Sunday, 23 January 2011

Michael Ende’s Momo and the Men in Grey

Momo is a little orphaned girl of no determinate age, anything between 8 and 12 years old is possible, from unknown origin who chooses the ruins of an amphitheatre at a remote unnamed small town as her new home.
Although Momo does not have many possessions she does have a unique gift. In return of the people’s help she listens to them.
When Momo listens, people are greatly inspired, comforted and enlightened, able to easily solve their own conflicts, doubts and fears all by themselves.

“Momo was there and joined in, that was all, but for some reason her mere presence put bright ideas into their heads.”

Momo becomes a little miraculous hero for everybody. The expression “Go see Momo!” has turned an all answer to all problems, the perfect panacea.
But suddenly people are obsessed with work to save as much time as possible. Soon enough the town grows cold and sad, without any activity for mind and spirit for they are seen as time wasting.
It all started with the coming of the sinister Men in Grey who promote the idea of timesaving. Little do people know that the more they save the less they have. The Grey Men consume the stolen time in form of cigars, made from the dried petals of hour-lilies, for they couldn’t live without it.
If Momo has any other form of wealth than her ability to listen that is time and while the Grey Men can’t rob her she is determined to help her friends that succumbed to their power.
Momo must overcome the odds and find the Keeper of Time, Professor Secundus Minutus Hora, with only the singular help of a tortoise called Cassiopeia, which can communicate through writing on her shell and predicts thirty minutes further into the future.

This is the fascinating yet terrifying story of Momo and her friends, terrifying for its so very real analogy.
The 'almost could be non-fiction' fantasy novel was written by Michael Ende, who is best known for his "Neverending Story".
Michael Ende has a way of illustrating deep meaningful themes such as the importance of time through amazingly simple words and fantastic imaginative worlds that also children can fairly understand.
Written in 1973 the main theme couldn’t be more contemporary.
The world we’re living in has become an insanely busy little sphere, the modern society is unhealthily fast-paced and consumerism driven. People rush in a frenzy that doesn’t allow them to stop and feel. The loss of values has increased with the loss of time, the time to truly appreciate all the small pleasant moments that are in fact what life is all about. People live to work instead of working to live and with all the hassle time simply vanishes in smoke.
Furthermore we tend to forget how important human connections are. Ende too illustrates beautifully this theme, the powerful value of listening to others, probably the most important value within friendship.
The grand moral of this remarkable tale is that enjoyed time is not wasted time, it is but the sum of true life’s values, the importance of every single satisfying moment. Time where happiness lies.

“Time is life itself, and life resides in the human heart.”

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