Inception: We all begin somewhere. Because of someone. Like some of us get it from Jane Austen. Some from Shakespeare. Or Charlotte Bronte. Or Sylvia Plath. And then there are others — who find it in trees, stars and oceans.
We are influenced to write by wordsmiths who shine bright. We are influenced by nature. And some of us are simply inspired by life. So you see, it all begins somewhere. In my case, it started with someone named Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941).
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore: This celebrated writer from Bengal is a common presence in every Bengali household. His books. His picture. His sculpted face. His songs and poems –are indelible and irreplaceable. I mean, there have been poets and writers since Tagore, but no one has managed to achieve the cult status, this man attained. In his lifetime and after.
I don’t want to focus on Tagore’s contributions or discuss his literary merit, instead, I want to talk about how I began to write. In fact, what made me a writer.
Why Tagore? Teenage is a difficult time for us all. We are pulled in so many directions. We’ve no clue where we are going. Because at that age, we hardly know what’s right and what’s wrong. Your parents may guide you, but sometimes they may not reach out to you, in a way – a friend can.
And then there are some of us, who despite having friends, seek something else, something more meaningful. Something more profound. Maybe this is a trait, we writers have in common. We are always looking to find meaning in every little thing.
So when my friends confided in each other, I read Tagore. When my friends, stood for each other, I found strength in Tagore’s poetry. When life seemed fuzzy and mixed up at the age of fourteen, Tagore’s Chuti made it bearable.
I don’t know why, whenever I was saddened by life, I found solace in Tagore’s poems. Debotar Grash in particular, sucked me into the whirlpool of human relationships and uplifted me. It was also a family favourite. And I loved it when my father read it to us.
Even today, when I’m not up for anything, I find Tagore in my bookshelf – ready to boost my morale – in a way no other can.
To you Rabindranath Tagore. Not only for winning the Nobel prize in Literature. Or for writing Geetanjali and Shanchayita. Or for giving us our national anthem. But for leaving your mark on an impressionable mind. For letting me know that there are no boundaries in my mind. That I can fly — always. And for starting it all…
Tagore’s Words: I leave you with his words – as translated from Bengali to English:
I thought that my voyage had come to its end
at the last limit of my power—that the path before me was closed,
that provisions were exhausted
and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.
But I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
new country is revealed with its wonders.