‘Does a name on a form over-shadow an appearance in the heart?’ he asked and then went on, ‘Both are shadows but one pulsates forever and the other smudges and fades away in a few years.’ The feminists argued that the name on a piece of paper pulsates with life and demands more than just being there. The rationalists and the law-makers pointed out myriad reasons for the delayed appearance of that name. But Naren was not one to be dismayed by all this hullaballoo and calmly said that he had just two options: To write, or not to right.

And when faced with Hamlet’s dilemma ‘to be, or not to be’, he quietly punched a few lines that resembled that famous speech being quoted and said, ‘Read this and then accuse me of any misdemeanour.’

To write, or not to right, that is the question –
Whether ‘tis saner for me to remain a bluffer
And keep shooting arrows of outrageous allegations
Or to take in my arms my past sea of troubles,
And end this mental dilemma? To herd, to dictate –
No more; and by this, to say I finally end
Someone’s headache, and the thousand barbs
That another is heir to? ‘Tis a foolish wish
That the foolish stick to. To stride, to strike,
To perchance become a Chieftain; Aye, here’s the rub,
For in that stroke of genius, what dreams may come,
When parties have left behind the election days,
Must make me pause. Here’s my respect
To the subterfuge of my long life:
For I have borne the bachelorhood of time,
The title of an Oppressor, a dictator, a fanatic,
The pangs of condoms unused, the sex that I was denied,
The insolence of my seniors, and the spurns
So like an unholy hurry to write me off,
When I did quietly let this party make
A formidable presence by myself! These sinners I hear,
Now grunt and whine about their weary life,
And talk of the dread of their political death,
The undiscovered applause, from whose gates
Ambitious men rarely return, Confounds them now
And they make my fans think of the ills I’ve done,
Than make the detractors come into our fold.
They think my Conscience makes a coward of me
And thus you hear them with their voices raised
Talk sickly talks, without a thought
Of things trivial and meaningless,
With their attention away from nation’s needs,
And lost in a name that I wrote. But you,
My fair partner, my nymph, a name in a one-page form
You will be remembered by history!

As the people read the lines he had written, he told them that the physical distance that separates a dedicated professional in him from instincts that want to divert and tear him away from it all was a deliberate step and that is one reason why he is where he is now.

The mob, by now, was becoming hysterical, and in one voice, asked, ‘What then made you change and transform this distance into a relationship?’ The mob was confused and wanted to know why Naren had kept himself away from the girl he had been married to for fifty long years and keep that fact hidden from public scrutiny. The question was troubling the mob, and not the people… and there is quite a stark difference here.

One from the mob shouted, ‘All this opacity for the sake of some political advantage?’

‘No,’ said Naren, ‘I did not wish to let any personal ambition come in the way of my urge to serve the people. I hid because it wasn’t necessary for me to declare.’

‘So why did you now?’

‘Ah! I like to make rules and when I see a straightforward regulation, I think of the respect it deserves.’

Someone made an impromptu rhyming couplet with a popular Bollywood number and the crowd cheered as he sang:

‘Tum ko dekha, to ye khayal aaya
Mere rules ne public ko nachaya
Aur ab bata dun aaj
Unke neta ne bhi rules ko apnaya!’

Mobs, they say, are meant to disperse… and they did. They restructured themselves back into people and went back home humming the song that one of them had sung.

Note: For those interested in reading the soliloquy in the ‘Nunnery Scene’ of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the lines are:

To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia. Nymph, in all thy Orisons
Be thou all my sins remembered.

To write, or not to right

To write, or not to right


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


Arvind Passey
12 April 2014


This post is declared a ‘WOW!’ POST on Blogadda…

2014_04_15_tumko dekho toh_wow post_blogadda


This article was published in ‘The Education Post’ dated 21 April 2014…

2014_04_21_The Education Post_To write or not to right

2014_04_21_The Education Post_To write or not to right