Aug 17, 2007


Charity Begins at home.

I am writing this on the last few days of my stay in a foreign land, on a business visit.
A charity sale was going on in our office. It was a cookie-candy-pizza sale as a fund raiser for the Alzheimer’s disease research.

Colleague: what is going on? Why are there so many cookies and Pizzas?
Me: It’s for charity.
Colleague: Charity? Is it free?
Me: No! It’s a fund raiser. Charity for the needy
Colleague: Oh.. Then India needs lots of charity.. Ask these people to give us the money..
Me: Why? To end up in the politician’s pocket?
Colleague: so what? We will fill up the politician’s pocket so much that some of it will at least overflow to the public.
Me: Our politicians will enlarge their pockets, if something like that happens.
Colleague: Then we would fill them up even more, so that something surely overflows.
Me: Or…. Better still… We could puncture the politician’s pocket…
Colleague: suddenly becomes mature, looks away and shrugs
Me: Come-on, what was wrong with THAT !!!????


Those wonder years in the wonder land..

There is this friendly cheerful lady in office. A single mom living with her parents, and her 4 year old daughter. Over lunch, I asked her about her daughter. Among other interesting anecdotes, she told me that her daughter freaks out her grandma with an imaginary friend of hers. The little girl used to say with a straight face, “Nana, I am not talking to myself. Can’t you see this girl sitting on the toilet seat? She is waiting for her momma and papa to come and pick her up...”

Kids imagine all sorts of things. I had imagined so many things. I always wanted a houseful of siblings. I had imagined an elder sister and a younger brother. So strong was my hallucination, that I went around telling children at school what my sister did to my hair and how my kid bro broke my toys. It wasn’t until a couple of standards later, that one of the girls from school came to my house and asked my parents for my akka and thambi. My mom had to bail me out, by saying they were cousins.

Then there was this game that I used to play with myself. I used to imagine a parallel universe where things happened opposite to the world as I knew it. When I cried, I imagined that my counterpart in the parallel world laughed. When I stood, she sat. When I slept, she was awake. When I said yes, she said no. There was no rhyme or reason to this little game. But I kept playing it. And it did amuse me a lot. I don’t remember when I stopped playing this game, and it is surprising that I still can recollect it.

Childhood is when reality is imagination and imagination becomes reality. Things didn’t have to exist to be true. As long as they kept you happy and amused. As long as you believed in them.

Then all of a sudden you grow up. Imagination becomes difficult. Or Art.
Beliefs become naiveté. Or do they? Some may linger on. I, for one, could use a parallel universe every now and then.


F e r r a r i said...

When we grow up we lose the childhood innocence. And its easy to imagine, when one is innocent or rather ignorant ;)

musafir said...

"puncture the politician's pocket" - excellent alliteration there, but then that also sounds like a one-line plot for a Shankar movie :-)

And yes, kids do have their imaginary worlds. I'm sure every little kid has had his/her own private universe to retreat into. And sometimes, some of us carry it into adulthood ... I can't put a finger on why or where one loses this private world. Maybe it's because the real world holds too much interest. Or maybe it's because, as adults, we realize our imaginations are cliched, somethign we didn't care about when we were young.

Karthik said...

Hmm - i will ignore the parts about politicians and wishing to have an elder sister (seriously u must be kidding me !! Aghhhhhh)

The part about kids and imaginary worlds was nice. Reminds me of a conversation i was having with a colleague (shud i say fellow student ??) in class today. This guy's married and has a kid which is 4 months old. He dashes off during the weekends to see his kid. I told him having a family entails so much responsibilities.. He told me i was mistaken and gave me this analogy - for a kid who's one year old, the greatest fear is the absence of food or a loss of toy. For a school kid, the greatest fear is the class teacher punishing him.. Then he gave me an all knowing smile and i suddenly felt like an immature kid !!!

Hari said...

