It was the Wonderland, Alice’s Wonderland but she wasn't there. I felt very strange and thought of looking for her but the very next moment this thought slipped away, dancing in front of my eyes and I stood there, smiling, I even said, ‘cheers’. The tall trees were beautifully dressed in different shades of green, all of them together creating a heavy and velvety canopy; mossy green sky with blue flowers and pretty birds singing sweetly all the time. Wonderland!
When I wished to walk and explore the place, the earth showed a fresh path to me, it whispered to me, ‘this way’, and so I hopped ahead. To my right an endless celebration of lights and colours captured my mind all the time. Every time red and green merged and sparkling yellow joined the blue, I took a halt to witness the magic.
Once while the magical colours were revealing beauty, I heard someone calling me from behind a huge tree. It was a talking tree and its name was ‘Alive’. Alive gave me a green leaf and asked me to put it in my purple bag. Only then did I realise that I was carrying a small purple bag. I did so and moved ahead. After that I met ten such trees – ‘Humble’, ‘Brave’, ‘Love’, ‘Mad’, ‘Pure’, ‘Kind’, ‘Dream’, ‘Courage’, ‘Wise’, and ‘Happy’ – they all gave me leaves to put it in my purple bag. Doing as told, I kept on hopping ahead. When I danced, the leaves in the purple bag danced along and when I sang, they played music with me. At night when the wonderland looked silvery dark, I sometimes cried, in a hope to break the magic and wake up and end the wonderland journey. The leaves in my purple bag cried along, the leaves were just copying me and their failed attempt always made me laugh. The leaves were my best friends now.
Years passed in a day while I was looking at a lotus flower near a moon shaped pond, under a giant mango tree. And all these years, I just looked at the lotus flower and smiled. Lovely life!
A caterpillar woke me from meditation and asked me to take a ride on him; he said he was tired but had to offer me a tour because of the tradition of the place. I warmly accepted and sat on him but he refused to move until I gave him a coffee cigarette. ‘Coffee cigarette’, I thought aloud and told him that I have never heard about such a thing. With a smirk he asked me to check my purple bag and so I did, to my shock I had one beautiful, golden brown looking coffee cigarette with myself. Blushing red, I gave it to him, he lighted it up and I could smell rich coffee in the air. And then the roller coaster ride started.
The caterpillar took me to different countries in a flash and then to the past and future, under water and in space, infinity and beyond, through colours and lights, and when we reached the music station, I asked him to stop; every music instrument was playing, the waves in the air forced everyone present to dance on the beats; from samba to jazz and ring-a-ring-a-roses, I did everything. I even got drunk, who can refuse a glass full of joy anyway? The rhythm lingers, as fresh as it can be, even now. My hands sometimes do the jingles on the table and my legs do the twist while walking.
I also remember attending a carnival but what happened there exactly can’t be expressed in words. I have images in my mind and when I try to put them in words I end up painting and when I try to speak about it I end up singing. The images are rich in colours and also smell of friendliness. You must see them.
The journey was going to end, I knew it. The caterpillar said, ‘farewell’ and shook hands with me, leaving me alone with my purple bag now becoming very heavy. The road also became rough and I was soon dragging the purple bag that had surprisingly grown, just like a living being.
I sat on a funny looking rock to take rest and started sobbing; a single drop fell on the ground and the place slowly started flooding with water. The rock didn't sink, instead floated, funny indeed. The rock took me to the shore and I was glad to see someone human. It was the Hatter; he offered me tea but before I could drink the tea asked me to sit and before I could sit asked me to pass him the spoon from the far end of the table and before I could do it he asked me, rudely, to go back from where I came, indicating a huge mirror with cursive letters as its frame, adding that he found me very lazy. Astonished and confused I took a step forward, suddenly the March Hare came forward from somewhere and asked me to let Alice go free. He tried to snatch my purple bag and the Hatter joined him; I was winning until the Dormouse came in the picture and tickled me. ‘Hurrah, hurrah’, they ran round and round the table, leaving the purple bag behind.
Magic happens thrice every day. Did you come to know today?
The eleven leaves came out of the purple bag and swirled slowly, then quickly, beautifully and changed in a blinks time into Alice. My eyes were full of happy tears. I wanted to meet Alice, she was smiling at me, and I wanted to talk to her about the wonderland. But that jealous Dormouse and March Hare came running towards me and pushed me into the giant mirror. I saw Alice holding the Hatter’s hand, she said something to me but I couldn't get it clearly. Either she said, ‘Within you’ or ‘Pancake with chocolate syrup’. Does it make any sense? I’ll have to stop and think or maybe I’ll have to decode it, write and paint the words again and again. What you said Alice sounded so sweet and true, so I am sure I am on the right track.
With the feeling of Alice’s words still alive and so many green leaves around me, am I out of or still in the Wonderland? I am crazy enough to know.