A Story - 'The Mistaken Identity'

Though a  poet at  heart, I tried my hand at story-writing. The story entitled 'The Mistaken Identity' submitted at Sulekha for India Smiles contest is still available for reading at the following link(simply click on it):


Do leave a comment to tell me how you liked it.

King Lear - Part II

Many critics have argued that Lear was at fault when he asked his daughters the extent to which they loved him. He had already divided his kingdom giving the largest share to his favourite youngest daughter, Cordelia. He only wanted humour himself and see his daughters shower love on him. Critics even blame his old age for this foolishness. It has also been said that he also committed the fault of making his daughters his mothers.
                   Lear banishes Cordelia from his kingdom. The Fool tries to check him. It was later the fool who makes him realize his mistake. The fool is like a mirror to him. Lear is united with Cordelia when it is too late (as we have already discussed the last scene of the play in the previous post).

King Lear

The character of King Lear created by William Shakespeare in the play 'King Lear' is one of my most favourite characters in English literature. In the play he grows from being a King to being a man. This growth is the lesson he has been taught by life, but in a harder way. He has to lose everything in the end, including his beloved daughter Cordelia. It is true when he says:

"I am a man
More sinned against than sinning."
(Act III, sc.ii)

At another point Gloucester laments,

"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
They kill us for their sport."
(ActIV, sc.i)

Finally, when he gets back his daughter Cordelia, having seen the emptiness of the high flown words of love of his other two daughters, he wants to live happily even in prison. He realizes his error of judgement:

"Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies."
(Act V, sc.iii)

P.S. I am interested in discussing more about this character. You can post your comments about King Lear.

'King Richard II'( by William Shakespeare) on time

"I wasted time and now doth
time waste me."

We all have heard the proverb 'Time and tide wait for none.' It is as true today as ever. Making the most of time implies being punctual in the first place. After all, we are answerable to those waiting for us.The fundamental principle of any developed economy is "Time is money." Shakespeare has given us a strong message regarding the value of time if we don't want to be wasted by it.

Life and Literature

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

William Shakespeare (Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5)

The interpretation of life is one such issue that encompasses in its fold such contrasting opinions that are just like two opposite poles. Life has been called by various names and each one stands out just as the other. Life may be the complaint of a man who has witnessed the ills of society:

"Where palsy shakes a few. sad, last grey hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow."

(John Keats in his 'Ode to a Nightingale')

Literature interprets life for us. Literature is just like the ever-widening horizon of life. The more we seek knowledge and wisdom in books, the more we find it there. And it is this inexhaustible quality of literature attracts us towards it. The ruby, sapphire, diamond and all other jewels of literature inspire us no end. Shakespeare is as valid today as he was in the Elizabethan age.

Hamlet - "Had I but time...."

"Had I but time, -as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest, - O! I could tell you -
But let it be.."

The Shakespearean tragedy carves out the poignant and dramatic transformation of the character involved, the so-called protagonist. Hamlet had understood the truth of life but 'he didn't have time' to proclaim it to the world, so engrossed in committing the same blunders that he had. This realization of the truth of life dawns upon a human being when he has lived his life and death approaches, so he doesn't have the time to express.
But the unsaid words have a much deeper, long lasting and perpetual sort of impact on the reader. We, after reading the drama, emerge out as more refined human beings - refined in our sensibilities, refined in our outlook on life, refined in character and last but not the least refined in our minds.

Rabindra Nath Tagore

We have all read Rabindra Nath Tagore at least once. He was a writer par excellence, a lierary seer, and a very important milestone of English literature. His most memorable work was 'Gitanjali'. We all know he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. He was knighted in 1915. But did you know - after the massacre of 1919 he gave up his knighthood. He experienced a short spell of fame in the West. Later his English writings were veiled under a cover of obscurity.
Recently some editors and tranlators have realized that Tagore is also a modernist in a sense although he was previously criticized of being one of the sentimentalist or mystical Edwardian camp. Amit Chaudhri (editor of 'The Picador Book of Modern English Literature') calls him "probably one of the first modernists of the Victorian age."

Here's a song he wished to be sung after his death. Let's comprehend it as a tribute to the great soul:

"The ocean of peace lies ahead of me
Sail the boat, O pilot
You are my constant companion now
Take me in your lap.
Along our journey to the infinite
The pole star alone will shine.
Giver of freedom
Set me free
May your forgiveness and compassion
Be my eternal resources for the journey -
May the mortal ties fall away,
May the vast universe
Hold me in embrace,
And with an undaunted heart
May I come to know the Great Unknown."

