What I Learned from the Little Prince

Once I was done reading the book, I was left with a bittersweet feeling. It was beautiful, so beautiful that it made me wish I’d written it. They say our thoughts tend to sound better in books we didn’t write and songs we didn’t sing. Even then, sometimes there is no song, no work of art, and no piece of literature that can really explain how we feel. And there’s a mysterious comfort in knowing that nobody really knows.

Well, The Little Prince shook my walls a bit. He knew.

Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?”
Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?”
Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

How true it is, in the world today. I judge you by your academic qualifications and your monthly income. I stereotype you by the shape of your eyes or the color of your skin. I rank you by your ability to add value to my social image.
What happened to the days I would befriend you because we liked the same music, or because your responses seemed to be in tandem with my thoughts. When I would love you because my crazy didn’t seem crazy around you, it felt like home.
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong to people. You know, all the leap days that didn’t happen? Those moments when you leave your physical self for what seems like a lifetime and only when you return do you realize you were away for just a minute or two. Those times when you walk in to a room and forget why. I feel like that’s where I belong. That’s my time and space. And there are others there too. So many others. Our hearts hum the same tune and our eyes crave the same color, and yet I’ll never meet them because of these socio-economic cages that bind me.
It’s been a while since I jumped into a puddle with someone. Or shared a cream filled biscuit after licking the cream off it first.  I wish I could.

All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

“Act your age” they always say. Why? Why would something that brings a smile upon my face change with age? I’m twenty two years old and I’ve painted over twenty canvases that I’m crazy proud of, yet when I sit down with a coloring book and wax pastels and manage to color the entire picture in a homogeneous stroke within the lines, my glee knows no bounds.
Acting one’s age has somehow become synonymous with the behavior society would deem acceptable for that age. Sometimes one doesn’t change with age; people don’t always want to conform to society. Sometimes we want to express how we feel without wondering what the world has to say. Sometimes, when all you have is old words, all you can do is put them together and hope they say something new.

Words are the source of misunderstandings.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel so much for so many people, and sooner or later I realize that my limited vocabulary cannot convey things I have to say. So I look at them for a second longer, smile with my eyes; feel, really feel what I’m feeling, hoping I’ll reach out to them in some sort of positive energy, because words say so much yet say so little. When you count on cosmic vibes to pour love on someone, you have less of a chance of being misunderstood. People everywhere are so scared of that word these days.

Love.

‘ You’re in love with me? But I barely know you.’
‘I can’t love you when you love someone else.’
‘Do you believe in love?’

It’s just love, people. It’s a feeling you have no control over. It’s not Santa Claus and it’s not rocket science. And thanks to all this American sitcom propaganda, it’s on its way to becoming a word people don’t use.
But then there are us few, who belong to the leap days that didn’t happen, who crave to hear that word. What about us?

You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars. Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.

And yet, even with the billions of beautiful, fractal thoughts that crossed my mind as I read the simple yet powerfully illustrated pages of the Little Prince, this one particular idea just blew the wind out of me. I’ve lived my life trying to get the best deals for myself everywhere. At the grocery store, at the parlour, hell, even in relationships. It comes back to society, full circle, it really does. If I’m with a man who’s fun and gorgeous, I need stimulating conversation. If he’s smart and funny, I need him to be sophisticated. If he has a great personality I need him to have a wonderful career. For so long it was about finding the perfect guy, and not about finding the perfect guy for me. That’s where we fall short these days. That’s why happiness is getting tougher to come by.

I remember as a little girl I had a bunch of Barbie dolls. I was little in the 90’s, when a Barbie doll was an acceptable and appreciated gift for all little girls all over the world. As a result, I had quite the bevy of them on display in my room, in neat pink little boxes with their extra set of clothes or their Ken doll in the background. Some even came with a complementary tub or hair-do set. And I kept them in their neat pink little boxes, on display, for years and years. I never played with them, never. Not even when I had friends over. My grandmother had made a cloth doll when I was 6, with jute hair and stitched on dimples. There was way too much cotton in the stomach area, now that I think back. But she was cute, soft and over the years, I’d sat with grammy and stitched different pairs of clothes for her. I did find the other dolls lovely, with their long lean legs and fancy eyes, but I never cared for them. And yet, because of the time and effort I’d put into the cloth doll, I loved her with all my heart. The best deal didn’t matter.

Love is really as simple as that.

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2 thoughts on “What I Learned from the Little Prince”

  1. So well written! 😀
    Can totally relate to this!
    “I judge you by your academic qualifications”
    LOL 😛

  2. maybe u don’t need a reason to love, if one loves someone one just loves.
    ‘भीड़ के असंक्य सोचों में
    गीले कितने शिक्वे कितने
    देखो अकेले चला आ रहा वह
    ना कोई गीला लिये .

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