Read THIS First ..

Read THIS First..
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Monday, August 20, 2012

It really IS a fairy tale...

I suppose you've read or heard or seen fairy tales? They're those stories with pretty girls and boys, a happy, beautiful family, having fun like there's no tomorrow and then their lives are struck by a tragedy. A fairy or a magical creature comes along, there's an adventure and then a 'happily ever after'. Well, at least this was what we read or heard as kids. Wonderful stories we looked up to, with bated breath, wanting the wicked witch to die quickly, for the prince to find the girl soon, for it to be okay in the end. Celebrating the happy moments in the story, the baby is born, the magic heals, they learn how to fly and we, the kids, live those moments as if they're happening with us, as if it's our stories and our win at the end.

And then we grow up.

And forget those moments.

Discard them as mere 'tales'.

Well, they're not. Just tales, I mean. 

Let me explain. Who writes all these tales? Human beings. How do they think of them? Using their mind and their imagination. How far can we imagine stuff? All that's possible. Really, what we are capable of imagining or thinking, is all that really is possible. I'm not going to get into a psychic mode and tell you how or why or whatever, because that's all I know myself. That's what I believe in. 

When you see or read a really good fairy tale, you tend to get so immersed in its magic and find it so wonderful that you start seeing it as something that's impossible. At the same time you feel all those wonderful things the characters in the story are feeling, your body tingles with delight at the mention of something magical happening, something so beautiful, it takes your breath away. You wonder if it all really can happen. You get muddled up thinking about life as you know it and with how it's projected through the tale. After some time, you just forget about it. 

Even if you don't believe in them, you understand the overall theme. Stuff happens, good and bad. People come, kind and evil. Mistakes are made, once and repeatedly. It's all good in the end, happy and happy. Well, our lives are really just like that. Like fairy tales. We're born, we live, we fight, we love, we learn, we face tragedies, we experience profoundness, and then we're happy before the close. Even with all the wrong stuff happening with you, there'd still be something that makes you happy. A particular flower, a scent, a person. That's just what I think. You might have completely opposite views.

This post was prompted by the movie, Peter Pan I saw today. I just love watching such movies, the ones based on fairy tales and those adapted from books. They're always awesome! I think I read the complete book, Peter Pan about two years ago, not the small version for kids. I know I'm not exactly a 'kid', okay, I'm not a kid at all, but I still enjoyed reading it. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it more when I was younger and this is where the second point I wanted to say, comes.

You'd probably know by now I'm such a big advocate for reading, especially in children. I think if you can help a kid develop a love for reading, you've changed the entire way he'll live his life. And it'd be much better than what he'll live otherwise, that much I can vouch for. The biggest put off for me comes when I see little kids not reading at all. And it's not just about plain 'reading'. Some doting moms (and please know, it's no personal comment to anyone) would brush away this statement saying, 'my child knows how to read'. The point isn't knowing how to do it, but understanding why. 

See? My point exactly!
Reading not the textbooks, but the story books, the fairy tales, believing in magic and having the faith that all would be good if they're good themselves. Just think, shouldn't the kids be reading all these, instilling their faith in goodness and kindness and miracles? Shouldn't they at least for a few years, believe in tooth fairies, dwarfs, Santa Claus and unicorns, instead of listening all the while, 'it's not real'? Why don't we encourage them? They need to have an imagination. No, sorry, it wouldn't fetch them an A+ in school, but they'd know, when they wish, they have a place to go, in their minds, in those stories, in all the good things. Seems too far fetched? If yes, stop reading. You don't get it already, so I doubt reading further would make any difference. 

I'll just talk about India, to the point of what I've personally seen. We don't seem to have a culture of bedtime stories, for one. There are hardly any parents who'd sit beside the kids and narrate them tales, which is really sad. Those who do, I'd say you're doing a great job! Instilling in kids this sense of wonder, excitement, hope and belief, you're making efforts to turn them into more responsible, thinking and feeling beings. Two, parents get their toddlers enrolled in so many activities, the kids don't even understand what they're supposed to be doing! Why does everyone want a little prodigy? What difference would it make if your little boy loves Harry Potter, gets a B grade in average and loves football? Why do you want to discard his love for Harry Potter, make him get three extra tuition classes every day to get that A+, pick him out from the park where he's playing football with his friends to see him getting 'professionally coached and play with real players'? What's wrong with you?

I've seriously seen parents, literally, really crying just because their smart daughter didn't get into the 'Star Kids of the Year' list in school! I saw the kid feeling miserable, not because she didn't get into a stupid list, but because the mom's crying out unfairness and she probably would be feeling embarrassed and even like a failure (because duh! she made her mom cry!). I just don't understand what's up with parents these days. They say studies have become incredibly tough. That's true, but that doesn't mean you make your kids' lives hell. What's with all those dance, abacus, cooking, skating, sports, music classes you're making them go through? You say it's because they like it, but I know it's not always true. Sometimes you don't even ask them and make them do stuff they'd otherwise never do. You want bright, overall performers, so that you can show them off, not kids who'd love you, no matter what. Because believe me, if you're making them go through all that, they'd just resent you. 

