I love this one as we all need this lesson desperately. let go of our stresses.

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: ”How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

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So many can’t recognize and appreciate creativity and insist on rote leaning.

Elephant:

The class teacher asks students to name an animal that begins with an “E”. One boy says, “Elephant.”

Then the teacher asks for an animal that begins with a “T”. The same boy says, “Two elephants.”

The teacher sends the boy out of the class for bad behavior. After that she asks for an animal beginning with “M”.

The boy shouts from the other side of the wall: “Maybe an elephant!”

:mrgreen:

Cleaver kids- young entrepreneurs

Clever kids:

A police officer found a perfect hiding place for watching for speeding motorists.

One day, the officer was amazed when everyone was under the speed limit, so he investigated and found the problem.

A 10 years old boy was standing on the side of the road with a huge hand painted sign which said “Radar Trap Ahead.”

A little more investigative work led the officer to the boy’s accomplice: another boy about 100 yards beyond the radar trap with a sign reading “TIPS” and a bucket at his feet full of change.

😛 :mrgreen:

A Dead Woman’s Secret – this is how people change their perception of you in an instant. Love disappears and hate begins with just a single hint from past. All love is based on what you make people think of you.

The woman had died without pain, quietly, as a woman should whose life had been blameless. Now she was resting in her bed, lying on her back, her eyes closed, her features calm, her long white hair carefully arranged as though she had done it up ten minutes before dying. The whole pale countenance of the dead woman was so collected, so calm, so resigned that one could feel what a sweet soul had lived in that body, what a quiet existence this old soul had led, how easy and pure the death of this parent had been.

Kneeling beside the bed, her son, a magistrate with inflexible principles, and her daughter, Marguerite, known as Sister Eulalie, were weeping as though their hearts would break. She had, from childhood up, armed them with a strict moral code, teaching them religion, without weakness, and duty, without compromise. He, the man, had become a judge and handled the law as a weapon with which he smote the weak ones without pity. She, the girl, influenced by the virtue which had bathed her in this austere family, had become the bride of the Church through her loathing for man.

They had hardly known their father, knowing only that he had made their mother most unhappy, without being told any other details.

The nun was wildly-kissing the dead woman’s hand, an ivory hand as white as the large crucifix lying across the bed. On the other side of the long body the other hand seemed still to be holding the sheet in the death grasp; and the sheet had preserved the little creases as a memory of those last movements which precede eternal immobility.

A few light taps on the door caused the two sobbing heads to look up, and the priest, who had just come from dinner, returned. He was red and out of breath from his interrupted digestion, for he had made himself a strong mixture of coffee and brandy in order to combat the fatigue of the last few nights and of the wake which was beginning.

He looked sad, with that assumed sadness of the priest for whom death is a bread winner. He crossed himself and approaching with his professional gesture: “Well, my poor children! I have come to help you pass these last sad hours.” But Sister Eulalie suddenly arose. “Thank you, “father, but my brother and I prefer to remain alone with her. This is our last chance to see her, and we wish to be together, all three of us, as we–we–used to be when we were small and our poor mo–mother—-”

Grief and tears stopped her; she could not continue.

Once more serene, the priest bowed, thinking of his bed. “As you wish, my children.” He kneeled, crossed himself, prayed, arose and went out quietly, murmuring: “She was a saint!”

They remained alone, the dead woman and her children. The ticking of the clock, hidden in the shadow, could be heard distinctly, and through the open window drifted in the sweet smell of hay and of woods, together with the soft moonlight. No other noise could be heard over the land except the occasional croaking of the frog or the chirping of some belated insect. An infinite peace, a divine melancholy, a silent serenity surrounded this dead woman, seemed to be breathed out from her and to appease nature itself.

Then the judge, still kneeling, his head buried in the bed clothes, cried in a voice altered by grief and deadened by the sheets and blankets: “Mamma, mamma, mamma!” And his sister, frantically striking her forehead against the woodwork, convulsed, twitching and trembling as in an epileptic fit, moaned: “Jesus, Jesus, mamma, Jesus!” And both of them, shaken by a storm of grief, gasped and choked.

The crisis slowly calmed down and they began to weep quietly, just as on the sea when a calm follows a squall.

A rather long time passed and they arose and looked at their dead. And the memories, those distant memories, yesterday so dear, to-day so torturing, came to their minds with all the little forgotten details, those little intimate familiar details which bring back to life the one who has left. They recalled to each other circumstances, words, smiles, intonations of the mother who was no longer to speak to them. They saw her again happy and calm. They remembered things which she had said, and a little motion of the hand, like beating time, which she often used when emphasizing something important.

And they loved her as they never had loved her before. They measured the depth of their grief, and thus they discovered how lonely they would find themselves.

It was their prop, their guide, their whole youth, all the best part of their lives which was disappearing. It was their bond with life, their mother, their mamma, the connecting link with their forefathers which they would thenceforth miss. They now became solitary, lonely beings; they could no longer look back.

The nun said to her brother: “You remember how mamma used always to read her old letters; they are all there in that drawer. Let us, in turn, read them; let us live her whole life through tonight beside her! It would be like a road to the cross, like making the acquaintance of her mother, of our grandparents, whom we never knew, but whose letters are there and of whom she so often spoke, do you remember?”

Out of the drawer they took about ten little packages of yellow paper, tied with care and arranged one beside the other. They threw these relics on the bed and chose one of them on which the word “Father” was written. They opened and read it.

It was one of those old-fashioned letters which one finds in old family desk drawers, those epistles which smell of another century. The first one started: “My dear,” another one: “My beautiful little girl,” others: “My dear child,” or: “My dear (laughter.” And suddenly the nun began to read aloud, to read over to the dead woman her whole history, all her tender memories. The judge, resting his elbow on the bed, was listening with his eyes fastened on his mother. The motionless body seemed happy.

