O swift birds, you may revert directions and relax your wings,
for her heart has settled.
O hobo wind, you may wind up now, for her nostrils take no air.
O restless river, you may fall freeze now,
for her body is laid to rest.
O sweet cuckoo, you may not sing the tune today,
for her eyes will not awake again. O eager rains, your crackle shall fall not on her face,
for her skin has gone to sleep.
O angry sun, you may run away with your redness,
for her eyes will see no more.
O radiant rose, your velvets may turn coarse,
for her hands will hold you no more.
O roaring sorrow, you may not smile today,
for your friend has left you alone.
O handful of happiness, you may not play the music,
for she will dance with you no more.
O hope, you are rendered homeless,
for you lived in her.
O deadly life, you may cease to live,
for she will curse you no more.
Over the delicate skeleton of the plot, Fitzgerald has woven with words, one of the most beautiful webs I have ever read. Why this great writer could not make it to the list of top authors in the beginning of his career becomes more intense a mystery after you read the book.
As for the book, the story begins quite late and ends quicker than you expect. For someone who reads the story in the twenty-first century, this book offers little of surprises and twists. However, for anyone reading it at any point of time and space this book showers pure delight. It’s simplicity crafted extraordinarily. If Bacon said some books are to be tasted, some to be swallowed and some to be chewed, then The great Gatsby rightly fits into the third category.
The book puts forth such a strong skill of writing so subtly that 200 pages leave you restless. How the story proliferates is almost easy to guess but how it ends is certainly not something you expect for or wish to accept. But then, most beautiful books are written in a way that leaves you gasping for more. I remember when I saw “75” written at the footnote, I sensed an unrest within me, the fear of only 125 pages to last. I closed the book so that I could enjoy a greater part of it the next day.
If, by any possiblity, you have not read it, go buy, borrow or steal a copy of this literary wonder.
Amanda’s report card
Amanda, who grew up teaching English to girls of her age, indulged into fun on the streets that lead to her home. She laughed at the lame linguistic impressions that the street artists had left on the walls of her city. She was left amused when she read advertisements as these– “Childrens Toys”, “Your the best”, “The Filanthropist” or “The Vagetarian restorant”. In Amanda’s mien could be found the erudition that a young woman with a major in English should bear. This was one of the reasons behind the freedom that she enjoyed while making fun of those who lacked the perfection of language.
One weekend, her mom spread old photographs, letters, books and memoirs across a bed; Amanda jumped onto a corner of the bed while her mom clung to the other as they enjoyed recalling long-lost memories. In one of the books Amanda fumbled upon a report card of her early schooling. The ecstasy in her flipped the card open and dropped eyes on the scores mentioned in the subjects of language. She frowned as read –
While I was in a bus looking out the window my eyes fell on leaves of a tree and I felt a sheet of warmth around my soul. I am adamant on believing that it was soul. There must be thousands but I could still notice their patterns. All of them had the same shade of green spreading across a heart shaped body – not the shape of the heart that is in congruence with the theories on our anatomy – the shape of the heart we find on letters and those in cards. The leaves appeared glossy with moisture from the rains. They fluttered and blushed in the presence of the gentle wind. In their pure simplicity, the leaves left on me an impression that art is in the heart and will always remain there. Art, I felt, rests in the perception and then in its depiction. If I ever thought that art was about designs, patterns, fresh ideas and complexity I better think again. One day all regions of beauty would be explored and all ways of its depiction will perish. One day we will be left with nothing new. We will then come back to simplicity as the purest form of art and will embark upon a mission for satiating our hunger for art. Art will meet vicissitudes in its definition and will, ambitiously, see transition from valour to warmth. I cannot, today, cut the long story short and simply say that you might some day find art in simplest of the things because it doesn’t read as though it’s creative enough to be art. But trust me from the time we started looking at nature and other things with the hope of finding art we have seen it all. We have seen a painting of yours as art; when photography emerged as a potential competitor, we assumed that bringing out the best from your photograph could be art; when that too became common we again turned our faces to the simplest forms of art and found solace in it. When we portray the simplest of the things in simplest of the ways which human mind is capable of we fumble upon more than a few things we never found as beautiful. There was a time when we took the bold decision of having art wed diligence. Art was being worked over. The more complicated it was, rather the more confusing it was, the deeper the art is believed to be. I doubt we were fools enough to confuse intricacy with complexity.
The world has always been crazy in quest of art. Everybody is in love with art and everyone is craving to put a new art on the show.
Then there has been art that was vulgar, art that was commercial, art that was serene, art that was silly and mediocre, art that was thoughtful and art that was innocent. In essentially all these cases, art was loved madly by science and commerce and that that was neither. Sometimes it’s simply crazy, some times it’s bewilderingly simple. Both ways, it’s always simply art. Which art do you find attractive?
P.S. I cannot guarantee I was able to convey my point, but that’s what art was all about, right?