The road to my grandmother’s house is lined with farming and fishing villages. House after house, prayer hall after prayer hall rush past, a never-ending train of mute, box-shaped olive green and purple coaches. There are quick glimpses of a child or two engaged in play. Then the ground gradually begins to sink. After a time only the roofs are visible – close little clusters of earthy eaves peeking over the road side, hiding the homes of invisible people. And then quite without warning, with quite a grand flourish, swaths of green-gold paddy fields explode into sight, opening up beyond the rooftops, rolling out into the vast horizon, further and further from the speeding car, the road,…then screeching to a halt at the feet of a quiet row of coconut trees bent gracefully over Lilliputian houses.

I remember being a little girl and looking out for a glimpse of sea between the dark green clumps of trees. I believe I’ve seen it. But as I grow older, as visits become less frequent, sometimes I think I imagined them – a childish confusion of real life with years of disappearing into the pages of Enid Blyton and Narnia.

Each time I get in the car to my grandmother’s, each time the sun-drenched landscape streams past like painted canvas beating about in the wind, I try to remember to seek them out, these elusive little glittering patches framed by rooftops and tree trunk and childish dreams. But I don’t know for sure – maybe they were never there. Or maybe being an adult means forgetting to pay attention.

“I am growing up,” she thought, taking her taper at last. “I am losing some illusions,” she said, shutting Queen Mary’s book, “perhaps to acquire others,” and she descended among the tombs where the bones of her ancestors lay.”
– Orlando, Virginia Woolf

“But, unfortunately, I cannot see sheep through boxes. Perhaps I am a little like grown-ups. I am getting old.” – The Little Prince