Songs of the Magical Castle (Part Two)

Yes, at 24 years of age, I am still a huge fan od disney(and yes, I am wearing an unabashed grin right now). Productions of disney had made my childhood magical and still brings on a wistful look on my face at the mention of pixiedust.

This post is a tribute to those amazing artists who made it possible for me to carry the magic from the movies and tuck them in a safe corner of my heart.

The flight to the castle has now come to a close, as you gently settle on the drawbridge that leads into the castle. You cross the moat, and you see what looks suspiciously like Mickey’s first steamboat, but you push on: the castle calls.

The massive arched entrance now stands before you streaming golden light, provoking a spattering of goosebumps on your arms that you ignore. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and press forward.

You open your eyes, but not to the castle walls you expected to see; for you are at the base of a hill, where the forest behind you ends. Around you, mills the crowd of every beast imaginable: panicky zebras,  dozing hippos, figety girraffes, every kind of apes that poke,punch and jostle, elephants, shuffling meerkats, even a bunch of grouchy hyenas observe from a distance. But what holds your attention is on a ledge near the hilltop. You see a humanoid shape lumbering to the edge (you do know old Rafiqi, dont you?). He pauses, and as the voices around you raise to a thunder: raises in his arms an infant. The yet to be Lion King. And in your heart, you hear the world resounding as Elton John booms “The Circle of Life”. You close your eyes.


The world around you has changed. You find yourself in a forest. Massive trees put up a canopy of lush green that makes it almost impossible to tell dawn from dusk. The steady “neek-breek” of crickets and the warbling of a brook at your feet are the only sounds you hear. You push past the gnarled roots at your feet to follow the brook. A few stumbles and several mosquito bites later finds you standing at the edge of a lake. The open sky above finally tells you its nighttime. The lake water, reflecting the sickle moon above is perfectly still. You have a feeling that this place is a sanctuary. One that a young lion and his mate will soon visit ( though for some reason, smartass meercat and stinky wildboar also crosses your mind) . With the lyrics of “Can you feel the love tonight” on your lips, you turn, and are gone with the sigh of the wind.


Agrabah. A jewel of a kingdom in the heart of burning sands. Tonight, as the heat of day gives way to chill of night, all is still except for the magic carpet soring the night skies. Can you hear the street rat of not so long ago profess his love to the princess? Offering to share his world of dreams with the words: ” I can show you the world… Shining, shimmering, splendid…”
But better not intrude in the privacy of the young couple. You close your eyes and…


China. A perfectly kept garden. Strolling its perfectly paved walk, you come across maid by a pond. Listen to her heart’s complaint:
“Who is this girl I see, staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?”
And I wonder if you wonder, that in the world that you inhabit, does everyone ask the same question of themselves? And maybe go along to ask: “When will my reflection show who I am?”


Swiftly flitting past.
A forest, an eagle soring above.
A wolf howling to the moon.
Afar:smoke rising. A sense of desolation.
A lithe woman rushes through the forest trails effortlessly.
Somwhere else, an army stumbles awkwardly forward and swears at the forest around them.
The woman reaches the edge of a cliff. Jumps.
As she hits the base of the waterfall, you sesne exhilaration.
But from the soldiers, you feel misery.
And you hear yourself humming:
“You can own the earth and still,
All you’ll own’s earth until…
You can paint with all the colors of the wind…”
The eagle in the sky gives one more lusty screech, then vanishes beyond sight.


An abandoned child.
There’s a thunderstorm coming on and the pitiful creature’s wails go almost unheard except for a hulking form. Not human. Not in form. But those eyes…they have a mother’s warmth. As the beast’s eyes look into the child’s, they profess a promise:
“Come stop your crying
It’ll be allright
Just take my hand
Hold it tight
I’ll protect you
From all around you
I’ll be here, dont you cry…”


A faint light afar.
You feel your journey is at an end. An what is it you will be carrying back with you from this wonderous adventure?
A song:
“I’ve finally seen it
Now i have to believe:
All those precious stories
All the world is made of faith
And trust
And pixie dust…”


Music of the Magic Castle (Part One)

Imagine: a sky of startling blue. It’s dusk: you can tell from the light; and the stars in the sky burn bright, beaming down at you. There are clouds underneath you. Downy as cotton candy and lined silver in the light of the stars above, you almost feel their soft caress as you take baby steps baklckwards to see what’s below.

