Dark alleyways.. a dilapidated bungalow, and there lived a chudail(ghost). She wore a white color saree and walked in the night holding a candle. She had no eyes, only reflections of a menacing monster lurking near the old building that some unlucky late-night bypassers could witness.
This is not a fictional tale to spook the readers. It’s the most common figment of imagination we have cultivated as 90s kids. Let’s shed some light on this trivial aspect of the 90s kids’ experience.
Granny never disappoints the children and narrates one story after another from her memory to entertain them. The ghost story narration is partially dependent on the group of cousins in the presence of an elderly grandmother during the summer vacations of school days. The eager group of urchins surrounds the granny for some exciting, unfiltered stories of the past just for fun as time passes. Few are true stories, and many are fabricated beyond imagination to create fear among the kids as an excuse to make them obey orders. Regardless of the authenticity of the stories, Kids grasped them without question and remembered them their whole lives. This is why many adults face sleep paralysis disorder or paranoia over the dark and ghosts.
With the proliferation of power backups, line cuts remain elusive to youngsters. But in the 90s, power cuts were so common that teenage siblings and cousins invented many exciting games to kill time. Discussing ghosts and narrating about haunted places was one of the favorite time passes of the teenagers then. Truth or dare game in the dark while the outside was bursting with rain was the main attraction for those dark hour enthusiasts.
Conjuring, Annabelle may be the terrifying ghost movie of recent generations. But one episode of Aahat or Shh Koi hai.. was enough for the 90s kids to be spooked. To this day, not a single terrifying ghost serial has been made in Indian television history which made half the impact that Aahat had on ’90s kids.
Bhangarh – the Rajasthan fort is world famous for its hauntings. Many go to the place to explore the existence of ghosts and experience it firsthand. The Paranormal enthusiasts of the present may have listened to the ghost stories of the granny during their school days as 90s kids. The curiosity to unearth the mystery of the unknown is an addiction that, once it gets into the system, remains the same throughout. As 90s kids, we must have explored our version of a Bhangarh-type mystery in our locality. The rumor-mongering and acceptability of ghost stories by gullible teenagers might cause the proliferation of many ghost-fearing paranoid adults who fear stepping outside in the dark.
The author does not imply any deniability or acceptability about the existence of ghosts. It’s just subjective speculation and a topic of debate among believers and non-believers. But the thrill one got as a 90s kid listening to ghost stories is unparalleled. The kids’ spontaneous eagerness to grasp the dark realm is unmatched by anything else.
A fascinating short anecdote to end this ghost-related narration goes like this. As a 90s kid, the author listened to these ghost stories and got spooked by them. Once, during a school break, four of my friends were discussing ghosts and horror experiences in the school’s common room. There was nobody in the room except the four of us. Moreover, it was rumored to be haunted. All of a sudden, we heard a stomping sound in the corner. Pretty obvious, we panicked, and a friend started chanting Hanuman Chalisa loudly. Two of us friends gathered some courage and went near the corner to see what it was. It was a tiny frog trapped in polythene, trying to get out, thus making a stomping sound. That proved the effects of ghost stories on our minds’ subconscious. Some stories might be true; some might be false. But as a 90s kid, ghost stories were discussed around the fire with cousins or friends during chilly winter nights- an emotion, not a single tech smart gadget can replicate for the gen-z.