Ghostworld - Excerpt From An Upcoming Book
6 April 2019
It was quite reluctantly that I entered Ghostworld. I was only nineteen and enjoying my life. I mean as much enjoyment as a young man of nineteen studying in an all boy’s college could derive out of life - I had never even touched a girl unless they were female relatives - which in general male opinion makes you the owner of a life that pretty much sucks. But frankly it was not all that bad. I had just entered college and was gorging on my new found freedom from strict parental chaperoning, a state that would eventually facilitate my entry into the Ghostworld. Though Chinchionna vehemently disagreed with me when I made this inference, with her belief in predetermination and all – she said I would have died one way or the other as my time had come - I am sure I would never have accepted a bet to go and touch the middle pillar of the Karvi bridge if it were not for my tendency in those days to do anything and everything I was told I couldn’t do. I think my rebellion stemmed from a deep rooted indignation against my father’s over-protectiveness. You shouldn’t go deep into the forest, you shouldn’t climb that high a hill, you shouldn’t go far into the sea – I was met with these platitudes every time my friends had planned an outing to a place where there was the remotest possibility of danger. Usually it ended in his proscribing me from going with my friends till I could prove doubtlessly I wouldn’t be anywhere near doing those things. Agreeing to his caveats would have meant spoiling the trip for the whole group, so most of the times I opted out of the outings voluntarily. Those were the moments I truly felt my life sucked, and I would have given up tens of doe-eyed girlfriends to have my father substituted with a saner specimen.
Chinchionna’s indignant reply to this was terse – in her opinion my claim just displayed my ignorance of the fairer sex; it was because I never had any girl till then, whether doe-eyed or bow-legged, that I was so ready to sacrifice tens of them for a mere father. It appeared she too didn’t have much love lost for fathers, and even lesser for guys who belittled her sex. I had to placate her by saying that I wouldn’t have given up her for getting a better dad; we would surely have worked out some compromise.
Anyway as I was saying, I did accept in one of my rare moments of madness Ravish’s bet to go and touch a pillar of the Karvi Bridge that was right in the middle of the river. It was an extremely foolish decision considering it had rained well a few days ago, so the river was filled nice and proper, and a river in such a state is a not a good place for a brash fellow who has spent his watery life cavorting in bath tubs and calm swimming pools. Ravish didn’t know this – that my experience in swimming was limited to doing laps of swimming pools. His idea of me, and I had played a fair role in developing it so you can apportion some of the blame on me, was that I was a good swimmer now chickening out when faced with the somewhat turbulent waters of Karvi. I came to know this when I was joined in the Ghostworld many years later by Anand, a mutual friend. So Ravish bet me his walkman that I didn’t have the guts to swim to the middle of Karvi, and there being no third person to utter sane words in my ear, I jumped right in the river, more to keep my face and less to keep a Sony Walkman.
Well, I didn’t even manage to keep my life - while nearing the pillar I was sucked in by a strong undercurrent that lashed me against the sharp corners of a rock jutting out from a scraggy formation next to the pillar. It gave me deep lacerations in the left side of my stomach and my back. Writhing in pain, I quickly lost blood, suffered cramps in the cold water, and lost the strength to struggle against the current and come up to the surface. It was a painful drowning that led me to the Ghostworld.