Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Giving your Imagination a chance

I have often been confronted with the question that why is it that I spare so much time and effort to write something as puerile as a children’s story when I could be writing something more profound, mature, realistic. Now, I shall ask you a question. What is that you most enjoyed? Cuddling in your granny’s lap when you were small enough to fit in it, listening to the Ramayana, or the Sunday newspaper you read last weekend?

I believe that a child’s imagination, in all it’s innocent glory is the most splendid thing on the planet. As I have said before, children can dream, dream without any sort of limitation or fear, and this makes their thoughts so original. As we grow up, our creative skills become atrophic, and suddenly, there are no more monsters in your cupboard, and there is no rabbit skulking in the waxing moon. With the emphasis given to logical thinking, imagination normally relapses into dormancy. Even venture to think about something immature and then you’re brain will say, “Now that’s most improbable! There are no fairy princesses…” That’s why, great fantasy writers are so rare.

It is good to occasionally let your imagination run loose and slacken your firm hold on the creative brain, and simply think without reasoning. That’s when you get wild stories of monsters, princesses, witches and beasts. And that is where your children’s stories come from. And there is an enjoyment to be derived from it too, which can soothe your stressed mind. When the world seems like it’s going to collapse the next moment, I find writing a children’s story or doodling something stupid as the ultimate elixir.

Much to my delight, another one of my stories found publication in Tinkle Children’s magazine this month. Given a chance, I would much rather be an Enid Blyton than anybody else….you see, there is a child in everybody that some have imprisoned. In me, That child seems to have a stubborn immaturity that I simply can’t get rid of!

(The above illustrations from my story are a copyright of India book house pvt ltd)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Travelling by bus

At times, something as commonplace as a bus-stand can provoke you to write something. I passed one while returning home today and it instantly had be reminiscing. This made me think about how my college didn’t even have a bus—stand! It was this very girl, two years ago, who went to college with a wry face, constantly whining that our busses were not on time despising this mode of transport.

The third week of college, I remember having first boarded a bus from the relatively peaceful NR Colony to Gowdanapalya, with my over-protective mom pleading another student to ‘help me out’. It was a new world to me, travelling alone like that. People pushed you, you somehow forced yourself to hang onto a piece of metal, and that’s all the space you got. You could never sit down, because every bus has fat bossy women or wobbly old men. You were still a kid who was squeezed against the window to make place for four people. Oh, I couldn’t stop ranting about it.

And then, it was monsoon season. My college bus-stand is nowhere, so all of us assembled like stranded travelers in front of this filthy bakery by the roadside (which was great for the bakery, I’m sure). The roads weren’t tarred properly, so the sludge of previous rains still lingered, making everything look muddier than ever. We had street dogs too, some which looked seriously rabid….they were always prompt to clean up that piece of cake you might have dropped. And people who barked worse than dogs, campaigning for a new tutorial which had opened up somewhere, promising you instant success in IIT. Beggars dropped by occasionally, adamant not to go away until you handed them money. I boarded the bus cursing my fate that day, but then someone tapped me on the shoulder, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a classmate from school smiling back at me.

As the days progressed, I chanced upon so many things in bus 210 N. I met my old school friends on it, once, even my tution teacher’s mom, and my biology lecturer. (Didn’t know whether to shout ‘goodmorning mam’ or pretend not to know her!). Sometimes, old men who would start rambling about their college days without any provocation, and even my college friends followed me all the way home on the bus, to wave me off. Life on a public bus can throw weird and unpredictable surprises at you. Two years later, I tell a different story. There is nothing quite like a bunch of college students travelling home by bus, gossiping their heads off about the new movie in town, blissfully unaware of where the journey will take them. There was a charm to that which I had forgotten to realize, and when I did, life had already moved on. Memories are strange….they make you enjoy those experiences which you most despised some years ago, and there is a charm to that too, which is quite difficult to explain.