It calm or captivating or covetable? Simply, it can’t.

It is ignited. It is born. It is created.


It ascends from the darkest, deepest, most dangerous depths
of reality. It threatens the known, bestowing refuge for the world of the
undiscovered, unheard, and uncertain. Fantasy.

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Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for this delightful
opportunity to express my thoughts, regarding matters that hurt every nerve and
sinew in me, when undermined.


Fantasy. Fantasy liberates me, you, us, from the clutches of
reality, the ropes that bind us, restrain us, suffocate us, turning our every
breath into screams for freedom, for release… for escape. Fantasy presents us
with the propensity to burgeon, the proclivity to reach for the sky, and the
potential to write our destiny. It is integrated deep in the very fabric of our
entity, being the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we lavish. Fantasy
is our master, the oldest, wisest, and most crucial. We need to embrace, elevate,
exalt the element of fantasy in our lives. The genre of fantasy is sporadically
granted to us in emblematic appearances of snow white paper, bespeckled with
flurries of black ink, for reasons as many as stars in the galaxy.


“Fantasy is silver and
scarlet… obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli,” George R.R. Martin once
said. I agree. And then you may ask, what about reality? Reality is
the putrescent bones of an atrocious beast. Reality is a king…
stabbed in the back. Reality is another name for ‘Hell’ where hapless souls
tread – poverty and disease and terrorism, impending over them like shadows. How
can this world, afflicted, marred, blemished with scars, where even children are
starved, or shot mercilessly in the head – at times unpurified and abused – ever
be calm or captivating or covetable? Simply, it can’t. And here, fantasy fills
the lacuna! Fantasy is vital to the child enslaved in shackles, to the child longing
to be educated, to the child with no arms and legs. So at least, in their
wildest imagination, they can plummet down an unfathomable ocean, mounting a
sea serpent towards Atlantis; become a knight serving the prestigious court of
Camelot; or a wizard in the supernatural school of Hogwarts! Who wouldn’t want
to be friends with Harry Potter? And don’t tell me it’s the 210 million orphans,
worldwide, of which 15% commit suicide by the age of 18. Thus, fantasy is imperative,
however old or wise, aiding escapism when entrapped within relentless
situations, to perpetuate our mental and emotional equilibrium. We immerse ourselves
in fantasy books to traverse an author’s realm, exempt from our responsibilities,
phobias and stresses. So, whisk yourselves away. Somewhere far, far, away.


“Somewhere of the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams
that you dare dream, really do come true.”


And in those distant lands we’ll find hope. Freedom. Escape.
Just like the Jews needed to. I see your confusion. But in fact, the song ‘Somewhere
Over the Rainbow’, from ‘The Wizard of Oz’, is associated with the Holocaust;
how it allows us to connect with a time shrouded by darkness, illuminating the barbaric
hostility the Jews faced. Similarly, the movie, ‘Life is beautiful’, displays
the same proficiency of fantasy. For when an unprejudiced Jewish father and his
son become entrapped in a concentration camp, he weaves an alternative reality for
his son to exist in, through his imagination, obstructing the horrors of war. The
movie enlightens us that fantasy is intrinsic to life; how due to it, we cope
with and permeate reality with beauty, even in grievous times. The fantasy
genre brings to light sensitive subjects, sprinkling it in minuscule quantities
to elucidate past injustice, misdeeds and massacres, allowing many of us to value,
appreciate and respect our place in life.


“A whole new
world, a
dazzling place I never knew. “A new fantastic point of view”. A
spectrum of emotions ameliorating you. And you are sure to wonder, “How these
panoramas hold such utmost splendor, that its sheer intensity renders you surrendered?”
Oh, the absolute euphoria and ache transfigures you, alters your perspectives,
attitudes, feelings. So, let’s absorb ourselves in fantasy books, and we’ll
find empathy flourishing within us, as our capacity to relate with others, augments.
Studies show being engaged in fantasy books, assists the activation of regions
in your brains liable for better
assimilation and interpretation of people, and a new outlook on life.
Psychologist Raymond Mar noted considerable overlaps in the brain networks used
to comprehend stories and the ones used to guide interactions with individuals.
Fantasy books urge us to metamorphose into various characters to understand
their thoughts, feelings and motives, developing our perception. Mine. Yours.
Ours. Comparably, Lisa Bu, a TED speaker, said that books had given her “a
magic portal to connect with people of the past and the present.” Just like it
can provide us.


Emotionally. Psychologically. Mentally. Fantasy books possess
a range of competence. Were you aware, that reading fantasy can reduce stress
and mental decline, all while increasing your grasp on language? A 2009 study
by Sussex University revealed that reading, especially fictional elements, will
decrease nearly 68% of your stress. Above that, reading exercises your brain,
lowering mental decline by 32%. More activity, especially of your left temporal
cortex (a brain segment related with the apprehension of language) will
heighten the potential for a wider range of vocabulary. So, read fantasy! Now! For
you’ll never regret imagining or escaping or… reading. Believe me! “Never is an
awfully long time”.


It is ignited. It is born. It is created


The capabilities of fantasy are manifold. If it can offer us
escapism; diverse viewpoints; familiarity with delicate themes; health
benefits, and overall pleasure, then why should we deny it? These reasons
manifest the need to advocate, stimulate and espouse the genre of fantasy and
the marvels of imagination. With fantasy, forget the 7 wonders of the world, we
can see 10, a 100, a 1000. You may be 1 in 7 billion, but surrounded by your
fantasy, you are the painter, the world your canvas. You are omniscient. You
are omnipotent. You are omnificent. And this, is just the beginning…