Jul 25, 2012

A Place not for Grown Ups

(Dedicating this post to Vanity Moments, which completed 5 years on 24th July 2012)

Contest Entry for Indian Bloggers League
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Topic: A City That Vanishes
Result: Third Prize
habitually compel myself to stop looking back at my olden days, and concentrate on the present instead. But, I can’t deny the fact that the memories about my past had given me flashes of inspiration for writing. Childhood days are sweet and the memories are awe inspiring; but we couldn't be so sure that if we were enjoying childhood to the fullest when we were children. Only when we surpass the childhood days, with numbness in hearts, we come to think about the beauty that we missed so cruelly, by becoming grownups. 

During my childhood, I hardly found kids of my age in my neighborhood, and even if there were a few, my conquering shyness hadn’t permitted me to mingle with them freely. Being senior to me by many years, my elder sister found herself more comfortable in the company of the elderly kind than the kiddos. Her neglectfulness left my younger sister and me alone as the mutual resort to build friendship. I don’t know to what extent the zodiac signs say truth; however, possibly due to the incompatible zodiac signs we had, my younger sister and myself remained foes more time than we stayed friends. 

Often imaginary friends are created when you are alone and lonely. Guess I was an aberration for I had siblings, still our infantile imaginations went fertile and we both had imaginary friends. My sister found her accomplice in a male character with traits assimilated from the people whom she found around us.  She had named him- ‘He’.  And finally the day had arrived when I discovered ‘He’.

She, ‘Him’ and I became friends. We played, quarreled, and even climbed the tree together. And then I brought my “special” friend too. So we were a lousy gang of four. From four, we became fourteen and more. This is the story of our virtual world, where we would often escape in sans computers sans artificial Intelligence. Just like my sister and me, our characters also followed a similar friendship tradition and they assisted us often in our childhood adventures. Though most often remained truthful, there were instances during our games when these characters went into hiding and got themselves involved in some mischievous activities. We both embarked on journeys through foreign countries, jungles, oceans and even through alien lands, in search of our characters and found them at last. They apologized for their mistakes and became virtuous again.

Kids, who involve in such dramatic games, naturally require more characters. So, that was how our next characters took birth. Some were very robust people, who could have fought with elephants. Others were really able to make themselves bigger by just the intake of fresh air. Our next characters included elderly people and little kids. Some parents needed someone to look after their kids because of their routine jobs. Though we were the creators of all these people, we decided to nurse those little kids, giving due respect to their parenthood.

Our place was turning into an enormous metropolitan. We were flabbergasted seeing our imagination setting up a large city with lots of queer looking buildings, sightseeing places, rivers and rivulets, mountains and hill sides, along with lot of harmless wild animals who were able to communicate in human language. Regardless of our position as the rulers, we both decided to undertake a regular job. Policing was most preferred through which, we could have fought against the criminals in our place. We set our police station below the mango tree in our homestead. Sitting on top of our rock made seats, we both attended telephone calls from our spies. As soon as we received secret information about ongoing criminal activities, we prepared our police force, and attacked those lurking enemies in ambush, and killed many of them through hours’ long gunfight and bombing. . 

I can present a picture in words, if you require a layout of the city. Occupied by buildings, houses, streets, parks, offices, bridges, and all such things that could contribute to its autonomy, the city was dispersed over a huge valley surrounded by deep-blue mountains. In the suburbs, a small community of hapless people lived called ‘The Poor’. These poor people always were under the threat of the ‘Burglars’, who lived in the hiding of the mountains. ‘The Poor’ always needed our help to save themselves from the Burglars. Apart from punishing the burglars, we helped ‘The Poors’ financially also, as our city was brimming with riches. 

In the middle of everything, there situated our house. A protection house in actuality, properly named ‘The Fire House’. An outsider could see the house all the time surrounded by fire. We designed our house for the thieves to always view it as burning in fire, at the same time, the affable see a normal house. I still do not know the science behind such an innovative concept. 

That was how we lived. Visiting the elderly in the city, attending the classes conducted by teachers invented by us with funny names, and sometimes fighting the ‘Burglars’. As we grew older, new characters originated in our city and new buildings were constructed. 

But, we were becoming really busy with our real life affairs. When we were matured enough, we both went out of that world, finding new friends of our kind. When the sparks of memories regarding our secret friends and the city flashed in my thoughts, I used to murmur to my sister those funny names of our characters with a smile. If we were sitting amidst the elder ones in our family, we exchanged glances with a hidden smile communicating that “don’t-tell-it” message in sign language.

Days, weeks, months, and years long separation from the secret place and our secret friends made us forget them almost. Initially when thoughts about them occurred in my mind, I used to smile at my nonage stupidity. But later, when I felt the growing maturity and the characteristics of adulthood as a curse, I seriously began to miss those places and characters. 

