On cutting through to the essence of beauty that lies in poetry and fairy tales.
By Madhurima Duttagupta
I have come to believe that this mystical thing called life that we unmindfully gorge on day after day, and even occasionally gag on, is actually seasoned thoroughly with two unobtrusive ingredients that lend that untraceable yet captivating flavour to the main component, as they slowly sink into it layer by layer. These two elements – a drizzle of fantasy and a dash of poetry – define and dictate the true essence of what we absorb with abandon; that, in turn, decides who we become ultimately. Even as we enjoy the luxury of interpreting life in our own unique ways, how much we ultimately gather from it depends greatly on what we choose to recognise and take from it. And this seemingly simple choice decides the person we become. Yet most of us, being who we are, seldom notice or even realize the presence and the power that this subtle seasoning duo – fantasy and poetry – possesses. Instead, we attribute every other flavour of life to only those condiments that meet the eye and appease our senses. We exist in the cosmic rhythm called poetry, thrive on fantastical ideas like ‘hope’ and ‘love’, and yet we aren’t taken by surprise when a thriller novel sells more than poetry! Even the most logical deduction should lead one to believe that poetry and fantasy are in fact better qualified for a much wider acceptance since these elements dwell within us.
Notice an infant and you would have a chance of knowing what this means. You can mesmerize a young child with a wonderful story that happened behind those gigantic fluffy clouds, or even sing her to sleep with a soothing rhyme or by simply swaying her in a gentle rhythm. It is in these acts that an infant feels reassured and at peace. Our physical form too thrives on rhythm. The heart throbs in poetic beat while the mind drifts into the unfamiliar obscure realm beyond the familiar. We survive on hope and love that seem not unlike words taken from a fairy tale. Even the circle of life and death follows a rhythm of its own, while the entire cosmic creation seems no less than a fairy tale. Not that I give little credence to what meets the eye, nor do I have a blind faith in the imaginary world of fantasy, simply because I have little faith left in my ability to tell the difference. Everything could be just as real as it could be unreal.
It is that potion of poetry and fairy tale in us that connects us to nature and life, graces us with a pair of eyes that can see beauty and celebrate joy, and a heart that can weep in melancholy, pathos, love and happiness. It reminds us of our wanderer soul that can let go of all its possessions and rise above them to feel true liberation. They reconnect us to ourselves.
We have all, knowingly or unknowingly, fed on these two elements and thus they remain, even today, an integral part of our being. So even as people argue relentlessly about how poetry and fairy tales are only for some people and not for the masses, I steadfastly hold on to the opinion that these two elements are actually an intrinsic part of the human consciousness. Literature and spirituality have, in fact, derived these flavours from the human mind and so they continue to define, stimulate and inspire the human intellect. They have the power to resonate in every corner of our being even today. Poetry and fairy tales are for everybody everywhere and for all times. If there is hope, there is a fairy tale, too; if there is joy in beauty, then there has to be poetry there as well!
There is much poetry and fairy tale in our hearts and dreams even today. We might have forgotten the art of noticing and exulting in their quiet presence due to the overwhelming presence of other seemingly more weighty matters. But we seem to have forgotten so many things that we would do well to recollect and rejuvenate… and remind ourselves that poetry and fairy tale continue to remain an inseparable part of life and nature and the very essence of our existence. And as they say, good seasoning with its subtle flavours works its way through best when it is kept in the warmth!
Madhurima Duttagupta started her career as a journalist with The Times of India. She has, to her credit, over a hundred published works across several reputed national dailies like The Hindu, Deccan Herald and The Times of India. Since moving to Singapore in 2007, she has held senior editorial positions for leading lifestyle magazines. Madhurima, who is also an active blogger (http://madhurimaduttagupta.wordpress.com), has recently authored a book titled ‘Goddess & Whore’.