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The Literary Muse: The Halo Dreams
|by T. A. Ramesh|
Continued from "A Letter ... "
In the study room, the books were readily standing in the steel racks for his arrival. He just glanced through the achievements of Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats. With a cool mind he went through the pages of A.G. Gardiner, A.T. Quiller Couch, Jeremy Taylor. Sir Herald Nicholson, O. Henry, Arnold and Eliot. With a new interest he read about Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott, D.H. Lawrence, Somerset Maugham, Fielding, Defoe, Swift, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. They all were great to him. Tagore, Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Bharati and their grand masters like Vyasa, Valluvar, Valmiki, Kalidasa and Vallar were men of his own soil and he knew about their works in the school days itself. There was no end if each and every book was read in its full entity. Kannan was roaming about in the ranches of this literary country and abroad though time had passed beyond 1.15 p.m.
He decided to read the literary works in some other time of the week and went for his lunch. His mind still immersed in literary thoughts he ate food with Mr. and Mrs. Manokar. They were happy that he was enjoying the lunch especially prepared under the care of Mr. Manokar. Kannan said that lunch was really good and went to his room.
The diary, which Kannan took with him to his bed the previous night for the sake of going through his favorite themes on which he had written opinions in the past was still lying there. Those pieces were actually written to Balu or top other Haloens when they were out of station. To assess how far he had developed in the art of expressing his ideas, he critically went through his fragments of writing with a fresh out look.
In my previous letter I have said that conscience is the true friend for everyone. When the desires of two friends are coinciding and are one and the same, then that moment of life experienced seems to be bliss. When the sayings of one's conscience and that of a friend's are the same, then one will find oneself to be confident about one's activities and life will be interesting and clear to live. So, it is a quite natural to say that life of a friend is inanimate without a friend by his side to coincide with his conscience, to share the happy and sorrow sense affairs and to exchange the creative thoughts.
Waves do not rest. It is a natural phenomenon. Mind is also so. If the waves of the sea are calm, storm is sure to come. If the thought process of the mind is suppressed, it will be just like applying a sudden brake when an automobile is moving at a high speed. The effect will be disastrous! The suppression of the mind spoils the health of the body. The effect will be disastrous! The sudden brake applied on the fast moving vehicle hampers the efficiency of the engine. Then how the mind can be kept normal? Nature is the cure. In Nature we live. The success of our achievements depends upon the alignment of our ways with the ways of Nature. When such an alignment is not proper, the occurrences in our life are contrary to our imagination or expectation. Everything depends on Nature. You realize this by feeling Nature in all your activities - breathing, drinking, working, etc. Keep your mind in line with Nature with all your heart, you will enjoy real peace of mind and happiness.
Peace and happiness shall be obtained through total liberation. This state is called as bliss which is the culmination of life. This highest point of development can be reached when life and knowledge are made stable. How? Life is for living. This life can be made stable by achieving stability in one's activities. Knowledge can be obtained by understanding things through pure thinking and meditation. This is possible only when one has achieved peace and stability in life. When living is made stable and real knowledge is achieved, spirit or atman or soul has to be cleansed by keeping one's mind steady in the nature of God. This leads to the total liberation of soul, when the soul communes with the all pervading spirit of the Cosmos and is known as bliss for man.
Ambition is not aim. It is the desire of heart, which can be said as aspiration. Ambition gives an impetus to do a work. It can be considered as a catalyst, which quickens an action. Everyone has got merits and demerits. If merits are developed, one will enjoy in life. So, one has to choose what one is best at or interested in or where one's best capacity lies which one has to exploit to the maximum one can and achieve perfection in it. If one's ambition is within this frame work, one's life will be active and interesting.
By seeing the foot prints on the beach sand, we are able to say who has done it or who has gone that way. Scientifically it is discovered that the Moon rotating round the Earth was once the part of the Earth. The Earth and the other planets we know along with the Sun is considered to be one Solar system. By the gravitational force each planet rotates in a certain orbit round the Sun. Then the Stars are there. Like the foot prints created by some beast or man, these planets and the whole Universe with the living beings, matters, etc. must have been created by some power, whose natural function is present and continuously proceeds in everything everywhere; for example, I can quote the function of the atom in a molecule and the function of the planets in our Solar system. This power present in everything everywhere activating everything can be termed in a single word as God according to the attainment of knowledge of man. As and when the knowledge of man progresses or develops, this all pervading power can be understood still more clearly than as we know at present.
