Wilder Beasts: The Global Scary and Supernatural

My Yakka Munuu or household guardian spirits.

On Tuesday, September 13, I was part of a panel at the Wheeler Centre called Wilder Beasts: The Global Scary and Supernatural. We had a great turnout, specially considering the horrible weather and you can listen to the whole discussion at the link above. 

Hosted by Serpil Senelmis, I shared the stage with Sami Shah, comedian and author of Fireboy - a YA novel about a half-Djinn half-human boy living in Karachi.

The session was a lot of fun, with Sami and me sharing stories about the Djinn - beings made of smokeless fire who live on earth but in a different dimension and so are invisible to humans - as well as many other supernatural creatures from cultures outside the West. Being Turkish, Serpil had her own stories of the Djinn to share, which really rounded out the discussion.

I took my Sri Lankan 'good luck devils' on stage with me. Thanks to the power of Twitter, I had learnt only hours before the show that they're called Yakka Munuu and are household guardians - a little like gargoyles. Fitting then that they've accompanied me on every one of my moves. They're also the only thing I have from Sri Lanka, where I was born, so they have a lot of sentimental value. 

From there we moved on to other South Asian and wider Asian beings. Even though we're both from Pakistan, Sami and I had slightly different accounts of what Churdails actually are - a variation which goes the show the age and range of these stories. We also talked about the Pontianak - a being that has a very similar story to the Churdail - and the Sri Lankan Mohini. 

The audience was great and we had some really interesting comments and questions at the end. I'm sure we could have gone on for much longer than the hour we had, so it's a good thing the Wheeler Centre team kept us on track. 

Thanks to the Wheeler Centre for thinking of this panel and inviting me to be on it. It was a great experience, nightmares and all!