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Previously on Hippopotamus Dreams: Young, impressionable Anusha has just revealed to her parents her burning desire to become a hippopotamus.What will they say? Will she finally succeed? Let’s find out…
At my startling confession, there were a few moments of stunned silence.
“A hippopotamus?” they asked, cocking their heads at me as if I was the strangest child alive.
“Yes.” I answered timidly, afraid of what they might be thinking.
“Why?” my mum pressed.
“Well-they’re big and strong and can fight off crocodiles! They also don’t have to worry about school like I do. And to top it off, they live a whopping forty years in captivity. Forty years!” I stressed, striving to impress upon them the beauty of life as a hippopotamus.
My parents quickly looked at each other before bursting into laughter.
What? Why are they laughing at me? I have just discussed a profound and legitimate desire with them. What brings them such amusement?
At my indignant confusion, my parents laughed even harder, making me all the more incensed.
“What is it?” I asked, confused and angered by their sudden mirth.
Realizing that her child could not see her own folly, my mum’s laughter briefly subsided.
“You said hippopotamuses could live up to forty years in captivity?”
“Yes,” I replied resolutely.
“But couldn’t you live up to one hundred years as a human?” she asked me, straining to conceal her smile.
I was taken aback by her logic, and struggled to find a fitting response. Sixty extra years. Wow, I really hadn’t thought about that.
“But hippos’ lives are simple and easy. They do whatever they want,” I answered after a few moments of introspective pause.
“Yes, but hippos can’t see the beauty in little things. They can’t solve trying problems. They can’t build warm and comfortable homes that protect them from the elements,” my mum answered, gesturing outside to the drizzling rain.
“They would just have to sit in that,” I muttered pensively.
Sensing that she had finally won the intellectual battle, my mum finished grinning, “Wouldn’t you much rather be a doctor?”
Realizing the futility in my endeavor to become a hippopotamus, I grudgingly nodded. Becoming a doctor did seem to be vastly more realistic.
Looking back on it, I realize that my fleeting fantasy of becoming a hippopotamus was untenable for several reasons. The largest one being my inability to shape shift into different species. I was born a human and so I shall stay a human. The farthest I could have gone with my obsession would be to become a hippo enthusiast or to form an interest group.
The physical impossibility of my dream aside, I also don’t believe that I’d ever come to truly enjoy life as a hippopotamus. They can never hope to be more than what they are, hippopotamuses. Their lives are so simple that they can’t aspire for anything else. They can’t hope. They can’t dream. Their primary goal in life is to survive another day and put food into their systems. They only satiate their immediate needs. Whereas humans are full of promise at every stage. We can become doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, scientists, artists, anything! We have so much potential, and I couldn’t even see it when I was blinded by my fantastic hippopotamus dreams.