Dharma and the impossibility to live according to Dharma in the Modern Age
All the celestial bodies float spinning themselves in equilibrium position under the gravitational force in the Space like the ships, boats, logs on the ocean. There equilibrium has to be maintained. Otherwise the whole show can't go on forever. It is really an impossible wonder! But it is happening under natural laws which maintain the equilibrium of the Universe. These are all what we may say as God made laws. But there are also man made laws. These laws are there to maintain justice. So, everything goes on well because of justice. But his justice is meant only for the physical security of man. Then what sort of a justice is governing the mind and the spirit of man? This justice is what our religion calls by the word -Dharma. Therefore, even if man escapes from the clutches of the laws of man, he cannot escape from Dharma. Man has to maintain justice for his physical existence and has to maintain dharma for his mental and spiritual stability. After coming to this stage, one vital question has to be answered. The question is what dharma is.
Our Hindu religion reveals the division of duty according to the position of various men into four. They are 1. Brahman (sages, intellectuals, writers, etc.), 2. Chatriyas (kings, soldiers, rulers, administrators, etc.), 3. Vysias (businessmen, traders, merchants, etc.) and 4. Sutras (workers, laborers, down trodden people depending others for their livelihood). So, justice is I can say that to maintain oneself physically, mentally and spiritually one has to do the job suitable to one's nature. But how far this is possible is the thing we have to think about!
Now we are living in the democratic age. It is possible for us to choose what sort of a job is suitable for our nature. Our nation is not a developed one. Our society is developing one i.e. struggling towards prosperity. It has to go a long way to achieve self sufficiency in all respects. Even after getting freedom from foreigner rulers our people are not changed. They have the caste feeling, language differences, communal fights, etc. Corruption, smuggling activities and other malpractices are going on unchecked everywhere in our country. Superstitious beliefs, dowry system, favoritism, etc. are still prevailing in our society. The system under which our society functions has all these draw backs and more. Even if a person gets the professional work he likes, he may not be doing it peacefully and perfectively with honesty and sincerity in order to lead a safe life.
Fate and Providence
No doubt, fate and providence have got their own parts to play in the affairs of each and every man. Man should be in a position to see the things as they really are. Man of knowledge has more worries than other persons. He too cannot achieve perfection because he has to live in a backward society. It is quite bad for him also. It is not possible for him to do his works unhampered and he also goes wrong often. Once he cannot go smoothly in a system suitable to him how can he escape from undergoing all sorts of sufferings and troubles because of his restrictions, limitations and because of the people with incomplete knowledge with whom he has to carry out his duties? These drawbacks in the society aforesaid in toto can be termed as the Fate man has to endure. On the other hand, if the society is good, man is able to do what he likes honestly, sincerely, etc. in a good system, then I can say that there prevails providence.
Kannan felt it was enough that he had read to recapture the thought process he was once engrossed himself with. He opened the letter of Balu once again and went through the paragraph in which Balu had written his view regarding friendship and non-attachment. He felt he had a few more points to write for Balu for the sake of clarification in that regard. He took his pen and wrote the details in his diary he wished to put down in his next letter to Balu.
Friendship and Non-Attachment
Friendship is something valuable in the relationship of man and man. In this regard it has to be remembered that man is considered to be a social animal. But he distinguishes himself from animals, when this relationship becomes a form of love. Friendship is a form of love. Commitment makes one attached to certain thing or desire. Intelligence is required to be morally good and right. To be intelligent a mature knowledge of the things he has to deal with is indispensable. Only then one can be non-attached. When this is known by way of expounds, discussions, etc. by all the friends of a circle, non-attachment could be reconciled with friendship. When non-attachment is the concept of everyone, there won't be an enemy to anyone. Hence there can't be many worries, mind will be finding ways that have to be followed and next worries and difficulties will be reduced to nothing. Everything can be over come and life will be a blissful affair for such friends.
Without desire man cannot live. Desire cannot be effaced from the mind of man. Desire to do good is good. Without desire nothing could be learnt. Purpose of our existence can't be understood. So, desire to know as much we can and to follow the right way to establish justice is the purpose of man's creation on the Earth.
