Bhoot aur Bakait

Chirag Arora, 4th Year, ECE
Anjali Bhavan, 1st Year, MCE

Even ghosts have colorful lives and tinged windows like cars through which they view the world.

So I sauntered towards the haunted lane of DTU once when I was bored after a dull, insipid day that hung over the sky like a drying blanket. I wasn’t really expecting anyone to be around, save for some lone fresher or a wistful senior. A troop of monkeys led me to a purposeless shack eerier than the dense part of the forest.

I saw a woman sitting before me with long, white hair. She was resting against a tree, chewing betel and spitting on the road. Her spittle reached my white shoes; I cringed and stepped back in time.

Kaun manhoos hai be?” she cackled ironically.

“Who are you?” I ventured uncertainly.

“I am Elaine.” she haunted.

I chortled at both the revelation and the bad pun.

“Nonsense!” I scoffed. “How long have you been here for? What all have you seen?”

Elaine began to narrate, her voice softening with the falls of age and memories.

“Almost 80 years. Moved with campuses to places and now I have a place of my own. This lane. I have experienced quiet here in loud commotion. Pragmatics would come for a stroll here not expecting to find me and romantics would come to halt here not wanting to find me. Hostelers would venture here alone at 2 am in the night with scary, unwashed faces just about upright on will and caffeine, still looking for the thrill of an exaggerated story to be told later – because I am not made of skin and bones anymore. I’m made of stories.”

“She must hate Maggi Baba.” I thought to myself.

Vo bakait?” she blushed. “Bachhon mein ek hi to stud hai.” she panted and babbled through her broken brown teeth.

“It’s a hard job to be ghost here” she sighed.

“Why!” I asked in a start pondering over possible job hazards.

She told me of having to duck and flee from rerouted rampaging cars with owners grinning in their own sherlockery of avoiding the barricade, how she had missed being crushed under speeding vehicles several times.

“Doesn’t it ever get boring?” I asked.

“Never. I live like a myth in a college of science. And when the scene gets heavy, I am an oddball retreat!” A smile broke on the sturdy immobile face. And on mine too for like every other soul in DTU, this one too endeared.

As I got up to leave, Elaine triumphantly declared ‘‘Arre full power swag hai humara” and vanished into thin air. And I vanished too. Back to classroom.

Sigh.

TEDxDTU: Interview with Rishabh Seen

DT: What have been some of the greatest challenges pertaining to the three approaches you spoke about?

RS: It was very early in my life when I realized that I’m a very hypersensitive person. Dealing with it and balancing it has been my biggest challenge, which is why in my talk, all I want to talk about are morals, values and things that people usually tend to miss out on while looking at the bigger picture.

DT: Your last lesson was about sacrificing perceptions. Which sacrifice of perception has been the toughest for you? Is there one you haven’t accomplished yet?

RS: I’m an Indian classical musician who’s trying to do metal as well, so it’s really tough for me when people relate to me only as a metal musician and ignore my classical half. I’m not a classical or a metal musician. I’m just a man who is in love with music and enjoys making it.

DT: What do you think is the way for anyone to overcome a barrier which puts Western music styles on a pedestal higher as compared to Indian classical music?

RS: See, I believe no one does that intentionally. It is the culture we’ve been brought up in because of which we fantasize about western instruments. So all we try to do is focus on how we can bring a change. I can’t change anybody, but I can change myself and in that way, change the world around me.

DT: Talking about change, if not music, then what?

RS: (laughs) That’s a difficult one because I pretty much suck at everything else! I guess I’d be a writer because I have a lot to say.

DT: How did you plan on combining two extremely different styles of music?

RS: I started mixing because of my love for both of them. I come from a classical background and found my love for metal at a very young age. One has to understand that metal music is something we’ve adopted from the West. So no matter how good we are, we are bound to be a step behind them. What we can do is mix it with something unique, something the world hasn’t seen before. That something is our Indian classical music, and when people hear a fusion of the two, they are bound to drift towards the unheard.

DT: What has been your most satisfying moment?

RS: One of my best moments was when I received an email from a cancer patient who didn’t have very long to live and in his email he wrote that he felt complete after hearing one of my songs. That has been one of the most heartwarming moments for me.

DT: What is the message you want to give to the students?

RS: Stick to what you’re doing, and have absolute faith in it! Do your bit, do your part and keep on doing it without expecting anything in return. That is the only thing that matters in life – to do, without expecting.