A Personal Favorite Poet Who Inspires My Work

Poetry is my passion and I love to work with words. It has been my companion since my coming of Age days. I have found innumerable moments of pleasures reading and writing poems. I have a few favorites who have shaped my thoughts and emotions over the growing years. Among them is John Milton, his “Paradise Lost” was a compulsory reader for me during my college years. It was part of the books listed for the Poetry paper and I was so moved by Lucifer’s fall that I wondered at the space of information about the fall that Milton explored. Here is a poem which truly inspires me and is still my personal favorite.

On His Blindness

By John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Exploring the Poem My Style

The last two weeks, I have been experiencing some problem with my eyesight and somehow I panicked to have it tested. I wear progressive spectacles and never learned how to look down in the lower rim to read, so I land up having the habit of lifting my spectacles to read.

The first time, I went to Rajan Eye Clinic, I was seen by Dr. Rajan, himself. He was the first doctor after my family doctor who made me comfortable talking to him. That was the first time that my eyes were dilated and the eyesight took some hours to get better. These days due to overuse of laptop has rendered my eyes incapable of being dilated and so the extra drops to force it to dilate. This then, means that it takes longer to settle down. I am slowly learning to give up my fear of hospitals and being in those spaces.

Somehow hospital experience leaves me in a state of unrest and agitated feelings. There are very few doctors who really take time for the patients to settle down and understand that the person is worried, scared and tensed about the outcome. Even if the sight were to be lost completely a humane doctor can make it seem less stressful.

Somehow, I feel that is something that comes from the old school of hospice, which is slowly been taken away by the money making trends of doctorhood. But this time, the doctor who attended my case was truly humane and I was so happy talking to her. She made me less nervous and this time also I had made sure that I had not come in a rush to have my eyes tested, but relaxed to spend the rest of the day in the hospital.

But surprisingly, my reading power had gone by a few points, of course, I still need to learn to look down using the progressive glass and that happens only when my laptop is on my lap and I am comfortably seated on the sofa. I tried to understand, why is that I feel super inspired at home and my quirks of working are really getting me to be such a clown.

So, I looked into my past and I remembered John Milton who is my inspiration for most of the Miltonian sonnets that I wrote in my young days. I love to play with words since it gives me spiritual pleasure. Everywhere I worked, I would have a word file, where I would have written poems.

I often think about why I have been born in this world and what are truly my roles. The fact that I only have a single-minded talent to write with emotions which I believe would be the gift of words that I leave behind after me.

I fear not death so much as to lose my eyes not just for myself but for others too. Then again, there is much technology that will help to live a life of high quality even when the eyesight is lost. It is not how long you live, but how well you live, that really counts. I have learned to accept some of my quirks and have gathered sufficient courage in life to be able to handle things my way.

So talking about this poem, I first read this poem in seventh or eighth I am not sure. I must say that my English classes were of a higher grade than the regular schools. So I was exposed to much poetry at a very early age. I also had my uncle’s library where I checked out a collection of Shakespearean sonnets and plays. My uncle had a good collection of the bound classics which were truly inspiring to read.

I have been a little careless with my eyes and I love to read lying down and removing my spectacles. This kind of makes my vision power to increase, but the pleasures of reading is taken over by even the risk of reading improperly.

I found in this poem an interesting connection, that I am drawn to explore. For instance, much like John Milton, my eyes even now hurts a little and throbs, as I am exploring the poems as personal experience. I will never give up writing, at whatever cost. That passion has been the founding stone of my very being.

So much like Milton, I do have a question for the Lord, if I would be of any service to Him. But it is all in the patient waiting for the call of the muse and the sanction of inspired writing. There are days when, my inspiration to write is so high, especially when I am well rested.