Kannan felt that he had written the necessary points to clarify the query of Balu. The time was then approaching 3.30 p.m. He closed his diary with the feeling that he had to develop still better in his writings and allowed himself to have a nap on his bed.
In the evening some people came to see him. First he had to pay the Lorry Bill, for, he received a consignment of raw materials required for the factory works next day. After paying the amount to the lorry driver, he went to take coffee in the dining room.
Since it had happened to be a Sunday, some relatives of Mr. Manokar came to see them. Before Kannan thought of writing as per his desire night had come. He had to accompany the visitors for the dinner and to settle all the trivialities with them till they left them at 10.15 p.m.
After the hurry and bustle had subsided, Kannan had a smoke in his room with his mind immersed in the next day activities. The day had ended before he could do anything according to his desire as far as his literary activity was concerned. He did not lose his heart. He was optimistic that the next day would give him the necessary impetus to carry on with his urge to write to his heart's content.
The night was very calm. It would not be night forever. The day had to come. To do good deeds, though it would be difficult to start early, yet it would be a better thing for man with noble mind to try in the art of literary expressions in order to reveal to the world one's experiences for the purpose of inspiring noble thoughts to the gloomy minds.
The whole of the next week went without any relief for Kannan. He did not get time to breathe free air in order to indulge in the literary activities. No letter came to him either from Balu or Gopal. There was perfect silence from the side of Vaithianathan and also Selvam. Another Sunday had also come. It was not as interesting as the previous one till the evening.
In the evening he felt why he could not think of writing a short history of the Halo friendship. The very idea gave him a sort of relief to overcome his mental stagnation. Then a few questions cropped up in his mind. The answers he obtained for those questions he decided to write in the form of a preface to the history in two parts with a view to publish it one day. He sat by his table and wrote the preface. To his great wonder the excerpt of the preface turned out to be a grand one!
Preface to The History of The Halo Friendship
To raise one's voice and make others accept and follow it genuinely, one requires power. This power could be achieved only by one's position in the society. To achieve this position or status one has to make use of one's talent, intelligence, wisdom, genius and so on which are inherent in everyone. It all depends upon the intelligent use of opportunities one gets in life,
To fulfill the above notion, the personalities of the Halo are responsible for the formation of the Halo friendship of the five individuals. The friendship of these individuals though has not achieved anything in particular is interested in learning, understanding and following the true importance of education in order to live a purposeful life. So, naturally each one is trying his level best to exploit his own talent by slowly adopting a system suitable to him. The realization of the hidden skills in them are being appraised and stimulated by the process of thinking, speaking and writing. As reading has become a habit, understanding the internal and external crises of each one has become an easy thing. The pleasure of reading has developed and enhanced the knowledge of the individuals and which, in turn, after giving apt exercise to the mind has made the art of speaking and writing look towards perfection.
It is well known that to make a history is not so difficult as to write it. 'Anybody can make a history, but a great mind is required to make a history great.' To ask a question is not so easy, because one requires not only the knowledge of the subject but also a bit of prudence. A historian has to do both the works equally well. Despite he is prudent or intelligent, a balanced and impartial mind is absolutely essential for him to produce effective history. This is because history is not only a lesson but also a pragmatic guide to the noble minds and the good hearts to effect creative changes essential for the welfare of mankind. By and large, history is a complete record of the epoch in which rise and fall of great empire, war and peace of great nations and so on that have taken place are distinctly depicted.
There will be a vast difference between the ideal history that has been discussed and the history of the Halo friendship under preparation. The two methods produce different results, but each result may be a fair answer to the particular questions posed in the beginning. They become misleading only if either of them is accepted as the whole truth. In the former case, a historian would gather information from the reliably important persons, who were aware of the causes, the events and the results of certain upheaval or incidence that took place earlier, from his own experience on such periods, from the remaining ruins of the places and from the legends. But it cannot be so in the latter case; for the latter case, the prerequisites are the hints from the friends of the Halo or the Haloens who are involved in the Halo activities, the entire portion of the information found in the Halo reports and a vast amount of recollections of all the incidents by the historian who is also one of the Haloens.
