When I was a kid, I never really used to go out much to play with kids because my mum was strict and plus since she had to keep an eye on my disabled brother, she wanted me to be in her “line of sight” as well because I was quite mischievous and naughty.
With no one to play with, I used to past time playing with my toys which consisted of toy soldiers and cowboys (with red indians) and I used to be cooped up in my own imaginary world. A world I could call my own.
And since mum used to work shifts in the factory, there were days when I used to spend time at my grandmother’s house. And since my Aunt was pretty strict back then, I couldn’t bring my toys to play at Grandma’s.
That’s when I started imagining things.
The sandy compound at the front porch of my Grandmother’s house was where I fantasized myself being a super hero combatting evil villains. A heroic cowboy riding into the horizon as the sun sets in the background. I imagined myself being a samurai fighting ninjas. I imagined running from a gigantic T-Rex that was after me. I imagined, and I imagined and dreamt a lot. I was in my own fantasy world. A world where superheros ruled, good people lived happily ever after.
If you observe me from a far, you would wonder if I’ve gone insane as I used to be making noises and sound effects and I used to jump and run here and there. I used to get shelling from my Aunt for this because she said normal kids would never do that. It was something peculiar and weird for me to be playing with myself.
At times I used to think if I was the only kid that used to do such stuff, but as I grew older, I’ve observed many such kids just being in their own imaginary world. I’ve seen kids doing it in public places without any form of embarrassment or care and this amazes me. They were just being themselves. Child like. Oblivious to the surrounding, just enjoying themselves. I was around 6 or so.
That “playing with myself” thing then slowly grew and as I grew older, I realised I couldn’t be doing it anymore in public, what more infront of my relatives.
The toilet then became my solace and world.
Locking myself in, turning on the tap, with the sound of the tap drowning out the sound from the world outside, I lived by dancing, singing, and conjuring up dialogues of certain characters that I “portrayed” and imagined. I imagine things in my head in the toilet. So much so mum used to knock on the bathroom door and scream, “What are you doing in there?? Yelling and screaming away like that?”
The sandy compound, the toilet, became a stage where I expressed myself the way I wanted to. I expressed what I really wanted to be regardless of how nonsensical, or childish it was.
But I guess I was just bored. I was just enjoying the company of myself. I had nothing to offer the world back then, truth be told. The little I could do was just amuse myself in child play like this.
I started imagining many things as time progressed and as I grew older, I moved on from imagining things like superheros and samurais to a motivational coach of the national football team, to a charismatic leader of a third world country. I started imitating people and things, I started playing different roles. Or rather, imagining different roles. I started imagining winning awards for an imaginary movie I made, imagining the thunderous applause that people stood up to give. Infact, I could hear them clapping at times if I really imagine hard enough. And sometimes, just out of fun, I made sounds of clapping using my mouth. I was 12 and this continued even in high school.
As I became an adult, all that became too childish, eccentric and weird. So I started imagining scenarios in my head. The toilet’s where I came up with some of the best written short stories and ideas for some of the things I (and also my friends) have made and turned them into plays/movies. All through imagining and with a little bit of child play involved.
I admit, I still say those dialogues and hum movie soundtracks or songs that I want to put into a story or movie, or a play, out loud just to feel how it feels like when the character says it. There’s a mirror in the toilet, I practice or rather imagine how the character should portray that dialogue along with the soundtrack (hummed ofcourse) in that particular scene/situation.
Mum’s got used to that already by now. She used to ask me, “Who do you talk to in the toilet?”
“Nothing, just rehearsing my lines.”
This explains why I take ages in the toilet. I get so caught up in the whole thing that I don’t realise time flying. Sometimes I do realise that time’s passing, but I just need these few minutes with myself. I savor these moments in the toilet and usually jot down the ideas I get mentally in my head. As usual, I arrive to class or anywhere else late. But I don’t regret it one bit. I had a great “brainstorming” session in the toilet and that’s enough to make my day.
I know I’m eccentric as I live in this fantasy dreamland world. But I’ve grown up with it. There’s a part of me that will always remain in this world and I can never take that little kid in me out from that world.
I think imagination is good.
Infact, if you ponder closely, this whole world is created out of child’s play. It’s a dream. Somewhere beyond this causal world, the real us is just having a short nap somewhere or probably, like the kid I was, just running around and imagining (and creating) things, totally oblivious.
The next time you see a kid running around, jumping and making sound effects, don’t stop the little fella. Let him imagine. Let him live. Let him be. Let him enjoy the company of his little good self
P/S: This has always been a secret but after a good heart to heart conversation with a good friend of mine, I realised, I wasn’t alone and I should embrace and express my eccentricities rather than keeping them locked up in the toilet and getting blown away by the sandy sands of time.
Love you all!