Sister Eulalie, interrupting herself, said suddenly:

“These ought to be put in the grave with her; they ought to be used as a shroud and she ought to be buried in it.” She took another package, on which no name was written. She began to read in a firm voice: “My adored one, I love you wildly. Since yesterday I have been suffering the tortures of the damned, haunted by our memory. I feel your lips against mine, your eyes in mine, your breast against mine. I love you, I love you! You have driven me mad. My arms open, I gasp, moved by a wild desire to hold you again. My whole soul and body cries out for you, wants you. I have kept in my mouth the taste of your kisses–”

The judge had straightened himself up. The nun stopped reading. He snatched the letter from her and looked for the signature. There was none, but only under the words, “The man who adores you,” the name “Henry.” Their father’s name was Rene. Therefore this was not from him. The son then quickly rummaged through the package of letters, took one out and read: “I can no longer live without your caresses.” Standing erect, severe as when sitting on the bench, he looked unmoved at the dead woman. The nun, straight as a statue, tears trembling in the corners of her eyes, was watching her brother, waiting. Then he crossed the room slowly, went to the window and stood there, gazing out into the dark night.

When he turned around again Sister Eulalie, her eyes dry now, was still standing near the bed, her head bent down.

He stepped forward, quickly picked up the letters and threw them pell-mell back into the drawer. Then he closed the curtains of the bed.

When daylight made the candles on the table turn pale the son slowly left his armchair, and without looking again at the mother upon whom he had passed sentence, severing the tie that united her to son and daughter, he said slowly: “Let us now retire, sister.”

 

CHITRA- A PLAY BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE -DOES TALENT IN A GIRL EVER CHARM A BOY TO AN EXTEND BEAUTY DOES ? CAN BEAUTY HOLD THE LOVE AND FIRE ALIVE LONGER THAN THE TALENT IN A GIRL DOES?

I am always wondered by the power of beauty in girls and weakness for beauty in boys. while I was reading this play, it dawned upon me that this dilemma was an ancient one with no solution may be or lets say wisdom is needed to identify that which catches attention and that which can hold attention. Ultimately one is in search of companion as needes are not just physical but emotional, social and intellectual.

PREFACE

THIS LYRICAL DRAMA was written about twenty-five years ago. It is based on the following story from the Mahabharata.

In the course of his wanderings, in fulfilment of a vow of penance, Arjuna came to Manipur. There he saw Chitrangada, the beautiful daughter of Chitravahana, the king of the country. Smitten with her charms, he asked the king for the hand of his daughter in marriage. Chitravahana asked him who he was, and learning that he was Arjuna the Pandava, told him that Prabhanjana, one of his ancestors in the kingly line of Manipur, had long been childless. In order to obtain an heir, he performed severe penances. Pleased with these austerities, the god Shiva gave him this boon, that he and his successors should each have one child. It so happened that the promised child had invariably been a son. He, Chitravahana, was the first to have only a daughter Chitrangada to perpetuate the race. He had, therefore, always treated her as a son and had made her his heir. Continuing, the king said:

‘The one son that will be born to her must be the perpetuator of my race. That son will be the price that I shall demand for this marriage. You can take her, if you like, on this condition.’

Arjuna promised and took Chitrangada to wife, and lived in her father’s capital for three years. When a son was born to them, he embraced her with affection, and taking leave of her and her father, set out again on his travels.

CHARACTERS

GODS

Madana (Eros)

Vasanta (Lycoris)

MORTALS

Chitra, daughter of the King of Manipur

Arjuna, a prince of the house of the Kurus. He is of the Kshatriya or ‘warrior

caste’, and during the action is living as a Hermit retired in the forest.

Villagers from an outlying district in Manipur.

SCENE I

CHITRA।

Art thou the god with the five darts, the Lord of Love?

MADANA।

I am he who was the first born in the heart of the. Creator. I bind the bond of pain and bliss the lives of men and women!

CHITRA।

I know, I know what that pain is and those bonds.-And who art thou, my lord?

VASANTA।

I am his friendVasantathe King of the Seasons. Death and decrepitude would wear- the world to the bone but that I follow them and constantly attack them, I am Eternal Youth.

CHITRA।

I bow to thee, Lord Vasanta.

MADANA।

But what stern vow is thine, fair stranger? Why dost thou wither thy fresh youth with penance and mortification? Such a sacrifice is not fit for the worship of love. Who art thou and what is thy prayer?

CHITRA।

I am Chitra, the daughter of the kingly house of Manipur. With god-like grace Lord Shiva promised to my royal grandsire an unbroken line of male descent. Nevertheless, the divine word proved powerless to change the spark of life; in my mother’s womb-so invincible was my nature, woman though I be.

MADANA।

I know, that is why thy father brings thee up as his son. He has taught thee the use of the bow and all the duties of a king.

CHITRA।

Yes, that is why I am dressed in man’s attire and have left the seclusion of a woman’s chamber. I know no feminine wiles for winning hearts. My hands are strong to bend the bow, but I have never learnt Cupid’s archery, the play of eyes.

MADANA।

That requires no schooling, fair one. The eye does its work untaught, and he knows how well, who is struck in the heart.

CHITRA।

One day in search of game I roved alone to the forest on the bank of the Puma river. Tying my horse to a tree trunk I entered a dense thicket on the track of a deer. I found a narrow sinuous path meandering through the dusk of the entangled boughs, the foliage vibrated with the chirping of crickets, when of a sudden I came upon a man lying on a bed of dried leaves, across my path. I asked him haughtily to move aside, but he heeded not. Then with the sharp, end of my bow I pricked him in contempt. Instantly he leapt up with straight, tall limbs, like a sudden tongue of fire from a heap of ashes. An amused smile flickered round the corners of his mouth, perhapsat the sight of my boyish countenance. Then for the first time in my life I felt myself a woman, and knew that a man was before me.

MADANA।

At the auspicious hour I teach the man and the woman this supreme lesson to know themselves. What happened after that?

