“He is such a hunk!! I wish I were a vampire. They’re so cool” said my daughter dreamily looking at the picture of Edward Cullen, a teenage vampire in a popular young adult fiction. I stared at the nincompoop, dumbfounded. This statement unwittingly had touched a raw nerve.
Vampires bring back the most unpleasant memories to my mind and have been doing so for years and years, ever since I was 10 years old. It was then that I discovered a passion of reading. I used to read just about anything I could get hold of – comics, short stories, novels, palms, magazines etc. It was while riffling thru one of those magazines that I first encountered Dracula. Dracula who stayed in his ancient castle in the Carpathian mountain, Dracula, who was always immaculately dressed after sunset, Dracula who slept in a coffin during daytime, Dracula at the thought of whom my blood ran cold and my heart started racing, Dracula who moreover spoke Malayalam like a native Mallu!! Eh? How is that again?? Yes, this Dracula spoke Malayalam because the story was in a Malayalam magazine and slightly modified from the original to suit the Mallu reader. No, Dracula did not eat Appam and fish curry, Jonathan Harker never wore a ‘mundu’ and Van Helsing did not start his morning with a stiffish Brandy. But apart from demonstrating these great Mallu traits, there was a lot of Kerala and Malayalam in these stories. Anyway, not to deviate from the plot, I discovered after I read the story that I was having serious difficulty sleeping at night. Even the slightest of sounds would have me sitting up in bed peering into the darkness, heart racing, half expecting the cold, clammy touch of Dracula on my shoulders as he sank his fangs into my neck. First thing in the morning, I would check in the mirror if my canine teeth have become a tad longer or if I have fang marks at the nape of my neck, both sure signs of imminent vampirification.
I was a very imaginative child. At times, I would imagine that my brother, who used to sleep next to me in those days, was actually Dracula in disguise. Cold sweat breaking out from my brows, quaking with fear, I would bury my head under the blanket. Then there were those nights when I imagined that Namu, my little kitten was a vampire. I seriously contemplated sleeping with a cross under my pillow and garlic surrounding my bed. Unfortunately, we never used to cook garlic at home in those days and a cross was not readily available. I had to manage with merely praying to about couple of dozen assorted set of gods.
Time passed and I grew up. I almost forgot vampires completely. Except on occasions, when I would have a bad dream and sit up bolt upright in my bed, peering at my wife’s serene sleeping face to see if her canine teeth were bared. But I survived all these decades without a fang so much as scratching my neck. Until, Edward Cullen reared his ugly head. Suddenly I was inundated with vampires. Vampire books started making a steady flow into the house. My daughter, who used to talk of intellectual stuff like world GDP, Trojan war, Shahrukh Khan, penguins, Romeo and Juliet etc suddenly started blathering non-stop about vampires and werewolves. Worse, I think she went thru this phase were she was pretty much convinced that when she grew up she wanted to be Mrs.Vampire.
Looking at me earnestly, she said – “You know dude, vampires are like ice cold you know. And their skin is like as hard as diamond. The only way you can kill them is by tearing them to pieces and burning the pieces. How cool is that.”
I took strong objection to this. First – the puritan in me quailed at this misinformation being spread. I knew from years of intense research on the subject that the only way to kill one of these bloodsuckers is by driving a stake thru the heart and cutting off the neck simultaneously. Second – I couldn’t imagine her finding a poker faced, constipated moron like Edward Watsishname attractive. If she must crush on a vampire why couldn’t she pick a real vampire like the Voivode Dracula? I was appalled!!
But I really can’t blame the poor misguided mutt. She is after all a product of the society. A society which is increasingly bent upon becoming an army of vampires and werewolves. Every young lady I find reading a book nowadays is reading up on the latest adventures in the Vampire Academy or muttering about Zoey Redbird or at best watching Damon and Stefan eternally fighting over Elena while carrying their quota of blood-bags around (My dear Dracula, please don’t turn in your daylight coffin!!)
Now I wonder, who are the real suckers?? The vampires who suck blood from blood-bags or this generation of misguided youth who have been gloriously suckered by the authors of this onslaught of Vampire bullshit. As for me, I am taking no chances. I sleep at night with a pod of garlic firmly tucked under the pillow and a stake within easy reaching distance. I am no sucker!!!