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A Letter: The Halo Dreams
|by T. A. Ramesh|
Continued from "The Debts ... "
He laid himself in one corner of the cave looking at the ceiling in a depressed and melancholic mood. Suddenly a spider fell from the top and remained still in the mid air by holding a thread of its own cobweb. The King observed what the spider was doing. Then the spider climbed to the top. It was about to finish the construction of a web but fell
King Bruce also had tried seven times to capture his kingdom from the hands of his enemies. In all the times he had met with failures. Then the spider gave him a new inspiration to his heart. With a renewed vigor, he made a winning battle against his enemies for the eighth time like the successful spider! His enemies were defeated and the kingdom came to his hand finally. King Bruce could not forget that spider forever and ruled his kingdom without losing his heart once and for all!”
“Then...” said Kannan, “…Vaithianathan wants to know about my plans, know? What is your view, Selvam?”
“What is your personal wish? What are you going to do so that you could be happy and jolly with us?”
Selvam also turned to question rather than soften the mood of Kannan.
“You call yourself to be my friends. What sort of friends are you, men?”
With a questioning eye Kannan looked at both of them.
With a restrained bitterness Vaithianathan said, “We are friends to the core and nothing else!”
“What is your view? Say it by your own word of mouth, Selvam.”
Kannan with a strange calmness turned to Selvam and waited for his reply.
“I can do only lip service. You have to move with businessmen like you.”
Then Selvam with a slight smile looked at Kannan.
‘See Selvam,” said Kannan in a measured tone, “You have taken up legal profession for your living. You should be able to put forth any matter without difficulty. You should have command over the language. Then only you can stand in your profession. Sometime ago, you have said to me that you would write one Essay per week connected with your profession. Till this day you have not submitted even a single article to me as per your own desire. I am not your master and you are not my student. We are one and the same sort of men. We all agreed to keep up the habit of writing something useful to us by means of this Halo magazine. If we don’t follow up this practice, what are we going to achieve in our profession?”
Selvam did not say anything as he was totally hooked. But he commented, “Kannan, you are looking like the judge Michael when you are raising your index finger and pointing it to me.”
Vaithianathan took up this chance and banged at Kannan. He said, “You are pointing out the mistakes of others by your index finger. When you are doing so, three of your other fingers are pointing to you. You have to be careful, Kannan.”
Kannan lost his temper. He turned to Vaithianathan and said, “Very intelligent! When I am writing letters to you, you are not able to write me even a single letter and you are saying that to me, mmmmm….?”
Vaithianathan became silent and cautious. Again Kannan began his talk.
“At this rate I may have to disconnect all of my connections with you one day. What do you think of friendship? You say we live indeed rather than in time! You never follow any of our sincere resolutions. You just say “Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, Good Evening, Good Night and Good Bye!” Or just take a photo now and then with me so that you may not forget us. Is it called friendship? Can’t you have any other better way of maintaining friendship?”
Vaithianathan was very much perturbed. He asked, “If you don’t have photos, how can you remember important occasions and us, Kannan?”
“Then okay,” said Kannan, “I return back all of the photos we have taken together to you. You go home, put a golden frame to them and hang them on the wall to remember our friendship. I don’t want them.”
He opened his bureau, took out all the copies of photos and handed them over to Vaithianathan. Selvam was totally upset by this. He could not believe his own eyes.
Selvam stood up, came near Kannan and said, “What, Kannan? You are going to that extent?”
“Then what, Selvam? When a friend is in need of cooperation or assistance or support to do a good deed, all the friends turn to different directions. But they never fail to have photos. What a friendship it is!”
Vaithianathan could not sit one place. He asked, “Do you want us to stay here or go away?”
“If you were like some other useful friends,” said Kannan, “whom I rejected believing you would all keep up your words I would have ever kept you by my side without bothering about the world. Now whether you stay here or go away it makes no difference to me. I was a lone ranger. Those who would have become my friends are living far away from this place. So, if I be a lone ranger forever, it is not going to give trouble to anyone.”
Selvam said then what he had got in his mind; “Kannan, you should get married. Live with the friends you like and do what you like.”
“Thank you very much!”
Vaithianathan after listening to those words got up from the chair and said, “The doors of my house are always open. You will feel much after we left you.”
“Go away, men! Get out both of you!”
“Good bye, Kannan,” said Vaithianathan and ran away from the room.
“Kannan, this is too much!” said Selvam
Selvam at last left the room too.
There ended the Birthday party of Kannan with the break of his friendship with Vaithianathan and Selvam. He had a few glasses of cold water. He inhaled a deep breath and let it out as slowly as possible. Then only it was possible for him to compose himself.
After a few minutes he went to his book shelf and was gazing at the titles one after the other. His fingers passed over the books for a few seconds and stopped over a book called 15 English Poets. He took out that book from the rack and started leafing through the pages. A poem by the title Ode to The West Wind by P.B. Shelley attracted him much. He read that poem with deep contemplation for a long time. The time went fast without his notice.
At last at 11.30 p.m. when he went to switch off the room light, he saw a spider’s web near the ceiling lamp. The spider had finished its active work and was coolly taking rest at the center of its web. The light went off and everything was in dark in the room!
Few months passed. Kannan carried out his regular works as punctual as possible. After a day's usual routine was over he returned back home in the evening. Instead of taking a book, reading it and writing what he felt, he took a few white papers, went to his table and sat on his chair. He thought for a while looking at the Stars in the Sky and started writing on the paper a letter.
Do you remember that you have handed over to me a wonderful book, Browning - Selected Poems chosen and edited by Kenneth Allot last year? I am sure you would have enjoyed reading these simple poems written by the noble Robert Browning. I suppose you know who this gentleman is as you have studied B.A. Degree Course.
You may remember one or two poems you have studied in the college but not some of the other wonderful poems written by him in this book. The last poem in this book is a Prologue from Asolando (1889). In the beginning of this poem Browning expresses his interest in the discovery of his self knowledge. Next he brings out what the individual traits of everything in Nature are. Then the quotation ' All that glitters were not gold by Shakespeare comes to my mind when I go through it in the middle stanza. The succeeding stanza reveals that you cannot play with fire and so also with Nature.
Then the next idea of the poem is about Italy, which is full of beauty with terror that hints at the quality of love. Afterwards there is an account of Nature he has understood. We come across that Nature commands deep silence. His portrayal shows that everything is clear cut in Nature and Fancy is only derived from the natural fact. At the end, he drives home the idea that Nature is your friend not a foe, because it is God, who only can transcend everywhere.
I am also very much interested in Nature. As far as my knowledge is concerned, I can say that Nature has great influence on human mind. The analysis of the function of Nature led to the discovery of many Laws of Nature. This is the work of Science, which interprets Laws of Nature. The mystical experience of poets led them to give new philosophical theories. Nature is the model for men to design new artistic and technical things. In this respect Nature is a teacher too. Lovers of Nature served mankind in a noble way. Newton and Wordsworth are valuable examples in this field. With the help of Nature man has invented many useful things and created many wonderful things for the benefit and development of all.
I am sure the study of Nature is indeed quite interesting to all. But it is a vast subject to deal with! It is approached in two ways to understand its features. The physical part of Nature, which is visible, is analyzed, explored and interpreted with the aid of Science.
Science helps man to discover by various types of experiments the functions and power present in the (external) Nature we see everywhere. Scientific explanations of Nature are quite rational, mathematical, factual and logical. The internal part of Nature is understood by means of Literature.
Poets have discovered so many things in Nature with their power of intuition and explained to the world the mysteries of Nature. Emotionally, intuitionally and spiritually litterateurs have experienced many internal aspects of Nature and have found meanings for such experiences, which they have expressed in a special language in order to solve mysterious problems of man's miseries, which were not easily approached or possible to solve purely by scientific methods only. That is why the study of Nature is a vast subject. It is a noble pursuit to contemplate on Nature in Nature if we observe it by means of our instinct, intellect and spirit.
Again coming to the book matter I have to say that it is not appropriate on my part to think that you have presented me an incompatible gift. One good man gave you this book since he knew that you are interested in reading books. As the book was about Robert Browning and you know that I was writing poems, you thought that this book would be of help to me and so, you have offered it to me. Therefore it is not well on my part to take whatever you have with you unless and otherwise you give anything whole heartedly to me and unless I bring to your observation what is best in anything. In this case, I took out the best poem in this selection and briefly offered you my views regarding it.
The poems of Browning, Shelley and Byron have been touching my heart to a great extent for the past few weeks. I was so much elated by the effects of these poems that I wrote a new poem this morning. The following lines are from my poem, Moment of Illusion, which I am sure, will reveal you the force of my mind now. Please read it and tell me about your opinion one day.
Moment of Illusion
Iota of debacle making a miracle,
Herd of clods moves in cirrus,
Ocean born wind blows off of the shore,
Mounts, highly furrowed, rugged and sharp
Silent as the dark cold ocean
Uniformity diverging in anonymity
About our Haloens I have certain things to say to you. There are many people moving around us. Some use 'rough shadow method' and act as if they are friends to you in order to get benefits, helps and even life in a most developed stage from you. This is generally happening everywhere. If the world is so, how can we live in it? We can live, as we know that 'man proposes many things, but God disposes everything.' What the irony here is that two of our dear friends took whatever they were offered whether it is a book or a wise suggestion or Tiffin without a word and never bothered whether the thing they received had to be returned in time or gratified or what had to be done with that! They have promises, solemn commitments but they never even felt or thought that they had done anything of that sort.
Why are they doing so? Somehow they want to come up in life and want to appear as developed persons. But they find this very difficult, because they don't know what their ability is and what the thing they are capable of doing is. Whether they know about these capacities or not, they lack fundamentally two important things that are 1 common sense and 2 presence of mind. These are due to hereditary mistakes. Not only they but many are suffering from this disease. But by education or knowledge these drawbacks could be overcome to a great extent.
Actually the education we got did not provide us the knowledge we require. We bitterly realized this hard unbearable fact. The thought that we have to equip ourselves strong in Science, Literature, Religion, etc. became an indelible thing. In fact, mainly due to this reason, our circle of friends called as The Halo came into existence to fulfill that just desire. Then we decided what sort of a course we have to follow. As a result of this, we committed ourselves to develop originality in thoughts, words and deeds; self-reliance or independence in dealing with problems of life; a cultured friendship among ourselves and a sense of perfection in the things we do. Hence 1 originality, 2 independence, 3 friendship and 4 perfection became the motto of The Halo.
Healthy thinking process is very important for any sort of work. We adopted in practice English language as our medium of communication. The reasons for adopting this medium are 1 to develop our international language power, 2 to prevent unwanted thoughts clouding in our mind as a consequence of our vernacular language and 3 to develop general knowledge by way of discussion.
Then comes the question of occupation or professional activity. It is doubtful whether we have acquired real knowledge in the subject we have our degrees. Another thing is that it is rarely possible to get a job in the subjects we have studied in the present India. Leaving this aside, whatever work we hunt for whether in India or abroad, the essential things that are helpful for us to do a job are 1 fluency in the international language, 2 general knowledge and 3 common sense.
Having these things in view, we started discussing about some general topics every week. The topics we discussed are nothing when compared with the knowledge we should have gained by now. The reasons for this sorry state of affair are ordinary human frailties on the part of one or two Haloens. Their frailties, to put it plain, are lack of confidence, courage and perseverance due to lack of frankness and fearlessness. As a result of these, escapism superseded interest or seriousness in their mind that retarded the positive development of the work we took up to do.
When these two defective Haleons under consideration here forgot the good intention of this friendship and tried to escape from this kind of activity, one of the two usually came late to the meets and most of the time totally failed to turn up. In the meantime one went out of Pudhu Town for a journalistic work in order to comply with his appointment order (myself). Anther one got an appointment outside the town and coolly forgot to drop letter to us by making use of his job as alibi (Vaithianathan). When the first one returned back home another one had to go to a distant place to work (Balu). And two of the five were studying in the Law College. Among these two, for the senior student it was very easy to avoid as many meets as possible by making use of his new degree as an alibi (Selvam). Mainly due to this sort of childishness even magazine work came to a stand still. These are the facts for your remembrance which has afflicted me much and which you would not have forgotten so soon.
Afterwards? Friendship lives in good deeds. The Halo friendship was lively as long as the friends got together and discussed on useful topics and wrote articles in The Halo magazine, which were useful both for the writer and the friends of this circle. Indeed only in good deeds, healthy and life long friendship could exist. As the above briefed deeds were vehemently stopped by the ill conceived persons, our Halo friendship faded away in the air like an air bubble could.
To be still succinct, Balu brought Vaithianathan to my group of friendship. When this was done I suggested your name. You also sincerely joined us to fulfill our intention. Then Vaithianathan brought Selvam in our group. I did not lose my faith in you and Balu, because of your reliability and ability; whereas I tried, I have to say, to tolerate the habit of Vaithianathan and Selvam reflecting the locality of their respective places in all their deeds, which did not change till the final day I saw them.
That was over. Even now I have good relationship and good contact with Balu by means of letter correspondences. In the same way I like to have close contact with you, because even now I have confidence in you. I want you to continue the friendship with me forever.
Now I have disposed off all of my debts in business and other things are over. I could not see you in the library, beach or cinema theatres or anywhere else. I hope you will contact me soon after seeing this letter and maintain your friendship with me as in the past, if you desire.
Wishing you every success and offering you my hand of cooperation, support and assistance in all good deeds, I am,
Kannan felt satisfied after he had completed writing the letter. He wrote the address of Gopal on one cover and the address of Balu on another cover. He gave the letters to his servant and ordered him to post them that minute itself. Then he switched on his transistor radio kept on the table, relaxed himself comfortably on the sofa and kept on coolly listening to a musical programme.
The next day, when Kannan returned from the factory, he saw that a letter was waiting for him on his room table. It was beyond his surprise; he did not think that a letter would come for him that day ' that too from Balu! He felt that Balu's letter would be having something surprising or some unprecedented news for him. He was interested in some new news or to see some important matter in the letter. He opened the letter and read it with a cool mind.
My dear Kannan,
I thought I could write you a detailed letter. I was able to write only a brief one ' I mean my previous letter. Now I feel I can write you a detailed one.
I could realize how much mental tension you would be having. However, such tensions are not new to you for you have been putting up with such things all along and logically such tensions may also prevail for the future also. You must take some rest. You better get a vacation for a few weeks and proceed on to some distant holiday resort.
Coming to our friends I have this to say. Selvam, the learned lawyer is to busy to write any letter to me. The would-be lawyer, Gopal is still busier than the lawyer himself. The tax officer is fully immersed in the service to the Nation that he has hardly anytime to think or remember about his past friends. That being the case I have come to the conclusion that I must also retaliate these fellows rather than reconciling with them. I have wasted too many carrots and it is time to take the stick. That is it!
When I scaled through your letters of the past, I was enlightened. I have to say that you have done your best to give me the best explanations for topics like Life, Ambition, Aim, God, Fate, Providence and Self-Respect in the modern sense. They are new and interesting to me also. In your letter of last month you wrote me about the value of friendship and the necessity of desire for man. In this letter I give below my opinion regarding Friendship and Desire.
In your articles the stress you have laid upon the value of friendship is real. But when I apply my concept of non-attachment, this sort of attachment with friends also may fall under its gamut. Could you explain how this could be reconciled with non-attachment? As far as I could think, I feel that real friendship needs not create any attachment which could act as a barrier to one's spiritual development. When you have a real friendship with another, you become one and the same with him. His enjoyment is yours' and vice verse. More over, you must have a realistic approach in your friendship. Any event of life coming in between your friendship must not be allowed to create any sentimental side effects.
If your analysis is realistic, you should feel that it is the Stars above us which govern us and be prepared for any contingency. Then you could not be overwhelmed by your sentiments with respect to your friend. But as such certain amount of feeling is a must for human mind. So, they could not be and should not be suppressed. Perhaps, I think, the fineness of one's own feelings about others shows his mental maturity. Therefore, the feelings we have about our friends are well justified. This may not be called as weakness.
Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
You have also dealt with the quality of desire. Desire is the root cause of all miseries, I could say. But you are also correct in saying that evolution could take only in the presence of desire. What I want now is to scrap out all desires from my mind. Desire is like alcohol. It makes you hot to the blood to do a thing. Once you get involved in things, you are entering into a battle field. Then, there is no fun if you cry about your miseries. So, I wish I have no desires. I wish I could suspend all my activities and blissfully content with what I have.
Please write detailed letters.
After going through Balu's letter, Kannan punched it, kept it in a file and put the file in his bureau. He changed his dresses. After having a tiffin and coffee, he again went to his study room. As he had posted a letter to Balu i.e. copy of the letter to Gopal, he felt he could write to Balu after he received a response for it.
Actually he had a sense of satisfaction, since his sense and Balu's had a slight coincidence as far as their friendship with their Haloens was concerned. In general though it seemed Balu's opinion was similar to Kannan's, there was difference like the love of Nature of Shelley and Wordsworth. Though both of them were interested in the same ideal, their ideas of approach to it were quite different. Kannan felt so.
Then he opened his bureau, searched for his diary a while and found it out. Taking his black cover diary, he went to his bed room. The breeze was gentle and cool. He lay on his bed and fell in a sort of reverie for a while.
It was a Saturday night. He wanted to fulfill his urge to write something upon his favorite themes such as Nature, Life, Love, Friendship, Joy, Truth, Beauty, Peace and so on. He felt very glad as the next day would be a Sunday. He thought that he could have such a desire to write on such themes but that should solve his ambition of becoming a good writer one day. He was interested in writing poetry, essays and novels. He knew there was not much scope for poetry. So, he decided to show his power of thought in the art of writing novels. He did not even think about writing a novel so long. He thought and thought what sort of a novel he could write. But he could not get any idea.
The time was approaching 8.30 p.m. He got up from his bed and from his reverie too. He had a satisfied dinner that night. After a stroll in the balcony, he went to his bed and fell asleep.
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