Like waves on the shore
After browsing through some random sections, I came across a corner where the there was a plethora of books written by Rabindranath Tagore. Due to the recent expiry of the copyright, many publishers had launched their own versions of either his complete works or selected novels, short stories, etc. I picked up the Gitanjali, and started reading through it. Some of the poems I had read earlier, but others I had never gone through before. And I stood there, reading through them.
All those poems suddenly began to make sense to me that day. I remembered how I had hated reading through some Bengali poems earlier as a kid in school --- something that I had had to half-heartedly gulp down. But now all of them made sense. Even poems that I had read earlier: I could see them in a new light altogether. Like waves of the ocean breaking upon the same shore, I saw new meanings, newer dimensions and new light in them each time I read through something. Even though they were from the same ocean of thought, yet each crest and each trough presented a new perspective of the meaning immortalised through the black print upon those pages. And soon the book became overwhelming; I could not read beyond 5-6 poems, I had to put it down and let the head process and churn through the thoughts. I just stood there staring blankly for some time.
I so wanted to buy that book that day. But it wasn't so easy: there was the consideration of weight limits on airplane luggage, there was the consideration of not being able to pay off the credit card dues because I was about to leave Indian shores. And so I just stepped out of the shop empty-handed, into the sunshine and walked quietly for a long way back to the house, my brain agog with a subtle mirth I hadn't known for a long time.
But, here's the advantage of studying at one of the top places in the US: I've found multiple copies of the book here in the university library! And there is so much more literature to read, so much to explore! You will understand my feeling here only if you know the joy of just walking through stacks of books and staring at them. The library here has a policy of unlimited borrowing for graduate students: I can borrow all the (10 million plus :) ) books in the library for an entire semester! And it feels so good to read through them again... just live through the glory of these words:
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 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.