For those that haven’t seen the Hollywood movie with the said title, here’s the gist… James M Barrie, a playwright, finds his career at crossroads when his latest play flops. His relationship with his wife is estranged - she blames him and his unavailability for their relationship falling apart only to discover she’s having an affair & shortly elopes.. oh well! His friendship with a young widow, Sylvia Davies and her four adventurous boys (George, Jack, Peter and Michael) inspires him to create his greatest and best-loved work – Peter Pan! He realizes he is in love with Sylvia and as a surrogate father figure in the lives of the boys, the 6 of them (with his pet dog) make a perfect family! Yet Sylvia is diagnosed with an unidentified illness and passes away leaving her mom and Barrie as the co-guardians to the children. The movie ends with little Peter holding the book that he wrote magical plays on - the one he tore apart when he figures his mom may desert him just the way his dad did – the one his mom glues back together for him to restore faith in all things good... That’s all that’s left of her- Just beautiful memories!!
The charming romantic fantasy teared me up.. Yet one thought that was left unanswered was – How would the movie end if they had let Sylvia stay alive.. Let her continue to be part of ‘Finding Neverland’ until the boys grew up and even later, staying in love with James forever, continuing to help the boys finding joy in making kites fly, endlessly fussing over them and threatening when they didn’t listen, watching Peter write more magical stories and direct more pirate plays.. May be there would be sequels? Finding Neverland VIII and still some more to come?…
The glass could have been half-full and yet the movie a box office hit, perhaps!? If only we celebrated life and found happiness in the smallest of stuff… if we saw the positives and encouraged others to do better (for their own good).. if we forgave others and moved on to better things and creating fonder memories together with them.. if jealousy didn’t take over the better of us…..
OR perhaps not!? Cos we humans love to aggrandize tragedy.. We love to play martyr and gain sympathy.. We love the attention people provide us when we exaggerate the not-so-positive experiences we’ve had! Some of us even like guns & wars and instill hatred by brain-washing young children and vulnerable people!! We kill helpless animals for sport, abuse the less powerful and care little for natural resources & the environment.. We choose to hate and remain angry even though it hurts our health – the one thing that stays with us till our last breath…
I spent a milestone birthday in Paris last week (no I ain’t revealing my age :D) – Traveling on work, I missed being with the family and friends terribly – this is perhaps the 1st ever time I’ve been away from “home”! Yet, I told myself I had 2 sets of choices–
I could have chosen to
Stay indoors brooding over how unfortunate it was that of all times, my travel was scheduled when I’d ideally wanted my family to be around me – How emotional it made me that my babies had to hug and kiss me over a facetime chat on what they considered a very important day - You know HOW super-special birthdays are - in ‘Neverland’ at least!!
Crib about how confusing the RER/ Metro network in Paris was – Most people neither spoke English, nor were able/ willing to help - At times you had to go round & round before you got to the right platform to get to your destination – Why bother, let’s just stay indoors!
Complain about how there’s exactly AND only ONE thing on the menu (if you’re lucky) that’s without meat, fish, egg and everything else you refuse to eat, thanks to your dietary choices! Might as well, get yourself a pre-cooked meal / cold salad from M&S and/or use the stove in the studio apartment and cook-in!
Yet I (like many of you would) chose to:
Thank my stars (and my organization – in particular the set of sponsors :D) that I was in Paris – the Fashion Capital of the World.. that too during Summers – which means if you have an insomniac’s body clock, you get few more hours exploring the Parisians’ sense of Fashion - How well-dressed the men are and how the super-fit women whizz past you impeccably dressed wearing their 3-inch heels.. Voila - tick-tock-tick n off they go… while you try hard to keep pace with them!!
Form new bonds of friendship exploring a new city together (Lyon) and getting some of them to help explore Paris - the city they are familiar with.. Taking suggestions and making deviations to the plan; Exploring the nooks & corners, the up-hills and the down-hills with some good company, while happily going solo and scaling towers at times…
Announce to as many people that it was my birthday, shamelessly getting them to wish me well :D
Connect/ Reconnect with people I haven’t in some time now and create memories to cherish a few years later…
Explore the Gorgeous landmarks in the city using the brilliant RER & Metro services and by feet (even if they turned sore on a couple occasions – ahem, thanks to walking miles on end in those fancy sandals - For it was the battle of the equals - La Bombayite vs. Les Parisiennes :D
Try out the one available vegetarian dish in the menu – trusting the locals to respect your dietary choices, while making some of them aware of how they need to be more inclusive by adding more vegetarian (and vegan) dishes to their otherwise-fancy menu.. Of course I got some rolling eyes and strange looks in return, yet what matters is that I ate the yummiest garden salads & crepes, dark chocolate gelato ice-creams and ‘Pain au chocolat’ – my all-time favorite chocolate croissant – I promise you, they taste even more magical in Paris!
Celebrate love watching people fall / remain in love.. P.S. I’m still unsure if it’s the lock-bridge(s) in the city or the open culture where you’re encouraged to express that creates such a romantic atmosphere…
Try out one new thing with that one friend - a thorough partner in crime (you know who you are!) – and live up to the notion of being an inquisitive experimenter!
This for me is ‘Finding Neverland’ – being curious and finding reasons to stay happy .. Like children do - They look forward to the next exciting thing within minutes (at times seconds) of being disappointed and/or hurting themselves real bad… they let go and don’t brood over things.. they see the good parts of it all! Just imagine what a beautiful world it would be - if we all kept the child in us alive and were in a quest to find our Neverland – A magical land with no boundaries.. Where fun and adventures are never far between.. A land that allows you to be who you want to be and believe in all things good so you can stay happy!! It’s like being Geet in the movie ‘Jab we met’.. like Julia Roberts in ‘Eat Pray Love’.. like the good fairies in ‘Wrinkle in Time’.. like Moana, Wonder Woman, Ferdinand and many other positive characters we may associate with!
Of course, unlike children and these characters in movies, as adults, you and I need to work bloody hard to deserve, find, create and stay in ‘Neverland’– No pain, no gain buddy!! People who know me will vouch for this - I wasn’t always like this! It’s the inquisitiveness, openness to feedback, my beautiful supportive family that I turn to for help, the love of my life – the person that considers me an absolute equal and loves me for who I am, my gorgeous little babies, a few friends and the positive role models around me that show me the mirror and last but not the least, the new-found love for travel that’s constantly changing me for the good! Thank god for somethings genetic – the natural disposition to hyper-activity, a good sense of humor and the mental ability & willingness to keep looking for and eventually spot the silver lining among the dark clouds - 3 generations and counting!
Yet I have a long way to go as I continue on my journey to ‘Finding Neverland’ – What about you!?
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