CHITRA।

With fear arid wonder I asked him ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am Arjuna,’ he Said, ‘of the great Kuru clan.’ I stood petrified like a statue, and forgot to do him obeisance. Was this indeed Arjuna, the one great idol of my dreams! Yes, I had long ago beard how be had vowed a twelve-years’ celibacy. Many a-day my young ambition had spurred me on to break my lance with him, to challenge him in disguise to single combat, and prove my skill in arms against him. Ah, foolish heart, whither fled thy presumption? Could I but exchange my youth with all its aspirations for the clod of death under his feet. I should deem it a most precious grace. I know riot in what whirlpool of thought I was lost, when suddenly I saw him vanish through the trees. O foolish woman, neither didst thou greet him, nor speak a word, nor beg forgiveness, but stoodest like a barbarian boor while he comptemptuously walked away!. . . Next morningI laid aside my man’s clothing. I donned bracelets, anklets, waist chain, and a gown of purple red silk. The unaccustomed dress clung about my shrinking shame; but I hastened on my quest, and found Arjuna in the forest temple of Shiva.

MADANA।

Tell me the story to the end. I am the heart-born god, and. I understand the mystery of these impulses.

CHITRA।

Only vaguely can I remember what things I said, and what answer I got. Do not ask me to tell you all. Shame fell on me like a thunderbolt, yet could not break me to pieces, so utterly hard, so like a man am I. His last words as I walked home pricked my ears like red hot needles. ‘I have taken the vow of celibacy, I am not fit to be thy husband! Oh, the vow of a man!Surely thou knowest, thou god of love, the unnumbered saints and sages have surrendered the merits of their life-long penance at the feet of a woman. I broke my bow in two and burnt my arrows in the fire. I hated my strong, lithe arm, scored drawing the bowstring. O Love,god Love, thou hast laid low the dust the vain pride of my manlike strength; and all my man’s training lies crushed under thy feet. Now teach me I lessons; give me the power of the weak and the weapon of the unarmed hand.

MADANA।

I will be thy friend. I will bring the world-conquering Arjuna a captive before thee, to accept his rebellion’s sentence at thy hand.

CHITRA।

Had I but the time needed, I could win his heart by slow degrees, and ask no help of the gods. I would standby his side as a comrade, drive the fierce horses of his war-chariot, attend him in the pleasures of the chase, keep guard at night at the entrance of his tent, and help him in all the great duties of; Kshatriya, rescuing the weak, and meting out justice where it is due. Surely at last the day would have come for him to look at me and wonder. ‘What boy is this? Has one of my slaves in a former life followed me like my good deeds into this?’ I am not the woman who nourishes her despair in lonely silence feeding it with nightly tears and covering it with the daily patient smile, a widow from her birth. The flower of my desire shall never drop into the dust before it has ripened to fruit. But it is the labour of a lifetime to make one’s true self known and honoured.’ Therefore I have come to thy door, thou world vanquishing Love, and thou, Vasanta, youthful Lord of the Seasons, take from my young body this primal injustice, an unattractive plainness. For a single day make me superbly beautiful, even as beautiful as was the sudden blooming of love in my heart. Give me but one brief day of perfect beauty, and I will answer for the days that follow.

MADANA।

Lady, I grant thy prayer.

VASANTA।

Not for the short span of a day, but for one whole year the charm of spring blossoms shall nestle round thy limbs.

SCENE II

ARJUNA।

Was I dreaming or was what I saw by the lake truly there? Sitting on the mossy turf, I mused over bygone years in the sloping shadows of the evening, when slowly there came out from the folding darkness of foliage an apparition of beauty in the perfect form of a woman, and stood on a white slab of stone at the water’s brink. It seemed that the heart of the earth must heave in joy under her bare white feet. Methought the vague veilings of her body should melt in ecstasy into air as the golden mist of dawn melts from off the snowy peak of the eastern hill. She bowed herself above the shining mirror of the lake and saw the reflection of her face. She started up in awe and stood still; then smiled, and with a careless sweep of her left arm unloosed her hair and let it trail on the earth at her feet. She bared her bosom and looked at her arms, so flawlessly modelled, and instinct with an exquisite caress. Bending her head she saw the sweet blossoming of her youth and the tender bloom and blush of her skin. She beamed with a glad surprise. So, if the white lotus bud on opening her eyes in the morning were to arch her neck and see her shadow in the water, would she wonder at herself the live-long day. But a moment after the smile passed from her face and a shade of sadness crept into her eyes. She bound up her tresses, drew her veil over her arms, and sighing slowly, walked away like a beauteous evening fading into the night. To me the supreme fulfilment of desire seemed to have been revealed in a flash and then to have vanished…. But who is it that pushes the door?

[Enter CHITRA, dressed as a woman.]

Ah! it is she. Quiet, my heart! … Fear me not, lady! I am a Kshatriya.

CHITRA।

Honoured sir, you are my guest. I live in this temple. I know not in what way I can show you hospitality.

ARJUNA।

Fair lady, the very sight of you is indeed the highest hospitality. If you will not take it amiss I would ask you a question.

CHITRA।

You have permission.

ARJUNA।

What stern vow keeps you immured in this solitary temple, depriving all mortals of a Vision of so much loveliness?

CHITRA।

I harbour a secret desire in my heart, for the fulfilment of which I offer daily prayers to lord Shiva.

ARJUNA।

Alas, what can you desire, you who are the desire of the whole world! From the easternmost hill on whose summit the morning sun first prints his fiery foot. to the end of the sunset land have I travelled. I have seen whatever is most precious, beautiful and great on the earth. My knowledge shall be yours, only say for what or for whom you seek.

CHITRA।

He whom I seek is known to all.

ARJUNA।

Indeed! Who may this favourite of the gods be, whose fame has captured your heart?

CHITRA।

Sprung from the highest of all royal houses, the greatest of all heroes is he.

ARJUNA।

Lady, offer not such a wealth of beauty as is yours on the altar of false reputation. Spurious fame spreads from tongue to tongue like the fog of the early dawn before the sun rises. Tell me who in the highest of kingly lines is the supreme hero?

CHITRA।

Hermit, you are jealous of other men’s fame. Do you not know that all over the world the royal house of the Kurus is the most famous?

