Life can be a monotonous journey, even as a kid. I mean, one could still you could indulge in sports and all kinds of other stuff but the fact of the matter is that Indian parents want you back at the house by 7 pm, so that you could study.
And as you grow older, you get trapped in the vicious cycle that is academic pressure. School, homework, tuition and tests, for a lot of us, that would just about sum up our childhoods.
In times such as these, we needed stories, extraordinary ones, that would compel our imagination, stories that give us characters we could aspire to be.
Marvel comics did that for a lot of us and for generations before we even existed.
Growing up, these books were escapist literature, long before things like Harry Potter even existed. Marvel comics were not explicitly written for children either.
Creators like Stan Lee more often than not indulged with the idea of sex, drugs, race, violence and authority, giving readers a sense of what was waiting for them outside those coloured pages.
Besides, Marvel comics also taught us that it was okay not to be a badass. It was okay if you got picked up last for your school sports team.
Peter Parker was a skinny kid who is awkward with everyone around him. Bruce Banner, despite his status as a genius, was just another regular person with issues.
Tony Stark had issues that lead to a drinking problem and X-Men were persecuted, simply because they were different.
But all of them battle their demons and lead normal everyday lives till the situation demands that they rise to the occasion and save the day.
And despite their powers and their resources, these heroes sometimes failed. And that was okay.
Make no mistake, the worlds they portrayed were not utopian fantasies. Even the golden palaces of Asgard were built on humane themes of love, loss, betrayal, power, and politics.
Gods were often found on their knees in a dire need to help them escape the mortal flaws within them.
These coloured pages, these picture books were a mirror to the world and what it could be, only if we tried to do better.
As kids, they taught us that it was okay to different. It was okay to be shy. You could be made of money and still have issues. You could be dirt poor and still be worthy.
Marvel comics taught us that we weren't defined by our situations but how we raged against the dying of the light.
They taught us that our mistakes didn't define us but the efforts we made to correct those. And in the end that's all we can do in the short period of time that we are here- right our wrongs and leave the world a better place than we found it.