I remember the first day that the channel Cartoon Network was aired on Television. A channel which was packed with cartoon from morning to night, surely, it was a kid’s delight. I stayed up watching the Popeye the Sailor Man late into the night, forcing my Grandma to stay awake and watch it with me as well, because I was scared of the night. Popeye the Sailor Man was the last show of the day, the Grand Finale and I wouldn’t miss that for anything. I remember vividly, another Cartoon which was aired on this channel.
It was called Heidi---the cartoon version of the famous Swiss classical novel, Heidi written by Joanna Spyri. I was too young to bother reading novels then, and Heidi was one cartoon I fell in love with. Oh, it was not one of those ‘stupid’ and ‘senseless’ children’s cartoons with dancing donkeys and talking birds, but Heidi was something which was truly unique and special in many ways. It told a story, packed with morals, life-lessons, and many such things which are absolutely required for the developing child. I was attracted to it because it portrayed a girl who was very much like me in many aspects and I loved to assume that I was Heidi, the little seven year old girl herself, roaming the lush Andes mountainside meadows and picking wildflowers. It told me of a beautiful relationship between the girl and her Grandfather—Heidi lived a carefree mountain life, shepherding the sheep, making friends with birds and goats, and going to winter school. I remember in one episode in which Heidi is dragged away from her Grandpa to the city of Frankfurt. I associated that with me being dragged back to Bangalore after spending my summer with my Grandparents.
I later found out that Andes was a mountain range that really existed, and Frankfurt existed too. I had loved the animated version of Frankfurt so much that I dreamed of visiting the Andes once, really picking flowers from the mountain slopes and of course a nice visit to city of Frankfurt. Many years later, when I was in the Frankfurt Airport as a Transit Passenger, I couldn’t help looking out of the glass windows, taking in the breathtaking view of the city. It was something which was exactly as I had imagined it to be. Somewhere, the story of the little girl seemed to unfold. Slanting red rooftops, houses baking under the warm sun, concrete buildings which rose in the distance, Frankfurt had not changed. Even though I never visited the Andes, I was grateful that I got a small glimpse of Frankfurt. Somehow, for this little girl who has not really grown up, it was not too hard to imagine the smiling face of Heidi staring back at me from the tallest tower of the city.