The idea for this post was triggered by a friend who posted an old DIGJAM advertisement which featured Shekhar Kapoor. She asked me to help her find  the one with Karan Kapoor – (yes that old Bombay Dyeing ad with Shashi Kapoor’s handsome son! ) We had a lovely banter over the comments section about how we used to "drool”  over these men..

Thinking back, I cannot not help but laugh at some of the men who were part of my fantasies during my teens. Coming as we did from gender desegregated schooling systems, we had little opportunity to actually interact with boys. There was no question of having a boy friend ( though there were some who did manage THAT). So we put our entire heart and souls into our dreams.

Dreams may be intangible but they require a “ muse”  . And those men in the ads and the heroes of the novels were our sources of inspiration. While the men in the movies and the  ads were in a way very real, I think the kind of love that one had for an unseen hero like the protagonist in a novel or a poem was very different as it relied a lot on one’s own imagination- an imagination triggered by words! I realize now that I am probably a person who is more led by a sense of imagery that is self defined rather than imposed on by external sources like ads.

The first time this happened was when I read “Lochinvar” by Sir Walter Scott . I fell head over heels in love with the main protagonist who was    supposed to be      “ daring in love and dauntless in war”. Nowhere had I actually seen a picture of this knight who “save his good broad sword had weapons none”  and who “ rode all unarmed”  and “ all alone” . But I could just imagine him in my mind as the most handsome man in this world.- that is . until I read  “ The Highwayman”  by Alfred Noyes when the bandit replaced the knight in my dreams. I almost “ looked”  for him by “ moon light” and “watched” for him by “ moonlight” .Many moon came and went and I kept looking for him!  

A few years later when I read “ Gone with the wind” I lost my heart to Rhett Butler. Interestingly, I refused to watch the movie though I had many occasions to do so. I wanted to hold on to my mental image of  this dashing hero. It was only very recently that I watched a program on a television channel about the making of this movie and that is when I actually set my eyes on Clark Gable playing Rhett Butler- I must confess at this point that he lived up in every way to my mental image of Rhett!

Other loves were Mr. Darcy in “ Pride and Prejudice” and to some extent “ Robinhood”.

I think you must have noticed by now that all these men populating my dreams were western charachters. I can only blame it on the colonial schooling system which stuffed our head with English poetry and literature. Who knows, if I had studied in a Tamil medium or a Hindi medium school I may have fallen in love with “ Veerapandya Kattbomman” “ Raja Raja Chozhan”  or “ Chandragupta Vikramaditya” !!!

While poetry and stories have a way of triggering mental images, so does music. An avid fan of Hindi film music, I used it as a background for spinning images-almost like in the movies. While I am a great fan of Mohammad Rafi’s , the voice that triggered dreams was Kishore Kumar’s. Actually, it continues to do so.. Rafi and Yesudas are okay for beautiful songs based on ragas but to me it is only Kishore who can sing a song with and about passion! Unfortunately the faces which lip synched Kishore’s words often did not live up to the images in my dreams. But when I saw Kishore perform live –that was actually the ultimate let down!! Poor guy he cannot help the way he looks. But how do you explain that to a sixteen year old? My heart broke into a thousand pieces and I wished I had been born blind!

The teenage years went by and as we grew and interacted with real men/boys the dreams readjusted to accommodate some of their traits. There was a time when the real and the fantasy intermingled often impacting on crucial decisions like the selection of one’s life partner. We made those decisions and live with them accepting the reality that comes with it.  I don’t know how many of us found those dream men.. but I can certainly say that if some psychologist did an analysis of the type of men we married and the men who were part of our dreams during our growing years, they would be amazed by some striking similarities.

However, as we all know, it is one thing to dream about a Lochinvar and another to marry him.. because one is certainly not “ the fair Ellen of the brave Lochivar”  or “Bess the landlord’s daughter- the landlord’s red lipped daughter”

But when has that stopped a girl from dreaming? Dreaming is her birthright and no one can deny her that!
( The images are from the internet - they do not in any way do justice to the images in my dreams)


  1. Thank you Meera for nudging that part of memory which held nuggets of great poetry as well as the not-so-literary advertisements.

    Poetry was something that I didn't like very much in my school days but later on, whenever I came across bits of that poetry, I could see a new meaning. Its probably the manner in which poetry was taught in schools. I personally feel that poetry, like any other art, should not be taught in schools as a part of a syllabus. Appreciation of art is far too personal and perhaps academics should limit itself to initiate the student into appreciation of an art rather than attempt to teach it. Its only much later as I grew older (and probably wiser) that poetry comes across with a beauty I didn't find earlier.

    I fully agree with you on the way reading triggers imagination. I grew up reading James Bond, James Hadley Chase (whose novels were considered unrefined by many of my friends), Alistair McLean etc., exercised my imagination to no end. This is something the present day television influenced generation don't seem to benefit from.

    As for the advertisements, Kabir Bedi and the man who modeled for Zodiac ties stand out.

    Lovely post Meera. Keep dreaming and writing about your dreams.

  2. A lovely post which gives a good insight to the dreams of a teenage girl and makes me wonder that feelings used to be same for opposite sex while conjuring images in formative years! Seeing you back to writing after a while!

  3. M, Dreaming is not the sole prerogative and right given to women alone. I protest (ha)!!

    True, as you mentioned all of us must have had dream heroes and heroines. When fantasies went wild. Blame it on the age , the adolescence and teens.

    Here , I would like to say something that I used to tell my spouse in banter. For men, there are dream girls and then one marries the girl of his dream. He sees her as the most desirable and beautiful. Down the line every other lass seems to be more beautiful than her.

    I agree with your call on Kishore Kumar. he was apart and par excellence. Gave a different meaning to music.

  4. Darcy, yes! Studying in an Odiya medium school, I first read many of them in Odiya and then in English. While I do not remember enough about the translations to comment, they did a good job of the story.

    In fact, the thing about these actors, heroes, sports stars, if at all you happen to meet them in real person, and then if you do get to see or talk to them closely, they are such a disappointment. Its good not to attempt to talk and to hold on to those images. After all they are "good" actors!

  5. dreaming is birthright of everyone , being a man doesnot mean I shud not dream :) I cna dream of lovely beautiful women too.. but then beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder ...

    Lochinvar reminded me of the poem passing of king arthur we had in english Srr lochinvar ..


  6. Meera,

    A honest and factual post. We all dreamt in our younger years.

    Take care

    PS : Any luck with that lawlessness?

  7. wow...that is so sweet. Brought back memories of Clark Gable, Rishi Kapoor and all the then Khans:P Thanks for the walk down memory lane:)))

  8. great blog..u touch interesting topics...cheers

  9. Okay, Anil and Bikram apologies for suggesting that dreams are women only- they are for all! But since this was written from the point of view of a teenage girl- I had to use the word - "GIRL"

  10. @ Cloud nine see.. great mind think and dream alike!!!

  11. Ashok welcome to my blog. Hope to see you here more often

    @ Jack our sabji wala problem continues but we have become used to it these days

  12. @ Christopher- you are absolutely right - poetry and literary appreciation is what schools should introduce students to .. agree about the point you made- about the teacher being so crtical about inducing love for poetry.

  13. Lovely post Meera, you actually took me through my own experiences. Oh how I loved The Highwayman, The Rhett Butler and the Fr Ralph (Thorn birds).

    Hum sapne toh dekhte rahenge....aur Sapno ke saudagar apne potli mein sapne lekar aate rahenge..


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