Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A lil bit of Sam

I'm sharing some of my fantasies, fears and fancies that have shaped my consciousness ever since I was a kid. I've always been very fond of toons. I feel they hone our latent creativity and make us giggle as children. It is a secret, I still follow cartoons.

Tintin with a witty reporter's mind and his ever naughty Snowy prowling about in round circles in the old meadows of Marlinspike. God, the high I used to get as I turned pages under a blanket reading by an old emergency light - or my Dad's big torch -- on cold nights. I would be transported to fictional countries with Tintin and his terrier. We would chase conmen and ruffains together.

How I sent small packets of neat prayers up each time Tintin would be confronted with a hostile situation. I thought it is for real. The good must prevail. Tintin was good. So was Asterix in the Gaulish series. They are probably the most popular French comics in the world, and familiar to people of all ages in most European countries. I read nearly all the English translations. I feel blessed that I did. Much of what I think -- or do -- comes from the strength of character and the selflessness of the comic characters, I have known and treated as friends.

Then one of my worst fears have been the Vikings. Sounds a little strange. European in fear. I guess literature and books annihilate the latitutes as we know them. Vikings were for real. Only that I was afraid of them in the 21st century when these feared creatures existed a good 13 centuries back. They were Norse warriors who raided the coasts of Scandinavia, the British Isles, and other parts of Europe from the late 8th century to the 11th century. This period of European history (generally dated to AD 793 - AD 1066) is often called the Viking Age. The Vikings were fierce blokes and killed at random. They made cups from skulls and wore horned helmets. I would often wonder what Valhalla must be like. It is the name of the Viking heaven. It is Odin's home in heaven for the chosen, fallen Viking warriors.

My home was a long way from Europe. I spent my childhood in Kashmir -- the north of India while the pirates lived in the north of Europe. Somehow I thought they may come on broomsticks and smash my skull. Silly me. I still read the morning strip Hägar the Horrible. Hägar is an overweight Viking warrior who regularly goes off to invade England. The humor of the comic strip comes from his interactions with his longship crew (whose first mate, contrary to depictions of Vikings as big muscled warriors, is a short naïve fellow named Lucky Eddie) and his family (his wife Helga, his son Hamlet, his daughter Honi, his duck Kvack, and his dog Snert).

Sometimes, I think I am still a kid.
I can never let go off some stupid, silly but utterly sweet things in life!