Tag Archives: fear

Surviving the horrors!

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Coming up is a survival guide if you are being forced to sit through a horror film on the 70 mm film on cinema screens. For those of you bold and brave people out there who stepped into the halls knowing your dreams might not be as pleasant in the nights to come, I have put together a list of life hacks to, well, make life simpler. Isn’t that what life hacks do? Also, I have specifically picked up cinema halls because at home, you have a way out that is not 100 metres away shining in bright red reading ‘EXIT’, devilishly grinning at you while you sit crouched in fear as people scream and shout for their lives on the screen. Not that I was sitting crouched in fear. Anyway, let’s get to the point.

And the point is, or the points are:

  • Help comes from above:

Have you ever noted what the ceiling of a cinema hall looks like? When we go to museums, temples, mosques, churches, palaces or even when in the open, we look ceiling-wards or skyward to opine about the place. But why not a movie theatre? Well, for starters, obviously because you don’t go to admire the interiors of the theatre but the quality of their audio and visual. I get it. But you should try looking up too, you know? I did and I ended up counting 13 rows and 24 columns of tiles. At least. While the film was playing. It was difficult counting with the play of light on the ceiling. So rest assured, I spent a good amount of time not looking at the screen, while Annabelle Creations was being played.

  • Friend in need:

Always, and I am telling you this very seriously, always go with someone who’s worse than you at watching horror films, who screams at the drop of a hat or well, knife here, who jumps at every turn the protagonist takes, who bites their nails or digs them into the neighbour’s arm! That way the limelight is on them and their rather audible gasps and you leave unscathed from being the butt of jokes in your friend circle!

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  • Know-it-alls aren’t shy:

Keep your eyes closed if you want, but your ears open. There will always be one of those know-it-alls in the audience who will try to predict out loud what happens next and sometimes they’re correct too, being experts having watched way too many horror films over the years. That way you’re prepared for what all might happen next and your heart doesn’t jump into your throat at times odd and even.

  • Scope how you cope:

What’s your coping mechanism when fear settles in? Fight or flight? Well, reality check. Here, both won’t work. You can neither fight or flight. So what could work? Laughter! I picked up random scenes and separated them from the context – voila, the comments were such that my friend was in splits while the rest of the hall was intensely silent. One such chain of thought : Talking to myself, Tune out the audio, girl. That is what is scaring you. Tune out… Tune out… Auto tune… Shirley Sethia. And friend is in spilts. Google ‘auto tune and Shirley Sethia’. You’ll know what I mean.

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  • Phone a friend:

And if nothing else works, then whip out your phone, dim screen brightness, make sure it is on silent and start browsing through the multiple apps which have reduced our attention span, narrowed our world view while expanding our reach worldwide, update your interests on FaceBook, add a few snapchats in the dark, use some Instagram filters. Or like me, SMS (yes, it still exists) another friend sitting three seats away who was complaining about the film being boring! Boring would be the last thing I would call the film. I wonder what he’s made of.

These are my life hacks. What are yours?

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Want more life hacks? Tell me the topic in your mind and I’ll work on it for you. 😉

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The House That Wasn’t. Part 0

Continued from

5 years, 2 months and 19 days ago – 7:30 PM.

Pankaj was trying to close shop as fast as possible. The skies were overcast. He’d decided to leave this town too. He wasn’t sure how safe it was for Tara now. The residents were getting suspicious. Tara was his daughter. He’d lost her mother to a witch hunt three years ago. He was afraid of Tara’s fate too. She was nine but her thoughts hadn’t progressed accordingly. Just like her mother’s. The ‘doctors’ said she was mad. He didn’t believe them. But he didn’t tell anyone about his daughter either.

He made the last sale of the day and hurriedly cycled down to his place. He couldn’t figure out why he was a nervous wreck. He felt something ominous would happen. He shut the door behind him.

Tara’s voice was drifting from the floor above. She often spoke to her toys. “Tara, I am home,” he called out.

She didn’t answer. He walked into the bedroom, onto her toys strewn all over the place.

He could see his daughter hiding behind the bedpost. Walking towards her, he kept asking, “Where is Tara today?” She giggled. He happened to glance outside the window to see a group of people walking towards his house.

Picking her up gently, tickling her so she didn’t protest, he explained to her slowly, “Daddy and you will play a little game now. I’ll hide you and you will keep quiet for five minutes. Okay?”

The bell rang.

“Did Tara understand?” he asked hurriedly.

“Yes, Daddy,” she answered softly.

The bell rang again.

Hoping she had actually understood, he put her down behind the bed again.

Now they were banging on the door.

He hurried down.

There were some kids hiding behind the men. Questions rained down on him. “What have you done to the house? The children say they hear voices from the house. The house throws stones at us, they say. Our children are afraid to come to this part of the town.”

“No, there’s no one in here except me. I am sure your kids must be mistaken!” He sounded confident but didn’t look the least.

Just then, he faintly heard Tara’s voice. He hoped the others hadn’t! To douse it out, he began, “Now if you’re done, excuse me, I have to make my dinner.”

