MIDWAY : Fear of the unknown

Ananda Kafle:

Never walk along a river after sunset. Unless you must, never venture out after midnight. Do not pass by the graveyard at midday; otherwise, the dead spirits may chase you.

These were some of the things I was told to avoid when I was a child. I have listened to hundreds of stories about ghosts and spirits during my childhood. Whoever may have been the raconteur then, each of these horrifying tales carved out a fearful image in my mind. I am having a hard time erasing these terrifying memories, the only vivid recollections of my early years. Every time I was left alone, I used to shake all over like a leaf with these gruesome images passing through my mind. This, I can only attribute to those terrifying stories I heard from my kith and kin.

On looking back, I rue the occasions I listened eagerly to the ghost stories. If only I had been a little indifferent then! I still have hard time coping with the negativity that I have developed thanks to these tales. I am now angry with all those who helped implant this fearful psyche. Were my seniors wilfully trying to pervert my mind? Surely not! It may only have been for fun, after all, or to project their own fears of the unknown.

The concept of evil I grew up with is permanently imbued in my subconscious and I have no idea when it might manifest in my behaviour. I might have to keep running away from it for the rest of my life.

The existence of ghosts and spirits remains unproven. Do they really exist, or are they only the fancy of our minds? We may never know. Modern science continues to dispel such claims, but, on the other hand, it has not been able to resolve disputes about many supernatural phenomena. Hence, the believers continue to hold on to their superstitious notions.

I am a student of science, but I also believe in ghosts. Yes, they do exist. After all, what are anger, lust, despair, fear, sickness and malice, if not the ghosts that plague every human being? These play similar roles like that of the proverbial ghosts. To rid of them, we need to keep the unruly human emotions in check and straighten our awry thinking. And let us not teach our kids to fear the unknown but help them develop rich imagination and a defence against real human ghosts.