Friday, June 10, 2016

Fairytales are for real..

I was scrubbing dishes late into the night. It had been a tiring day like any other. Wiping the perspiration from my forehead I egged on. My mind kept racing back to what had been the talk of the town. Every one in the village had said they would be there. They had been preparing for a whole month - sewing new clothes, buying shoes, eating less in the hope of looking better... That night all the shops had stayed open late to entertain the excited crowds.

I looked at the pile of dishes, the mess around me and the untidy floors and sighed. My clothes were no better - old rags literally. Even if I managed to go somehow, how would I look? They would mistake me for a maid surely. I had seen some of the robes the women had gone to great lengths to ready. They were exotic and sparkly and elegant. Their hair looked stylish and so did their skin. I wouldn't know where to begin.

I decided I was not going to lie in wait for a fairy godmother this time. She can't be there forever ;)

Putting together some decent clothes and shoes and makeup, I forgot about my chores and walked down the street to see what it was all about. The palace glowed in lights of purple, red and gold. There were tall dancers dressed in white welcoming people and swaying to classic melodies. I walked in admiring their beauty and watching all the men and women transformed gracefully by the ambience.

Within the walls, the palace was huge with a dark red corridor leading in. It was lined with portraits of old kings and queens. At the end it opened into the grounds at the center of which was a large barn with food and drink. Everyone was there enjoying it all and dancing in their loved ones' arms. I grabbed a drink (or two) and danced for a long time. On either side were lounges for tired legs to rest and more food and drink. It happened to rain every now and then. But nobody noticed.

Over a 1000 people had assembled that night. I made many new friends and reconnected with some old ones from the village. There were people from other towns, even from faraway lands who had come hearing about the grandeur of this place. The time flew by and somewhere I heard the clock strike 3. I realized how tired I felt and decided to retreat. It was still drizzling. Walking back to my humble home down the village, I turned to look at this dream one last time. It looked as majestic as before, still glowing like a big jewel.

I tried to find words to capture that night. But nothing did justice. So I call it whatever everyone called it - "The INSEAD summer ball, Chateau of Fontainebleau"

Down the rabbit hole

Tick tock, tick tock. You are late! It was tough getting in, but no time for bruises. You must hurry!

There are folks inside. Some of them seem to know each other. A few have brought along a special someone with them. Others seem to have ventured alone. You feel out of place. But they are all getting ready for something.

You come as you are mostly. Part of you that’s lazy wants to stay in the comfort of home. There is a side of you that’s definitely playing the devil—to be or not to be—here?  Of course you didn’t just rush in, you followed someone’s lead. Someone who is fast, looks like a cloud, knows almost everything. You just need to know what to ask him and he has all the answers, but you can’t seem to get all the answers. He is elusive.

And no one can tell you how it will end. But that’s part of the thrill, isn’t it ? You love the adventure.

And psst, I know your life wasn’t happening anyway. I saw you reading a book in a garden and almost dozing off. Tut, tut. Not to worry. That’s about to change.

You are here because you want to be led on. You want to surrender. You want to discover; figure it out for yourself.

You settle down in the castle by the forest. Cosy, huh? You make friends. There is some hostility, too. But you get in the thick of things. It’s a marathon; you have to immerse yourself to see it through. You have to fight your battles, remember? It’s worthwhile to do so with the others. There is a lot for the mind to go on—too many questions, too few answers. Soon, you realize that you are losing yourself in there. You laugh and cry with the others. You forget home. You belong.

But like all good things come to an end, you have to return at the end of your journey. When you make it back to reality, you will feel richer. Perhaps not literally, but it will change you—for the better. And you will have some answers!

What?! You won’t come back? You want to go on living down there? But darling, they won’t keep you after it’s over! Even mad hatter stays virtually in a cloud somewhere.

Don’t make me drag you back up. darn it! All right, stay, but you are not allowed to tell anyone our secret. The “rabbit hole” is what we call it. To the outside world it’s INSEAD.