Saturday, October 06, 2012

Me and Hobbes

I didn't understand all the brouhaha about Calvin and Hobbes till I got hooked on to it myself. Well it's been quite a while since I felt like writing. I've been filling posts for the heck of it but they don't give me that sense of completion anymore. Undoubtedly The Bible would've sufficed at such times but I just happened to be trying to explore the collection of Calvin and Hobbes strips I accidentally copied from Danny's computer.

Obviously Calvin knows somethings about the world, way more than a little kid of six (?I don't remember his age), who's least interested in studies, would know. Also his vocabulary seems way overdeveloped; strangely, that has irritated me on more than one occasion.

I can't understand who Hobbes is? That is a question that has, and still does, haunt me many a night. Honestly, as an Indian, for who English is not the first language, pronunciation can be a bit of a problem and I still don't know if I pronounce Hobbes correctly. I pronounce it as "Hob-bez". It is apparent that Hobbes is stuffed-toy tiger, from whom, Calvin is inseparable. We all know that for Calvin, Hobbes is alive, while for the rest of the world he's a stuffed toy. His parents too understand Hobbes' importance in his life. They even know that he thinks of Hobbes as a living, breathing, interacting entity but pass it off as mere childishness. Honestly I think they're happy about the latter as it probably saves them the guilt of not having another child to give him company; who knows what reasons they have for not having another. They just know that Calvin is always talking to and playing with Hobbes when he's not at school.

There's the rest of the world with the perils and pains of the reality and there's Calvin with his wacky visions, transmogrifier and last but not least, Hobbes. When I started to read C&H, I couldn't understand what Hobbes signified (I still can't and this has transmogrified me into a curious neuron). He mostly talks like someone older than Calvin. In the initial strips he talks about girls and kisses not very infrequently. He responds to Calvin's queries like a grown-up mostly; at times, not a very literate grown up. At the same time he seems not much older than Calvin when they're both scared out of their wits sitting on the bed at night, wondering if the monsters under it will attack them. At times they even have bitter fights, are mean to one another.

I cannot even understand Hobbes' size. Obviously for Calvin he's a big, tall tiger that walks on two legs while for the rest, he's a stuffed toy smaller in size than Calvin himself. Why does Hobbes appear so big to Calvin when in reality, he's so small? But then again, after reading C&H, who cares about reality, I just envy the bond that the two share.

At first I thought Hobbes was an extension of Calvin's dad's persona. From the comic, I get some clue that dad and Calvin's relation is not as plain and disconnected as it might appear to most. After all he's the only person Calvin approaches with regarding "the election" for dad's tenure as "dad". The way his dad responds to him sometimes seems interesting to me, it's really not the same as mom, but then again, maybe this hypothesis is not flawless.

Maybe Calvin had a brother who died or left home or disappeared when Calvin was much younger and Calvin has some faint memory of him that he transmogrified Hobbes into...some kind of an his elder brother and best friend. That theory has obvious caveats as Calvin's parents would've been much lenient with him had that happened...shesh!! That hypothesis is flawed as well but then again...who cares about flaws...when you're reading Calvin and Hobbes...flaw is strength. The only thing that got to me was how his parents freak out when Calvin loses Hobbes once and how they go out in the dead of the night to find it. However that might just be because they know how attached Calvin is to it. 

Remember Blake's lines 
"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"

...Wish I had Hobbes with me right now to talk to. Meanwhile, I'm haunted by the same question that riddles my mind day in and day out; who is he?

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