There’s a lot that’s happened this year, this month, this week. Maybe even in the past hour. 2020 has been a rollercoaster for almost all of us in different ways — as if moments of it weren’t supposed to happen, as if certain days were terrible dreams. As if the fleeting, passing minutes were surreal.

And so, here we are, trying to wish away a reality that was akin to fiction, or some portion in a history book we would’ve earlier found extraordinary.

Meanwhile, many of us have found shelter and comfort in the worlds of fantasy and mythology. A comfort exclusively found in the smell of the pages of a good book, in hymns that give us hope, in music that takes us to a different universe, and in movies and shows that make us laugh till our stomachs hurt or cry till we become too tired to cry more. For some of us, this comfort also comes through creating these fantastical and mythological things — in expressions of art, words and craft.

Escapades and catharses in surrealism became our safety blanket from a harsh, troublesome reality.

The human imagination (and perhaps, the human memory), is brilliant, vast and creative. It can conjure up flying beasts and horses with wings, and war and strife in ways never considered before. It can manifest itself in the bright, happy scenarios of a child’s waking mind — and it can present itself in the nightmares of the same child, in the form of monsters and demons. Our perceptions of fantasy and mythology are shaped by our lived experience and shared recollections. There are elements in both of these that can exhilarate and amaze us — and others that can terrify and horrify us. The surreal can choose to either dazzle us or haunt us deeply.

While we all wish to be whisked away to a utopia of royalty and delicious delicacies (or a dystopia of vampires and werewolves) — we’ve come to terms with our reality too. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t fly off to the galaxy of fantasy and mythology every now and then. There is a lot to discover in it — and a lot to learn from it.

So go ahead and dive into this issue’s surreal world, of intricate and exquisite artwork, thrilling reviews and fan-written accounts, and dream-worthy articles and stories. Like, share, and comment your appreciation on the works you loved.

I will, in the meantime, get lost in thought, gazing at the million or so vivid lights of just another city that never sleeps. Enjoy your respective festive seasons!

Best,

Yashasvini

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