In ancient Scandinavian mythology, Valkyries were warrior maidens who would transport the souls of those who fell in battle to Valhalla (the hall of warriors in heaven).
Now as they swept across the night sky, one could see the trail of glowing light across the horizon. The phenomenon in scientific literature is called 'Aurora Borealis' or the northern lights.
Its one of the most amazing spectacles that one could see in the star lit northern hemisphere.
The thing that once made the spectacle more magical was the fact that people would watch in earnest hoping to catch a glimpse of the Valkyries as they swept across the skies.
And from that moment on, the Valkyries were lost from human memory. Never to ride amongst our dreams and our thoughts.
While there is nothing wrong in knowing the truth behind phenomena in nature, it isn't a crime if one ascribes it a bit of a more magical background.
Humans for centuries have dwelt in the land of make believe. Right from carving out giant Sphinxes in Egypt to the Dragon adoring masses in China.
While at the same time, the scientific community has always thought such practices as childish and ridiculous.
But I know, for a fact that deep within almost every human is a yearning for being amongst something magical and something out of the ordinary.
The thing about fantasizing, is that it takes you away from the sort of mundane world you dwell in, into a land of unlimited possibilities, a land of hope and a land of dreams.
Life as a crude realist on the other hand demarcates everything in and around into facts and formulations, which have a very limited scope.
If one remembers old Hindi movies, a common scene would involve the hero beating up nearly a dozen thugs twice his size. The audience would cheer in all earnest for the hero without doubting for a moment whether such a thing in real life is possible.
Today on the other hand, if we were to see something similar in cinema, the first thing we would do is remark, "what rubbish, there's no way he can do that".
Frankly, down the line, we have of late grown less tolerant to things out of the ordinary and look forward more to things with realistic proportions.
The thing about being a realist is that you end up planning and creating firm borders so as to what you can and cannot do.
And when realism grows out of hand, it can end up curtailing your dreams as well.
You lose the will to think beyond boundaries and restrict yourself in a cell of limited possibilities.
Fantasies and dreams exist to egg on the human race to look forward to better things in life.
They are not meant to dissuade you from your goals in life, but in turn exist to give you hope, that nothing out there is impossible. The idea is to stick to your real world while at the same time having a small corner of your mind dedicated to your fantasies and your dreams.
And frankly, "real" life is nothing short of a fantasy. You have paupers who turned into millionaires and the physically challenged who scaled great heights in spite of their shortcomings. Something a realist would have deemed impossible.
People were taught to behave well, because the big guy upstairs would reward them if they did so.
Soldiers were encouraged to fight hard so that their souls would find rest in the hall of warriors.
Its all about looking forward to incentives.
If one told a soldier that when he falls in battle, all he would do is rot in the ground for good (a realist's perspective), its easy to imagine the sort of morale he would have then.
If everyone had a realist's point of view, then there is precious little to look forward to. There's no heaven, no hell, no rewards for good conduct and no punishments for bad conduct either. Just a bleak realistic landscape, where you are nothing but an intelligent carbon copy who merely exists to survive and procreate till the end of your time.
And frankly I do not see the point of living that way.
I do not wish to abhor realism as a whole, for I know that we cannot spend all our lives amidst pixies and elves in the woods.
But at the same time I do not wish to sweep away the small iota of magic which exists in my life.
Just like the Valkyries of the northern sky.
For they exist somewhere in a remote corner of our minds.
Irrespective of what the realists say, there is no harm in looking forward to their flight in the northern sky.
Its all about the wee bit of magic in our lives.