It’s a land bathed in the deep blue of dusk. A landscape, perhaps every child has etched in his mind’s eye: Mountains afar, shrouded in clouds from which springs a river, which, serpentine in it’s path, divides the land in two. It’s water glitters silver under the stars, as you move, faster still. A boat, it’s white, unmarked sail hoisted high, cuts through the water. There are hamlets along the bends of the river. From your height, the pinpricks of light from the tiny cottages seem as if a scattering of diamonds. As your eyes trace the river (still moving backwards:faster and faster now) you hear…music.

It’s faint at first, and you wonder if it’s actually there or your mind is giving voice to what your heart wants to hear. But then, it rises, and the pitter patter that is your heart rises along with it to a thunder; and you realize that you know this music. You’ve heard it a hundred times before. You look down at the river, and see what you have been hoping to see: a Castle. It’s reflection shimmers golden on the river, and then you’re past it.

A silver flag fluttering on it’s top and resplendent in golden light, the castle stands proud with it’s cone topped towers and golden windows. The river has passed directly underneath the castle. Fireworks have already started to light up the sky above in every hues of the rainbow; But you don’t need them to know the magical name that this castle belongs to. It’s already started forming in your mind’s eye: Walt Disney.

Within the walls of this castle, dreams come true.

On Eternity

One of my favourite fairytales since childhood has always been that of Aladdin and his magic lamp. To be more specific, however, it was the concept of the three boons that intrigued me. After years of fantasizing(and attaining a bit of maturity), I’d already decided on what boon I’d have asked for in place of the arab street urchin.

Somewhere along the line, I started taking interest in the wishes those around me might want to make. So, I asked around. What surprised me, was the number of people who instantly opted for the same wish, the evil Vizier of the tales had lusted after: Eternal Life.

Here is what puzzles me to no ends: Why would so many people want something that, to me, seems like a very severe punishment? Is it the propaganda? If we look around, will find religious, mythical and folk-tales abound with references to the glories of eternal life, be it in this plane or the one after ascension.

Christian texts promise eternal existance to the virtuous: by god’s side, among his ministrels. Muslim scripts pronounce something similar. Hinduism takes a different look, with promises of fading into eternity/ nothingness once the cycle of life has purged the soul pure( Yet, we find gods and demons warring for the right to drink amrit, the elexir of eternal life), Egyptians have reference to the Philosophher’s stone.

And yet, what the stories all conveniently forget to mention is: what to do with all the time once eternal life has been attained? What we all miserably fail to grasp is the enormity of the concept:’Eternity’. I like to think of it this way: If we take every grain of sand on every beach of the world to represent a billion years, ‘eternity’ hasn’t even begun.

I might as well quote Marvin the paranoid android from Douglas Adams’ “Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” at this point: “The first ten million years were the worst. And the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years, I didn’t enjoy at all. After that, I went into a sort of a decline.”

Looking down upon the world with nothing to look forward to for all eternity: not a fate I’d look forward to. So even if i was somehow offered eternal life, I believe my reply would be: Thanks, but no thanks.

The Broken Heart

Haltingly, the man had walked into the shop, eyes searching. It was somewhat of an oddity, for they always came with their younglings in tow. I could feel the excitement around me, for I had once known the feeling. For those around me, it was the same every time: ‘Will it be me?’. For me, it was indifference. I knew i wouldn’t be chosen. Disillusionment had come swiftly. Every time, some child’s scanning eyes passed me by, they’d take on an expression of… distaste. Over time, I’d come to know well that expression.

Those eyes of his were different, as they came to rest on me. They lingered, passed me by, and again came back to me. Indecision, and a slight confoundment flitting through his features.
And then, ‘I’ll take him’.

I could hear a child’s voice, dripping with anticipation, from the other side of the wrapping.
‘Whom did you bring for me, babaii? Is it xxxxx? Or xxxxxx?’
Chortling, the man’s voice: ‘You know those names confound me silly, Gigil. But he seemed a fierce enough fellow to me. See for yourself.’

Sounds of unwrapping. Then, as my sight adjusted to the light, the face of a child, looking down at me with growing dismay.
‘Babaiii! Himmmm?!’
A flabergasted: ‘Why? What of him?’.
‘Don’t you know? He’s xxxxxx. I’ll be laughing stock among my friends for having him!’ The last, drawn out into a prolnged wail.

The argument had gone on for a while, until the exasperated father had put a lid on it with a few curt words.

