Thursday, October 20, 2011


Pardon the cheesy title.

I was watching 36 Chowringhee Lane the other day. It's a movie anybody who is old, or is growing old, or is refusing to grow old, should watch.

But this is not about the movie. Its about Shakespeare. That's because, the central character, when she is at her loneliest, most betrayed, most hurt moment, quotes from King Lear. Understandable, she is a Shakepeare teacher after all.

Shakespeare has a way of getting in your veins, in your arteries, and then flowing over to your heart.

This post is not about Shakespeare either. That will take many, many books to write. And I am not erudite enough.

It is about Anjana Miss, in Class X, who taught us Julius Caesar. And who taught me not to fear Shakespeare. Who told me to grab the verbs to make sense of the blank-verse sentences. Who taught me the power of Antony's oratory and Brutus's honour.

It is about Kajaldi, at Presidency College, who taught us Twelfth Night. And who taught me about the rainbow-witted comic genius and the pathos-lined romance of Shakespeare.

It is about Sukantada, at Jadavpur University, who taught us King Lear. And who taught me about the poetry of pride and fidelity, and the tragedy of delusion and dementia.

King Lear was the Shakespeare play that made me spontaneously cry when I read it.

Thank you.

I will quote those lines from King Lear, which are spoken by the old and lonely Jennifer Kapoor to a stray dog, as they walk on a desolate Christmas evening:

But then, when we strip ourselves of our foolish possessions and comforting relations, aren't we all this lonely and wailing:

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!"



Lazyani said...

Haven't read much of Shakespeare. But we had Merchant of Venice as part of the curriculum in school. We had a Belgian Father who taught us the subject and left a great impression on our minds.

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

I have neither seen the film, nor read Shakespeare. But I am growing old, although rather happily. Thanks for the lovely post.