Sunday, March 11, 2007

One need not be a chamber to be haunted

He was an old, half-crazed peasant who begged for a living during the day and played funny tricks on his benefactors at night. Draping a white sheet on a ladder he would walk about with it, to the terror of the villagers. Sometimes he covered his face with soot and, peeping through windows, called out the occupants in a nasal voice. During the day he was a picture of humble obsequiousness. At night he transformed himself into a malicious imp- so clever that though many suspected him, no one ever caught him. When he lay dying he confessed everything and with his death the village was rid of its ghosts.


Class conflict with a supernatural twist. Clark Kent and Superman in rural Bengal: the possibilities are endless. I wish Saratchandra had pursued this story, but he lets it drop.

How did he pick him victims? Was his sadism random or did he have a method? Did he only torment those who tormented him, or did he pick up cudgels for others. I wonder if he planned his deathbed admission all his life, his only moment of glory and sweet revenge. If he had accidentally died without telling the village he was the ghost, he might actually have come back as a ghost to let them know.

*from Aruna Chakravarty's translation


musical said...

Hi sbkt,

i read your post, just as i was writing something that has its origins in Sharatchandra's books.....or lets say a very beautiful connection.

What a coincidence.....

musical said...

Oh.....and having said i recall that in recent times there was some news (like a cpl. of yrs ago)that some guy had confessed how he used to dress up as a ghost. Do you remember? it got covered in Indian media.....somewhere in Bengal, i guess.

sbkt said...

"there was some news (like a cpl. of yrs ago)that some guy had confessed how he used to dress up as a ghost. Do you remember?"
No, I must have missed that. But the muhnochwa episode(if you remember) was also probably something like this.

musical said...

Hmm, suna to nahi tha, but looked it up through a Google search! well, probably that incident was similar, though the stories didn't indicate any human involvement.