In the end, unboxed i was, and played with as well. Though it was not with excitement, but rather a zeal bent upon making one single point: I was not wanted.

Countless games, countless encounters, all ending with a similar note: me being vanquished. Being pelted by ballistics, being shot, drowning, falling off a cliff: every misfortune an imaginative child’s mind could concoct, was visited upon me.

I was chasing one of my owner’s favoured playthings, and i knew well it was to turn to an ambush. Years had passed and i knew well the young one’ s games by now. The chase was almost at an end when there was a snapping sound. The next thing i knew, one half of me was looking at the other half, lying a feet away. Not surprising, given the rough usage i had seen.

What did surprise me, was my owner’s wails of despair. Clutching my halves in each hand, he was inconsolable. The father came, his expression of mild consternation as i well remembered from the first day. Promises were made, and kept. An hour under the father’s dextrous hands, and i was whole again. And the child smiled. I had been broken in half, gone was the gleam of newly minted plastic, my limbs flailed about, as if those of a marionette with broken strings, i had seen much worse wear than his other playthings. Yet, i realized, he’d come to love best the one who suffered in silence all the indignities piled upon him.

The child is a man now, returning home once in a blue moon. And whenever he spots me nestled among his other playthings, his smile holds warmth. And i am content.

Blogger’s Note: This post is dedicated to Cobra Commander, the only toy i ever broke. Broke my heart along with it.

The Paranormal Incident

Author’s Note: Being born and brought up in a household that acknowledges, and to a certain degree respects the existence of an almighty benevolent being, one would expect me to hold to the same. I am sorry to say that it has been years since any such blind belief has bled out of me. I do not make claims disavowing that which i cannot prove or condemn. I simply choose not to let it influence the life I lead.

Yet, what i cannot deny is: There are times when life throws things at you that the rational mind simply cannot explain or comprehend. Here is something that was passed down to me by my parents, whose account i would doubt under no circumstances. It is up to the reader to make what he/she will of it.

I was born and till the age of four, brought up in a colliery belt called Bhanora, some miles from the Asansol Township. For those who do not know, a mining belt can be a bleak and deserted seeming place at the best of times. Imagine a quarter that stands in front of an empty nothingness streatching as far as the naked eye can see. A road that claims connectivity to civilization, a sparse spattering of a few more residences behind us, and worst of all, monsterous dumps of coal anywhere you care to look. NOT a very jolly place to be. Mind you, i do not paint this picture from the distorted memories of a child. I have visited Bhanora a couple of times in my adulthood and the dreariness of the place has never failed to impress me. To the best of my knowledge, the abandoned buildings still stand, grinning their brick-toothed grins and displaying their vandalised innards to any unfortunate passer-by.

At the age of three, I used to call one of these (then not-so-vandalised) quarters ‘Home’. It was a summer night, my father tells me, when the incident occured. The building was two storied, with the first floor residents then gone for a vacation. That made us the only living people in the building. My parents and i used to share the same bed, with me hogging the windowside.

My parents tell me that there had seemed nothing unusual until I’d shot up in bed sometime past midnight, with my eyes closed shut (apparently still asleep) and started shouting: ” Jol Felo Na! Jol Felo Na!”(it translates as: do not drop/spill the water!) They say I shouted the same thing over and over for six to eight times and then suddenly fell quiet. There was a few moments of silence, which was suddenly broken by the unmistakable sound of a large amount of water splasing outside our window. It was as if someone had upended a whole bucket of water from the roof. I slept through it all as if nothing had happened. My parents knew that the access to the roof was locked. Thoroughly spooked and fearing some intruder, they deterred investigation till morn.

At first light,neighbours were called and the roof thoroughly investigated. No trace of any person being present was found. As for the water, no container (bucket or otherwise) that would allow a person to hold such a large amount of water was found on the roof as well. There was no doubt that water had been dropped, however. The ground outside our window was still quite damp. I, though, have no memory of the incident and what i have mentioned here, is straight from the account my parents have narrated to me, strictly shunning any embellishments.

Till date, we never found out who had upended the water or how i had come to know that any such thing would happen even before its occurence and even more surprisingly, while sleeping.

The telling is done, what you make of it is up to you.

