The little girl loved stories. She loved the ones her father read to her from the brightly colored comic books that came every week. She loved the ones her mother read to her as well; the ones about Gods and kings and sages and what not. She also loved the ones that came on TV, the ones with real people as well as the cartoon ones. And once she learned how to read, there was no stopping her.
At some point, she started making up her own stories. Her first story was most likely her elaborate lie about how a burglar had stolen the plastic container with a purple lid from the kitchen, when in fact she’d taken it away to play with. Her nanny sowed the seeds to further her imagination when she pretended to buy the story.
Before she could write properly, she started imagining. That’s when she started living inside her head, you could say. The world inside her head and her books was far more interesting than the real one she lived in. In the real world, she was the awkward kid; the one who was too shy to talk to new people, the one who was reluctant to play with other children because she always lost, the one who preferred playing House with her miniature kitchenware to Hide and seek, the one whom no one really understood for a long time. In her imaginary world, she was none of this, primarily because she didn’t exist there. When she did, it was in the form of an alter ego who was anything but awkward.
She made up for the lack of people around her by creating people in her mind. Those people, along with the ones in her books, cartoons and movies, made sure that she was never lonely even when she was alone in her room for hours. When she got the hang of writing, she started copying some parts of her imaginary world to paper. But most of it just stayed inside, because she felt content with that.
As she changed, her world did as well. It started taking new forms, based on the stories she came across over the years. The background shifted from Hogwarts to Konoha to Bollywood. Now there was background music as well, because every song she liked, she would etch into a story. She never got bored, unsurprisingly. She could escape most monotonies of life by withdrawing to herself and thinking, ‘so what would happen next?’. When she was feeling low, she let a tragedy happen to her heroine and let her deal with it. When she wanted to cheer herself up, she let her heroine sing and dance happily.
Everything she couldn’t do, but wanted to, her heroine could. This alter ego would have adventures, find true love, lose it and get it back. Her alter ego was a sucker for unrequited love, as was she herself, she later realized. She then had a foreboding feeling that it was bound to happen to her, just because the prospect of being the selfless lover would pull her in. Her premonition proved true, of course. Twice, that too. Despite knowing better than anyone else that unrequited love will always be under appreciated, the hopeless romantic liked to hold on to the tiniest of hopes that a miracle would happen, the asshole would change, and she’d have her ‘Happily-ever-after’.
And then one fine day, the little girl went missing. Don’t ask me which day, because I don’t know. Some would say she grew up, but I think she just faded into the back of her own mind. Her imaginary world doesn’t exist anymore, but her alter ego does, weirdly enough. You could say that she became her alter ego . Or the alter ego became her. Does that sound confusing to you? Well then, imagine how confusing it must be for her because her imagination somehow moulded itself into her reality. She’s still the little girl who loves stories, of course. Except now that her life itself is a story she’d like to imagine.
So is there a happy ending to this story? Well, it isn’t over yet, so I can’t give you proof. But the little girl tells me to ask you to not worry, because she will definitely write herself a happy ending. She’s come to learn that her imagination can come true, you see.