ARJUNA।

The house of the Kurus!

CHITRA।

And have you never heard of the greatest name of that far-famed house?

ARJUNA।

From your own lips let me hear it.

CHITRA।

Arjuna, the conqueror of the world. I have culled from the mouths of the multitude that imperishable name and hidden it with care in my maiden heart. Hermit, why do you look perturbed? Has that name only a deceitful glitter? Say so, and I will not hesitate to break this casket of my heart and throw the false gem to the dust.

ARJUNA।

Be his name and fame, his bravery and prowess false or true, for mercy’s sake do not banish him from your heart-for he kneels at your feet even now.

CHITRA।

You, Arjuna!

ARJUNA।

Yes, I am he, the love-hungered guest at your door.

CHITRA।

Then it is not true that Arjuna has taken a vow of chastity for twelve long years?

ARJUNA।

But you have dissolved my vow even as the moon dissolves the night’s vow of obscurity.

CHITRA।

Oh, shame upon you! What have you seen in me that makes you false to yourself? Whom do you seek in these dark eyes, in these milk-white arms, if you are ready to pay for her the price of your probity? Not my true self, I know. Surely this cannot be love, this is not man’s highest homage to woman! Alas, that this frail disguise, the body, should make one blind to the; light of the deathless spirit! Yes, now indeed, I know, Arjuna, the fame of your heroic manhood is false.

ARJUNA।

Ah, I feet how vain is fame, the pride of prowess! Everything seems to me- a dream. You alone are perfect; you are the wealth of the world, the end of all poverty, the goal of all efforts, the one woman! Others there are who can be but slowly known. While to see you for a moment is to see perfect completeness once and for ever.

CHITRA।

Alas, it is not I, not I, Arjuna! It is the deceit of a god. Go, go, my hero, go. Woo not falsehood, offer not your great heart to an illusion! Go.

SCENE III

CHITRA।

No, impossible. To face that fervent gaze that almost grasps you like clutching hands of the hungry spirit within; to feel his heart struggling to break its bounds urging its passionate cry through the entire bodyand then to send him away like a beggarno, impossible.

[Enter MADANA and VASANTA]

Ah, god of love, what fearful flame is this with which thou hast enveloped me! I burn, and I burn whatever I touch.

MADANA।

I desire to know what happened last night.

CHITRA।

At evening Hay down on a grassy bed strewn with the petals of spring flowers, and recollected the wonderful praise of my beauty I had heard from Arjuna;drinking drop by drop the honey that I had stored during the long day. The history of my past life like that of my former existences was forgotten. I felt like a flower, which has, but a few fleeting hours to listen to all the humming flatteries and whispered murmurs of the wood-lands and then must lower its eyes from the sky, bend its head and at a breath give itself up to the dust without a cry, thus ending the short story of a perfect moment that has neither past nor future.

VASANTA।

A limitless life of glory can bloom and spend itself in a morning.

MADANA।

Like an endless meaning in the narrow span of a song.

CHITRA।

The southern breeze caressed me to sleep. From the flowering Malati bower overhead silent kisses dropped over my body. On my hair, my breast my feet, each flower chose a bed to die on. I slept. And, suddenly in the depth of my sleep, I felt as if some intense eager look, like tapering fingers off lame, touched my slumbering body. F started up and saw the Hermit standing before me. The moon had moved to the west, peering through the leaves to espy this wonder of divine art wrought in a fragile human frame. The ah-was heavy with perfume; the silence of the night was vocal with the chirping of crickets; the reflections of the trees hung motionless in the lake; and with his staff in his hand he stood, tall and straight and is WI, like a forest tree. It seemed to me that I had, on opening my eyes, died to all realities of life and undergone a dream, birth into a shadow land- Shame slipped to my feet like loosened clothes. I heard his call-‘Beloved, my most beloved!’ And all my forgotten lives united as one and responded to it. I said, ‘Take me, take all I am!’ And I stretched out my arms to him. The moon set behind the trees. One curtain of darkness covered all. Heaven and earth, time arid space, pleasure and ‘pain, death and life merged together in an unbearable ecstasy. . ॥With the first gleam 6f light, the first twitter of birds, I rose up and sat leaning on my left arm. He lay asleep with a vague smile about his lips like the crescent moon in the morning. The rosy red glow of the dawn fell upon his noble forehead. I sighed and stood up. I drew together the leafy lianas to screen the streaming sun from his face. I looked about me and saw the same old earth. I remembered what I used to be, and ran and ran like a deer afraid of her own shadow, through the forest path strewn with Shephali flowers. I found a lonely nook, and sitting down covered my face with both hands, and tried to weep and cry. But no tears came to my eyes.

MADANA।

Alas, thou daughter of mortals! I stole from the divine Storehouse the fragrant wine of heaven, filled with it one earthly night to the brim, and placed it in thy hand to drinkyet still I hear this cry of anguish!

CHITRA।

[bitterly].Who drank it? The rarest completion of life’s desire, the first union of love was proffered to me, but was wrested from my grasp? This borrowed beauty, this falsehood that enwraps me, will slip from me taking with it the only monument of that sweet union, as the petals fall from an overblown flower; and the woman ashamed of her naked poverty will sit weeping day and night. Lord Love, this cursed appearance companions me like a demon robbing me of all the prizes of love-all the kisses for which my heart is athirst.

MADANA।

Alas, how vain thy single night had been! The barque of joy came in sight, but the waves would riot let it touch the shore.

CHITRA।

Heaven came so close to my hand that I forgot for a moment that it had not reached me. But when I woke in the morning from my dream I found that my body had become my own rival. It is my hateful task to deck her every day, to send her to my beloved and see her caressed by him. O god, take back thy boon!

MADANA।

But if I take it from you how can you stand before your lover? To snatch away the cup from his lips when he has scarcely drained his first draught of pleasure, would not that be cruel? With what resentful anger he must regard thee then?

CHITRA।

That would be better far than this. I will reveal my true self to him, a nobler thing than this disguise. If he rejects it, if he spurns me and breaks my heart, I will bear even that in silence.