As Milton, the poet who is close to my spirit of writing, because I am a tone-deaf poet who loves to rhyme, unlike Milton whose poems were all about sounding right. I have written some collection of Petrachian sonnets and enjoyed thoroughly the experience of playing with words. Sometimes, it is not about doing as bid by the Lord; but it is more being in the moment and just transferring the text flashing in the mind’s eye. I sometimes feel that I cannot take ownership of the poems written by me because it was just recording the muse’s words. Now I stand in wait for that command to write from my Creator. Waiting for my inspiration with suspended animation.

Carroll’s Alice in the Wonderland | My Take

Book Title: Alice in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll (pen name) | Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (real name)

Translator:  N/A

Rating:   4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson as a writer was really fantastic and highly imaginative. I found his works completely entertaining in an unique way. His story telling methods are interesting to observe. There is always a difference between telling a story to a child and an adult. I have often observed when I am telling a story to a child which is created for short term entertainment, there is a rough skeletal story line but the embellishing is done based on the child’s sway of interest. That way I find the disjointedness of the story plot is clear to see. The fact that Lewis had to later polish the oral format to written format.

Story in a Nutshell:

A very bored Alice sees a rabbit rushing around with a big watch in his hand. Taken over by curiosity, Alice follows him only to accidentally fall into an endless rabbit hole. Then the adventure in the world found under the ground takes her through various unique creatures and eventually when she opens her eyes she is a slightly disappointed that it was a dream; but then, she is also happy that it was over, since was quiet confusing to experience using a child’s logic. The fact that the underground people are not very logical and fair.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

The innumerable characters that are featured in this novel are truly fascinating to read. There is a sense of wonder to observe how the story line which a non-existent story line still is able to create a sense of a tale that brings together all the characters into a single plot line.

I loved the idea of things growing out of proportion and the constant changing of size could be distracting to some but I found it was a parallel to child’s reality. Just imagine right up to the time a baby in the cradle grows up to become a adult the presence of the adult is dominant. There are times when children are expected to behave their older age child and childhood gets diluted into forced grown up states. The fact is that the storyteller’s intention was not to address an adult in this story, but rather a child and its logic towards issues and other matters.

Each characters is so beautifully interesting and intriguing for a the child and childlike reader. The surprising things for me in this novel were the fact that Carroll used his creativity to bring out the best in the situation for Alice. The idea was not to be moralistic or preachy. The story was more about given a situation how one could logically try to find a solution. But given that all situations were according to the adult perspective could be viewed as ludicrous and nonsensical, but not so to a child.

My Opinion

This novel is a wonderful read and complex mathematical view of a story line plot which I found interesting to read. If you really want to appreciate this book, then try telling a story to a child and hold his or her attention for the given stretch of time. You will be better able to understand and like Lewis Carroll’s nonsense plot.

Image Source:  http://illustratorslounge.com/editorial/alices-adventures-in-wonderland-john-tenniel

Tagore’s Package of Unforgettable Characters

Book Title:  The Very Best Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore

Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  4.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Tagore was always a fascination for me. In the very early formative years, I had read the Kabuliwahal piece from a borrowed and dog-eared copy of the short stories by this author. His way of telling a story is really appealing for two main reasons.

One is that he takes his time narrating; while ensuring to maintain the reader’s interest in the plot. Another reason is that, I found ancient voices talk to me with familiarity which was endearing to me in my mind.

Every story seemed well contemplated and effortlessly wrote. Be it The Postmaster, Kabuliwahal, Subha, or The Castaway every single story left a feeling of satisfaction; while encouraging being a creative thinker who is progressive.   Tagore was change-maker using one word at a time fitted in neat concepts.

Story in a Nutshell:

These are collection of stories about people in and around Kolkata and West Bengal. These stories are set in late days when the British Government was replaced with self-governance of India. The entire psyche of the Bengalis and of the immigrants makes an impact on the story plot; while providing a beautiful canopy of experiences for the readers. It is wonderful cosy blanket weaved into short plots that carried human emotions and feeling with great precision.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I really love the idea of short stories. Short pieces are hard to write; but great to read. The workmanship of Tagore in these pieces is really worth more than one reading. I am still trying to learn from the style that Tagore used for his short stories. There is never a moment of boredom in these stories; which happily amble their way to the finish. I didn’t have any dislike about the pieces but maybe I wanted to read more stories by Tagore.

