Saturday, October 01, 2011

Memorable Books: Heidi

As part of the new feature of this blog, here is a guest post from my sweet friend Anne, who blogs at Abstract Admissions. Anne is the first friend to kindly oblige my request for a guest post! She was diligent and enthusiastic in delivering her article to me, and therefore has totally pumped up my blogging (and reading) energy :). She is a wonderful writer and an ardent reader. So, I'm happy she could contribute! Please read on... 
Hi people! I’ve been hovering in the background of this blog for some time now but this is the first time that I’ve been placed under the spotlight! When Neeraja asked me if I was interested in writing a guest post on a book that has touched/moved/impressed me – I jumped at the chance. But I also knew that it would be quite a challenge. Firstly I read too much and easily muddle up and mix up stories and characters in my head, as I’ve mentioned before here.  But more importantly, The Mind’s Language, offers such deep and insightful thoughts on a range of fascinating books – that it is truly hard to live up to its standards. When one is posting on one’s own blog, we have every right to blabber whatever we want to – afterall it is our own blog. If someone does not like it, they are welcome to pack up and leave ;-) But while being a guest blogger, one needs to take into consideration the spirit of the host’s blog. And Neeraja being an avid reader herself as well as a self-confessed perfectionist (which frankly I am far from!), makes it all the more intimidating!

So I pondered long and hard about which book to choose and I realized that there aren’t many children’s books profiled here. If I vividly remember a book that I had read some 12-15 years back, then surely it must be one which has left a profound impact on me, right? One such classic, which pops into my mind, is Heidi by Johanna Spyri, published first in 1880.  According to Wiki, it is supposedly one of the best known works of Swiss literature – and I am not surprised. Although there are sequels and abridged versions of the original and movies as well as animated films, to me nothing can dilute the magic of the original novel. 

In case, anyone hasn’t come across Heidi as yet, the crux of the story is about the events that occur in the life of a young girl named Heidi, who is handed over to her curiously eccentric grandfather living in the Swiss Alps. The contrast in their personalities cannot be missed, as one is wizened and guarded against any intrusions in his life while the other is inquisitive, free and completely open to it.  The changes that the charming girl brings about in the old man are heart-warming.  She is like a whiff of fresh air in his secluded life and meanwhile also makes friends with others, the most notable being Peter the goat-herd. 

The book transported me to the beautiful mountains of the Alps. I could only imagine how peaceful and calm it would be to live nestled among the whistling conifers, one with nature amidst an oasis of serenity. The sparkling mountain air, the earthy and rustic food such as freshly baked bread and goat cheese and the no-fuss lifestyle, might be difficult to actually live through, what with all the modern comforts that I am used to now. But what more could a small girl ask for, than running gleefully down the hills barefooted with her best friend,  with the wind in her hair, the sun on her face and laughing with abandon? Untouched by vices, untroubled by worldly worries. In fact I can still recall the cozy descriptions of Heidi’s room, a loft smelling of fresh hay and with a tiny window looking out to the valley beyond. Sigh! 

I think that Heidi showed me that it is possible to find pleasure and happiness in the simple things of life. It taught me that there is absolutely no need to complicate my life and that the ways of providence is beneficial, if a tad mysterious – and that everything will work out in the end.  Heidi is an epitome of all that can be good in this world. She instills a sense of positivity, hope and childlike innocence in my heart. I have not reread the book as an adult – but I do plan to someday. And I have no doubt that I will continue to love and cherish her. She envelops me like the sweet, whimsical scent of a tender lily in a rain-drenched garden - reminding me that the beauty of life can be hidden away cleverly, in seemingly innocuous moments.

Wow, what a fitting start to this feature! Thank you for the beautiful post, Anne. And well, thanks for the generous words on this blog! This blog has survived solely because it is far removed from any standards of perfectionism :). 

I love children's classics and always look for opportunities to slip into the comforting world of childhood. Anne's words rekindle the significance of relishing the simple pleasures of life, and the magic behind keeping our energy levels running high - positivity! Heidi is a delightful classic that should stay memorable in all future generations to come. 


Anne John said...

I'm glad you liked it Neeru - I was a bit worried whether it'll meet your expectations :-)
And thanks once again for hosting my words!

Neeraja said...

Thanks again for the lovely post! Please, you have (had) no reason to worry or be intimidated! :). This is just a small blog :)

Meens said...

Absolutely wonderful idea, Neeraja... and I am so happy to see the first post come in... and its so beautiful!
If your idea and the guest posts are one dimension of beauty, the relationship that you have with the guest - that mutual regard - is another beautiful dimension which is coming out now...

And for the post itself, I loved the writing and I liked these lines very very much : "She envelops me like the sweet, whimsical scent of a tender lily in a rain-drenched garden - reminding me that the beauty of life can be hidden away cleverly, in seemingly innocuous moments." - Left goosebumps in me!! :-)

Karthik said...

Neeraja - This new feature of having guest posts seems very interesting !
Anne - Enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book ! I haven't read the book myself, but got a good idea of what it must be like from this post :-)

Anne said...

@Meens & Karthik: Wow! Thank you so much for your kind words :-)

Neeraja said...

Thanks a lot Meens :). You're as kind as ever :)

Thank you Karthik :)