VASANTA।

Listen to my advice. When with the advent of autumn the flowering season is over then comes the triumph of fruitage. A time will come of itself when the heat-cloyed bloom of the-body will droop and Arjuna will gladly accept the abiding fruitful truth in thee. O child, go back to thy mad festival.

SCENE IV

CHITRA।

Why do you watch me like that, my warrior?

ARJUNA।

I watch how you weave that garland. Skin and grace, the twin brother and sister, are dancing playfully on your finger tips. I am watching and thinking.

CHITRA।

What are you thinking, sir?

ARJUNA।

I am thinking that you, with this same lightness of touch and sweetness, are weaving my days exile into an immortal wreath, to crown me when I return home.

CHITRA।

Home! But this love is not for a home!

ARJUNA।

Not for a home?

CHITRA।

No. Never talk of that. Take to your home what is abiding and strong. Leave the little wild flower where it was born; leave it beautifully to die at the day’s end among all fading blossoms and decaying leaves. Do not take it to your palace hall to fling it on the stony floor which knows no pity for things that fade and are forgotten.

ARJUNA।

Is ours that kind of love?

CHITRA।

Yes, no other! Why regret it? That which was meant for idle days should never outlive them. Joy turns into pain when the door by which it should depart is shut against it. Take it and keep it as long as it lasts. Let not the satiety of your evening claim more than the desire of your morning could earn. The day is done. Put this garland on. I am tired. Take me in your arms, my love. Let all vain bickerings of discontent die away at the sweet meeting of our lips.

ARJUNA।

Hush! Listen, my beloved, the sound of prayer bells from the distant village temple steals upon the evening air across the silent trees!

SCENE V

VASANTA।

I cannot keep pace with thee, my friend! I am tired. It is a hard task to keep alive the fire thou hast kindled. Sleep overtakes me, the fan drops from my hand, and cold ashes cover the glow of the fire. I start up again from my slumber and with all my might rescue the weary flame. But this can go on no longer.

MADANA।

I know, thou art as fickle as a child. Ever restless is thy play in heaven and on earth. Things that thou for days buildest up with endless detail thou dost shatter in a moment without regret. But this work of ours is nearly finished. Pleasure- winged days fly fast, and the year, almost at its end, swoons in rapturous bliss.

SCENE VI

ARJUNA।

I woke in the morning and found that my dreams had distilled a gem. I have no casket to inclose it, no king’s crown whereon to fix it, no chain from which to hang it, and yet have not the heart to throw it away. My Kshatriya’s right arm, idly occupied in holding it, forgets its duties.

[Enter CHITRA]

CHITRA।

Tell me your thoughts, sir!

ARJUNA।

My mind is busy with thoughts of ‘hunting to-day॥ See, how the rain pours in torrents and fiercely beats upon the hillside. The dark shadow of the clouds hangs heavily over the forest, and the swollen stream, like reckless youth, overleaps all barriers with mocking laughter. On such rainy days we five brothers would go to the Chitraka forest to chase wild beasts. Those were glad times; Our hearts danced to the drumbeat of rambling clouds. The woods resounded with the screams of peacocks. Timid deer could not hear our approaching steps for the patter of rain and the noise of waterfalls; the leopards would leave their tracks on the wet earth, betraying their lairs. Our sport over, we dared each other to swim across turbulent streams on our way back home. The restless spirit is on me. I long to go hunting.

CHITRA।

First run down the quarry you are now following. Are you quite certain that the enchanted deer you pursue must needs be caught? No, not yet. Like a dream the wild creature eludes you when it seems most nearly yours. Look how the wind is chased by the mad rain that discharges a thousand arrows after it. Yet it goes free and unconquered. Our sport is like that, my love! You give chase to the fleet-footed spirit of beauty, aiming at her every dart you have in your hands. Yet this magic deer runs ever free and untouched.

ARJUNA।

My love, have you no home where kind hearts are waiting for your return? A home which you once made sweet with your gentle service and whose light went out when you left it for this wilderness?

CHITRA।

Why these questions? Are the hours of unthinking pleasure over? Do you not know that I am no more than what you see before you? For me there is no vista beyond. The dew that hangs on the tip of a Kinsuka petal has neither name nor destination. It offers no answer to any question. She whom you love is like that perfect bead of dew.

ARJUNA।

Has she no tie with the world? Can she be merely like a fragment of heaven dropped on the earth through the carelessness of a wanton god?

CHITRA।

Yes.

ARJUNA।

Ah, that is why I always seem about to lose you. My heart is unsatisfied, my mind knows no peace. Come closer to me, unattainable one! Surrender yourself to the bonds of name and home and parentage. Let my heart feel you on all sides and live with you in the peaceful security of love.

CHITRA।

Why this vain effort to catch and keep the tints of the clouds, the dance of the waves, the smell of the flowers?

ARJUNA।

Mistress mine, do not hope; to pacify love with airy nothings. Give me something to clasp, something that can last longer than pleasure, that can endure eyen through suffering.

CHITRA।

Hero mine, the year is not yet full, and you are tired already! Now I know that it is heaven’s basing that has made the flower’s term of life short. Could this body of mine have drooped and fed with the flowers of last spring it surely would have died with honour. Yet, its, days are numbered, my love. Spare it not, press it dry of honey, for fear your beggar’s heart come back to ft again and again with unsated desire, like a thirsty bee when summer blossoms lie dead in the dust.

SCENE VII

MADANA।

To-night is thy last night.

VASANTA।

The loveliness of your body will return tomorrow to the inexhaustible stores of the spring. The ruddy tint of thy lips freed from the memory of Arjuna’s kisses, will bud anew as a pair of fresh Asoka leaves, and the soft, white glow of thy skin will be born again in a hundred fragrant jasmine flowers.

CHITRA।

O gods, grant me this my prayer! To-night, in its last hour let my beauty flash its brightest, like the final flicker of a dying flame.

MADANA।

Thou shalt have thy wish.

