Poetry and life seem synonyms to me. The prism of poetry reflects life and its varied colors but the spectrum of life is much wider than poetry, which tries to capture some hues and even drifts into the darker crevices to discover those emotions that lurk on the sidelines, yearning to be embraced. Poetry digs deeper into those sensitivities; it understands the finer nuances of life and offers solace.
How well has Walt Whitman summed up the connection of poetry with life:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” – Walt Whitman
Introducing myself at Yecheilyah’s (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) blog was fun due to the nature of questions. I could say so much! If you want to know more about me and my writing interests, please visit this interview.
The comments are closed here, please share your reflections at EC’s blog. Thank you.
TODAY I’D LIKE TO EXTEND A WARM WELCOME TO BALROOP SINGH. WELCOME TO THE PBS BLOG! LET’S GET STARTED.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Balroop Singh. ‘Bal’ means strength and ‘roop’ means beauty. My maiden name was Balroop Bal, which changed after marriage, as the tradition goes, to change the surname. I chose Singh, which is a common middle name in the Northern region of India. ‘Singh’ was adopted by tenth Sikh guru who baptized his followers as “real Sikhs”. Derived from the Sanskrit word for lion, it was adopted as a title by warriors in India and mandated by Guru Gobind Singh for all Sikhs. It was later adopted by several castes and communities.
I am from India, and have spent the best part of my life there, exploring the incredible magnificence of the Himalayas in the north, the grandeur of Thar desert in…
While we have been talking about our poems, I wonder whether you would enjoy an interlude and click on the following link, where I received the honor of sharing some interesting facets of my life and a childhood memory.
Short stories are as dear as lullabies if they are introduced at the right time. While babies derive delight in looking at the illustrations and hearing the familiar voice of their parents, children love to cuddle up with a good story book.
My earliest memories of short stories are connected with my grandma, who could tell me weirest tales without a book but only at bed time. Her favorite refrain that ‘if we tell stories during the day, travelers forget their way’ was taken seriously by us. Though I chuckle at her belief now but it brings fond memories of her face whenever I think of stories.
My love for stories grew as I chose to study and later teach literature and had an easy access to all those renowned names known for writing brilliant pieces. Some of them got entrenched in my memory as they encouraged me to imbibe the values that they glowed with.
My blogger friend Nihar whose ever-inspiring creative stories make a delightful reading, recently requested me to share the short stories that have left a mark on my personality and I got this idea of sharing these timeless classic tales.
The first one that comes to my mind is the ‘Gift of Magi’by O.Henry. When I had read this story, I was too young to absorb the emotion behind buying a gift, too young to understand why gifts are so important, as I had rarely received them but I learnt how important they can be and why people make sacrifices. I often wonder – could there be a better example of true love?
This value of sacrifice is further highlighted in ‘The Last Leaf’ by O. Henry. Old Behrman, an unsuccessful, dejected artist who was always talking about his masterpiece, had nothing to sacrifice but he wanted to save the life of young Johnsie who had lost the desire to live. The last leaf that never fell and saved her life was actually Behrman’s masterpiece that he had painted on a snowy and windy night! How benevolence and inspiration can uplift human spirit touches my heart whenever I read this story.
‘The Model Millionaire’ by Oscar Wilde is remembered not only for the excellent prose and succinct style of Wilde’s writing but also for inserting subtle messages for humanity like… “Romance is the privilege of the rich, not the profession of the unemployed.” Generosity could be an inborn trait and a kind act never goes unnoticed. If Hughie could donate his last sovereign to the ‘poor beggar,’ the beggar didn’t disappoint him!
Saki, whose real name was H.H.Munro has written several masterpieces but ‘The Background’appeals to me the most, as it is a satire on the hypocrisy and love of art, which is considered to be more valuable than a human being who is treated like a rare piece of art as he carried the masterpiece of a tatoo artist on his back! The story jolts you out of your slumber and makes an effort to underline what is more important – a person’s dignity and freedom or just a piece of art?
God Sees the Truth but Waitsby Leo Tolstoy made a deep impact on me and I have discussed it time and again to fathom why does God wait so long, why does an innocent suffer for the crime of another person, how could forgiveness be as noble as it has been made out to be? Spiritual interpretations of this story have failed to convince me why was an innocent man used as a tool for the purgation of the soul of a hardened criminal? Isn’t God all-powerful?