“Ah, I am not remembering even the names of some of my characters,” painfully, I thought.

Fearing the loss of our old city, one day I confessed to my sister.

“We let slip memory of our place. Our friends will be missing us. Don’t you want to go back there and see how do those little kids now look like? What if the ‘Burglars’ are still torturing those poor people? The granny who stays alone in her two storied building would scold us!”

She agreed. So, we both visited our old city once again after a long gap. But everything was in a diminishing state. In our imagination, the buildings appeared as if they were in the edge of wipeout. Still we wandered through the streets, chatting with everyone whom we met on the streets, visiting old people, and making friends with ‘Burglars’ and ‘The Poor’ alike. We visited our old classrooms where we once made fun of our teachers, supported by the liberty of our ruler ship. Our first characters rejoiced on our return, though they were disappointed with our absence. Moreover, we were not able to visualize them as vividly as we had done during the former days. And the most painful part was that we couldn’t find that place as funny as we had envisioned them before. 

“We need to revamp the city”, I told her.

“Yes”, she admitted.

We agreed upon the decision to be frequent there from the next day onwards. 

“We have to rebuild the place, brother”, she asserted, “with more beautiful buildings”.  She said and continued, “We need to plant forests in the middle of it, so that animals can walk through it freely and don’t you think we need to set up more swings in the park for the kids?,” She said before leaving the place. But, we knew that we wouldn’t be returning back to our old hangout as we both had worldly ambitions, and dreams. 

We never returned to that place. Today, whenever I go back to my home, I wish to imagine the old places again, though with a secret smile. I crave for talking to those old characters in that casual manner, and chase away one more time the Burglars and fantasy creatures from attacking the city. But, being a matured one, all those nonage plays are a taboo now. My helplessness is aggravating but there is no way around to the land where my distant memories reside.

"This post has been published by me as a part of IBL; the Battle of Blogs, sponsored by WriteupCafe.com. Join us at our official website and Facebook page.www.indianbloggersleague.comwww.facebook.com/IndianBloggersLeague

49 comments:

  1. BRO,this is a very good post..I am proud of you ...wonderful read and justifies the topic...even i have imagined such things...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ste,

      Thank you very much for your great support. Everyone has such stories to tell I guess

      Delete
  2. Memories from the past (sweet or bitter) follow or haunt us throughout the lifetime. In the busy corridors of life at the later stages, these childhood experiences create unique feelings. Yes Tom, sad that we can't no longer chase the burglars and the fantasy creatures! Well written!

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    Replies
    1. Hello Sibi,

      I am happy that you could relate to my memories.

      Delete
  3. Nice writing Tom! Best of luck for the contest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Bhatiaji..:)

      Delete
  4. Childhood, some of the best memories, and definitely a time that resides in our minds till our last days. Sometimes we forget, but its always a part of the subconscious. Liked the way you've built a story around it. Good work! All the best!
    Anjali
    team Pune Blogin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anjali,

      Welcome to my blog. You too have similar memories I guess :)

      Thank you very much fr the comment, an do come back..

      Delete
  5. wow made me nostalgic, you already know how much i rememebr my childhood and the good old days ..

    all the best for the contest sir..

    Bikram's

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    Replies
    1. Biks Bhai,

      Proud to be able to make you nostalgic..Yes, I knew some of the memories u shared via your space..

      Thank you

      Delete
  6. Nice work - the examples were apt and the narration was good.Enjoyed the read.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Gyanban for the appreciation..:)

      Delete
  7. That was a beautiful write up Tom - I would go on to say it is the best of your posts! Congrats on such delightful childhood and all the best in the contest!

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    Replies
    1. Hello NRI Girl,

      Thank you..Yeah I had such an imaginative childhood..thanks for the nice words..:)

      Delete
  8. Brilliant post Tom! I know u will win IBL :)

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    Replies
    1. Hello Ekta.:) Thank you..but dont say i will, but say we will win IBL:) thank you for your great support :)

      Delete
  9. Ahh nostalgia, I'm from Kerala myself and remember weaving the same sorts of stories with my siblings at our farmhouse there. Good work!! ATB

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    Replies
    1. Hello Sandy,

      Happy to meet another man from Kerala in IBL. I am delighted to hear that u could related to my kind of memories..

      Thanks You

      Delete
  10. Dear,
    Once again, you made an excellent post. Good language and good style of presentation.
    I also had some such memories...
    If a writer or a creative person make a work and the reader/consumer feel the same happened in my life too, or I have heard about this before or I know this... etc., Such feelings...
    Then, it is a classic work...
    Yes man, you made a classic- in your own way...
    Keep on writing dear...
    Expecting more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mahesh,

      Your appreciation is very valuable to me..
      I am overjoyed to hear that my post brought ur childhood memories back..