SCENE VIII

VILLAGERS।

Who will protect us now?

ARJUNA।

Why, by what danger are you threatened?

VILLAGERS।

The robbers are pouring from the northern hills like a mountain flood to devastate our village.

ARJUNA।

Have you in this kingdom no warden?

VILLAGERS।

Princess Chitra was the terror of all evil doers. While she was in this happy land we feared natural deaths, but had no other fears. Now she has gone on a pilgrimage, and none knows where to find her.

ARJUNA।

Is the warden of the country a woman?

VILLAGERS।

Yes, she is our father and mother in one.

[Exeunt.]

[Enter CHITRA]

CHITRA।

Why are you sitting all alone?

ARJUNA।

I am trying to imagine what kind of woman Princess Chitra maybe. I hear so many stories of her from all sorts of men.

CHITRA।

Ah, but she is not beautiful. She has no such lovely eyes as mine, dark as death. She can pierce any target she will, but not our hero’s heart.

ARJUNA।

They say that in valour she is a man, and a woman in tenderness.

CHITRA।

That, indeed, is her greatest misfortune. When a woman is merely a woman; when she winds herself round and round men’s hearts with her smiles and sobs and services and caressing endearments; then she is happy. Of what use to her are learning and great achievements? Could you have seen her only yesterday in the court of the Lord Shiva’s temple by the forest path, you would have passed by without deigning to look at her. But have you grown so weary of woman’s beauty that you seek in her for a man’s strength? With green leaves wet from the spray of the foaming waterfall, I have made our noonday bed in a cavern dark as night. There the cool of the soft green mosses thick on the black arid dripping stone, kisses your eyes to sleep. Let me guide you thither.

ARJUNA।

Not to-day, beloved.

CHITRA।

Why not to-day!

ARJUNA।

I have heard that a horde of robbers has neared the plains. Needs must I go and prepare my weapons to protect the frightened villagers.

CHITRA।

You need have no fear for them. Before she started on her pilgrimage. Princess Chitra had set strong guards at all the frontier passes.

ARJUNA।

Yet permit me for short while to set about a- Kshatriya’s work. With new glory will I ennoble this idle arm, and make of it a pillow more worthy of your head.

CHITRA।

What if I refuse to let you go, if I keep you entwined in my arms? Would you rudely snatch yourself free arid leave me? Go then! But you must know that the liana, once Broken in two, never joins again. Go, if your thirst is quenched. But, if not, then remember that the goddess of pleasure is fickle, and waits for no man. Sit for a while, my lord! Tell tile what uneasy thoughts tease you. Who occupied your mind to-day? Is it Chitra?

ARJUNA।

Yes, it is Chitra. I wonder in fulfilment of what vow she has gone on her pilgrimage. Of what could she stand in need?

CHITRA।

Her needs? Why, what has she ever had, the unfortunate creature? Her very qualities are as prison walls, shutting her woman’s heart in a bare cell. She is obscured. She is unfulfilled. Her womanly love must content itself dressed m rags; beauty is denied her. She is like the spirit of a cheerless morning, sitting upon the stony mountain peak, all her light blotted out by dark clouds. Do not ask me other life. It will never sound sweet to man’s ear.

ARJUNA।

I am eager to learn all about her. I am like a traveller come to a strange city at midnight. Domes and towers arid garden- trees look vague and shadowy, and the dull moan of the sea comes fitfully through the silence of sleep. Wistfully he waits for the mornings to reveal to him all the strange wonders. Oh, tell me her story.

CHITRA।

What more is there to tell?

ARJUNA।

I seem to see her, in my mind’s eye, riding on a white horse, proudly holding the reins in her left hand, and in her right a bow, and like the Goddess of Victory dispensing glad hope all round her. Like a watchful lioness she protects the litter at her dugs with a fierce love. Woman’s arms, though adorned with naught but unfettered strength, are beautiful! My heart is restless, fair one, like a serpent reviving from his long winter’s sleep. Come, let us both race on swift horses side by side, like twin orbs of light sweeping through space. Out from this slumberous prison of green gloom, this dank, dense cover of perfumed intoxication, choking breath.

CHITRA।

Arjuna, tell me true, if, now at once, by some magic I could shake myself free from this voluptuous softness, this timid bloom of beauty shrinking from the rude and healthy touch of the world, and fling it from my body like borrowed clothes, would you be able to bear it? If I stand up straight and strong with the strength of a daring heart spurning the wiles and arts of twining weakness, if I hold my head high like a tall young mountain fir, no longer trailing in the dust like a liana, shall I then appeal to man’s eye? No, no, you could not endure it. It is better that I should keep spread about me all the dainty playthings of fugitive youth, and wait for you in patience. When it pleases you to return, I will smilingly pour out for you the wine of pleasure in the cup of this beauteous body. When you are tired and satiated with this wine, you can go to work or play; and when I grow old I will accept humbly and gratefully whatever corner is left for me. Would it please your heroic soul if the playmate of the night aspired to be the helpmate of the day, if the left arm learnt to share the burden of the proud right arm.

ARJUNA।

I never seem to know you aright. You seem to me like a goddess hidden within a golden image. I cannot touch you, I cannot pay you my dues in return for your priceless gifts. Thus my love is incomplete. Sometimes in the enigmatic depth of your sad look, in your playful words mocking at their own meaning, I gain glimpses of being trying to rend asunder the languorous grace other body, to emerge in a chaste fire of pain through a vaporous veil of smiles. Illusion is the first appearance of Truth. She advances towards her lover in disguise. But a time comes when she throws off her ornaments and veils and stands clothed in naked dignity. I grope for that ultimate you, that bare simplicity of truth. Why these tears, my love? Why cover your face with your hands? Have I pained you, my darling? Forget what I said. I will be content with the present. Let each separate moment of beauty come to me like a bird of mystery from its unseen nest in the dark bearing a message of music. Let me for ever sit with my hope on the brink of its realization, and thus end my days.

