Saturday, November 17

Halloween Special: Decoding the anatomy of Indian Chudail

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Long nose, white skin, long teeth – that’s the typical characteristics of wizards and ghosts in the global scenario. However, the scene may differ when it comes to Indian diaspora with white sarees, long nails and long black hairs. Unlike Hollywood, the Indian avatar is quite fashionable and glamorous and often wears red backless blouses with makeup always on point. Hilarious but true!

With one day to go for Halloween Day, we take a look at some of the special characteristics and different types of Indian chudail:

Bhoot, Pret and pisach – all have dominated the Indian television screens. But have you ever wondered what makes them different?

Daayans (as described in Ek Thi Daayan and Stree) are beautiful women with long black hair tied in a thick braid and backward-facing feet. A daayan’s strength is said to be centered in her braid; when cut, she would disappear for 20 years.

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But, let me tell you, some Indian Daayans can read English and immensely foolish (Unlike Nun). They will read the disclaimer written on the doors and will never haunt you back (Oh! Stree Kal Aana).

However, grasp your breath, if the paint fades away….

Daayans are also mentioned in various TV shows such as Sasural Simar Ka, the Pakistani drama series Belapur Ki Dayan and the Indian supernatural thriller series Nazar.

Now, what is chudail then? She is typically described as “the ghost of an unpurified mother”, but because she is often described as living in trees, she is also called a tree-spirit. According to some legends, a woman who dies during childbirth or pregnancy or due to suffering at the hands of her in-laws will come back as a Chudail to seek revenge, particularly targeting the males in her family.

She is mostly described as extremely ugly and hideous but she has the power to shape-shift and disguise herself as a beautiful woman to lure men to the mountains where she either kills them or sucks up their virility, turning them into old men.

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Chudails are most often reported in and around graveyards, cemeteries, tombs, and abandoned battlefields, thresholds of houses, crossroads, toilets and squalid places

Within Hindu belief, chudails may become dakinis and serve the goddess, Kali. Well! it must be the reason why Indians celebrate Kali Puja just after Halloween Day.

Now, coming to the most generic form of supernatural element – a Bhoot.

A Bhoot can be anywhere and everywhere – He/she might be sneaking behind you, or watching from upstairs. Scared?

A bhoot or bhut is a supernatural creature, usually the ghost of a deceased person, in the popular culture, literature and some ancient texts of the Indian subcontinent. The belief in ghosts is deeply ingrained in the minds of the people of India across generations. The various concepts of ghosts trace their roots in the vast bodies of Hindu mythology, its religious texts, literature, and folktales.

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Bhoots are able to alter and assume forms of various animals at will but are usually seen in human form. However, their feet often reveal them to be ghosts, as they are backward facing. As the earth is regarded as sacred or semi-sacred in many traditions of the Indian subcontinent, bhoots go to lengths to avoid contact with it, often floating above it, either imperceptibly or up to a foot above. Bhoots cast no shadows, and speak with a nasal twang. They often lurk on specific trees and prefer to appear in white clothing.

However, Bollywood is progressing from the typecast supernatural elements to the more fascinating ones – Be it Ifrit in Pari, or Hastar in Tumbbad or Netflix series Ghoul.

The Ifrits are a class of infernal djinn and also held to be a death spirit drawn to the life-force (or blood) of a murdered victim seeking revenge on the murderer. As with ordinary djinn, an Ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever, good or evil, but it is most often depicted as a wicked, ruthless, and evil being; a powerful Shaitan. Ifrits are believed to inhabit the levels of the underworld or desolated places on the surface, such as in ruins or caves.

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On the other hand, a ghoul is a demon or monster originating in pre-Islamic Arabian religion associated with graveyards and consuming human flesh. In modern fiction, the term has often been used for a certain kind of undead monster.

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However, the Indian industry needs to adopt some good-looking Vampires (We still remember Edward from Twilight)

Well, if this piece still not scare the hell out of you, Congratulations, you are one of them! Just Kidding

 A spooky and scary Halloween Day to you!