Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A trip to Disneyland

The sky slowly started betraying the day behind. It was getting clearer with a few packs of white cloud hanging around to create exactly the scenes photographers fancy. I took a random shot of a child perched atop his dad's head, legs around the neck. The photo turned out to be almost like a silhoutte, perhaps a bit mystic, as I would like to believe. There could not be a better moment on that day.

Amidst a huge hustle-bustle, the procession of the heros of Disneyland just started. On the background, theme songs are being played at full volume. Strangely, kids are silently watching in their disbelief and parents are dancing like kids. To be at a moment like that, I thought, it was worth driving nearly 500 kms the day earlier with an hour's preparation to rush off.

The day before, my day at lab was not turning out quite well as I would liked it to be. There were few unexpected results, few moments of disbelief and despair. On the other hand, I was receiving repeated calls from inside to be at Disneyland, Paris, where my niece would be there in a day and our little son is excited to be. I was supposed to start the next morning early and ride straight to Disneyland. Not that to be destined. In the afternoon, I left the office, called home, packed the bags and headed on the highways towards a hotel nearby Disneyland. It was a rash decision, like the ones kids make. It turned out to be a very good one as we got a good sleep and was ready for the entire next day.

We started around 10 in the morning. Disneyland prepares herself early and opens by 10. We took it easy as we had the entire day to spend there. Little did we know that half the day would be spent standing ! The queue at the main entrance itself took more than one hour, including the long car queue to gain entry to the car park. Of course, there were nice, cute musics playing around but, that was hardly eroding the frustration of queueing around. The price of entry was also quite high (including 63€ for kids), which in my memory was less when I travelled there 6 years back. After little effort, we discovered our niece and sister and brother-in-law each riding on a 10kmph speed, funny-looking merry-go-round. Still, the prevailing mood was why so wait ! The wait seemed longer and longer. We hovered around, identified the most exciting rides and then discovered a clear sign of waiting durations in front of each ride. The minimum was 60 minutes. Weather was not supporting either. Occasional drizzles, cloudy and cold. Nothing disney-fic about it. Even the food joint or the toilet had a queue reminding me of railway booking counters back in Gholsapur, Kolkata.

In all that, we were getting thousands of questions about where Buzz lives, where Woody and Mickey are to be found, from two kids of our group. The answers definitely did not satisfy their eyes. We had to create make-believe stories about this fairytale world, though in our views ony real-world issues kept popping up. To our rescue, came few hardworking fellows dressed like Balloo and the chimp of Aladin. They were mobbed. Children took photos with them, took their autographs in fancy note-books (not notebook that you use to read this story!) and even hugged them with utter delight. To take a photo in such a setting, I had to kneel down. Suddenly the shine in the eyes of my son revealed the setting to me. It is their world ! They don't care if the wait is long. They don't care if the price is high for entrance. They don't know that we will leave in a few hours and possibly never be there for years. They were living in their beautiful world, living in that moment.

The situation pumped me up a bit. When, the next 80-minute waiting, 1-minute ride stood in front of me, I took to it playfully. I discussed all kinds of stories about the plane, where we are going to ride with kids. I pointed to the small things, to the momentary fleeting balloons and took myself to the fantasy world. When, at the same time, there were announcements made over mike that these are your most magical moments of life, I nearly agreed.

On a difficult joyride, which I took years ago, went my sister and wife. After our ride finished, they returned with shaking hands and limbs with all the wonder written on their face. We all were excited. Unfortunately, the day was drawing to close soon. In a few minutes, the grand procession through the main street of Disney town will start. The crowds already stood there in huge anticipation. The sky was clearing. All the kids, like in an universal kinhood, sat at the front of the crowd, leaving enough space for the procession. There were kids on top of parents' shoulders. At 7 pm, the loud music, song and dance started, when our childhood memories started walking on top of large tableaus. It was magical.

Parents were shaking to the tunes, kids were awestruck. I was just checking the faces around. Magic was written everywhere. With huge applause went Pluto, Buzz, Snow White and innumerable characters that define a large part of our childhood memory. Well I missed some heroes from India but, that would take another Walt Disney to recreate the magic there. Last came Mickey. Dancing his heart out. Pointing to the crowd. Everything was in unison.

It was over soon and we had to rush towards the exit. I did not have time then to talk to our son.

On the drive back home, I was trying to reason why Ballu or Chimp-dressed guys were so endearing. I figured out it to be their huge, big smile that never disappears. They did everything with a smile. Children knew they are approachable, they can never hurt. Yet, I was sorry to think why Minnie Mouse was not at the top together with Mickey. Subtle male-domination. I was thinking why subject everyone at the entrance for the baggage-check. I was feeling bad to even think that someone can be so cruel to enter Disneyland with ulterior motives. Ahh, my bad thoughts. I turned to my son and asked him if he got a glimpse of Buzz.

"Yes, he looked straight to me", was his hyper-excited response. Which cleared my mind like the moonlit road in front of me.

No comments:

Post a Comment