My first foray into the world of books and literature like many children was thanks to Fairy Tales. I found the concept of living happily ever after beautiful. I thought the Prince Charming really would come charging through on his white horse. A dream I kind of held on to till I was seventeen and then my world came crashing down because suddenly I was legally an adult. (Big deal, though, here! Because you can be 18 and you can be 25 but here in India as long as you live at home you’re still kids. Kids who cannot stay outside past 8:30 pm, kids who cannot go out to Friday night parties because disapproving parents will stay up to receive you and yell at you over your hangover.
But mostly because you like this perfect image of yourself that has been crafted in front of your family and you’d rather not ruin that reputation of yours. But I digress.) A long time ago, I was asked to write a guest post for The Solitary Writer and because of varying reasons and quite a handful of excuses, I hadn’t been able to get the work done that was until this evening, though. Suddenly nothing seems more important to me than sharing with you, certain books from my childhood, and what I think about the books that had made up my whole Universe once upon a time!
1. Grimm’s Fairy Tales:
We were all fools once when we believed that every one of us got to live happily ever after in the end. Because now that we closely examine the story, we see that not everything ended with being neatly tied up in a bow. There are also so many gaping plot holes in some of the stories, that enthusiasts such as myself are willing to read up every single version of the stories known to man to know where I could possibly find the missing pieces! My way of thinking was pretty simple back when I was a child.
2. Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales
I am never going to understand why this man’s stories were called fairy tales. Because the Little Match Girl dies, The Mermaid dies, and even the Steadfast Tin Soldier falls into the fire before he can tell the ballerina he loves her! Exactly, how does anyone in his stories reach the promised ever after?
3. The Legends of Greece and Rome
The Gods are supposed to be great. The Goddess is supposed to be just and kind. But these legends paint them as mere humans with the gift of immortality and power. Come to think of it, they are no better than vampires! Especially the ones which have come to greet us through our television screens now! If you look closely, every story in these legends is someone manipulating someone else. One person is the puppet, the other puppeteer. Suddenly, as adults, we look past the thrill of adventure we felt as kids and realize that Gods could walk the Earth once upon a time. And they weren’t quite the saints we make them out to be.
4. The Little Prince
When you read this book as a child, you find it amusing and beautiful. You want to be best friends with The Little Prince. But when you go back to the book as an adult you finally realize what the book had been trying to tell you all along. The adult world is complicated. Children’s worlds are far better and far simpler. It was pretty heartbreaking for me to realize what the real message of this book was.
5. Alice in Wonderland
Last but not the least, the tale of Alice who went down the rabbit hole! Those of us who grew up doting on this little girl and wonderland, now realize what the true meaning behind those seemingly childish words was. “How long is forever?” “Sometimes, just a second.” And with that, I am going to end this blog post. It is quite nice to know that there is comfort in re-reading our childhood books even though we get hidden messages. Most of all, we finally realize what these books have tried to tell us from the start: no matter what happens to you, no matter the pain and the heartbreaks you suffer, and no matter how difficult it seems to get through the day, always remember that there’s something constant. That there’s something that will always wait for you. Your favorite childhood book!