Can a dead person come back as a ghost and a zombie, both?
I wandered listlessly up and down my suburban, two-floored home. Mum had been crying constantly for five days now. Occasionally she would, and I believe it was on purpose, bring out discussions on how I farted so loud last Diwali, that my fart could be heard above all the fireworks. And how I had the most heinous singing voice, especially when I tried singing Yo Yo Honey Singh.
I was sick of people discussing me, and especially sick of seeing mum, dad and, my little brother, cry over and over again. Seriously, people, I was right there.
And guess what, for once why couldn’t they discuss good stuff, like when I was the school prefect or the college journal editor? Was it so hard to say nice things about me?
I sprawled unceremoniously on my favourite couch, and then equally unceremoniously fell on the floor with my butt hovering halfway through Shammi aunty’s ceiling, just as the doorbell rang.
Right, I needed time to adjust to the fact I was only ectoplasm now. I passed through solid matter. Which wasn’t fun, because it made being a smooth and dignified ghost, highly challenging.
Seriously, have you ever seen an awkward, clumsy ghost? Neither have I!
Also, while I never feel hungry anymore, I’d sure like to taste some of that delicious gulab jamun Meenu aunty so religiously sends.
Mum trudged up to the incessant pounding on the door.
Who could it be, this late in the night?
I tried to use my super speed to reach the door when mum cried out.
“Chintu, mera bacchaaa!” ummm Chintu?
“Mum, I am right here.” I tried speaking to my mother, whose back was turned towards me and it racked with loud sobs. Of course, she didn’t hear me. No one could. But then again, no one did when I was alive either.
Who was she calling Chintu, at the door? I thought as I saw my mother fall onto someone, hugging that person and repeating “Chintu” over and over again.
What The Fuck, who the hell was she hugging?
As I slowly walked towards the door along with dad and my brother. I decided not to pass through any of them. While it gave me great pleasure to send tingling shivers up their spine, now was not the time.
Once I reached the door, I saw mum crying and hugging someone who looked suspiciously like an ugly, unkempt version of me.
Me, I tell you!
There standing on the door was me, in that stupid red chudidaar my parents had buried me in. My eyes seemed unfocused and red, my skin was pale and chapped like gooey paper and my hands hung on my sides like a drugged orangutan. All I could grunt while hugging my mother was, “grrrr!”
Mom, finally let go of what was left of me, or the other “ME” and said, “Maine bahut sai baba se dua kee thi ki tu wapas aa jaye. Now you are back beta. Bhagwan ne meri sun lee.”
Wow, I was right here and my family was getting all excited about this stupid “zombie me”, who couldn’t even pull her sleeve up when her dirty bra strap showed.
So, I watched my zombie, eat Meenu aunty’s gulab jamuns, while only grunting, “Grrr” and mum calling all our relatives and excitedly telling them, “Chintu, maut se wapas aa gayee. Bhagwan ne meri sun lee.”
Everyone wanted to talk to the “zombie me”, and all she had to say was “grrr”.
Somewhere, in between, me screaming that “it was not Chintu, but a zombie and the real Chintu was hovering close to the mirror, as usual”; and my shocked brother playing with the baseball bat like he couldn’t decide whether to cave the “zombie me’s” head in or hug the “zombie me”. Mum constantly instructed my petrified father, to plan a trip to Shirdi Sai baba first thing.
Such melodrama I tell you, all for a sick-looking zombie who had no bloody fashion sense.
Days went by, and I realised that “zombie me” had a limited vocabulary, for example “Grrr”, Grrr” and “Grrr”. Plus she was awkward, falling on straight even paths and then complaining “Grrr”. But she was my mum’s dream daughter, she didn’t talk back, wore all heinous chudidaars my mother bought her. Obviously, my earlier wardrobe of short dresses and leather jackets was packed and buried in the basement.
I hated the “zombie me”, because even though all she said was “grrr”, at least people heard her. And all she wore were dirty chudidaars, at least people saw them. And I was pretty sure, soon she would hunger for human flesh, but at least she could taste.
Life after Chintu was all about living vicariously through a Zombie.
About Ell P
Ell P (Lakshmi Priya) is a writer, artist and Executive Coach from Bangalore, India. She has over the years studied in thirteen different schools and colleges (not because she failed her tests, but because of her father’s transferable job) and lived across India and Europe. With an MBA in Marketing and Finance and over 15 years of corporate experience, she makes her money by coaching people in Performance management and building a Client focused culture. She currently works with an international investment-banking firm, as the Head of Coaching – Client performance and Culture.
However, her true passion has always been spinning a damn good yarn. While she has always been an avid reader & writer, her serious writing journey began in August 2014 when she became an integral part of the Write Club, Bangalore.
Along with the core team members of Write Club, she created Litlatte, a publishing platform, and churned out two anthologies herewith.
Apart from the above publications, she regularly writes for Women’s Web, a publishing platform dedicated to women’s issues and she has been published in two of their yearly anthologies, ‘When women speak up’ & ‘No apologies’.
Over the years she has 19 books under her belt, 18 anthologies from Write Club magazine, Litlatte, WomensWeb and The Hive, plus one stand-alone book.
She also attempts her hand at wall art and life-size murals through M-Artini.
Originally posted here: https://litlatte.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/life-after-chintu/