That I’m a dreamer, that’s the closest that I could get to my dreams, said me!! I woke up one fine morning as a “wanderer” and with a lost identity, the one which was probably the most valued possession in my life, in anyone’s life. The first identity – a “human” – well being one is not that easy as being called one. Being human is perhaps the toughest thing that one ever has to encounter in life, since it means losing all the other acquired identities that you tend to gather as your prized possessions through the life that you have lived. “Is it pink or is it blue?” Speaking of the pinkies and the blues, in later years you will definitely prefer or refer to them as your toes or the music that you oh so love when you are sad rather than the “boy or the girl” identity that you need to carry as the worst baggage through life and living. Just imagine a “gender neutral” world with some free ranging toes and a lifelong supply of the “blues” blasting through the air.
And they said, I’m a dreamer, they did say it right cause I wandered as a twice born “wanderer” – genderless into the streets of the cities that thrived on identities based on caste, creed, religion, politics, income strata or maybe even the kinda beer that you drank! So much for identities that give and bring out nothing but the worst in us. Alas! it was only a dream since I was a dreamer, but what the freaking hell so what if it’s only a dream, dreams do come true sometimes and they keep saying it all the time. There I was a “flaneur” flashing my identity less being and perfecting the art of the “Flânerie” on the streets of the cities that I could ever be on only in my dreams – Paris, Prague, Constantinople, Budapest, Athens, Berlin, Rudra Prayag…strolling, lounging, sauntering, loafing, observing like an almost perfect spectator filled with the right doses of passion and joy to be amidst the unknown and the infinite, to be away from what we call home yet to feel oneself at home with the world and its unique cosmopolitanism. An identity less wanderer lost in her dreams!!!!
We could all be flaneurs and become the best of them, the only condition being to be able to “let go” of what we call our prized possession, our identities which makes us who we are and what we want to become if we ever do so. Strike the pros and cons list and see how easy it is to do the former aka lose everything and become a flaneur, all you need is yourself and a little space there for your dreams and you are ready to take the world and your dreams in your stride. Walter Benjamin was the first to make the figure of the “flaneur” based on the poetry of Charles Baudelaire who says that, “For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home: to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—such are a few of the slightest pleasures of those independent, passionate, impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. (Baudelaire, 1995 : 9)
Since then a lot has been said and written about these scholarly figures of art and the intellectual a part of the rich and the bourgeoisie who keep wandering and sauntering the streets of the world class cities just observing and taking in the ambience which they tend to give back to them in form of prose, poetry, the arts, music, architecture, thoughts, musings and all that is enclosed within the creative realms. But is this all that is, there in my dreams making me a dreamer that they say that I am?? Nah, of course not, if it was only the arts that my dreams were made up of I would stop dreaming and get into my coat of reality with all the identities that I could gather and become what I have always dreamt of not becoming “the common man”
And they said, but you are “the common man” with dreams perhaps “the common dreamer” and perhaps not the only one as John Lennon croons,
“Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one..”
That the world living as one is only a dream that probably I dreamt as a flaneur wandering those heavenly streets of the world cities, throwing out all my identities into the reality of living,..well you could do the same too, it’s not very difficult all it needs is a dream and the will to throw out your identities – gender, caste, creed, wealth, education, country, religion, and maybe even the kinda beer that you drink!!!
And They Said….