In an older house, we used to have family gatherings regularly. They were very boring, as these things usually are, and to make them somewhat more bearable, we started calling spirits on Ouija boards. It was not an official Ouija board, but a handwritten one – which was then permanently affixed to a table that was reserved for these séances. Many family members raised their doubts, offered theories that would explain the movement of the pointer (my physicist cousin even sat for one – three people are usually needed for each session – but was left somewhat baffled after getting an answer for a question that he’d asked silently in his mind, and believed everyone was fooling him). My grandmother did not approve of these things, as she had known three young boys who did this for fun, and encountered a spirit who refused to leave and said he would seek vengeance (for what?). All three boys died within the year.
Below is a transcript of a short conversation with a spirit who was apparently once Mirza Ghalib.
– Saudamini Deo
Q: Are you Mirza Ghalib, the famous Urdu poet from Delhi?
Q: Thank you for being here. We are very curious to know what happened to you after you died. What was it like after death?
MG: It was the same. I wrote poetry even after death.
Q: Did you not miss anything after death?
MG: Alcohol. Would it be possible for you to offer me some right now?
(a little alcohol is poured on the Ouija table)
MG: Thank you. That’s very kind.
Q: We’ve read many times that you were in love with the courtesan Nawabjaan. Is that true?
Q: If you don’t mind telling us, what was your next life like? Who were you?
MG: Federico García Lorca.
Q: The Spanish poet?
Q: And what about after that? Who are you in this life?
MG: I run a small bakery in Agra.
Q: If you could tell us, did you ever get to meet Nawabjaan again?
MG: In this life, we’re married. I am finally happy, now that she’s with me.
Q: That’s wonderful. Please do let us know when you’d like to leave.
MG: I’d like to leave now.
Q: Okay, thank you again for coming here. Do you have any last message for us?
MG: कभी आना तू मेरी गली (come to my street sometime). Address: 13, Ballimaran, Delhi.