘horror-ish’ is perhaps this weird serial I used to watch with my grandpa and cousins. This is something that happened only at my mom’s house. The room would be dark, lights off and all those trees would be peeking in through those old fashioned grilled windows. I don’t remember the name or the story at all; it has a couple and a yakshi I think. I don’t even remember how old I was – seven or eight? My grandpa used to watch, and we used to sit with him. Somehow, the idea of getting scared didn’t scare us, instead it might as well as have excited us. But one of my cousins was a little hesitant to look at the TV; she had the habit of peeking through the gaps in between the fingers of her hand – which covered her face – so that she would be terrified, but still not miss any part of it at the same time. The same cousin would, years later, sit with me to watch Paiyaa, fast forwarding through all the songs and the fight scenes – it’s a Tamil movie. 

Years later, my grandfather had passed away. The four of us were together in that house after years, for the rituals. And one night, we were in his bedroom discussing the movie ‘Mirrors‘. Well not really discussing, since we hadn’t watched the movie. I had just seen that one scene where the hero’s sister dies, and decided I’ll watch the movie in leisure – from the beginning- the next time. The eldest one, S, then continued to narrate the story. And I helped her scare the other two. And after this, I don’t remember why exactly  – we (S and I) had to step out of the room. It was dark out there, since our mothers were at some other corner of the house. We had to go to S’s room – she lived with her mother and grandpa – to take something. She was searching in the dark, so was I. But then she turned on the lights (on purpose) , and I was standing right in front of the dressing mirror. I had an exciting heart attack, after which we started giggling. We went back to the room and terrified the other two, reminding them that reflections were enough. 
I have perhaps become used to watching horror movies, and writing horror was a much later addition. I had watched Conjuring 2 in theatre, and that was the first horror movie I saw in a theatre. I had planned to go with my two BBFs – Bangalore Best Friends, S and P. 

The movie was, in many ways funny. And there were so many people commenting aloud – even us perhaps. But my classmates had perhaps praised it so much, that I had placed the movie high in expectations. So much that, no matter how scary the movie was, it would still not be scary enough for me. It was maybe unfair of me to do so. But then, it was a beautiful movie -mind blowing I would say. 
I have already written about how to write horror stories. Or rather how I write themI’ve always wondered what somebody expects from a horror movie. Many a times, almost half of the horror effect is lost when you’re watching it on TV. But you can still recreate it to an extent – lights off at midnight that leaves just you and the movie. Shefali says horror films bore her; and I sort of agree with her. It doesn’t bore me, but if you’ve already watched the movie, then you lose the advantage of the ‘surprise’ element. And also, there are movies with a lot of blood shed – killing people or butchering them, piranhas or sharks eating you. All these would never fall into my idea of horror. A little bit is perhaps inevitable, but usually such movies disgust me. 

I guess I’ve always been interested in the stories they tell, even if most of the time it is incomplete. And at times barely there. And this is not just for horror movies. We all keep watching a movie again and again and again. For instance, I don’t remember when exactly I had first seen Manichithrathazhu, but I know that every time after that I haven’t changed the channel if they’re playing the movie. My parents don’t let me see the movie in peace (or in pieces) as they start reciting dialogues as if the Bhoot has got them. And then, I join them. 

Alone, horror fiction

The Staircase

I ran and ran, but it kept going round and round. It didn’t have an end. My hands were burnt each time I caught the railing for support. The higher I went, the tighter it clutched.
One hot afternoon, I stood there staring at the staircase.

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horror fiction, short story

The Light

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Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg.
Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg.

2:09 a.m.? Seriously? Who’s calling me now?
It was my best friend, who was sleeping in the adjacent room. I picked it up.

“Is this some kind of joke? If it is… ” , I said.

“Don’t take the charger off, keep it on. Please. ” she said.

I withdrew my hand from the charger immediately. Her tone was serious and urgent.

“Is everything alright ?”I asked, getting up from my bed – my hands searching for the light switch.

She replied :
“Listen to me carefully, stay still. Don’t move and no matter what don’t turn on -”
Click.

the light.”

Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg. Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg. Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg. Triiiiinnnggg Triiiiinnnggg.

You have one missed call.

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poem

Knowledge Behind Bars

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This room is a cube, imagine.
Thinking beyond that cube is a sin,
I wonder why they do what they do
Like they say for those who
Want knowledge sincerely,
Or those who make them wealthier regularly?
What is shared here, wisdom or just shortcuts;
Deals that destroy your very guts?

