I heard a man saying
“ Life is so short
How much can you do ?
How much can you read ?
How much can you write ?
I made a choice
I do not read fiction
I do not read poetry
And of course I never write them
I deal in facts
And opinion making
I deal in advocacy
And socio politico economic change
And I have a living to make , too “
I was impressed
For two whole weeks I felt ashamed
Because I have spent most of my deepest life
Reading and writing fiction and poetry
Nothing can absorb me like a story
Nothing can inspire me like a poem
So by my friend’s logic
I have wasted most of my deepest energy
Not that I have not worked
With all my heart and all my bodily energy
To make life better for as many as I could
Not that I have not earned a living
But without fiction
Would I have been able to do it ?
Would I even have survived ?
Would I be able to survive
Even in future
Without reading or writing
Poems and stories ?
Even as I pondered over these questions
Even as I was feeling ashamed of my weakness—
For weakness it had to be as per my friend’s hypothesis
( Yes , the man who said what set me thinking
Is a friend , one whom I respect ,
Though I do not always agree with him )—
I was still reading and writing poems
Still reading and telling stories
For that is for me as natural as breathing .
That stopped me short .
How can anyone be ashamed of breathing ?
So how could I be ashamed
Of reading and writing literature
Poetry and Fiction ?
And immediately felt better.
I suppose we all make our choices
Guided by our circumstances and our own nature
Propelled by our own inner compulsions
And our talents and our likings
The Life Force
Our Essential Spirit
Decides what we shall do .
I am happily doomed
To read and write poetry and stories
More than anything else
Till my mind stops working.
I might as well accept it
And try to celebrate it .
I do believe
Cannot bear very much Reality .”
( ASA )