From these sources the first part of the history i.e. The Birth of The Halo Friendship will be completed and the succeeding or the second part can easily be written to a certain or a convenient period. Further this history will not only be a lesson and a guide to others as said before but also a record of errors and misjudgments of their minds leading towards maturity has yet to be developed. How bitter the task will then be for this poor historian! Besides other things, this pleasingly weighty work offers me an opportunity to penetrate deep into the surface and throw light upon the motives and impulses that united the friends of this group together. Naturally, this is a kind of adventure to me; yet this is quite inevitable too!
Nearly two hours had gone by. Kannan kept the papers and the pen in the first drawer of the three drawer table and closed it. He looked at the table clock. The time was 7.20 p.m. He felt someone was coming to his room. When he turned to the door, he saw Gopal entering the room as usual without any excitement. As soon as Gopal saw Kannan, he gently smiled and looked at the table.
'Hello!!' said Kannan, 'Do come in and take a chair I have seen you long ago. How are you, man?'
'I am fine. My days are going on after I have become a junior criminal lawyer. How do you do?'
'As usual I am doing well. Our industry and businesses are all going on well. In the evenings I am spending my time by relaxing myself over literary subjects. That is how my days are going on. Are you meeting our friends and are you writing letters to Balu and Vaithianathan?'
'Daily I am meeting Selvam in the Law Office and in the Court. I am dropping letters to Balu, but not promptly to all the letters he writes to me. Yesterday I received a letter from him. He is coming here in the middle of next week. I don't know anything about Vaithianathan.'
While listening to Gopal's talk, Kannan changed his dresses with a new one. He combed his hair and made himself ready to go out for a walk.
'Okay, we shall go out to a hotel,' said Kannan, 'have a walk in the beach and discuss a lot of matters both general and personal. I think you don't mind.'
'I don't have any objection. I also like to have a talk to my heart's content since it happens to be a longtime back I have seen you.'
Soon they came out of the house and stood on the platform looking at the vehicles moving in the street.
'Shall we go to the left or right?' asked Kannan.
'Either way as you please!' said Gopal.
'Shall we go to the hotel now itself or shall we go there after we had a walk in the beach?'
'We can go to the hotel afterwards.'
'Okay Gopal, I feel that's better.'
They turned to the right and reached the beach. Kannan commenced the conversation with Gopal.
'How are you managing yourself and your family, Gopal?'
'I am teaching lessons to two school boys as a tuition master for two hours in the morning. I am getting tuition fee for every month. For every case I am also getting a certain percentage of commission from my senior lawyer. From these two channels I am getting sufficient amount to maintain myself and my family.'
'So, for the present you don't have financial problem and you think you can pull on the days like this.'
'Yes, Kannan, for the present I can manage myself in this way. But only when I become a full-fledged lawyer, I can be confident about my future. I am trying my level best to achieve that position.'
'What about Selvam as far as you know you can say?'
'The senior lawyer of Selvam is a well known personality in this town. Selvam can certainly shine well, if he is prudent and confident. Even though he is sincerely trying, he is not intelligent and doesn't know how to take initiative in his profession. Others who are colleagues to him are taking initiatives and they seem that they will come up at a shorter period than Selvam. He does not have any other work to mind other than legal cases as he is well off financially.'
'Gopal, in Madras and other places there are solicitor firms. Why can't you and other friends in this line venture upon starting a solicitor firm?'
'It is a good idea, Kannan. We can do that if we try in that line. It needs a joint effort of a few lawyers. That is all.'
They stopped walking near a cement seat in the beach and sat on it looking at the sea. They spent a few minutes gazing at the waves of the sea. Most of the visitors were dropping out of sight. The place was becoming desolate. So, they thought it would be better to go to the hotel then. They decided to go to the Vietnam Hotel. In the second line beach, they reached there, entered it and settled themselves in the two sitter table in a corner. As per their requirements after consultation they gave orders to a waiter. They sat there silently for a few minutes observing the place and resumed their conversation.
'You have not said anything about Vaithianathan. Is he staying there? Is it not possible for him to come here for the week end?'
'I don't know much about him nowadays, Kannan. But I have heard that he is coming here every Saturday and going there on the morning of every Monday. I too have learnt this news from Selvam. Selvam has not said much about him, even though Vaithianathan never fails to meet him whenever he comes here. There is an understanding between them. We shall know about their plan as the time passes on.'
'O, I see! Let it be. In my last letter to you, I wrote about the fate of our Halo friendship. You have not said anything about it. What do you think of it, man?'