True. As kids we were better at imagining. I used to have this weird kind of small button like projections in my left forearm. I had a very strong belief that they were "magic buttons". Each one used to have a specific purpose and I have a very vague memory of kids my age gathering around me and listening with awe as I explained the magical properties of each button. I don't know where those buttons have disappeared now...

justrohin said...

sounds like one of the ghost movie script writers in making :)

justrohin said...

on second thoughts I too used to imagine when I was a kid that life would start again.. so in case I have missed out on something now or I have done something wrong now, the next time around Id do everything Picture Perfect..

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

On the filling up the pockets, I'm with your colleague on that -

On the kids imagination - its amazing to see how fertile a kid's imagination is. As we grew up, we get more experience/data, but imagination sure dries up !!

~SuCh~ said...

@ ferrari :and when one has the trust and the time. :)
@ musafir : guilty as charged.. m a fan of Shankar's social awareness movies.. However implausible they might be..:)..

And how can one's imagination be cliched when it is personal and one's own? And it is reality that doesnt hold as much privacy?

@ karthik : i did want an elder sis, wonder why i didnt desire the other combo of an elder bro and younger sis... :)

nice analogy .. although i didnt fully get the import.. being a kid may not be as complex as adulthood.. Or perhaps it is even more. :)

@hari : thats a cute one.. :)

@rohin : another neat one, could be of use to absolve one of remorse or guilt...and look forward for tomorrow..
No, me no ___ story writer. me too chicken to even spell the word ___. :)

@ G : nice piece... But the logic is indeed warped. Too much of goodness also isnt good. And this is not a long term solution either.

Data dried dreams.. :) Thanks for the inspiration.. could use that alliteration for a biography that I could write when I am 60.. :)

musafir said...

Just because it's one's own and is personal doesn't necessarily mean that it's not cliched. The correlation doesn't hold up.

Point being, as kids we're not bothered whether our imaginations are cliched or not. As adults, we realize art is nothing if it's not original, and we realize that our imaginations -- battered by popular culture and t.v., besides lacking in discipline / dedication -- can only conjure up watered down versions of a fantasy world.

One can always shut oneself off. Whether one actually wants to or not is a different question (hence the line about reality holding too much interest). There is, I suspect, a certain comfort in the immediacy of reality that one is contended with and keeps one from seeking alternate universes.

rsubras said...

the second one was brilliant.. :) beautifully expressed

first one was a kadainjedutha mokkai :)

now i know why you are having two posts in one...:p

~SuCh~ said...

@ musafir : i thought cliched meant something that is common cos of overuse..

" our imaginations -- battered by popular culture and t.v., besides lacking in discipline / dedication -- can only conjure up watered down versions of a fantasy world."

--Here is where we lose our imagination. When it stops being personal and is so influenced by all things external.

"a certain comfort in the immediacy of reality"

Comfort for those lazy of mind. Dormant. Or cowardice. Would not call that interest.

All hypothesis and philosophy is at some level associated with creative imagination.

@rsu :

Thanks.. And thats why it is a pot pourri.. :)

musafir said...

Okay, two things -

Imagination does not exist without being able to draw from reality. Even a child's imagination. So, reality always influences imagination. As a child we think too much of our own imaginaions, because we are not aware of how cliched/commonplace they are. As adutls we are more grounded and realize that art is as much a product of effort and discipline as it is of a concerted effort on the par of an imagination to break barriers.

Investigating reality calls for a greater perspicacity than imagining fantasies. If you choose to label it as laziness/cowardice, one can only disagree.

Point being, a child's imagination is mostly cute, and rarely, brilliant. It is to be taken with a pinch of salt as all things.

musafir said...

And yes, if as adults we are not able to imagine, I would put it down to a lack of effort (in addition to the usual argument of reality holding too much interest, which is not judging reality either).

aravindh KRISHNAMOORTHY said...

Read the story: "THE DOOR IN THE WALL" on this link: