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Sing me a song of a lad that is gone

I grew up on a healthy dose of books. I remember asking my mom to show the pictures in the comic strip series from her Kannada magazines and asking her to read them for me. Books always held this fascination for me.

Every time I go into a book store, I experience  Nirvana. People who come out shopping with me are aware of this and take extreme measures to avoid bookstores.

Although I started reading fairly early on, I did not get to read any English books for entertainment or pure joy of reading till I was almost eighteen. That is probably because English was not my first language and I wasnt quite comfortable with the language for a long time.

So, my Enid Blytons were read at the age of eighteen, followed by Nancy Drew series and Hardy boys and such. That probably explains my fascination with anything simple and has childlike innocence to it. I have read and re-read William Blake, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain etc, multiple times; each time the book revealing a new facet of its characters, some hidden meaning or changing my own perceptions.

I remember reading “The Treasure Island” opened a new world to me. However the one that makes me go nostalgic is a poem by RL stevenson called, “Sing me the song of a lad that is gone”. There are times I feel like resigning to my adulthood and go back to being a child again. This poem embodies all that whimsy.

Sing me a Song of a Lad that is Gone

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
      Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
      Over the sea to Skye.

 

Mull was astern, Rum on the port,
      Eigg on the starboard bow;
Glory of youth glowed in his soul;
      Where is that glory now?

 

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
      Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
      Over the sea to Skye.

 

Give me again all that was there,
      Give me the sun that shone!
Give me the eyes, give me the soul,
      Give me the lad that’s gone!

 

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
      Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
      Over the sea to Skye.

 

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
      Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
      All that was me is gone.

 

 

Our Tryst With Destiny

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

First image that flashes my mind when i think about Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is the picture of a visage with a long white beard, something like prof.Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series. This kindly face is the home to one of the most brilliant minds in the history of mankind. A nobel prize winner for literature in 1913, he has written books like “The Wreck” and “Gitanjali” (For which he won his Nobel Prize). Who can forget the heart warming tale of a young girl and a dry fruit seller in “Kabuliwala”.There are some of us who believe that Nobel commission honoured themselves by selecting him for the Nobel Prize.

So beautiful were his poems, they gave rise to a new era in music called “Rabindra Sangeet”.

Here is a poem stuck in my head for a long time. 

Our Tryst with Destiny

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls;
Where the words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening
thought and action–
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake.

What a prayer!!! Every sentence in this poem gives me such goosebumps.