Belonging to a Tantric family, I was popular as ‘chandaal brahmin‘ ( the wicked priest ) among my peers. To keep my credibility intact, I would chant loudly the tantric mantras which sounded like spoofy satanic verses, with smoky fumigation and darkness in my room. A popular myth during exams was- anybody who steps in my room while I am pronouncing those verses, would fail. Don’t know how true it was, I fortunately aced the exams with god’s grace.
During one of my usual boasting (feku) sessions, I mentioned about my capability to talk with spirits or the dead. Those were school days of yore, when people didn’t have much assignments. Our pastime was planning a mischief with the teacher, pilferage of goodies of fellow hostelite, or scribbling an anonymous love letter and randomly throwing in girl’s hostel. Talking with dead was novel. While many scurried away, some school bully kind chipped in.
The midnight planchette experiment was ready with natural darkness of electricity-deprived Bihar school, the handy candles, and a photograph of beautiful woman- Amrita Shergill. She featured in one of our lessons and we spent hours in school library to research more on her extra-marital affairs than her paintings. If you google her, she is surely the perfect ‘ghost’ material with her extreme fairness, the lip gloss and the glittering teeth which shined more in darkness. As I began my chants, her library torn picture began fluttering with winds gushing through windows, and her sharp nose seem to point further. The bullies ran in a flash, and I bid adieu to my ‘bhootni’ (ghost) muse too.
We decided on some benign and non-aggressive ghost, and who could be a best pick for non-violence? With umpteens of portraits of man in every classroom, hostel, currencies, Mahatma Gandhi was everywhere. We just picked his bespectacled smiling pictures and carefully sorting one without his ‘danda’ (Just to be safe). We also got his books ‘My experiments with truth’ and a series on his ‘teachings’ issued. Given so many speeches on Gandhi, most of the books were marked by ‘highlighter pen’ by me. So, we conducted the planchette experiment on October 2nd (Gandhi’s birth anniversary) with 11 gandhi portraits nicely positioned around four of us. After my usual tantric rituals, I began singing ‘Vaishnav Jana to’, Gandhi’s favorite song, and gave an impromptu speech on him. Gandhijee kept smiling, and as we kept our fingers on planchette, I slowly moved them with each question. A master of Gandhi literature, I answered every question of my friends by moving my finger, and they believed Gandhi ghost have arrived. Not quite sure how it happened, but my fingers moved accurately in some questions I didn’t know too. Did I really meet Mahatma Gandhi? Haha! Leave it.
Let’s come to my third and final planchette experiment. We were fascinated by the flawless beauty of the era- the indian actress Divya Bharati. I studied with her smiling portrait on my wall, and it was the month of April in 1993 when she died. Devastated, I planned the planchette very next midnight, hoping she should be easily accessable freshly flying around. With a ‘Diwaana‘ movie poster, and a tape-recorder playing ‘Aisee Diwangee’, we began the experiment. My friends were dancing an uncouth version of serpentine ‘naagin’ dance, while I was still in my tantric self. And I felt she kissed me. Divya Bharti’s ghost kissed a fledgling school kid in knickers in a dark room with Kumar Shanu song and background rustic dancers. Hahahahaha!
I never conducted the experiments again.