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Monsters, Are They ?

August 11, 2020

Picture and Text by Sai Rane


Have you ever had a nightmare when you wake up sweating in the dark? When your chest pangs even at the thought of going back to sleep? I have nyctophobia since my infancy and for a while I've been having the same nightmare over and over again. And here's how it goes.

It usually starts with me locked in a dark room. A huge skeleton like ghost stomps towards me with his bloodstained teeth bared to devour every inch of me. I usually wake up here. But recently I had a weird one. It begins the same. The skeleton reached out his bony hand with long fingers to get me. I couldn't move. I stood there waiting for him to toss me into his mouth and gulp me down for his dinner but instead he wrapped his fingers around my waist and I was flabbergasted when I realized that his grip was gentle. Carefully, he lifted me up to his eye level and I peered into the hollow lifeless eyes that had haunted me for nights only to find concern in them. Why would a ghost be concerned? I knew my eyes must have misunderstood something but my doubts were answered when with one huge blow he broke the wall and carried me outside into the light. I looked at him, appalled. 

When I woke up in the morning, a weird satisfaction had washed over me. Was he really a ghost? How often do we confuse outer appearances? There was a kind heart even behind that monstrous facade.

After a lot of contemplating, I perceived that even monsters can be gentle. Wait, what exactly is a monster? For monsters aren't really monsters from the beginning. These monsters, as we happen to call them, had an innocent soul too, which was treated with impertinence and contempt that it became the ghastly demon it is now. They ran in the meadows gleefully, with the scorching sun as a crown on their heads, humming melodies with the brooks. They danced with the wind and basked in the summer sunshine before they let the dark swallow them.  I happen to believe that it isn't the monsters we should be afraid of but the thing that changed them. The thing that turned their soft hearts into cold stones. The thing that robbed the pretty smile from their faces and painted a permanent odious frown making them forget that they did have a smile before. Is this frown really permanent? Can they be reminded to smile again?

I do not know if their hearts can be softened again or if they could live again. Maybe, just maybe,  if they are loved they could see the light. They could look at the world differently and believe that not everything is cruel.

But alas, who would be brave enough to love a monster?