But they had. “Wait. What’s that?” He prayed, she would remember he’d asked her to be quiet! But as fate would have it, she spoke again. This time louder. It spooked out the men. The children ran away to a distance.

“That’s nothing. Just the skies perhaps.” He tried shutting the door, but they were quicker. They barged in. Two men pinned him to the door.

“There’s nothing to fear. Please leave me alone,” he pleaded. He looked at the children standing a few feet away. They looked frightened – of the house or the brutality, he wouldn’t know.

The men split up to search the house. Some took out knives, some had hand-held pistols. Hearing all the commotion downstairs, Tara peeked out of the room. The little child thought they were playing hide and seek with her! She ran to another room laughing!

The laughter spooked them. The men rushed upstairs, each scared but none admitting. The peals of thunder and flashes of lightning were not helping!

“If only Tara would sit quietly in one place,” Pankaj thought. But as soon as she saw a pair of feet coming up the stairs, she braced herself to scare her father. Giggling, blissfully unaware of the danger looming on her and her father, she jumped out of her hiding place, peals of her joyous laughter pulsating through the house! She wanted to scare the man whose feet she’d seen, but death scared her instead.

Screams were followed by thunders outside and cocked guns inside! One of those bullets hit the child and it was the last time laughter was heard in that house.

Until… 5 years, 2 months and 19 days later when…

“She had stopped laughing but the house hadn’t.

Fear crept in her eyes too.”

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Graciously Yours!

The Web That Killed.

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While the Sun marked the end of its journey for the day, colours vermillion, saffron, magenta and plum painted the skies turn by turn until the deep blues and blacks took over. Such untarnished beauty did not for once in my life pleasure me. I had lived multiple lives till I met you. I was what the police called a conman. Doctors preferred compulsive liar. The other conmen revered me as an enemy. There were no friends in my business.


Like it happens every once in a while, I met my match in you. You were my glimmer of hope. I could see myself changing, living happier and for once in my sorry life I was dying to be a one-woman man. You made me want to give up everything just to be with you. And the one person I was ready to give up everything for had to be pushed away. My lies had caught up with me finally. I was getting sucked in a web so deep that shivers would run up even a spider’s spine. And the cost I would have to pay would be my life, if nothing more.


I lied to you for the very first time today and also my life’s last. I could imagine the swirling winds of anger inside you. There was a lot you wanted to say. Your eyes gave you away. They smouldered but you said nothing. I broke your heart to pieces but you didn’t say a word. I know not whether it was your love that held you back from lashing out hatred at me or if I was not even worth hating anymore. And I guess I will never know.


As those bullets pierced through my body, your face flashed before my eyes and each lingering kiss felt closer and dearer than ever before.
I died loving you so you could live hating me.


Graciously Yours!


Under the tree.

Every single day, I was sitting in the corner under the tree – protected from the harshness of the Sun, the stares of Man and thorny ground below. I was waiting for the days to end, nights to fall, life to go on. One of those days you came along like a breath of fresh air bringing the whiffs of flowers and scents of freshly baked cookies. I was wary. You said you only wanted to talk to me. You were sad. You wanted company. I was sadder. I know what you felt. You told me about tales of long lost men and those voyages of the seas, the lands in faraway places and the Heavens where Gods can be. You aroused in me the desire to live, the want to know, the need to talk. I hesitated, stuttered, stammered, paused and then there was no stopping me. I was bubbling with newer energy each day I saw you. I waited for the nights to end and days to come now. One day you didn’t come. I waited all day long. There were no flowers to smell around me. The second day you didn’t come, I ventured from under my tree. I couldn’t see you all day. The third day you didn’t come again. My heart broke when I saw you laughing down the street, playing with people whom I had heard about. You forgot about me when I couldn’t stop thinking about you.

I went back to my corner under the tree – protected from the harshness of the Sun, the stares of Man and thorny ground below but with a heart split open to bleed. Again.

Graciously Yours!

A Look Is All It Took.

“And up next is the hot favorite of the season — Nikhil with the slew of his latest songs!”

The crowd roared in welcome. He was her current favorite singer. She was in love with his voice. And his face, too. But voice more. And then he walked onto the stage. She wasn’t crazy enough to try and leap across the stage security but she was crazy enough to get up on the benches and cheer for him.

When he started singing, her friend pulled her down on the seat again and they started swaying to the voice. The rawness, love, passion in his voice that she heard sent her tumbling in a world of her own. Her friend jabbed her in the ribs. She tore her eyes from the stage and looked at her companion angrily! The friend just nicked a look towards a group of boys sitting a few feet away. Some of them randomly had their cell phone cameras focusing in their direction arbitrarily. Some randomness.

She caught one of them looking at her and when they caught eye contact, he looked away not losing the smile.

The smile seemed eerie.

The paranoia triggered.

She had countless incidents running through her head. Nikhil’s voice had been pushed to the background to the constant stream of chatter of safety, security, and self precautionary measures she had heard in the 24 years of life! She chided herself for having come without a male companion.

Any direction she looked, any smile she caught, any stray look she saw, made her heart sink lower.  She crossed her legs. Sat upright. Lost her smile.

A Look Is All It Took.

Why I am not safe among my own?