“What’s up young man?” I asked.
“What are you doing?” he asked, point blank.
That un-nerved me a little, for you never know what the kid was thinking. I played safe, “Just imagining things,” I said.
“What things?” he asked.
“All sorts of things,” I said, not really getting the hang of the conversation.
“Why?” he said.
Now there is little you can do when a young person asks you why. So I deflected the question, “My imagination saw your imagination there,” I said, pointing towards the sky.
That hooked him. We were on familiar territory now, in the world of imaginations.
“Where,” he asked. Perhaps he wanted to know the exact location of our imaginations.
“There, above the clouds,” I said, “Where lots of imaginations live.”
“Imaginations live above clouds?” he asked, curious.
“Not all,” I said, “but the better ones like to live above the clouds.”
“How do you know?” he asked.
“I have been studying imaginations all my life. I am an expert on them. My imagination meets the imaginations of so many people. That is what I was doing. ‘I was connecting’,” I explained.
The expression on his face turned to respect. It takes one to know one.
“Your imagination tells you everything?” he asked.
“Imagination can tell anything. Many things that even the scientists do not know,” I said.
“And they don’t lie?” asked the kid, for he wanted to be on sure grounds before proceeding further into the world of imaginations.
“Imaginations can tell you anything, it is up to you to believe them or not. They are not very particular about truth, but they are powerful none the less. They know the truth, which is sometimes difficult to find,” I said.
“But truth is easy to see. They are like facts,” the kid remarked.
“Not so. Most of the times truth is hidden behind layers of feelings. But imagination knows truth, for truth is sweet and imagination is powerful. I will give you an example. There are many poor children who have not seen the inside of a normal home. They imagine how it may be and are happy.”
“They can go anywhere they can imagine,” he asked.
“Yes of course, like you can go on an adventure, or on a spaceship, or fly with superman or fight the aliens. My imagination once saw a beggar child imagination what it would be to go around the city in a car. I decided to take him along with me in my car. And I did. At the end of the ride I asked him how he liked it, and he said, it was good, but he had been around earlier also. I asked him when, and he said, in his imagination. So, you see, imaginations can be pretty accurate.”
“Wonderful!” he exclaimed.
“No, but remember, not everyone is blessed with such great imaginations,” I cautioned, for I knew that he would feel that the world doesn’t need anything more than imagination. “Moreover, the soul needs imagination, but the body needs more worldly solid things.”
He was disappointed, for he seemed to detect a fly in the ointment. “My dad was saying it is all fool’s paradise,” he said.
“Not so. Newton to Einstein, Aristotle to Marx, Leaonardo da Vinci to Picasso – all the great men have had great imaginations, ones they believed in.”
“What was my imagination doing?” asked the boy.
“I don’t know. Did not talk to it. It seemed busy,” I said.
“Yes, it was. It was catching snakes. Huge snakes,” he nodded and said.
“Ah, that explains it. Your imagination was looking very preoccupied,” I said.
“How did you recognize it was my imagination?” he suddenly asked.
“It looked like you,” I said simply.
“Oh,” he said, “there must be millions and billions and gillions of imaginations up there?” he said.
“Not so. Only few imaginations soar so high. Mostly those of kids. Only few adult imaginations go there. Most adult imaginations can not even cross the clouds, let alone reach space. But the one that can go into space can go anywhere in the universe. No, even beyond the universe, but that needs more power,” I explained.
“What’s beyond universe?” he asked.
“Don’t know yet. Have not been able to go there. Imaginations of saints and really good people are so powerful as to break out of universe. But I have talked to some of those who have been beyond, and they say it is wonderful, for there it is without rules and limitations and free,” I said.
We were silent for a while, as we tried to imagine beyond universe. The little boy’s sigh told me that this time he had failed. And that is the danger of growing up. “Boy, never give up imagination even though at times it will not be able to take you where you want. The imagination of the adults becomes feeble only because they stop believing in them. They start believing too much in the real world, which, I am sure you know, is also imaginary,” I concluded with a smile, and decided to let his imagination figure out the rest.
((Pic courtesy: punktlos from the net))