The waiter brought ordered dishes for them, arranged the items on the table in a beautiful order, filled the glasses with ice cold water and with a bow left them. Then their attention was on the delicious fish, chicken, tomato sauce, well sliced bread and mutton curry. They started to show their skill in slicing the items with the knife and in mincing and swallowing them using the fork. It was interesting to both of them. Whenever they paused, they continued with their conversation too.'
'Well, the Halo friendship was a good one,' said Gopal. 'It was useful to develop the mind and the heart to a better standard. In the developed society, people like to get together, discuss upon good and useful topics, come to a better understanding and follow better ideas out of it by using them in one's life and profession. It required certain amount of perseverance, intelligence and knowledge. In fact, we wanted to be like that. The atmosphere in which both Selvam and Vaithianathan were brought up has failed to inculcate perseverance and intelligence. They could not coup with you and Balu to achieve that higher standard of life. To be frank with you, I did not like the idea of publication then and now too, but I am interested in increasing knowledge useful to me from discussions on various topics.'
'What you say is quite understandable, Gopal. When we were together we formed this Halo friendship. When I was out of station, Balu was managing it well. When he too left for New Delhi, these two fellows also stopped getting together with me and you to continue the Halo activity. Once in a blue moon they met me under some pretext or other just to know about Balu's feelings through me and something about you because I am regular in my contacts with him through letter correspondences and now and then you were paying a visit to me. That means what? They consider Balu alone a suitable friend to them. Why? They don't know how to move with us.
In fact, no one could be friends to them except Balu because he alone knew how to adjust himself with them. God knows how these fellows could pull on the days separately without having connections with others. They do so for the simple reason that they get themselves hurt if their ignorance on common matters are known to others. They have inferiority complex. They feel they are far below others in ability. Because of this nature, the good intention of the Halo has been spoiled and destroyed. I find it quite impossible to digest their failure even though our intention is not an impossible one.'
'Quite true. What is the use of talking over spoilt milk? Their nature cannot be changed.'
'If you say their nature cannot be changed, how will they do their professional works? One is an inspector and the other one is a lawyer. Both of them have to write reports, discuss their concerned cases with the authorities, colleagues and officials. How will they conduct themselves and perform their duties everyday? Will not each and everyday be a place of hell for them while they attend to their works?'
'They have to face all troubles, trivialities and tribulations. What to do? They must be getting themselves hurt as often as possible. It may be a shameful thing for them to meet us and talk about such matters with us. Poor chaps, let God save them from such a hell!'
Kannan wanted to talk on the same note, but he felt it was futile. So, he started to give full justice to the dishes before him. Both of them left nothing on the plates. Finally they had orange juice, paid the Bill and coolly left the place. They bought cigarettes in a petty shop, each one lit a cigarette and started to walk in a leisurely manner.
In a thoughtful mood Kannan resumed his talk with Gopal. 'From the conversation we have had just now I have come to the conclusion that the revival of the Halo activities won't be possible at all. The friendship among us may go on somehow or other, but that Halo friendship is once and for all over. The activities we had in the past are not the episodes of a dream. It was not a dream to forget. It was a reality we five experienced and witnessed. With whom shall I talk about this? Will anyone believe that we did such a thing when we were together? I don't know how Balu feels about this. But I know that he is silently undergoing the experiences of a loss at a distant place. At least to compensate for his loss I am going to send a souvenir.'
'May I know what souvenir you have in your hand and when do you propose to hand it over to him, Kannan?'
'A short history of The Halo Friendship, which is dead and gone!'
'Have you written it?'
'No, I am going to write it in two parts. I got this idea this evening. I am going to collect facts regarding this from the Reports of our Halo magazine and from the discussions I am going to have with you and our friends!'
'This is a good idea. I wish you every success in all your ventures.'
'Thank you, Gopal. I have written a Preface for it, which I will show you, if you are interested.'
'Sure, I like to see your Preface. When can I have the pleasure of seeing it, Kannan?'
'Well, if you like, you can see it tomorrow evening say at six or so when I shall be at home.'
'Then I shall try to meet you in your house at six-thirty in the evening. What do you say?'
Everything was silent in the street. They walked with a quick pace. After the park, as usual they departed to their respective destinations.
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