"I don't understand the point of fiction," someone said to me a while ago.

What is not to understand, I wonder.

Stories are what the world is made of, fantasy is what dreams are made of, narratives are what memories are made of.

If you cannot indulge in imagined worlds, get taken by people's and hobbits' lives, laugh at Arthur Dent and whoop in joy with Harry on a firebolt, how can you begin to appreciate Marx talking about parties overthrowing parties in 18th Brumaire, or marvel at Foucault's teasing ways? If you cannot feel the gloom of a novel, how would you empathise with a book on the partition, if you don't like recreating worlds, how would you conceptualise an abstract model of economic development? If you're reading the news, would you not imagine Mubarak's trepidation, or think about Aarushi in the suave, cold way that Marlowe would have?

Most importantly, though, what do you daydream? I cannot imagine what you would do for your endless hours in trains, if not for think about the woman next to you and why she smells of jasmine. Would you, in a bus, not think about how much money a single bus route might make in a trip, without thinking of where the conductor obtains the tickets and how many times the driver takes a break? Do you not have conversations with dogs on roads about how their sex life is going, or talk to yourself in a mirror, practicing a speech for some award or the other? Do you not have little traditions to convince yourself of your quaintness, or music that makes you think in cartoons?

How do your days not have pieces of fictions, parts of stories strewn in thoughts? How do you live like that, in stark, boring, unimaginative reality?


aminura ytrobarkahc said...

'Most importantly, though, what do you daydream?'
Am so thrilled to discover that you too fear the danger of inanity engulfing our lives if we dont day-dream. and for oneto become an adept day-dreamer, it is so essential that she has a ready stock of fiction to draw her inspirations from-fictions that she has authored herself or has discovered when was drawn to a curious title or a mind-boggling story-line...

jasmine said...

Loved it. Made me think of Toni Morrison- "As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think." Are we stifling dreams in the name of being intellectual?

jasmine said...

Loved it. Made me think of Toni Morrison- "As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think."
I hope we don't stifle dreams under the garb of intellect.

Sita said...

jas! hi! =D

you know, i think often, that it is the dreaming that makes the intellectual better. a couple of weeks after i wrote this, i came across something in david harvey's companion to marx which made pretty much the point i was trying to make:

"Shakespeare, the Greeks, Faust, Balzac, Shelley, fairy tales, werewolves, vampires and poetry all turn up in its pages alongside innumerable political economists, philosophers, anthropologists, journalists and political theorists. Marx draws on an immense array of sources, and it can be instructive - and fun - to track these down."

so apparently, i'm not the only one who finds these things fascinating. :P

nima! i actually fear one day waking up and realizing that my day-dreams and reality have switched themselves. or may be 'fear' is the wrong word. hmmm.

Sadhana. said...

I've encountered so many people in the past month who asked me what the point of reading ficition, when it's "fictitious" that I am SO glad to encounter this post. Lovely post!