My Opinion

I feel that this is a great book for beginning readers because it is reflective and simple at the same time. I would recommend it to students of 6th grade without any fear of censorship for some of the stories. But there are some adult stories too in the collection. The stories are euphemistically done with an eye-for-perfection.

Image Source: Embassy Book

Zen of Fishing With Santiago and the Marlin

Book Title:  The Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | Snapdeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Ernest Hemingway as a storyteller is really intense and precise. All forms and types of storytellers have their own way of building the story. Hemingway has a way of getting into my mind space.

I have read his other works but his best work is “The Old Man and the Sea.” The novelette holds the readers’ interest and retains them with just a few human characters whose conversations are crisply done.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story revolves around a fisherman’s life. The story is a snapshot of lives of fishermen who happen to be on coastal space and where the main source of income comes from the fishing industry.

The build up of Santiago’s experience provides insight into his thought process. Santiago, an elderly fisherman’s work-life balance, is well drawn out in this novelette.

The story progresses from a defeated work day and the next day of success. But when he returns all that remain with him is the skeleton of the Marlin that he had caught. It almost parallels with life in general. The leftover of a life would be the prized catch of the day.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I like the fact that most of the major conversations happen in the mind of Santiago during his fishing alone in the sea. There is great power in those scenes, which are well portrayed in the novelette.

I enjoyed the fact that the internal thoughts and life’s lesson is beautifully intertwined.  There was a sense of balance and nobility in the struggle between Santiago and the Marlin. Both the main characters are created to perfection and beautifully rendered.

My Opinion

Life is all about struggles that one undergoes. Santiago’s fishing experience can be matched up with any of the life situation and the outcome of which becomes the catharsis of a human soul.

The strife between the man and nature is given an upper hand, when the man wins; but eventually he is left with the carcass. Both of them, had to do what they had to do, in the given situation.

It is a question of survival for both of them and that is beautifully portrayed in the novelette. It is an excellent re-readable book and has many levels of interpretation to span across.

Magic of Fairy Tales a Lifetime’s Pleasure!

Book Title: Fairy Tales From Around the World

Author: Andrew Lang

Translator: N/A

Rating:  4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | Snap-Deal |

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Andrew Lang was a poet and a journalist who through his works gifted book readers with so many well-known and unknown fairy tales. The author of these fairy tales worked more as a recorder of the stories taken from the available sources. His childhood influence for outdoors and topics connected with his interest areas have greatly influenced his works.

Story in a Nutshell:

Fairy Tales from Around the World have stories picked from his Color coded Fairy Tales books. It covers stories from Arabian Nights, Scotland, and other countries, thus giving it a rounded feel for stories about fairies and magic.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

It is really hard to like or dislike a book. I love fairy tales and given that I love to read stories that involve magic, this book was a treasure trove. Oral storytelling is really interesting to explore because all my childhood had been filled with some family member telling a story. All forms of moral at home was disguised in a story. So, it is not surprising that oral storytelling has become my greatest influence in my life. There was nothing to dislike in this collection thought now that I know there are lot more fairy tales written by Andrew Lang, there is a desire to read it all.

My Opinion

This book makes an excellent bedtime read. The stories are in its rough and ready state which gives it the spice of pleasure in reading them. There is something more interest about this fairy tales and that the element of magic and unbelievable pushing of truth. I would rather believe the blatant lies than have the fire of truth extinguish the magic of the moment in these tales.