SCENE IX

CHITRA।

[cloaked]. My lord, has the cup been drained to the last drop? Is this, indeed, the end? No, when all is done something still remains, and that is my last sacrifice at your feet.

I brought from the garden of heaven flowers of incomparable beauty with which to worship you, god of my heart. If the rites are over,, if the flowers have faded, let me throw them out of the temple. [Unveiling in her original male attire] Now, look at your worshipper with gracious eyes.

I am not beautifully perfect as the flowers with which I worshipped. I have many flaws and blemishes. I am a traveller in the great world-path, my garments are dirty, and my feet are bleeding with thorns. Where should I achieve flower-beauty, the unsullied loveliness of a moment’s life? The gift that I proudly bring you is the heart of a woman. Here have all pains and joys gathered, the hopes and fears and shames of a daughter of the dust; here love springs up struggling toward immortal life. Herein lies an imperfection which yet is noble and grand. If the flower-service is finished, my master, accept this as your servant for the days to come!

I am Chitra, the king’s daughter. Perhaps you will remember the day when a woman came to you in the temple of Shiva, her body loaded with ornaments and finery. That shameless woman came to court you as though she were a man. You rejected her; you did well. My lord, I am that woman. She was my disguise. Then by the boon of gods I obtained for a year the most radiant form that a mortal ever wore, and wearied my hero’s heart with the burden of that deceit. Most surely I am not that woman.

I am Chitra. No goddess, to be worshipped, nor yet the object of common pity to be brushed aside like a moth with indifference. If you deign to keep me by your side in the path of danger and daring, if you allow me to share the great duties of your life, then you will know my true self. If your babe, whom I am nourishing in my womb be born a son, I shall myself teach him to be a second Arjuna, and send him to you when the time comes, and then at last you will truly know me. To-day I can only offer you Chitra, the daughter of a king.

ARJUNA।

Beloved, my life is full.

THE PATRIOT-story by Rabindranath Tagore- Is it not the same today also ?

I AM SURE that Chitragupta, who keeps strict record at the gate of Death, must have noted down in big letters accusations against me, which had escaped my attention altogether. On the other hand many of my sins, that have passed unnoticed by others, loom large in my own memory. The story of my transgression, that I am going to relate, belongs to the latter kind, and I hope that a frank confession of it, before it is finally entered in the Book of Doom, may lessen its culpability.

It all happened yesterday afternoon, on a day of festival for the Jains in our neighbourhood. I was going out with my wife, Kalika, to tea at the house of my friend Nayanmohan.

My wife’s name means literally a ‘bud.’ It was given by my father-in-law, who is thus solely responsible for any discrepancy between its implication and the reality to which it is attached. There is not the least tremor of hesitancy in my wife’s nature; her opinions on most subjects have reached their terminus. Once, when she had been vigorously engaged in picketing against British cloth in Burrabazar, the awe-struck members of her party in a fit of excessive admiration gave her the name, Dhruva-vrata, the woman of unwavering vows.

My name is Girindra, the Lord of the Rocks, so common among my countrymen, whose character generally fails to act up to it. Kalika’s admirers simply know me as the husband of my wife and pay no heed to my name. By good luck inherited from my ancestors I have, however, some kind of significance, which is considered to be convenient by her followers at the time of collecting subscriptions.

There is a greater chance of harmony between husband and wife, when they are different in character, like the shower of rain and the dry earth, than when they are of a uniform constitution. I am somewhat slipshod by nature, having no grip over things, while my wife has a tenacity of mind which never allows her to let go the thing which it has in its clutches. This very dissimilarity helps to preserve peace in our household.

But there is one point of difference between us, regarding which no adjustment has yet become possible. Kalika believes that I am unpatriotic.

This is very disconcerting, because according to her, truth is what she proclaims to be true. She has numerous internal evidences of my love for my country; but as it disdains to don the livery of the brand of nationalism, professed by her own party, she fiercely refuses to acknowledge it.

From my younger days, I have continued to be a confirmed book-lover: indeed, I am hopelessly addicted to buying books. Even my enemies would not dare to deny that I read them; and my friends know only too well how fond I am of discussing their contents. This had the effect of eliminating most of my friends, till I have left to me Banbihari, the sole companion of my lonely debates. We have just passed through a period, when our police authorities, on the one hand, have associated the worst form of sedition with the presence of the Gita in our possession; and our patriots, on their side, have found it impossible to reconcile appreciation of foreign literature with devotion to one’s Motherland. Our traditional Goddess of culture, Saraswati, because of her white complexion, has come to be regarded with-suspicion by our young nationalists. It was openly declared, when the students shunned their College lectures, that the water of the divine lake, on which Saraswati had her white lotus seat, had no efficacy in extinguishing the fire of ill-fortune that has been raging for centuries round the throne of our Mother, Bharat-Lakshmi. In any case, intellectual culture was considered to be a superfluity in the proper growth of our political life.

In spite of my wife’s excellent example and powerful urgings I do not wear Khaddar,—not because there is anything wrong in it, nor because I am too fastidious in the choice of my wardrobe. On the contrary, among those of my traits, which are not in perfect consonance with our own national habits, I cannot include a scrupulous care as to how I dress. Once upon a time, before Kalika had her modern transformation, I used to wear broad-toed shoes from Chinese shops and forgot to have them polished. I had a dread of putting on socks: I preferred Punjabis to English shirts, and overlooked their accidental deficiency in buttons. These habits of mine constantly produced domestic cataclysms, threatening our permanent separation. Kalika declared that she felt ashamed to appear before the public in my company. I readily absolved her from the wifely duty of accompanying me to those parties where my presence would be discordant.

The times have changed, but my evil fortune persists. Kalika still has the habit of repeating: ‘I am ashamed to go out with you.’ Formerly, I hesitated to adopt the uniform of her set, when she belonged to the pre-nationalist age; and I still feel reluctant to adopt the uniform of the present regime, to which she owns her allegiance.

