The Ghost of the 21st Century


With access to other forms of entertainment in the 21st century, voluntary social exclusion is becoming more and more prevalent. Mihir Ranjan, 2nd Year, EE captures the world from the perspective of the modern ghost, the silent observer detached from the social circles near him.

And there I stood, watching over the rest.

Not in the dark, in today’s time the light or rather its absence wasn’t necessary to go by unnoticed. No one seems to mind my presence - as a matter of fact - neither my absence, as if my existence begs apathy. And I don’t mind that. We know a ghost to be an apparition of sorts, something otherworldly, manifested in our realm. And well, one could say that I am in many ways similar to a ghost. Not that I was a nebulous image here with malignant intent, rather I was disembodied from the machinations of modern society, the cog that won’t turn. 

People are interesting, rather the things they choose to squabble about are. When you boil their psyche down to the very base, their workings are well defined, as if a universal law of human behavior pervaded this universe, quietly. Over the years, I learnt many things as I observed my peers. I wouldn’t call them new, since it's always about the same old droll and drama. It’s surprising how something so predictable can still be fun. Rather, I should say predicting things is fun, there’s a certain pleasure in playing the detective. A temporary high of being a puppet master, knowing the exact reaction to your targeted action. Socializing moved from being a necessity to a pastime, something to stimulate the senses rather than survive. 

Living in the information age, knowledge is power, and I’m still to find the knowledge that could be more useful than the knowledge of the human psyche. Mankind is a social being, accept it or reject it, one cannot refute it. Since time immemorial, the definitive act of entertainment has always been social acts, be they festivities or feasts. The place where one feels at home is in the presence of others. In a civilization that survives around human contact, living without feeling an incessant urge to socialize felt surreal and to actually prefer it, supernatural. 

Granted it leads to detachment from social circles, but that’s a consequence I accepted. One cannot be a ghost unless they’ve faded from existence.After all, one cannot be a ghost if they haven’t faded from existence.

I would not say I am anti-social, nor would I call myself an introvert. I am very well capable of meeting and bonding with new people. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I derive satisfaction from it. Once one breaks out of the system of common livelihood, and sees the day to day struggles of people, he naturally feels no inclination to partake in them. It became insignificant to me who said what about whom, or how the latest pop culture movie was. To be cognizant of the woes of the people and excluding myself from them. Was it my fortune that I avoided the problems of the 21st century? Or was it my curse to not experience this adventure as many before me had?

I never realized when I became the modern ghost, I don’t think anyone does. Between a quest for independence and a search for a greater truth, the lines of my reality blurred. As I moved from my life onto this afterlife, I take respite in the fact that there are many more to follow in my wake. 


Illustration by Anirudh

Posted by Mihir Ranjan

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