The past week, I have been asking some of my friends this question- “What excites you?” and insisted that they stick to the little things and the simple joys rather than winning-the-Olympic-gold or grabbing-an-Oscar kind of excitement. Most of the answers hit close to home and it was exciting to get a view of how different things affect different people.
I have my own list too, which is clearly topped by tea. Yes. Tea is more than just a beverage for me. Too many emotions attached to it. Few others in my list were— riding pillion in a long stretch of empty road (used to love long bike rides with my dad as a kid. It seems so long ago now), a train ride in a window seat and wind blasting my face, the clouds and the skies, the sun and the moon, the sea breeze. There is another important thing that excites me. A quote or a line from a book, a movie, or a song that just touches me or moves me or makes me go awww. Words are powerful. Words evoke feelings. Words excite. Words heal. Words hurt. Words build. Words break. Words are magic. This is why I started writing in the first place.
I look back to my childhood summer vacations when I would search for books through the loft in my grandparents’ place, like a poor man would dig for treasure. I would pull out a book and carefully turn the brown pages that have become brittle with time. I would read those archaic Shakespearean words and wonder what that was all about. In spite of my inability to comprehend them, I would fall in love with the mystery and beauty of it. And I have stayed in love ever since.
With like-minded friends, I went on to discuss the books and poetry that excite us. Two such conversations were particularly interesting, giving me a chance to revisit some of the lines I love. And I thought I’d share them here.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
This is just too powerful and too strong. The kind that makes your heart heavy with emotions. Harry Potter enthusiast or not, I’m sure this line moved everybody. I admit I did not read the book, I only watched the movie. Every time I see Snape uttering the word, tears would come streaming down. Think about it. Snape’s undying love for Lily even after all those years. Though painful, isn’t it a wonderful thing to have someone you could love that way? Love untouched and unmarred by time. Love that lived even when it wasn’t reciprocated. Love that gave and expected not. And Rowling only needed one word to convey that. A word as simple as “always”!! This is why I think words are magic.
Et tu, Brute? (You too, Brutus?)
-William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
This is another example of a simple sentence conveying deep emotions. The phrase “You too, Brutus” has become very common now and hence easily overlooked. But pause for a moment. Think of the context in which it was originally used. Caesar is being attacked by a group of assassins and he spots his dear friend Brutus among them. How his heart would have ached! Betrayal must have been more agonising than the dagger that pierced through him.
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou, Still I Rise
I am a big fan of Maya Angelou’s writing and “Still I Rise” is my favourite piece. Her personality comes through in her works, telling you what a gritty and confident lady she was. In this poem, she sharply and sassily sends out a message to her oppressors— Oh, you want to put me down? Well, I ain’t staying there!
Such is the supreme folly of man that he labours so as to labour no more.
-Leonardo da Vinci
Ever explored the writer side of da Vinci? You should, because he is good! In a single line, he encapsules what we all are striving for. We work hard, switch jobs, seize opportunities, keep running, so that one day we could retire peacefully and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We labor to not labor anymore.
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
-William Worsdsworth, The Solitary Reaper
My memories of “The Solitary Reaper” go back to my school days when I would listen to my brother effortlessly recite the entire poem. He had the best of the English teachers at school, who, in his own words, would breathe life into every poem they read in class. Rather than seeing poems as those long lines of text that they were forced to learn by heart, they were encouraged to see them as works of art with so much beauty in them. That made all the difference, my brother would say. That made all the difference for me too. Poems never felt the same. And not all poets give you that experience. Wordsworth does. I always feel as though I am walking in the field alongside him, when I read this poem.
Yes. Things run out when you least expect them to. Patience, options, the toothpaste in the tube. Time.
This last quote I am sharing is from “The Poetry Of” blog owned by Pavithra. She is best known for evoking nostalgia through her written word. This line is from her latest piece “Things Run Out.” After you go through the post, I bet you will end up sighing, “How true.”
This post has run longer than I had intended it to. But this couldn’t have come at a better time, because today marks my 5 years of blogging. 72 posts in all. That is not a big number at all, yet I cherish each one of them. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. Some views have changed, some have not, some have become more concrete, some have died out, some have intensified. But some things remain- my love for writing, my love for simple things, my love for everyday experiences and my desire to give words to my thoughts. Thank you readers for travelling with me. Some of you have celebrated my writing more than I could have ever imagined. I am overwhelmed when people say, “I am waiting for your next post.” I am not a frequent blogger, I may never be one. But thanks for sticking around regardless of that. 🙂
So now, I ask all of you, what excites you?