Instead of all this crap, just spend your money on buying them books, read with them, enact stories in the comfort of your home, and spend on what your child says he wants to do, not what you think would be good for him. Of course, that's subject to exceptions, but I mean in a general sense. It's all about stories, everyone has a story. Heck, every thing has a story! You just have to look carefully, instead of a mere glance. See around. Life is really like a fairy tale. If you don't understand this, at least let your kids figure it out themselves.

PS- As Peter Pan says, 'Never say, "there's no such thing as a fairy". When anyone says that, one fairy somewhere, dies.' 


  1. Great post,Ashna :)..Very often,parents are so crazy about creating miniature geniuses out of tiny toddlers that they go to the extent of perishing the juvenile imagination.. kids today no longer go through fairy tales the way we did (i mean, most of them don't)and the pressure for academic excellence always crushes their desire to read story books..imagine tiny kids as small as 6years being sent for tuition classes !And if the child manages to get a A+ , the parents are the ones who are brimming with's actually their win, they can show off..but they don't really realize that they are, in a way, setting boundaries to their child's imagination and outlook towards life as a whole ...

    1. Agree! And the way most of them are raised, they don't even desire reading, since they don't know what it is. It's all about what you teach them.
      Thanks for the comment :)

  2. I have experienced many many things while reading books. And out of many magical moments that I have where I could feel the extraordinary, the otherworldly, happening right in front of my eyes, the best is the moment when sometimes all of a sudden or after reading what I expect to happen, I get goosebumps and a kind of current flows through my body.

    That's the kind of magic books have, the magic to change your imaginations, to change your dreams, to change your life. That kind of magic can never be found in a forced A++.

    Rather than making our child a tool of our status and pride, we should try and make him/her a reason for his/her own happiness in life. And the gift of reading, is one of the best gifts we can give to our child in that process.

    Wonderful post Ashna :D and do excuse me for this loooong comment. :P

    1. Totally. That's exactly what the beauty of books, is. Their ability to make us live so many lives! I'm glad you know what I mean. And I love loooooong comments ;) Thanks! :)

  3. Superb!

    Loved the PS the most. You are so right in saying this Ashna, these days people associate reading as a very boring activity. Luckily for me my mom was a voracious reader and she introduced me to reading. Somehow my brother could never pick this habit and till date detests reading.

    But I agree with you books are the best friend a child can have. There is a time for each one of us to exist in our imagination filled with fairy, magicians, flying carpets, godmothers and not to forget prince charming too ;)

    The real life is anyways always existant around us!!

    1. Oh I'm so glad to know you picked this up from your mom! It's great, really :D My mom introduced me to reading too, though she isn't a great reader herself. And my brother too, doesn't read :|

      True... what's real is anyway there all the time. What we need to see is what's not visible.

      Thanks so much for your wonderful comment :)

  4. Almost 17-18 years ago, a lady bought a 'silly' Champak for around 7 bucks and read a few stories to her son. It got him hooked instantly. Slowly, he learnt to read himself, letter by letter, word by word; while she still managed some time for his bedtime story. Sometimes, his father too made him lie on his chest and told him stories about real life. Many years have passed, and the son now types the comment you're reading.

    I'm immensely grateful to God to have awesome parents
    who inculcated this li'l habit, that grew into what I'm today. Sure I'm not terribly brilliant, and the games I play are electronic, but that is where happiness lies for me. I personally (and very cruelly) pity those who never imbibed the habit of reading.

    One of the best posts I have read in a long time. You have captured the idea very beautifully Ashna. I can see some pointers towards parental pressure as well, which amazes me too. The poor kids have nothing when it comes to creativity or imagination. Even if they have, it's either ignored or suppressed.

    Very well written hits it right on the spot. Looking forward to more such extraordinary stuff from your end.
    Godspeed :)

    1. Thanks Shivang :)
      I too read Champak a lot! And other little comics that were famous back then. Nothing would make me happier than to see everyone loving books :)

  5. Something that I strongly believe in, put across brilliantly by you Ashna! :)

    Reading is so important for a holistic development. Every time I read a book, I find something entirely fresh, entirely new. The entire journey through a book is just inexplicable. A non-reader is definitely missing out on a lot in life!

    Though I started reading a little late, but I still remember my first 'Famous Five' that my mom gifted me, insisting that I take up reading!

    Though I don't read much of fiction, and fairy tales, I do believe in magic and miracles! Coincidentally, my recent post too talks about miracles :)

    PS: I loved your PS :p

  6. and and.. you missed my comment on your photography post!! :/

    1. Loved your comment! Thanks! Aah.. Famous Five, love those days when I just adored Enid Blyton. I mean, I still do :P

      I'll check out your post, and the lost comment too! ;)

  7. Ashna, this was a beautiful post and telling bedtime stories helps in reliving the childhood and I am a strong advocate of the same, having done this. Life is nothing but a fairy tale where beauty and the beast play their roles:)

    1. Exactly! I'm so glad to see your comment and to know that you agree! Thanks! :)


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