Now that I have grown up, I realise how most of my childhood fears were so irrational, although some continue to haunt me still.
1. The Jholibaba
If you are a 90s kid in India, you know exactly what I am talking about. This was the Indian version of being told not to talk to strangers or take candy from them. Don’t go out alone or jholibaba will snatch you up, put you in his jholi (sack) and take you away. Jesus, that thought still scares me.
2. Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park was the first Hollywood movie I saw. I was maybe 5 or 6 back then. When the T Rex first made his appearance, I just could not look at the screen anymore. For years I was not able to watch that movie even when it previewed on the television.
The Monkey Man is an urban legend that became really popular in the 90s. Talks of how a human monkey hybrid prowled on the roofs and stole kids and beat up people were even being featured in the news. It did not help that my neighbourhood had its fair share of normal monkeys, so I did not go to the roof alone for almost a year.
4. Video games
People keep complaining how video games these days are so violent and graphic. That wasn’t the case when I was a kid. The game that scared my was Super Mario, and every time I was going through the castle stage, I would make sure that all the lights in my room were switched on.
The 90s were the first time that I came to know about cable TV. Suddenly there were more than just 2 channels and the world was a glorious place. Then one night I made the mistake of watching the first Child’s Play movie. I have never let a doll near my room to this day.
Children love to tell each other scary stories. There is always this one kid in class who has the most fascinating tales to tell. That was my first introduction to the world of vampires. Immortals who devoured blood and liked their prey young and healthy. Yikes!
7. Freddy Krueger
Do you remember watching A Nightmare on Elm Street and how Freddy was able to kill people in their dreams and have them die in real life? I had nightmares about it for weeks.
8. Being forgotten at the market by my parents
Let’s face it, this is a very real fear. Parents are known to have forgotten their children when out, only to freak out when they realise it. Then there are the people who willingly leave their children behind. Add to all this the Bollywood funda of children getting lost in fairs and the unholy Kumbh ka Mela, and for me the struggle was quite real.
I can deal with rats, I can tolerate lizards. I do not really mind ants, and cats are kind of cute. But the minute I see a spider, I cannot do anything else. As long as one of us in the same room, the spider will have my complete attention.
I have spent years looking at the legs of women to see if there were any with feet turned backwards. My best friend assured me that this was the best way to identify a witch. Witches eat kids, I was told, and I did not even give poor Sabrina a chance to prove me wrong.