It was an April fool prank. I was 15. It was a time when Ouija boards were getting popular. Frankly, I never believed in it. So, when one of the older boys, Ajay* suggested to try it out for some fun, I was game. It was 7pm. We were some 8-10 15-year old girls. We decided to try it out away from our parents and neighbours prying eyes. So, we went to the building garden which was lighted by a single post from the building premises. It was dark, we could hardly see each others faces. We all sat down in a circle and held hands. The board was kept in the centre. We were asked by Ajay to chant some mumbo-jumbo. We were warned against opening our eyes as the board will fail to give answers. So, we sincerely kept the eyes closed. After what seemed like a long time, we stopped chanting. We called for Ajay. He didn’t respond. We asked among ourselves whether we should wait or open our eyes. By then, one of the girls had opened her eyes and shrieked. Immediately our eyes flew open. We saw Ajay holding the board and a candle which was not there earlier, trying to stand vertically on the board. All of us ran out of the garden shrieking.
And then we saw Ajay laughing and beckoning us to come back. He had inserted his finger in the board and that was standing up. It was the scariest event in my life and I still get goosebumps thinking about it. We were all declared as Big April Fools and we had a hearty laugh about it.
I am still surprised that though I did not believe in superstition, at that moment, I was scared out of my wits. Fear is a primal emotion. It’s the fear of the unknown. It was also accompanied by other fears, fear of the dark, fear of danger lurking in the garden as creepy crawlies, fear of getting caught by our elders. There was a skepticism in our minds of whether the whole thing is true or not. Inspite of knowing all this now, I am sure, I will still be scared in a similar situation.
It is precisely this fear that thriller writers try to exploit. Many times, they lull you into a feeling of security and safety. In the most unexpected places, something which looks usual but is highly unusual happens. There are whole sets of books detailing the journey of a thriller. Thriller books are fast paced. You will feel like your sitting on the edge of your seat and unable to put the book down for anxiety of what will happen to the protagonist. Thrillers have a fast-moving story. Its like being on a roller-coaster all the time. There are twists every 2 to 3 pages. It keeps us engaged and entertained.
Agatha Christie is an all-time favourite. I love reading thrillers by Mary Higgins Clark, Jeffrey Deaver, Sidney Sheldon. Bone Collector is a personal favourite. Among the Indian English authors, Uday Satpathy with his novel Brutal is promising. Ravi Subranian with his banking thrillers and Ashwin Sanghi with Private India have been good. I recently read the thriller In the Shadows of Death by Sourabh Mukherjee. The review is in progress. This book has many elements of a thriller. It has a serial killer, love story, betrayals, loneliness. Check out the trailer of the book.