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Legendary tales

By Nickunj Malik - Mar 26,2014 - Last updated at Mar 26,2014

I have always been a bookworm; I have no qualms about admitting that. Storybooks fascinate me and the written word captivates me, totally. Being more visual than audio, my personal preference is that I like to read the books myself, rather than have them read out to me. Or even watch them enacted. 

This way I can imagine anything. But the sad thing is nobody has the time or patience for people whose heads are forever (like my sensible mother used to say) in the clouds. Imagination is greatly undervalued these days and not many folks understand how creativity can transform everything. 

When our daughter was little I used to invent games for her whenever she was ill or indisposed. Her favourite one was when I would switch on the TV, tune into some political discussion or dramatic serial, and turn down the volume. The two of us would provide the voiceover. The fun would start in earnest when we would superimpose more and more bizarre dialogues into our protagonists. 

The president of a country, for example, could be reading out a state of the union address in reality, but with our imaginative dubbing he/she would be giving tips on gardening or hair transplant.  If there were a tragic scene going on, we would introduce a comic script into it, or vice versa. 

The entire performance was supposed to be done with deadpan expression but within moments our little patient would dissolve into peels of laughter. And we would have to start from scratch, all over again. 

Inventing different endings to a story, instead of the one in the fairytale, was another game. You know, like if Cinderella’s glass slipper did not fit her, then what?  Or, if the frog prince continued to be a frog even after the princess kissed him, what would happen then? 

The child would come up with hilarious conclusions, where the wicked witches would become the dreaded PE teachers of her school, and the unfortunate princess would discover her hidden talents and go on to write the Harry Potter series. 

With the passage of time, our daughter went away to college for higher studies, and to cope with the empty nest, I started to dabble with the idea of writing a book. I have been a correspondent for more than twenty years, so the thought should have crossed my mind earlier. But somehow, it simply didn’t. 

The moment I voiced my plan, I had people rushing in with their suggestions. Before I could even get my thoughts together, my advisers had lined up imaginary book signing deals for me. I have heard of the cart jumping the horse and all the rest of it, but here it was an entire bandwagon that was hopping, skipping and diving, in front of the proverbial horse. 

The most excited in all this was my immediate family. They not only wanted me to write a book quickly, but they wanted to feature in it too. 

“So have you thought of a name yet?” spouse asked me the other day.

“For what?” I asked. 

“Call your book, ‘Living with a Legend’,” he suggested.

“I am not a legend,” I said, horrified. 

“That would be me, so call it,‘Married to a Legend’,” he specified. 

”You are not a legend,” I muttered, frowning. 

“You can make us into one, call it‘ Mother of a Legend’, mom,” our daughter piped up. 

Mistaken legends? Or, legendary mistakes? Who can tell?

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