      Thank you very much

      Delete
  11. tom... great .... super.... i don't know what to tell you .... beautiful post...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for the nice words..

      Delete
  12. very different take on the topic...enjoyed reading it

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Critics..:)

      Delete
  13. No offense to your friends, but you are and will always be my favorite Indian blogger. You surprise me with your imaginative stories. I get whisked away as if I'm on a tour of your city/workplace/childhood... One question: Did you keep any journals, notes, or maps of your imaginary adventures? When you're famous one day those will become valuable artifacts.

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    Replies
    1. Hello W2W,

      Thank you thats a great appreciation. being the favorite Indian blogger of such a great blogger from a very different country is not a minor thing..What I feel is that you are able to relate to the stories that I write in one way or the other..No..I dont have any journal, but after we felt that we were missing that imaginations, we used to write down the names of the characters..but I never am going to reveal those names, because they are so embarrassing ones..I am currently at my home, so let me check where that list of names is kept, must be somewhere amidst the heap of my childhood trashes...hmm..

      Delete
  14. Childhood... Great time we had then.. Right? Nicely written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im sure harish you have also some wonderful childhood tales to share..Thank You

      Delete
  15. Looks like you had an extremely imaginative childhood. And, given that your imagination was so structured as a child no wonder you grew up to be a great writer :)

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    Replies
    1. Hello Suresh bhai,

      Yeah..thats almost true, i had an imaginative childhood just like everyone had..thank you for your appreciation

      Delete
  16. Imaginary friends are always a part of a child's life..How creative and skillful are the kids !! ..they can pass a whole day with just their imaginations and still have the best day of their life.
    I have had mine and now, I see my kids having their own...Childhood an artistic acclaim !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Uma,

      Welcome to my blog..To tell you the truth..I never believed that children other than us also had imaginary friends..We thought that it was a special gift for us to have imaginary friends..Now from the comments, what I understand is that majority of the children have imaginary friends..

      Delete
  17. Ha, Tomz, when I was reading this post, I was wondering, how crazy was it to do all thattt....but when I started reading the comments...I wonder...Maybe I am crazy that I never did any of those things that you did...I never imagined any such imaginary characters or lived in such a world...Maybe the only characters I have personally imagined where those ghosts that cud be roaming around...especially the red eyed white female who always looked thru the little gap between the doors of my bedroom...haaa!!!

    Maybe I was little too overboard in the realistic world...hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not surprised at the revelation that u dint have any imaginary friends. In fact when I was a boy, I thought that imaginary friends were only our assets, not any other children could have dreamt of such friends..But the comments I received fr this post surprised me , except urs..:)

      Delete
  18. I really liked your friends and the city...habby blog aniv...5 yrs?....u should make a book of your fantasies

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    Replies
    1. I am planning to do that rekha ..Pls help me to pick some ten or twenty posts that would fit for an anthology..:)

      Delete
  19. Tomz children are very imaginative creatures.. Yes loneliness can sometimes drive you to imagine playmates and interaction with playmates like this often creates a world of its own. We lose touch with our imagination as we grow older.. but these imaginative children often grow up to be very creative adults!

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    Replies
    1. Your comment perfectly explains the phenomena of imaginary friends commonly seen in children..

      Delete
  20. Dear Tomz,
    that is a very interesting post! Having imaginative friends is fascinating - I never had, but founded a 'gang' with other children (of course I was the leader :-), but I know of others who had - think of the Brontes, or in modern time Nora Ephron. Wouldn't it a good idea to take your memories down as a book for children?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear britta,

      You were the leader of the gang!..and there is no surprise in it..coz u have the leadership quality..Yes..I believe Brontes too had imaginary friends..great to share my experiences with some ones who are great..

      Delete
  21. Creating imaginary friends is a part of growing up I suppose.
    Lovely post.

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  22. Hello Haddock,

    Thank you. yes i also think so. but the comments say some of them have heard about it, while some other one havnt even dreamt abt it

    ReplyDelete
  23. Tom...came back to read my reply...don't know, how my comment vanished...:((
    A well written piece. And I think you painted a much bigger picture than the pasted one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire story. Very hard hitting, but so true!!
    Hope this goes...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello panchali,

      Thank you for coming..I dnt understand how did ur comment escaped without my notice..I checked my trash folders..but nothing...I dnt have my spam detection mechanism turned on also..

      Haha..and frankly, I painted only a smaller picture, a very smaller picture, actually my imaginations were gerater than this.. I dnt want to narrate them all..coz people will call me crazy..Thank you fr ur comments.

      Delete
  24. Wishing you all the luck in the world ..... not that I think you will need it as your words speak for themselves.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the wishes..Petty Witter

      Delete
  25. Did not know that someone loved my post edit so much that he didn't put any new post after that...Isse kehte hai Ishq, junon :)

    ReplyDelete

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