The Betby Anton Chekhov delves deeper into human psychology, bringing out the frailties of human beings on one hand and nobility that one can acquire if one wishes to. The argument over what kind of punishment is better – life imprisonment or death penalty culminates in proving that life imprisonment could be more humane as it offers an opportunity to the criminal to change. The lawyer who chose to accept solitary confinement, just for the bet, slowly rose above ordinary human beings and understood how immaterial is the lust for money and luxury.
A Man Who Had No Eyes by MacKinlay Kantor has stayed in my memory for the outstanding style of narration, style and a sudden unexpected twist that leaves the reader spellbound. It is not just a short story… it is a comment on life, how we approach it positively and move on. A must read to change your outlook on life.
Sparrows by K.A. Abbas brilliantly highlights some harsh realities of life, which had hardened a man. But a streak of kindness, so natural to human instincts, didn’t die and it could be ignited by loving birds, without even a word. A man, presumed to be devoid of emotions, shunned by villagers and even his own family is transformed into a loving and kind human being by the love of sparrows for their own young ones.
God Is Near by James Herriot convinced me that love could be found in furry friends too. If we love His creation, we can feel the presence of God around us even without visiting any religious places. Dr. Herriot’s unspoken commitment to the dogs and cats of Miss Stubbs was no less than her housekeeper.
Short stories lay bare various facets of life. They are more effectual in conveying the values without sermonizing about them. Each emotion can be felt through short stories if they are told in their true spirit.
Have you read any of these stories? Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.
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World Book Day – a day that celebrates reading, a day that always inspires me to renew my love for books and share it, a day that reminds me how meaningless life would be without books!
Reading has not only given me pleasure, added brilliance to my gloomy hours but has also enriched my life in various ways.
It has made me wiser, healthier, resilient and emotionally balanced. It helps me converse with the greatest thinkers and dreamers.
“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.” – Rene Descartes
Reading inspiring stories reassures me that inspiration could be found anywhere, even in the tears of detachment. Fictional characters too have the potential to enthuse new energy into us.
Reading gives us the capacity to understand, to absorb and to figure out that anguish, loss, grief is a universal phenomenon. Getting stuck in our suffering can block our own growth.
When you equate your painful experiences with others, they seem trivial and you learn to deal with them. The connection becomes the healing factor.
Gives a fresh perspective:
Reading drags you out of your cocoon to watch the world with a fresh perspective, which develops when you are exposed to various views.
Pain, misfortune and emotional hurts are inevitable. It is futile to immerse ourselves in the setbacks of life because sooner or later we have to abandon this baggage to move ahead.
Takes us places:
Reading helps us escape the mundane events of life, it takes us to places, which we could have never visited; it defines our purpose of living; absorb the ideas that appeal to us and then analyze them.
The best moments of our life are created by reading; the best flights of imagination are crafted by the words of a writer who can create a scenario, which transports us into the realms of our choice and stay there frozen in time.
Realities of life come alive:
Stories of guilt, horror and forgiveness acquaint us with those realities of life, which could remain hidden from us. The atrocities of the past, the oppression and discrimination recorded in the annals of history unfold before us when we read.
Even those who choose light, romantic stories get a whiff of the truths of love and life and learn that freedom to live our life the way we want to, was not always possible and is still a far cry for many.
Connections and social relationships get better:
The magical power of friendship and reverence, social interaction and kindness is revealed through reading fiction. We can learn some profound lessons of life from fictional characters.
Reading enhances our emotional quotient, our capability of understanding people, complex human behavior and their frailties. I didn’t know how forgiveness could free us from self-imprisonment till I read about it.
Virtues of life can be felt:
Have you noticed how a virtuous character leaves a lasting impression on your mind? Nobody likes a villain who is always conniving to make life difficult but we learn to distinguish between the good and the bad from his devious ways.
“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” – Joseph Addison
Develops analytical skills:
Reading poetry honed my aesthetic and analytical skills and has made me more sensitive towards the beauties around me. It also introduced me to the finer emotions of humanity.
Has reading affected your personality? I would love to hear your perspective.
Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.
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