(composed in December 1939)

Orhan Pamuk - Nobel Prize winner 2006

Orhan Pamuk, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature for the year 2006. He is a Turkish writer born in 1952. Among his novels are included: 'Darkness and Light'(1979)- later published as 'Mr. Cevdet and His Sons' in 1982 , 'The Silent House'(1984), 'The White Castle'(1985), 'The Black Book'(1990), 'The New Life'(1997),'My Name is Red'(2000), 'Snow'(translated in 2004).
In his nobel lecture entitled 'My Father's Suitcase' he talks about the inspiration his father provided him. A small suitcase, filled with his father's writings, manuscripts and notebooks, was Pamuk's legacy. When Pamuk completed his first novel 'Cevdet Bey and Sons' ('Mr. Cevdet and His Sons' in English), his father was confident that one day his son would receive a Nobel Prize. But he didn't remain alive to actually see his receive it one day.

Pamuk mentions in his lecture:

"A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words. This man – or this woman – may use a typewriter, profit from the ease of a computer, or write with a pen on paper, as I have done for 30 years...As I sit at my table, for days, months, years, slowly adding new words to the empty page, I feel as if I am creating a new world, as if I am bringing into being that other person inside me, in the same way someone might build a bridge or a dome, stone by stone. The stones we writers use are words."

So you see this is the creative process. And you have had it from the horse's mouth itself!

P.S.I hope to add more information about him soon.

Going down Memory Lane

Childhood pays a second visit to man when he visits his school after a long time. I was reminded of my visit to my school two months back. Even the strictest teacher smiled back when I greeted him. Always fantasising, children take strangers to be straight out of fairy tales - those like Snow White or like the old witch of 'Hansel and Gretel'. Childhood has been a recurring theme in Enlish literature, including 'Ode:Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood' by William Wordsworth:

"Heaven lies about us in our Infancy!"

Hence, the lamentation upon being grown-up:

"Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and dream?"

The Innocent Man -- in my words

'The Innocent Man' is the first work of non-fiction by the celebrated author John Grisham. Here is an account of the book in my words, to share with those who have gone through the book.
            The first question that arises is: how do we define an innocent man? Is innocence dependant on the not so flawless law? The fact is that a person can be innocent irrespective of his conviction by the court. A condemned convict can be innocent and the one freed from the charges can be a guilty. Till date many innocent men may have been hanged. As we start reading the book we feel as if we are reading the life story of a would-be criminal himself - his lifestyle, his habits, his misdeeds. Ron seems to be the fit candidate for this murder charge. His case is an example of a life gone awry, a life that might have bloomed. As Christopher Marlowe says in his drama 'Doctor Faustus':

"Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough,
That sometime grew within this learned man."
But as we read forward our sympathy lies with Ron and Dennis. They are helpless at their trial. There is no physical evidence against them - all the evidence is either fabricated or flimsy.
The description of the life of Ron and Dennis in jail is pathetic. Our heart goes out to them. Ron's yelling about his innocence is heart-rending. The behaviour of the guards towards him incites anger in us -- not only their teasing him but also giving him strong medicines to keep him quiet. These had negative effect on Ron's health.
                  The intelligence of Dennis has also been highlighted. He studied law when he was in
jail. The years spent by Ron while he was on death row were the most difficult ones. Any sane man could have gone mad.

President's Quotes

Here are some the quotes of our respected President Abdul Kalam (courtesy the website of President-- http://www.presidentofindia.nic.in) :

"Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life."

"God has not promised Skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our life through; God has not promised Sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, Peace without pain"

"What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful and to remove the wrongs of injured?"

"When you speak, speak the truth; perform when you promise; discharge your trust. Withhold your hands from striking, and from taking that which is unlawful and bad."

Hope you relish these. This is food for your thought.

English Poetry - My Inspiration

Life the most precious gift of God, needs to be spent in a very meaningful and dignified manner. But in modern times, the quality of life has been deteriorating consistently. Man has been engulfed into this mechanical world. Machine was made to be a slave of man but in turn enslaved man himself. Ourlifestyle needs to be changed urgently. And a very important guide for this is nothing else but English poetry. The poets like Keats, Wordsworth and others conveyed their message through Nature. Wordsworth has rightly lamented:
"The world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and Spending we lay waste our powers
Little we see in nature that is ours"

Nature possesses tremendous beauty, what we need is a discerning eye. Living in close harmony with Nature will solve most of the problem of human beings, which are connected with their materialism. Keats could find grandeur even in the season of autumn which, otherwise, is used to symbolize old age and decay. It was Keats who calls:

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"

The relationship with Nature is such in which we are never betrayed:

"...Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her..."

Life is such a wonderful thing, it should not be wasted on the trivialities of this world:

"Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait."

A man after death is known, rather remembered, for his golden deeds. As Longfellow's profoundly true lines convey:

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time."