Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Ghosts and presences

The world of research with its late nights and long waiting periods in between(read incubation times) is uniquely suited to the generation of stories about the supernatural. Quite contrary to our purported scientific and logical ability. These stories reflect the imagination of the students and are directly related to the level of loneliness while working.

During my Masters in the M.S. University of Baroda, where the buildings are old and far apart there were quite a few stories. The site on the third floor near the stairs was said to have a 'presence' which was attributed to a labourer that fell during the building construction. This is a picture of the place taken from here.

But regarding the subject of ghosts, our adjacent department at Baroda was more fertile.

Their old building and the new building was seperated by a walk-way that was on the first floor. To go to the ground floor of the new building you would have to enter the old building, go the first floor, then the walkway and then walk down to the ground floor of the new bulding. Heaven only knows why they had this clumsy arangement. But this ensured that the ground floor of the new building was totally 'cut-off', thus becoming a breeding ground for ghosts!

Students working at night had claimed seeing a yellow dupatta that fluttered across the walkway. Then there was the distillation unit on the ground floor that started on its own one night. Interesting times indeed! A good ghost story needs a solid reason. Some said that the whole department was cursed. Some said that this curse extended to the faculty becuase none of them save two had children! Why this curse? No good reason.

Comparitively MEI was a desert - no stories at all. Maybe it was because of the security that sits at the main entrance throughout the night or maybe the students here are really scientific and don't bother about illogical things.

Our Sister Instituion Down South (SIDS) was much better in this regard. There the labs are placed far from each other and some labs also have a terrace seperating them form each other. Some labs are empty. Perfect for the generation of stories!

There are rumours of an entire section of the building being haunted, with people seeing things over their shoulders when sitting at a tissue culture hood. People encoutering things when taking the long walk to the hostel from the institute. The reasons for this vary from a 'pregnant labourer falling to her death' (ho hum...heard this before) to 'the institute was built over a graveyard' (priceless!).

Recently closer home (MEI) a talk with a driver gave some interesting anecdotes. Opposite the canteen we have several sofas which serve as a place for general meetings, discussions and such-like. Earlier drivers used to sleep there at night. But one day a driver slept there and was woken up by some old lady. What happened to the driver? Legend is silent on that matter.

I have never seen or felt anything supernatural yet. However I am thoroughly convinced that I might soon.

My boss currently occupies the lab that was once used by the founder of our department - a very, very revered person. He has now shifted to Banglore and is very old. I am utterly convinced that when he dies, he would want to visit the place from where it all started. Maybe I will see a subjective ghost.


Amit said...

Haven't you heard that a security guy saw "Bhabha's Bhoot" in TIFR fourth floor? Students now a days are really lazy in passing these stories.

samudrika said...

No I have not!

Of course there are stories about the golden lift being haunted and how it goes to the third floor everytime you press the button for the second floor. These I totally forgot!

Guess Who? said...

Ooooh. The depts. in Baroda sound scary! Did anyone ever spend a night alone there to verify? :)

samudrika said...

They are scary because of an over-active imagination. I thought that was obvious from my post.

Ummmm, regarding your web page....are you telling me to STFU?

guess who? said...

Nah... that's just a silly joke :)