How Gigil ‘discovered’ Roads

Once upon a time, there was a young lad named Gigil. He was a pretty awesome chap and all, but just awesome was he? That, is yet another story. For now, i will tell how he came to ‘discover’ roads. By now, I am sure the indignant reader is exclaiming: “Discover Roads!? How the baloney does one discover roads in this day and age? They’re pretty much everywhere you look!” Bear with me. I assure you, you shall not be force fed baloney against your wishes.

So yes, Gigil, like most people,thought he knew all there was to know about roads. He looked out his window and saw people going about their business, cars whizzing past, maybe a dog or two yipping and even the occasional flying elephant. ( hey, he was an imaginitive kid! Awesome, right? ) And his brain thought : “Same old, Same old “. His present day brain would have quipped: ” Meh….”

But one fine morning, that all changed. Wait, something’s off here. Yeah, it wasnt morning. It was nighttime and our mindbogglingly awesome protagonist was having trouble sleeping. So, he decided to look out the window(it was waaaay past young Gigil’s bedtime). Little did he know that in doing so, he was going to change the course of the rest of his life. (Allright, allright the rest of his night, if not life) The view that greeted him from outside made him think: “Heaven on a chopstick! I need to see this!”. So, the brave soul went right out the door and…

Well, long story short, he got a severe scolding from his parents. (yes, FYI, it happens to super awesome people as well) And yes, i know what you folks are dying to find out. What was it that he had seen? Was the misery of being grounded for the week (oh, I didnt mention that, did i?) worth the fleeting glimpse at his coveted view?

Let’s rewind to the moment the door opens: Our hero finds himself confronted by a vista completely alien to him. For a moment, the brain that boasts out-thinking even the legendarily cunning grumpy cat at times ceases to function ( Note: I am not talking about the internet phenomenon that is Grumpy Cat. This particular grouch happens to be Gigil’s cousin). What he saw was the street itself.( This is where you insert the standard dramatic music and heavenly light to illuminate the scene,folks. Find the links within your imagination) No longer cluttered by the elements of daytime, the road itself had come alive. Straight ahed it stretched, awash under the light of blinking and beckoning neons: as if cleaving its way throught eternity. The pull was irresistable. Gigil might have gone and had an adventure right then(discovered and befriended an alien or a talking chipmunk or two) had it not been for the hand that chose that very moment to clamp onto his ear very firmly. I leave the long lectures that follow to the reader’s imagination.

Later that night, locked up in his room, sleep evaded our thoroughly chastised but still kinda cool protagonist. Visions of what might lie at the end of the road plagued him. It was a birth of yet another passion. Unbeknown to him, this newly fangled passion would lead him to many an adventure in his college life ( getting chased by the police included ) but that, dear folks, is a story for yet another time.

NOTE FROM BLOGGER: This might be a bit clunky to read, being my first attempt at anything with a note of levity. And i also hope that my frequent deviations from the topic do not detract too much from the reading experience. Also, apologies for any typos. Posting from a cellphone can be a pain.

Under the Night’s Eye

Note: I am not sure what brought on this piece of oddment, but having written it, I couldn’t resist the temptation to post it. Credits go out to the “Wolf’s Rain” anime and Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” Series.

The wolf gazed into the heavens. The lone white eye was awake tonight, contemptuous in its unblinking gaze. With an enormous effort, he resisted the urge to howl his defiance into the night. It would not do to give away his presence to any unwary prey; hunting was hard enough when the eye was awake.

He was an outsider here, his grey dappled white fur standing out; something that did not belong in this black charred remnant of a forest. Sudden movement among soot blackened trunks caught his attention, but was ignored after a cursory glance. The squirrel that scampered away would not even begin to sate his appetite. Growling in disgust, he stalked away.

The flow of time had never registered well with him, but he had not fed well since the last time the old eye had been awake, sometimes even having to resort to food that was…not flesh. He was licking at an old wound on his haunch when the smell came to him with the wind. After running from the stench of burned wood that had nearly crippled his best asset for such a long time, he gloried in this new scent. It had the tang of fear and fatigue in it. He slavered.

Muscles tense, the wolf prowled towards the scent. The temptation to bound towards the awaiting hunk of flesh was overwhelming. But his long years without a pack had made him cautious. Beyond a fallen trunk,  at the base of yet another, lay a huddled body. With hooves. This was easy prey. Then, the wind shifted. Alarmed by the predator’s scent, the doe sprang up, Too late. Fangs bared, the wolf pounced.

The following dawn found the grey predator licking his bloody chops. Hunger sated, he had survived the gaze of the night’s one eye yet again.