Archive for the Literary Category

Favourite poems

Posted in About me, Life. Or something like it., Literary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2010 by samudranb

Poems, it seems to me, have the power to captivate, astound, inspire the human soul with a fervor that is not usually achieved by prose. The beautiful way an emotion is captured in just a few words is what makes it so powerful.

The following lines, from various poems, have been special to me at various stages in my life. I keep turning to them regularly for support, for inspiration, and occasionally, for help with introspection.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

– from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

 While both of the above quotes from Frost’s poems remind me of where I want to be and where I have been, the following lines by Kipling help keep me grounded in the present reality.

IF – by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 
I came across the following lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, when I stumbled across the Portrait Project. This beautifully reminds me of what is important, and how precious every single thing that I have is. Excellent for un-depressing myself.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

– from “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver

J. R. R. Tolkien was one mad hatter, if you ask me. (IMHO, you HAVE to be crazy, in order to write LOTR!) But his lines give me hope that even though I may not be far behind him on the bat-shit-crazy scale, I still just might have a chance to redeem myself.

All that glitter is not gold – J. R. R. Tolkein

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king

And last but not the least, a poem that scares me, inspires me, frees me and burdens me.

Invictus – by W. E. Henley
 Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced or cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

 
Tell me about your favourite poems. And how they affect you.

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Wanderers

Posted in Experiments, Life. Or something like it., Literary on December 5, 2010 by samudranb

For the last few days, weeks, months, years,

I have been wandering.

Whiling my time away,

Wondering.

 

They say “All those who wander

are not lost”

Or am I just fancying myself

to be Faust?

 

Mary Oliver asked me – “Tell me, what is it you plan to do,

With your one wild and precious life?”

Figuring this out is painful,

And the cause of a lot of strife.

 

Being the “Captain of my soul”

Is tough, it is.

Especially alone, and without a compass,

in black rough seas.

Nobody sees it coming – a short story

Posted in Experiments, Life. Or something like it., Literary, Love, People with tags on October 6, 2010 by samudranb

As I wait for the bus to Chennai, I cannot help but notice the noisy family bidding adieu to their relatives. I hate travelling by bus, especially if I had to compromise my sleep while doing it. ESPECIALLY if there were people like this family on board.

If looks could kill, I would have qualified as a mass-murderer. Killing more than 4 people, at one place, at one time without any political motivation was the definition of “mass murder” according to the 1st episode of Grey’s Anatomy, season 7 that I had watched a couple of hours ago. I count five. Yup, I definitely would have qualified.

Why were some people so inconsiderate? Didn’t they realize that others had jobs to do in the morning? That others needed their beauty sleep? That after a hard day’s work, all they wanted was some peace and quiet?

I silently curse them, and hope they would not be in the same bus as I am.

Of course that is not to be. As I settle into seat no. 10, beside the window on my right, I realize the full horror of my situation. The entire family is all around me. Seats 5, 6, 9, 13 and 14. FUCK.

Thankfully, they quiet down after they boarded the bus. They start whispering, in something quite different from Bengali and my own mother-tongue, Assamese, while at the same time being almost understandable. Must be Oriya, I think as I drift off into a fretful sleep.

As the bus pulls away, I wake up to quiet sobbing. The girl. The frigging 8 year old girl from that same family, who was sitting behind me. Whose mother beside her was trying to console her. “Dont cry! We will meet them all again next year no?” was what I could understand of it. Damn it! Not now!

In another life almost 20 years ago, I had been like that. Crying because summer vacation was over, and we were leaving our grandparents house. For some reason, I had felt I would never see them again. Although I had seen them many times since, that fear never really changed.

It had been many years however, since the last time I had had that same feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I am jolted out of my flashback by the sudden joyous squeals emanating from the seat behind me. Surprised, I peep behind, over my seat. Only to see everybody looking out the window. I follow their line of sight, and see the entire bye-bye paltan outside the window. 6 people, from 6 to 60 years old, stuffed inside an old but well maintained, dark brown Maruti 800. Driving alongside the Volvo, waving enthusiastically at the windows in-front and behind me.

Amazing how some people have all the time in the world, I think as I close my eyes again.

Dont cry! Dont cry didi!” What the heck! Again? Wondering who was crying now, I listen more closely. Nobody on the bus. Puzzling. So then? Looking out of the window, the mystery was solved. Half of the junta in the car had tears rolling down their faces. The “Dont cry”s were being spoken by the little girl behind me, as a plea to her relatives in the car. “Tell Mani di to not cry! Tell Ruma di not to cry!” she spoke through the glass, almost in a chant.

Listen, you stupid girl“, I wanted to tell her. “There is no point trying to speak to them through the thick glass! They cant hear you! Since the light inside the Volvo is out, as it should be in a bus full of people trying to sleep, they cant even see your pretty little face. So even if they were expert lip-readers, which they are not judging by their ignorant, homely, contented faces, they still wouldn’t be able to understand what you were saying. So why don’t put your head down, and get some sleep, and more importantly, let others sleep?!

I wanted to. Really. But another memory from another life stopped me. From a time when I had literally shouted the entire bus down, because my father had gone to get a bottle of water, and the bus had moved 5 meters from its original position. I remember thinking that wherever he was, if I shouted loudly enough, he could hear me.

I open my eyes, unable to sleep now. Restless, I look out of the window again. It has been almost 15 minutes since the bus started, but the car is still there. The people, still waving. Still enthusiastically. Still with tears on their faces. And the girl behind me still loudly whisper-pleading with God to not make Mani di and Ruma di cry.

We are almost out of the city limits now. I wonder how long these people are going to drive alongside the bus. It is late. I can see the drowsy eyes of the little boy in the car. It is a school night. They must be turning back soon.

Sure enough, I see an upsurge in the waving. They signal the bus people that they are going to turn back now. Everybody in the car tries to get a last glimpse of the family in the bus, so that each is plastered across the tiny windows of the Maruti. The middle-aged fellow driving the car leans over across the passenger seat, just to be able to wave a final time.

He never sees the truck.

“I told you so”

Posted in Experiments, Literary with tags , on August 19, 2010 by samudranb

You have slogged on,
Through the ages,
Inspired by the heroes,
In the history pages.
But all along, all you can hear,
Is the world laughing, and saying,
“I told you so.”

You’ve always tried,
To break the chain,
But the only result,
Was hurt and pain.
And all along, all you can hear,
Is the world laughing, and saying,
“I told you so.”

People are mocking you,
“Friends” are choking you,
But you owe it to yourself,
To your dreams stay true.
Because in the end,
You’ll be the one laughing, and saying,
“I told you so.”

So my hero, fear not,
Doubt and question yourself not.
You have dreams,
They do not.
You owe it to yourself,
To give your dreams a shot.

Because in the end,
You’ll be the one laughing and saying,
“I told you so.”

Found this by accident while deleting stuff from my old hard drive. I had written this in my first year of college, obviously still under the influence of Ayn Rand. And very possibly, crack cocaine.