The fault lies deep in my own nature. I shrink from all conscious display of sectarian marks about my person. This shyness on my part leads to incessant verbal explosions in our domestic world, because of the inherent incapacity of Kalika to accept as final any natural difference, which her partner in life may possess. Her mind is like a mountain stream, that boisterously goes round and round a rock, pushing against it in a vain effort to make it flow with its own current. Her contact with a different point of view from her own seems to exercise an irresistible reflex action upon her nerves, throwing her into involuntary convulsions.

While getting ready to go out yesterday, the tone with which Kalika protested against my non-Khaddar dress was anything but sweet. Unfortunately, I had my inveterate pride of intellect, that forced me into a discussion with my wife. It was unpleasant, and what more, futile.

‘Women find it convenient,’ I said to her, ‘to veil their eyes and walk tied to the leading strings of authority. They feel safe when they deprive their thoughts of all freedom, and confine them in the strict Zenana of conformity. Our ladies today have easily developed their devotion to Khaddar, because it has added to the over-burdened list of our outward criterion’s of propriety, which seem to comfort them.’

Kalika replied with almost fanatical fury: ‘It will be a great day for my country, when the sanctity of wearing Khaddar is as blindly believed in as a dip in the holy water of the Ganges. Reason crystallised becomes custom. Free thoughts are like ghosts, which find their bodies in convention. Then alone they have their solid work, and no longer float about in a thin atmosphere of vacillation.’

I could see that these were the wise sayings of Nayanmohan, with the quotation marks worn out; Kalika found no difficulty in imagining that they were her own.

The man who invented the proverb, ‘The silent silence all antagonist’, must have been unmarried. It made my wife all the more furious, when I offered her no answer. ‘Your protest against caste’, she explained, ‘is only confined to your mouth. We, on the contrary, carry it out in practice by imposing a uniformly white cover over all colour distinctions.’

I was about to reply, that my protest against caste did truly have its origin in my mouth, whenever I accepted with relish the excellent food cooked by a Muhammadan. It was certainly oral, but not verbal; and its movements were truly inward. An external cover hides distinctions, but does not remove them.

I am sure my argument deserved utterance, but being a helpless male, I timidly sought safety in a speechless neutrality; for, I knew, from repeated experience, that such discussions, started in our domestic seclusion, are invariably carried by my wife, like soiled linen, to her friendly circle to be ruthlessly beaten and mangled. She has the unpleasant habit of collecting counter-arguments from the mouth of Professor Nayanmohan, exultantly flinging them in my face, and then rushing away from the arena without waiting for my answer.

I was perfectly certain about what was in store for me at the Professor’s tea-table. There would be some abstruse dissertation on the relative position in Hindu culture of tradition and free thought, the inherited experience of ages and reason which is volatile, inconclusive, and colourlessly universal. In the meanwhile, the vision floated before my mind’s eye of the newly-brought books, redolent of Morocco leather, mysteriously veiled in a brown paper cover, waiting for me by my cushions, with their shy virginity of uncut pages.

All the same, I was compelled to keep my engagement by the dread of words, uttered and unuttered, and gestures suggestive of trouble.

We had travelled only a short distance from our house. Passing by the street-hydrant, we had reached the tiled hut occupied by an up-country shopkeeper, who was giving various forms to indigestibility in his cauldron of boiling mustard oil, when we were obstructed by a fearful uproar.

The Marwaris, proceeding to their temple, carrying their costly paraphernalia of worship, had suddenly stopped at this place. There were angry shouts, mingled with the sound of thrashing, and I thought that the crowd were dealing with some pickpocket, enjoying the vigour of their own indignation, which gave them-the delightful freedom to be merciless towards one of their own fellow beings. When, by dint of impatient footing of horn, our motor car reached the centre of the excited crowd, we found that the old municipal sweeper of our district was being beaten. He had just taken his afternoon bath and was carrying a bucket of clean water in his right hand with a broom under his arm. Dressed in a check-patterned vest, with carefully combed hair still wet, he was walking home, holding his seven-year-old grandson by his left hand, when accidentally he came in contact with somebody, or something, which gave rise to this violent outburst. The boy was piteously imploring everybody not to hurt his grandfather; and the old man himself with joined hands uplifted, was asking forgiveness for his unintentional offence. Tears were streaming from his frightened eyes, and blood was smeared across his grey beard.

The sight was intolerable to me. I decided at once to take up the sweeper into my car and thereby demonstrate to the pious party, that I was not of their cult.

Noticing my restlessness, Kalika guessed what was in my mind. Griping my arm, she whispered: ‘What are you doing? Don’t you see he is a sweeper?’

‘He maybe a sweeper,’ said I, ‘but those people have no right to beat him in this brutal manner.’

‘It’s his own fault.’ Kalika answered, ‘Would it have hurt his dignity, if he had avoided the middle of the road?’

‘I don’t know’, I said impatiently. ‘Anyhow, I am going to take him into my car.’

‘Then I leave your car this moment,’ said Kalika angrily. ‘I refuse to travel with a sweeper.’

‘Can’t you see,’ I argued, ‘that he was just bathed, and his clothes are clean,—in fact, much cleaner than those of the people who are beating him?’

“He’s a sweeper!” She said decisively. Then she called to the chauffeur, ‘Gangadin, drive on’.

I was defeated. It was my cowardice.

Nayanmohan, I am told, brought out some very profound sociological arguments, at the tea-table, specially dealing with the inevitable inequality imposed upon men by their profession and the natural humiliation which is inherent in the scheme of things. But his words did not reach my ears, and I sat silent all through the evening.

my comments

Do we all not have a small but significant “Girinda” within ourselves. How may times do we just allow cowardice to draw away the dignity of our true selves for the sake of allowing others to follow rotting customs and traditions. It is also easy to find “Kalika”among us as most are those hypocritical beings who feel no dissonance for professing themselves as ardent supporter of human rights and can be usually seen scolding young servants at home or demeaning the human labour.

Will “Girinda” in us would ever shake away his cowardice to firmly ask driver to stop and let sweeper into the car? Will “kalika” in us would ever understand the true patriotism and human values.