The dusty corridors the ghosts abandoned,
In the midst of chaos, they leave you stranded –
Against their promises and assurances.
They’ll only widen your differences.
The deities of the orthodox world they built,
The course of the river never in the hands of the silt.
Your life defined by their rules, and terms.
Your thoughts, and food infected by their worms.
The seed of fear they will have sown,
And since then you shall never own,
That life you thought was yours,
Those choices you thought were yours.
Your true self , never again will you find.
For once in, you’ll be trapped in your own mind.

They’ll feed you sciences from beyond the stars,
But what use of such knowledge behind bars?

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description, humour

The Perfect Horror

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You are obsessed with horror stories , and you want to write a decent one. But you have had a consistent history of turning your horror stories into humour. But at least, you have the Canterville ghost to support you. Only he shall be able to empathise with you, since he too had failed to scare the Otis family. But you decide to get serious. You take it to the next level.
You kick everybody out of your house, and make sure you lock only the main door ( and the balcony door) –  any door that is a connection to the outside world. The larger the house the better. You waste your time till 1 a.m. watching TV, preferably horror movies.
Then, you switch it off, get off the couch, check the door and find your pink blanket. Then you switch off every light, making sure only enough light passes through the window.  Enough light to make scary clawy shadows. ( if you’re living on the 17th floor, chances are there won’t be any claws. But you can still adjust with what you have.)
You walk to your bed, and you visualise yakshis and raktharaakshasis popping up from nowhere at your doorways. (You are allowed to imagine people you don’t like as the above mentioned.)You are on your bed, the blanket of darkness overwhelming the happy pink blanket. You imagine the worst things that can happen. Scare the shit out of yourself. You hear weird noises from upstairs. Better. You think you heard the door moan. Even better. You feel like there are evil spirits waiting for you to fall asleep so that they can have you as midnight snack. Excellent.

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Hide under your blanket, and write the story down. Then go to sleep – if you can. You are not done. Post it on your blog – categorise it, and add tags. Share it on the social media.
You show it to your mother, but she is not sure where the horror is. Your dad is in no mood for horror, and thus he has no idea what’s going on in the story. So he starts asking whys and whats. You call your best friend, who lives far away, and she can no longer speak – she is on her bed with a bad stomach ache. For she imagined you narrating the story, your voice echoing in her head. She could not take it, she almost died laughing. Only almost. You take it to your other best friend in the city. He is no longer on his chair, but already on the floor hugging himself – the minute he saw your name. For the same reasons mentioned earlier.

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You shall not lose hope. There are people who don’t know you at all. They will not hear your voice in their head. Only the voice of the story. So you wait. Till somebody likes it.

horror fiction

Framed

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She was standing in the middle  of the room, the girl right in front of her. The girl didn’t seem to have noticed her presence at all. The girl around her age, walked down the street. Drunk men followed her. She walked faster. They followed. She ran, and they ran behind her. She walked into a building, a house perhaps. She knew the place, but where exactly ? She was not sure. The drunk men passed by. The girl – relieved – turned around, looked at her, and frowned. She was confused, she turned to look behind her.
Beep. Beeeep. Beeeeeeeeeeep.
Her alarm pulled her back to reality with so much force that she almost hit the wall behind her. She realised the place was very similar to the building the girl had walked into.
She looked at the photographs again. Each of them told a story, it seemed to capture more than just fragments of life. No. It seemed to capture life itself.
It was too late by the time she noticed that she was alone. She had already walked into the adjacent room, which had only a single photograph, and a wooden board beside it. With something written on it. The other photographs were hung on the wall, but this was right at the centre. The photograph, unlike the others was quite blurred. There was just a shadow, and the picture made her very uncomfortable. She went over and read whatever was written.

Oh no! No, no, no!

She became pale and cold, like a corpse. The horrid things that happened in there, she wanted to stay no longer. A curse? She had no time to decide. She turned around to run away, but she hit the wall. Where did the door go?
She heard the knob turning – from above . She looked up, and there the door was. On the ceiling. The door
opened inwards slowly, as if somebody was behind it. And then it shut with great force, the door falling off the ceiling. She ducked out of the way just in time. She felt something wet and cold on her palms, she saw blood – spreading across the floor. Blood through the windows, ventilators. And somebody was crying out in pain, as if being cut into pieces alive. The blood was all over the floor, she got on the podium like furniture that carried the photograph and the curse. As her right hand grabbed the frame for support, it fell. And then , a hand over her left hand. Another around her waist, and there shadows everywhere.

Say Cheese.

He was only five, wandered into the place by accident. His mother walked in, held him by the hand and said, ” Come on now, let’s go. I’ve told you not to wander off like this.”
“But look  Mommy”, said he pointing at the picture on the floor.
A girl, scared or in pain perhaps? Too Blurred to make out, and someone was hovering over her.
“Let’s get out of here,” said his mother.

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