Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Narnia…a Revelation

Before I say anything, I must thank my friend because of whom I was able to enter the magical land of Narnia. You may scoff at me saying, ‘What a pig. How difficult is it to buy a book,’ but then I would have said, ‘Is it worth it?’
I had never read any of the Narnian collections, and even when the films had been released, the childish context would put me off. I still have not seen the movie, and I think that is how things will remain. When I was gifted the entire collection for my 22nd birthday, I was gracious enough to say ‘thank you’. But I really was questioning myself on the inside…”Will I be really reading that?’

So with much bias and uneasiness, this month I finally picked up on from the box. ‘The Magician’s Nephew’. I stared long and hard at the cover picture. It was not very flattering, just three intersecting rings a lion’s face at the bottom. Whatever.

When the story began with a certain Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, I was thrown off. Where did the two brothers and sisters had gone? What is this? (You see, I had seen certain snatches of the movie, and though I knew they were from the second and fourth book, I expected them to same throughout the seven books.) Like any boring day, I trudged through the first few chapters. Initially I found the concept of jumping in and out of the pools a little irritating. It really made no sense. But the beauty was that it is not supposed to. When my cousin told me to read the book, keeping in mind a parallel world, I did so. And that was when the shackles of adulthood gave way to pure imagination.

And as Narnia sprung forth from Aslan’s song, my interest bloomed. And since then these books have been literally unputdownable, where I have been picking up the next as soon as I finish the current. The Horse and his Boy is my second favourite till now. (I am yet to read the last one.) Following their journey through Tashbaan was such a rich and brain stimulating part. It reminded me of ‘The Mummy’, the movie where they travel through the sandy cities. And even Prince of Persia, where splendour was seen in abundance. It took me back to the days I spent reading Arabian Nights. Harem pants, horses and caravans, curved footwear, wine being served from slim flasks and so much more.

The book that caught my attention the most (till now) is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Like an enthusiastic adventure reader I enjoy my sea voyages. And to pair that with their separate island hopping excursions that take them down different paths, both divine and hellish. As the ship breezed through the waters where a kingdom could be seen underwater, I too felt as if I was on board.

Now I am half way through The Silver Chair, and with every book the twists and turns that spring up at me, leaves me wanting for more. Now I don’t even know what awaits me when I will be picking up The Last Battle.

But in retrospect, the story of Aslan sent my mind spinning. Like an good practising Catholic I have been taught by my mother, about God, His love for us and the Bible. And in the first chapter, Genesis, God created man. That is the birth of all creation on this planet. (Lets not get into a debate whether science trips religion or vice versa.) Similarly, Aslan created Narnia. Other similarities then started to crop up. Remember the tree from which Digory had to get a fruit back to Aslan? Just like the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Digory was tempted to eat, but he did not succumb.

When God called upon Noah to build an ark, He told him to choose a pair of every kind of animal. And so did Aslan, when he chose only the talking beasts. Towards the end of the book, Aslan sacrificed himself for the sake of Edmund. Just as Jesus did, and then they both rose from the dead. Aslan because he was innocent (and as per the rules of deep magic) and the other, well we know that already. In the fourth book, Prince Caspian, in the land of Narnia many, many years later, some of the creatures refused to believe in the existence of Aslan, just like us when we are in trouble. Even when Aslan attacked Shasta and Aravis so they could meet and join forces, similarly we see God working in His various mysterious ways.

A chronicle that talks of much more than just for children. With greed, betrayal and thirst for power, these books made me look at myself in a different way. It made me want to hold on to that inner child and never let her go. For if she did, the gates of Narnia will be forever closed for her.

All pictures have been sourced from google.

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