(We continue Talking Tagore for as many TOUCHES as it takes to tell how much he has touched us…)
Location: A library in Eastern India.
Point of Contact: The delicate pages of a sepia-toned book with the writings of Rabindranath Tagore.
“If I were living in the royal town of Ujjain, when Kalidas was the King’s poet, I should know some Malwa girl and fill my thoughts with the music of her name. She would glance at me through the slanting shadow of her eyelids, and allow her veil to catch in the jasmine as an excuse for lingering near me.
This very thing happened in some past whose track is lost under time’s dead leaves.
The scholars fight to-day about dates that play hide-and-seek.
I do not break my heart dreaming over flown and vanished ages: but alas and alas again, that those Malwa girls have followed them!
To what heaven, I wonder, have they carried in their flower-baskets those days that tingled to the lyrics of the King’s poet?
This morning, separation from those whom I was born too late to meet weighs on and saddens my heart.
Yet April carries the same flowers with which they decked their hair, and the same south breeze fluttered their veils as whispers over modern roses.
And, to tell the truth, joys are not lacking to this spring, though Kalidas sings no more; and I know, if he can watch me from the Poets’ Paradise, he has reasons to be envious.”
I do break my heart dreaming over flown and vanished ages. Touching relics takes me back to them. I live in them and I wish I could forever. Many mornings do to me what they have done to Tagore: I wake up saddened at my separation from those I was born too late to meet.
And then, still dreaming after waking, I wonder what living in the royal town of Ujjain, witnessing readings by Kalidas, the King’s poet, might have been akin to. The thought of romancing a Malwa girl sweetens my dream and day.
Time is strange. I wish to be frozen in that dream and yet live in today, for today. Some things stay. For those that don’t, although you long for them, today seems enough. It will do. The seasons are the same. So is the Sun, the breeze and the spring. There is reason to smile. For in heaven or on earth, we are never exactly where we want to be…
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