Monday, September 08, 2008

Terrifying Lullabies


Why is the door open? Why can't I lock it? What if the robbers come in?

The door in question always remained just out of my reach. I would desperately try to close it, bolt it from within, but wouldn't be able to. When I later discussed my dreams with friends or read about dreams unexplained, it was seen as a plain and easy case of insecurity. You had an insecure childhood, people concluded.

So I believed them and blamed the insecurity on the communication gap between me and my parents. They were both 34 when I was born, and weren't very communicative, if you know what I mean. Of course my dad wanted to baptize me with Dialectical Materialism and Marx when I was in my kindergarten years, but then, there wasn't any kind of heart-to-heart possible with them. If I was insecure for some reason, I had to handle it on my own. And because there were no gods to turn to either, it was a helluva lonely experience. If I socialize a bit too much today, it is because friends meant everything to me.

Insecure childhood it must be. I was sold to this idea pretty much until the other day when a friend mentioned that her daughter wanted a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. That's when it all came back to me.



My dad studied the WWII to the core and still has almost a hundred books starting from the proverbial Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to The Diary of Anne Frank. He didn't of course have those Commando series comics that I later read and thoroughly enjoyed. Were those published in the UK? The jerries always got beaten in those. Yeah, so my dad, when he put me to sleep, used to tell me about each day of Anne Frank. Or about how the French surrendered. Or about how some brave little boy in Czechkoslovakia fled with a German train! Stories of war. And then the stories of the Vietnam war as well. Pictures of how the Americans tortured the Vietnamese: of a smiling soldier twisting and breaking the arm of a lady or of three soldiers cutting out the liver of a live Vietnamese guy! Gore? Osama is a kid compared to the Americans in Vietnam or the German concentration camps. The Muslim terrorists of today are nothing. When you cut open a guy's liver, he stays alive for almost an hour after that, writhing and dying a slow death. Daniel Pearl died in about three seconds. Have you seen that video, btw?

So, these wartime stories, of bravado and victory of the good over evil, were playing on my mind. The enemy was on the other side of the door. I was a little kid, hiding inside, from the german troops, our dwindling resources getting over by the day. And the door, slightly ajar, was always just out of my reach.

6 comments:

Lazyani said...

Lonely childhood? Remember a few names? Laltu, Mithu, Sujoy, Rajesh, Mahmoodda, Srikanto and a fat guy next door.

Oreen said...

heh heh he... thanks...
i mentioned that the reason i have too many frnds is because they were everything...

handmaiden said...

When I was in elementary school "The Diary of Anne Frank" was required reading in most schools in the US. I also remember my own children coming home & talking about reading, "The Diary of Anne Frank". It really is a remarkable book in it's ability to illustrate to young people some of the terrible consequences of war. Another book I discovered on my own as a teenager that really made an impression on me in that way was, "Hiroshima" by John Hersey. Not surprisingly, it was not required reading in US schools.

Pinku said...

hey!!

that was a sad post...and know what u just gave me some insight into my hubby who too was born to parents in their late thirties and not quite very communicative.

thnks...and I hope the childhood fears have been replaced with a lot of good fun laughter and camraderie...

Indian Home Maker said...

Weren't you young to be told some of these stories!!! My mother did not allow us to be told step mother stories (and I wondered if my sister and I were her step daughters..lol) but she also banned any witches and ghosts.
Once I read a ghost story book at my grand parents' place and started looking for ghosts under the bed, behind the curtains, in all dark places.
Enjoying these posts :))

Rupa said...

I have been inside Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, it is a museum now....I was fascinated by the story too. And, when you are inside that house you can imagine what she might have gone through....