Image Source: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fairy-tales-from-around-the-world-andrew-lang/1112044044#/

Unforgettable Flavors of Famous Five

Book Title: Five Go To Demon’s Rocks

Author: Enid Mary Blyton

Translator: N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: N/A

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Enid Blyton is the most popular author in my collection of childhood reading list. There is something happening when you read as a child. I was a voracious reader since I completed my fourth grade. Back on those days I didn’t think of the author so much but of the titles more. Famous Five was my first chapter book. I was in my fourth grade summer break when I picked my first Enid Blyton’s “Five Go To Demon’s Rocks.” I was absolutely fascinated with the storyline and there such pleasure in reading it.

Story in a Nutshell:

George and her cousins form the Famous Five along with George’s Dog Timothy. Professor Quentin’s colleague Professor Hayling and his son Tinker (and monkey Mischief) arrive early and the adult get involved with their research work.

Tinker and Monkey take some time to get to be friends with George and Timothy. The rest of the team members of the Famous Five arrive. The peace quotient in the Professor’s place downscales and he eventually asks the noisy children to vacation in the Lighthouse belong to Tinker.

The five arrived with their new friend Tinker and the adventure begins in full earnestness. The rest of the story is about various hurdles and treasures that the children discovered and uncover.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked a lot of things about this book and they are the car sounds and animal sounds that Tinker’s Mischief brought out. The words used in the book was easy to understand and was smooth to read.

I disliked the fact that the story ended very soon. There was great fun happening in the Lighthouse which I wanted to continue. Maybe that was the reason why I loved moving on to the next book in the series. I remember writing down 12 books completed within the holidays.

My Opinion

Enid Blyton stories are really wonderful place to start for early independent reader and I would suggest them to the GeneZ groups of newcomers.

A Well Spun 1001 Nights | Lifesaver Stories

Book Title: Tales from the Thousand and One Nights

Translator: N/A

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: @Amazon | @Flipkart | @SnapDeal | @BookAdda

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

The storyteller of this book is a woman with a set agenda of saving her life. Each story is well woven to provide the right kind of interest and curiosity to know its conclusion. This gave the storyteller an additional day to live.

Story in a Nutshell:

The stories are set in a combination of betrayal, adventure, blood and gory details. They are well spun with an interesting closure which makes sure that the listener’s interest is sustained for another night. The Minister’s daughter marries the Shah to prevent untimely death of young women in her country. The Shah feeling cheated out by his betraying first wife decides illogically to get married to a young bride and have her executed on the very next day.

Scheherazade is the minister’s daughter who decides to keep the Shah from killing further young women due to a unfair conclusion that all women are unfaithful. The tales to pass the night becomes so interesting, that the Shah is willing to allow Scheherazade to live another night to complete the story. She spins the tales in such a way that she gets extra nights to live finish them. Until eventually, the Shah understands his folly in his assumption that all women are unfaithful and conniving personalities.

My Likes and Dislikes

The part that I really liked was the times, when the Genie used to appear in the story. Of course, the initial stories were really very dark. But later on there are slight changes in the stories told because it was becoming a little light-hearted and more humane. I could inference the fact, that the Shah’s view on women changes with each consecutive stories. This speaks for the storytelling capacity of Scheherazade. She spins the tale is such a way that it confirms the belief system of the Shah. With each turn in the listener’s mood the stories also change course.

One thing that I disliked about the stories were the presence of really dark details. The fact that the characters and setting where in and around the Middle East. The settings were not as clear as the characters motives for me. But within the limits of the storyteller’s intelligence in expanding the settings to outside world was achieved by resorting to limited setting description. Meaning to say that women were limited to their female quarters and Scheherazade was well read so she could keep her knowledge listener engaged with the stories.

My Opinion

This book would be an excellent read for grown up readers who are fascinated by well spun creative stories. The more edited and abridged version of the story is acceptable for young readers. The stories are well told to the specific listener’s need. The magic of Arabian night settings are exceptional given the limitation in the exposure of the storyteller to the outside world

Ravana’s Point of View | Will Retain His Ten-Heads!

