Life is a strange and fascinating journey. It is said that when a child is born his brain has the possibility of learning anything he is taught. After that begins a selective process that mirrors the child's environment and hence appears the choice of language, likes and dislikes and so on. many of the choices we make are either akin to those of our caretakers, others stem from our rebellious nature and are the exact opposite of what we see.
As the journey continues new choices come by and many course corrections too, but some things remain embedded in your mind even though you do not quite know why.
Many years back when I was in high school one of my teachers gave me a present: it was a copy of the Little Prince of St Exupery. At that time it was just a book that touched me but somehow I had the intuitive feeling that it was to be much more.
Life took on many turns but somehow this book never left me and I found myself going back to it at times when I needed answers to seemingly incomprehensible problems. Exactly 4 years ago when a scalded Utpal landed into my life I caught myself thinking of him as the little Prince who landed from nowhere into a lost aviator's existence.
For the last four years Utpal and I have made a long journey as he led me to places I would have never gone to were it not for him. With him I visited many planets just like the aviator did, some nice some not so nice. From the hell hole of the life of an alkie woman in an urban slum, to the crisp and refreshing air of a quaint boarding school, from the forbidding and cold precincts of a rehab centre to the laughter and hope filled surroundings of an a idyllic sanctuary, via toy shops with the best deals, and sinful fast food joints.
Like the Little Prince of St Exupery, I too encountered rares species: some funny, some sordid and some filled with hope and came across realities that my half a century on this planet had not prepared me for. I was faced with many challenges, some seemingly insurmountable but his little hand always held mine nudging me not to give up. And as I travelled with new eyes on uncharted courses I knew my little man was the bearer of some deep message that went beyond the realm of his life.
Over the years I had often found myself referring to project why as planet why, and then correcting myself as the raggle taggle elements that make project why could not be named a planet. Some Freudian slip or an intuitive glimpse of what still lay ahead. Any one's guess. Yet hindsight shows that a tiny seed was being planted in one's mind. Project why in its actual avatar was too fragile and had to take on a new body. The travels with my prince were just pointers towards the task that lay ahead: creating planet why that would come full circle.
And once again an apparently impossible picture seeded in my mind: that of a happy place where those with no hope could seek not only refuge but find meaning, where no one's children would study just like others, where skills would be taught, where days and would filled with laughter and happiness and childhoods would be reconquered with renewed assurance watched by my smiling little prince.
So help me God!
Labels: planet why, utpal