Before I move on to explaining it, yes. Yes, it is.

At some point we’ve all been part of it, in some context or the other. If you’ve listened to anyone from Joy Division to Marilyn Manson or you’ve liked The Addams Family, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline or Death Note. If you’ve lined your eyes three times before stepping out, used black nail paint and wore all black all the time. If you loved skull symbols or wiccan signs.

You may not have realised it but you’ve been a part of it. Sure, you grew out of it. You grew out of the ‘punk phase’, the ‘emo phase’ and all of these little dark phases.

As for me, I didn’t. I perhaps grew out my ‘emo phase’. A lot of things changed – my wardrobe, my playlist. But a part of me stayed back and it made me wonder, ‘How is my interest truly different?’.

And here’s what I learned – the term ‘Dark Culture’ began from the dark wave genre, soon it spread across different fields such as art, fashion and more. Through time, it bred a community that comprised of people that found comfort in each other. Their bond was tied by their common aesthetics and society labelling their interests as bizarre or dark.

The misconception of it lies where some people confuse ‘dark culture’ as all things demonic. While interests and representations of them are a huge part of our culture, not all of us go around wanting to summon souls from the underworld. We’re all not even supporting Anton Lavey’s teachings or adding ‘Might is Right’ on our book lists.

I still think a Cerberus is one of the best mythical pets and that Hades ought to be as popular as Zeus. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the idea of unicorns, although a Pegasus could be just as cool.

So, if you have an affinity for the dark side, own it. It doesn’t make you a bad person and it probably isn’t a phase. Remember that being part of a culture has various degrees of it, so you’ve just gotta be you.

Illustrations by Devi Ramanathan