Book Title: Asura – Tale Of The Vanquished

Author: Anand Neelakantan

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy :  @Amazon | @Flipkart | @SnapDeal | @BookAdda

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Anand Neelakantan is an Indian writer born on 5th December, 1973. He has written three fictional books on the great Indian epics “Ramayana” and “Mahabharatha.” He is from Kerala and much of his writing is influenced by the culture of the state. In this book, he has intellectualized Ravana within the parameters of being the villain of the plot; but makes him a thoughtful villain. This book was his debut novel published in May 2014 and it became an instant bestseller within a week.

Story in a Nutshell:

This is Ravana’s version of the Ramayana. Seen from his point of view in which he just doesn’t try to justify anything and is honest in his villainy. The novel is a back story of Ravana and how he became the very fearsome opponent of the warrior Rama. The aftermath of war and the victor’s cold blooded actions over the vanquished party becomes quite a fertile ground which was explored by the author.

My Likes and Dislikes

The narration is very compelling and plays around with the internal monologue of a thinking Ravana and other thinking sub-ordinate characters. This version of Ravana is quiet interesting when he places those existential questions that are relevant even today; he seems progressive. Ravana’s point is why deny the pleasures of the world so that which is been abstained on the material world become a possession earned in the celestial world. Logically for him that point is totally pointless.

The one thing that I liked about the book was the author’s intention not to paint Ravana as a completely evil person, but as someone with human factors. This Ravana is someone who we can relate to and find similarity in. The post war descriptions were gruesome and created disturbing images in my mind.

The one thing that I disliked about the novel was the fact that it dragged on like a four years television series. I am not sure if I was looking for a closure for this story. Ravana’s vanquished state doesn’t mean a happy ending; but it left behind an afterthought of what was the point of war and strife. Anand Neelakantan’s Ravana is much more intellectual person than the general understanding that he was someone who was an illicit abductor of Sita.

My Opinion

I enjoyed reading the book deep into the night and trying to understand logic that Ravana used for justifying his journey of choices. The point is that the choices by Ravana were made based on the fact that he felt them right. I liked the fact that, all the characters had an internal dialogue going within them that keeps justifying their actions. I would say it is a good one time read if long books are your preferences.

My First Romance That Became a Habit

Book Title: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy: @Amazon | @Flipkart | @SnapDeal | @BookAdda

A Bird’s Eye View

Author Bio:

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. This Georgian era writer dared to be different in a period which believed that a woman’s only aim in life to be married well in life. Her stories became popular among the present-day readers. The fact that Jane tried to express her thoughts with clarity and with much sensitivity gives her books a feeling of familiarity.

The story in a Nutshell:

The story is a simple process of match-fixing based on a factor called love. The couples whose lives have been set forward for discussion are unique and have their own character faults. Jane plays into each social, emotional and intellectual element to bring out a wonderful romance that was well thought-out plot progress.

My Likes and Dislikes

I really liked this novel a lot because it was so close to the Indian social setting that is still seen in the present day. I was taken in by the wonderful sense of similarity that I found in the 18th Century England and the present day 21st Century India. But our arranged marriage have been extolled for the patience shown by the couple. It seemed like novel were speaking of arranging love to fit a well-settled marriage proposal for a young lady.

I didn’t have much to dislike in this book because I feel more helpless at the stifling factor of marriage. The entire female fraternity did nothing but just get ready for the next ball and talk about trinkets of the suitability of match. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore.

The saving grace is that the story is beautiful flows into each section when the main characters undergo a change of heart. That kept me reverted to the story so much that I was quietly agreeable to the subject.

My Opinion

This book is an excellent tea-break read-up. If you don’t much think for arranged or love marriage, then I feel this book might be difficult to consume; but if you wish to experience the yester eras then this is the best book to try out. In my case, I am still stuck in the cloud with the thoughts of finding a marriage that really didn’t have any friction in it. I am rather curious as to how Elizabeth and Darcy would have lived. Since this feel-good book ends with Elizabeth finding a match that was made of love and financial sound too.