Wednesday 27 August 2008

Alice in Wonderland

As a child I was not an Alice in Wonderland fan. I remember I found the Disney movie creepy. Alice growing and then shrinking countless of times, the trigger-happy Queen of Hearts always shouting “off with her head!” and the malicious grinning of Cheshire cat weren’t to my taste. Those scenes of the movie actually scared me. And because I hated the movie I never had the inclination to read the book. But last week I happened into a copy of it in Staines library and got curious enough, I don’t know why, to borrow it. I’m so glad I did because the book that did not appeal to me before now I find interesting and has become a favourite.

I went to Oxford last weekend and discovered that most of the scenes in the book are based from actual places in Oxford. In fact not only that, the book as you might say was born in there. Charles Dodgson was a Mathematics professor in Christ Church College in Oxford. He was a close friend of the dean and loved to spend time with the dean’s children. The youngest of these children was a girl named Alice Liddell. Dodgson would spin fantastic stories to entertain the Liddell children and one story he regaled them with he used Alice as the main character. The children were very delighted with that story that they persuaded him to write a book about it. Under the name Lewis Carroll, he penned Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alice Tiddell did grow up, married, had kids and died of old age. But she’s forever immortalized as a child, thanks to Carroll’s genius.

The following is the conversation between the Cheshire Cat and Alice – my favourite lines in the book:

“Cheshire Puss,” she began, rather timidly. “Would you please tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t care much where –“ said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“– so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

I had thought in my youth that all I needed to do was to graduate, manage to land a good-paying job, and everything would be fine and dandy. As it turned out life after graduation is more complicated. Back then being a student, I had a fixed goal (to graduate and get a job), it was simple, and I knew which way to go. Now it’s frustrating when I can’t even answer the simple question “where do I want to get to?”... as to what to do with my career. Oh yes for now I do enjoy my job, especially the perks of travelling. But 10 years from now will I still be fulfilled doing this? If I will change career, what will it be? What can I imagine myself getting passionate doing? I honestly don’t know. I really do envy those people who have their goals, complete with timelines, set in their minds. I on the other hand am perhaps lost in my own wonderland. But at least I know how to get to somewhere. It doesn’t matter which way I go, I only have to walk long enough.

No comments: