Wednesday, 26 December 2012

On wonders and magic

Sunday. I sit in front of my laptop. It's quite late in the afternoonand I finally want to capture some stray threads of thought before they escape forever.

Being an Aquarian, I have been rather reliably informed, brings with it a certain susceptibility to flights of fancy, day-dreams and a like of myths and fairy tales. Irrespective of how much truth lies in the above classification, I unabashedly admit to the possession of these traits.The frequent dreamy look on my face suggests, not a profound contemplation on the meaning of the life and similar higher thoughts as it may seem, but rather the fact that one of my flights of fancy has taken off, attained cruising altitude, and the passengers are busily opening their packets of salted peanuts, popping the tabs of their beverages and getting comfortable in the expectation of a serious journey.

As a child, I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol and the like. The lazy vacation afternoons were spent lying in bed, snuggled up with the chronicles of Narnia, the adventures of the Famous Five, the Five Find-Outers, the Wizard of Oz, Alice's escapades and so on. In the evenings I would join my boon companions, and we would sometimes think out adventures and enact them out. The surroundings, such as they were, were often recruited willy-nilly into our fantasies. Thus, the inoffensive tree in the backyard would be transformed, according to the theme at hand, into a mysterious forbidding castle, where a Snoggon-tribe held the prince  ss of fairies as hostage, and we, in our roles as heroes, would wage a stiff battle to procure the freedom of the said princess. We always managed to win.

The tree, too, demonstrated its multifaceted nature by playing its various parts successfully. Thus, some afternoons we sailed the wild seas on our trusty ship (the tree), some other times we tired of the earth and blasted off into the unknown, final frontiers on our trusty spacecraft (the tree), and sometimes, when both earth and space presented little by way of incentive for us to explore, we escaped into our fairy tale world and held off hosts of besieging gremlins, gnarks, goblins and other equally delightful wicked creatures from the safety of our castle -- a structure that was remarkably tree-like to the untrained, uninitiated eye.

As a child, I never tired of miracles, of magic, of the supernatural. Indeed, I never questioned it. Death, for example, was explained to me simply as a departure of a person from earth and into heaven, next to the Gods and I accepted it as such. The world of magic and wonder was always within reach. Compared with such an idyllic childhood, 'growing up' was rather disappointing. First I had to contend with the shocking truth that Santa Claus did not exist and the jolly rotund man who handed out the presents around Christmas was part of an elaborate charade. Then, the various knocks one receives from life during the process of growing up proceeded to harden the part of me that subscribed to the simple world -- a faerie world, if you will -- where wondrous events were the norm rather than the exception, where right and wrong were clearly distinguishable, where there was no grey.

I wonder, sometimes, if a return to the simple life is ever possible. Sure, time pushes forward inexorably. People age, new things are discovered, old things relegated to the trash heap of the past. More and more children exhibit such precociousness and maturity at such an early age that I sometimes wonder how I ever survived, since I was not as smart as they are when I was their age. I am forced, sometimes, to evaluate my beliefs, my hopes and my dreams. Is there any place for wonders in this world of today? Such thoughts are depressing and they bog me down. And then, I think: of the little old woman and her charming smile when I helped her load a carton of purchase into the trunk of her car; of the friendly black man and his little dogs, who greet me nthusiastically and exuberantly whenever we meet on the street; of the cashier in the supermarket who smiles and puts an extra purchase bag 'on the house' once in a while; of the lady at the diary who, when I sampled and asked for the price of a particularly
excellent cheese, proceeded to mark it down to half the price. This 
too, is magic, these little things, these wondrous things. Perhaps the simple life we seek does not need any extra door, that it is here, in front of us. We just need to see it... maybe!

....rather long write up of mine from many years ago... 
i was trying to blog then. What do you think? - nilesh