On Looking Inside the Grecian Urn – A Preface

Posted On March 20, 2008

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I envy people who travel. Life must be exciting to them, almost every single minute. I traveled from Coimbatore to Bangalore once, a day-and-a-half trip by train, just to visit to the local libraries. It was more work than pleasure. Yet, I could recount at least two interesting things that happened, which I would never have experienced inside Tamil Nadu. So I can imagine how people who travel often, especially for pleasure, would have so many tales to recount.

For people like me, rooted in the motherland, and no immediate change of address in sight, a book is the next best alternative to travel.

There are two types of reading that a person would do – one, reading for enjoyment; and two, reading for information. No, reading the newspaper does not fall into reading for information, because chronic newspaper readers, much as they would like to claim that they are reading for information, are actually addicted to the thing. Try denying them the morning edition one day and you will find out!

So, what would classify as reading for pleasure? Well, anything from your favorite author, favorite bed time story, favorite love letter (!) and …well…your favorite magazine that would give your mother a heart attack! Reading for information is a different story all together. You have to read it, or else! You simply have to read your Grammar text book in sixth grade, you have to read the road signs if you don’t want to get your car’s face relocated and you have to read melodramatic plays, maudlin fiction and ambiguous poetry if you are a student of literature. You also have to read critiques by men who did not find success as writers or poets. This is the final cut…

Incidentally, this last category is what I was up against for my Mphil. Exams that I talked about earlier! So you can imagine that reading up for my examination was no party at all. As every student assumes, I too thought that I was not really going to use, much less enjoy, every thing that I learn.

My reading of excerpts from Letters by John Keats changed all that. What started out as reading for information gradually transformed into reading for pleasure, as I discovered the greatness of the man called Keats. The world is quite familiar with ‘Junkets’, as he was fondly referred to by his friends, but for me it was a discovery of sorts.

Adequate justice is not done to his genius, in the study of the works of this great poet. Schools prescribe Shakespeare and Milton because every literarian, critic and teacher in the world claims that they are truly phenomenal poets. Keats, on the other hand, is read, not because he is a great poet, but because his poetry is beautiful, quaint or just plain familiar. My aim is not to undermine the worth of Shakespeare and the likes; only, to throw light on the thought that, in our bid to extol the greatness of poets already hailed for their greatness, we must not forget other lesser known poets who also possess true greatness, but were not around long enough to seep into the psyche of their society.

To truly enjoy his poetry to the fullest and know the heart that beat so fervently behind those verses, one needs to delve in to the life of this man called John Keats, the man who saw so much tragedy and loss and went through such mental and physical agony and yet produced some of the finest, most delightful poetry the world has ever seen.

In the following posts I would like to share with my readers the wonderful, breathtaking discoveries I have made for myself in the life and works of John Keats the poet and the sensitive soul.

Hope this endeavor will be as refreshing to you as it will be for me.


Exam Fever…running 103 degrees!

Posted On March 10, 2008

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I never imagined that after being out of school for so long, I would get exam fever now!! The interesting thing is that I never had exam fever when I was in school… So you get the idea!

The reason for my fever? My Mphil. Examinations at the end of this week…and week after next! Hence, I declare myself officially a nervous wreck!

Oh! And did I tell you that I already flunked in the first round of tests?! Yes, that’s what happened. So it makes it that much harder for me now, since I know that this is not going to be the cakewalk I thought it would. I know, I know, this is too much deliberating over a test.

Please understand – the last time I picked up a book to study was … what … four years ago! So, suffice to say, I have all but forgotten how to revise for an exam!

Therein lies my predicament. How many ever examinations I attempt, I doubt (Oh no, there’s that word now) if I will do well. However, that’s only a personal opinion. The examiner may decide otherwise, bless his heart!

I hope I clear the test this time around or Debbie might not decide to cooperate next time around.

For her, it’s one big party. She gets to chew at all the paper, and destroy all the notes, she wants. She also throws in free ‘time-eating’ activities like a temper tantrum, an “I refuse to sleep as I want to scream and wail the night away” show, and the dreaded “I will let my bowels run wild today” routine. Maybe she is not completely in control of that last one, but I suspect it’s more a kind of mind-over-matter thing…! well, it doesn’t ‘matter’ now!

I’ve finally been able to go through the entire syllabus once, my confidence is really low (maybe because I went through the entire syllabus! Who knows…!)

Wish me luck and hope for the best for me!

This is…no, was, supposed to be a short post to tell you that I won’t be posting until I’m done with my tests.

See you two weeks from now!

Kindred Souls!

This is just a poem I read in one of those devotional cum motivational books. I can absolutely relate to what this mother has to say. It has an uncanny resemblance to any day of mine, too! Read on… It’s called:

A Mother’s Dilemma

Baby’s in the cookie jar,
Sister’s in the glue,
Kitty’s in the birdies cage
And I am in a stew!

Time for dad to come to lunch
Someone’s spilled the roses
Breakfast dishes still undone
The twins have drippy noses.

Junior has the stove apart
Dinner guests at eight.
Neighbours’ kids swoop in like flies
How can I concentrate?

Telephone keeps ringing wildly
Someone’s in the hall
Fido’s chewed the rug to bits
The preacher’s come to call!

Would mothers like to chuck their load?
They couldn’t stand the rap
Easy, mild existences
Would cause their nerves to snap!


Thank God I have just one child… and no pets,… yet! Still, I guess life wouldn’t be as beautiful without Debbie to make it interesting, joyful and, well, maddening! We enjoyed life before she came, but it’s only after her arrival that we find real joy in life. As someone once said, “Babies are such a nice way to start people”!