Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Reading Roald Dahl
You were just a four year old. Tiny, almost too small for your age. At night you slept dreaming of Hanuman and Durga. And Mahishasura. By day you killed Ravana and Raktabeeja with your pencil strokes, a million times. And in between you heard stories of Roald Dahl read by whoever gave into your relentless persuasion.
First there was Charlie and Mr. Willy Wonka and the amazing chocolate factory with the eccentric grandparents and the hapless parents accompanied by your enthusiastic approval of all that followed. Then came Matilda, the child prodigy with her exceptional reading skills, something you are in awe of even today after all these years. The horrid Miss Trunchbull and the voice that read her part still echoes in your mind when you hear her name, making your blood boil.
The Witches profoundly affected your life. You went searching for them armed with the telltale signs described by the grandmother. For you were heart broken at the end when the boy gets transformed into a mouse. In James and the Giant Peach you met your doppelganger albeit with horrible aunts. Yours were charming, loving and everything you wanted aunts to be like. But you wouldn’t have minded to swap places with James for a bit of a surreal adventure with insects. You could never brush off a spider ever again without thinking about it’s young ones.
Fantastic Mr. Fox you simply loved. If you hadn’t been living in Delhi’s concrete jungle you would have definitely laid out a feast for hungry foxes ever night. Instead you fed the stray dogs bread and rotis. But most of all like Sophie you needed to find The BFG. For being friends with a friendly giant would have made the long, dark nights so much more exciting.
One day inevitably you had heard all the stories ever written by Roald Dahl and you hadn’t even turned five yet. Ah the life long regrets it would give rise to.
Eight years later you bemoan the end of childhood wishing you had never grown up. Wondering if life would ever be so delightful. I laugh at your words, echoing the usual platitudes but lacking the courage to reveal the bittersweet truth.
(Afterthought on books: part 7)