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
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