Daydreaming is one activity that stimulates our cells when we are young, in school. With our eyes open, gazing into the air, we create a course of events that is a story. Reality is touched with fantasy being the dominant tone. At times, it is the opposite also and eventually the whole gamut of things turns out to be one engaging ordeal for the child. Say something like a Hardy boys’ adventure.
Now, there is the problem!
Adults generally miss what the kids actually see. Ergo, they dismiss it as a figment of child-like imagination. But the ones who continue to weave endless threads together, end up being Ranjit Lal. His book The red Jaguar on the mountain is like a higher step in the evolution of his dreams.
Here he plays with the human psyche creating an atmosphere of which urban legends, adventure novels and engrossing stories are made up of.
Thirteen-year-old Anirudh, the protagonist narrates a story of his summer trip in the wilderness of a hill station called Sonekote. As a young lad, he is immensely interested in mystery and cars. Donning the mantle of a raconteur, he relives an incident that involved him, his teacher and guardian Ms Kohli and Kavita, the hotel owner where they stayed.
Lest we forget, a chirpy little girl called Shaila, who is first seen as a burden and then a sharp partner in crime by Anirudh. The twist in the tale is stemming from a red coloured E-type Jaguar, a roaring beast on the road as he puts it.
The tale starts simmering from the moment he discovers the car. Then, the strange course of events that happened before and the ones those are about to.
The book’s simple language, pictorial quality (both in terms of words and illustrations) and the tone that is purely conversational make it an interesting read that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Not a moment wasted; there are endless situations that the reader begins to probe himself because the child inside starts daydreaming suddenly. Though the reader still oscillates between reality and imagination. Yet, he imagines it all to be real by dismissing imagination with a smirk.
The problem continues!