When you’re 19 and you’re exploring, you tend to find solace in the most mundane of absurdities. From romantic poetry verses for your girlfriend to movies with a 5’6″ Salman Khan bashing up goons while also challenging the laws of physics at the same time to reality TV shows with the most obnoxiously narcissistic beings who actually deprive other beings of their self-esteem, in the vicinity of the whole country, while constantly shouting “Tu roadie banega? #@*&^%” at their faces. We may find anything or everything to indulge our thus unproductive, uncomplacent lives with.
Sadly, I could never find the slightest amount of amusement in either of the following activities. Now I won’t deny, I haven’t, neither formerly nor recently, have been what you may state as socially acceptable. I’ve always been suffering from, more-or-less, a social anxiety of sorts. I seldom find amusement in parties and public gatherings and only do so if the people in these gatherings are the ones I’m extremely comfortable with in socializing. For me, a conversation with somebody I’m not comfortable with, and have only had a brief acquaintance with goes this way-
Person:”So how are studies?(Yes this comes before how are you?)
Me: Good, good.
(Brief discussion about my college life)
Me: “So how’s uncle and aunty?”
Person:”Oh they are good.”
Me: “And hows daadi?”
Person: “She died 2 years ago. You don’t know?”
Me: Oh! Oh yes, yes.
*unbearably long awkward silence* *slowly walks away in shame*
And this is like a continuous loop, which goes over and over and over.
So where was I? Oh dear, I get distracted so much! Okay yes, yes. About seeking the pleasures of the socially prevalent sources of entertainment. Never really got that. For me, it was all about books, and more books, with movies and TV sitcoms, but books. Definitely books. I always tend to find a life much greater than mine in the books I read. Isn’t it what we all tend to do? From Harry Potter to Artemis Fowl to Hunger Games to books of Ayn Rand and John Grisham, all we ever seek for are lives more fascinating, more engaging and more mesmerizing than ours. But when a certain book actually captures the essence of your life, compiles it in a more humorous and fascinating way and serves it to you right back, that is what knocks the wind out of you. And Calvin and Hobbes managed to do just that to me.
I had become familiar with them in about class 9th if I could remember. We still pick up a copy of Times of India only to read the comic strips, don’t we? Except for the gory interference in the lives of celebrities, there is nothing in it that might actually serve the purpose of lucid news. But we’ll discuss this sometimes else.
Anyway so those small strips never quite brought the essence of the comic at that time and was thus outranked by the likes of Dennis the Menace, Garfield and Archies, that is until I grabbed a copy of the compilation of the whole comic from my brother. And my life has never been the same ever since.
The reason why you love Calvin and Hobbes was mainly because you tend to discover yourself in the neurotic, obnoxious, narcissistic little boy with a vivid imagination and an IQ level much greater for his age.
Now what the genius of Bill Watterson has done is he took the somewhat unusual kid(not so unusual actually) and turned him into something more believable and that little something was what made all the difference. He showed us that, being the introvert and rude kid that he is, he did tend to have no friends at all. And solely found comfort in the company of an imaginary friend, his stuffed tiger, Hobbes.
Now Hobbes was what one would call a true friend. Somebody who’d constantly hear you rant about the slightest of things in the world, share your adventures and misadventures, your partner in crime and most importantly, someone who would accept you for who you are.
Joining them in their journey takes you on a roller coaster of an emotional ride.
They’ve made us laugh-
They’ve made us cry-
They’ve taken us places-
They’ve made us insightful-
Calvin and Hobbes was humorous and playful yet insightful and moving. Bill Watterson showed us that a major aspect in writing aesthetically touching, thought provoking philosophies, is to camouflage them with humour. And he managed to do that beautifully.
Sadly, the creator of C&H, Bill Watterson, on November 7, 1995 announced that he woudn’t be doing the comic strips anymore and took a sabbatical ever since. The good news is, he has recently surface by assisting Stephen Pastis on his comic ‘Pearls before swine.’
This was the last C&H he ever did