P. SUJATHA VARMA
You can never get tired of listening to stories at any time.
Nobody heard of his tiptoeing footsteps on the tiled kitchen as he let himself in through the back door. Except for the distant drone of a barking dog and the intermittent noise of the refrigerator, a deafening silence prevailed in the house. Sounds spooky? Not really. For children, it can be frightfully entertaining. "I am okay with mild fear. But if an element of spookiness creeps in, I must close my eyes and shut my ears with both my hands and raise loud shrieks," says Madhuchandana, a Std.V student of Kennedy High School.
Storytelling is an age-old pastime and telling a ghost story is an art. A good storyteller will always add quirky small-town characters to ensure that the story has all the trappings of a thriller. "The best part of a ghost story is that there is something mysterious about the unknown, with a streak of bizarre fun," chips in Gaurav S. of VII standard, narrating his own experience of a horrifying dream. "I felt blatantly out of place there. There were tiny houses, almost miniature ones. I was walking on a narrow path, so thin that if I stretched my arms, they would touch the houses on both sides. But I had no clue as to why I had gone there," he says. Little Jalakanya says she stiffens up and becomes self-conscious. Pravallika of Nirmala High School enjoys being part of a ghost storytelling session. "But I can't imagine encountering darkness after that. I feel a strong urge to turn back and stare into the darkness, but I end up stealing frightened glances through the corners of my eyes," she says grinning. "More than ghosts and supernatural powers, I like to watch movies of Dracula," says an excited Madhusudan of the same school. But the role of the storyteller should not end once the story is finished. He should tell his audience that they can overcome their fears, once they begin to act bold. While narrating ghost stories, one must bear in mind the fears of young minds and the environment in which the stories are told. If a child is alone at home, try to entertain by telling a folk, a fairy or a fantasy tale. Tales of adventure or animals will also interest a kid. A not-so-scary ghost story enjoyed by one and all can be shared after ensuring that no one in the group gets upset.Ghost-story sessions, therefore, can be made a nighttime treat provided you leave room for other stories, which can substitute the quiver with rib-tickling laughter.