I recently discovered this captivating blog by Meenakshi, on an afternoon when some train of thought led me to a Google search for Darrell Rivers. The Head Girl of Malory Towers, my favourite boarding school of all time lovingly built by Enid Blyton. Meenakshi wrote beautifully from Gwendoline’s perspective, one of the (un)popular girls in the school, and her writing had me completely hooked.
Where have those innocent, carefree days gone when acing it in a subject, becoming School Captain, and catching your crush’s eye was the most joyful prospect of life? In our rush to grow up – or maybe we didn’t have enough choice – so many early pleasures of life have been strewn along the way, never to be reclaimed.
In Malory Towers, passions ran high when you “stole” someone’s best friend and sat next to them in class.
Waiting at the school gate at Half-Term, expecting your parents’ car to drive in any minute, was one of the highlights of the year.
The annual school function – plays and pantomimes – were huge on involvement and emotion.
Talking about your future ambitions with your friends, brushing away one career option for another, as if all of them lay in wait for you, their breath bated.
Not caring about facial acne, or caring too much.
Going on school picnics in casual wear and showing off your stylish, outdoorsy clothes to friends.
Being the “popular girls” or the ones who wanted to be, as if that was all that mattered.
I have spent countless afternoons lost in the world of Malory Towers, studying for exams with Darrell and Sally, going riding with Bill and Clarissa, playing the fool with Alicia and Betty, disappearing into my shell like Emily, being scatterbrained like Irene. I cried for a whole hour when the last book ended, feeling every bit of the bittersweet emotions that the girls felt upon graduating from school. I was completely silly and entirely happy all at once.
Lately, nostalgia gets a stronghold over me like never before. It lures me in with the prospect of reliving old joys, but by the time I come out, I have no idea where life is headed. It won’t do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, advised Dumbledore, and for the most part, I am cognizant of that. In fact, many of my former dreams have frayed and disappeared and not been replaced by fresh ones.
But sometimes, losing myself in an old world, forgetting the present as if intoxicated, and reconstructing fictional people and places like they were ever real, is the best dream I have. It is a dream I can make true if I put in just a little effort.