Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Rainy Valentine’s

valentine rainHaven’t seen Rains in February

Is the city all teary?

It longs to see the true love,

Like cupid mourning doves

Each drop yearns to rehear,

Those lyrical Shakespeare

It is painted red today,

To hide the greys of everyday

Can’t it be colored all the time?

Celebrating each day as Valentine’s.

Shakespeare Sonnet #1

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’st flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

Shakespeare says that we desire beautiful creatures to multiply, in order to preserve their for the world. That way, when the parent dies, the child might continue its beauty. In the second quatrain, the speaker chides the young man he loves for being too self-absorbed to think of procreation: he is “contracted” to his own “bright eyes,” and feeds his light with the fuel of his own loveliness. The speaker says that this makes the young man his own unwitting enemy, for it makes and hoards all the young man’s beauty for himself. In the third quatrain, he argues that the young man may now be beautiful—he is “the world’s fresh ornament / And only herald to the gaudy spring”—but that, in time, his beauty will fade, and he will bury his “content” within his flower’s own bud (that is, he will not pass his beauty on; it will wither with him). In the couplet, the speaker asks the young man to “pity the world” and reproduce, or else be a glutton who, like the grave, eats the beauty he owes to the whole world.

Shakespeare Sonnet #116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

One of the reasons to like this sonnet is that here love is so divinely compared with marriage yet defines it different from the actual ceremony.  What I understand here is that love between two people (whether same gender or different) is not bound by marriage. Love which changes with time or circumstances is not actual love. Love is constant and it doesn’t change even if one of the partner is physically away. It doesn’t shake even during difficult times (“That looks on tempests”). Love is like a star that guides a lost soul.  Unlike the height of the star which can be measured, the star’s worth cannot be. Love is not age specific which is limited only when the partners are young and beautiful but it stays even when the body grows old and sick. It doesn’t change with hours and weeks but remains same even to the edge of doom.  And then Shakespeare says that if what he has written here can be proved wrong, then his writings mean nothing and no man has ever loved.

Living By My Wits !!

“Wisdom is better than wit, and in the long run will certainly have the laugh on her side” – Jane Austen

When I read such piquant quotes, I contemplate about the serious dearth of original and supreme level of wits in the present day authors. Today, it is so hard to find such clever yet funny quotes. I don’t intend to belittle the works by new world writers but Inever found an opportunity to compare anything with Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain.

Think, it was something in the air during 16th -18th century when every third person born became an author. I suppose wittiness was infectious in those centuries as people around themselves maintained an optimal level of it to encourage it to reach its highest level contrary to today’s world when a Family Guy joke is sometimes complimented as how witty!!

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There is a fine demarcation between being witty and funny. Being funny even logically does not necessarily means you are carrying wits, and it is true vice-versa as sometimes wits may make people laugh and other times it puts them in awe. I believe it is either inherent in us or it takes a lot amount of reading to bring out that witty-talking spontaneously. And if you think it’s not in you just follow this straight advice from Mr. Twain – “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubts.” I seriously look up to Dorothy Parker when I want something brilliantly funny, I would be totally in love with myself when I’ll start formulating original quotes like “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” or “The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

I don’t deny the fact that sometimes I do inspire myself with such quotes and try to incorporate the same edginess, like the one from Oscar Wilde “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months” but it’s such a disappointment when people say “what do you mean?” I am just left with a straight face. Kill Me. And then there are quotes that let you ponder and act “Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook” by Oliver Goldsmith or “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write” by William Makepeace Thackeray.  I would not mind going back to that era by a time machine and acquire this “art” under the tutelage of great writers of all time.

Shakespeare and a lot

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here” – The Tempest

When I first got to know that Footsbarn Theatre would be performing ‘The Tempest’ in my city, I had it on my calendar.  For those who are unaware, Footsbarn is a touring theatre group who are now based in France and has expertise in Shakespeare plays. 

My run to the play was no less than a Shakespearean comic drama.  I am not somebody who would mind going alone to experience Shakespeare but a company is welcoming. So, I asked a friend of mine and it was an interesting barter deal.

Friend: “Shakespeare really???”

Me: “Yeah..I’ll pay for your tickets (it costed peanuts)”

Friend: “Ok…” (without much excitement)

Me: “So…we are going right?”

Friend: “Yeah. Alright you can count me in”

After a pause of 10 minutes…

Friend: “Are you buying the dinner also??”

And that cracked me to laughter.

Me: “Ok fine, I’ll pay for the snacks too.”

After a series of phone calls, we managed to get the tickets which were paid by my friend as the ticket counter was in proximity to his home and the tickets were selling like hot cakes. Never mind.

The play was to start at 7 pm.  Keeping the distance and traffic in mind, I left at 5 pm and was sure to reach by 6 pm but to my surprise, I was gridlocked.  The continuous honking and repeat calls of my friend made me a Ninja and I managed to reach by 6.45 pm.  Caught my breath and bag, I rushed to the theatre.  Tearing the ticketless crowd at the gate, I found my friend with my ticket.  I can’t tell how superior I felt with those tickets in my hand.  As we were approaching the auditorium, again a security check (thanks to all psycho criminals). I was waiting for the security person to finish with his sneak peeking into my bag, he said “Madam, you are in wrong theatre, you should go the one just next to it.”  Damn. Again ripping the crowd, we both rushed to the adjacent theatre.

So, we reached just 5 minutes prior to the play. We grabbed the seats. In no time, the whole theatre was packed with the artists, art literates and budding art students.


Pardon me for being judgmental but those who haven’t watched Shakespeare or read him; are missing true joy in life. It is not only entertaining but also rich in art.  Sparing the detailing of the play, I want to highlight the brilliant light effects and the traditional Indian-European live music.  Footsbarn is known to do exclusive things, one of which in this performance was that it was acted in four languages at the same time. Prospero (the protagonist was speaking in Malayalam and Sanskrit); Ferdinand and his father in French and others in English. The comic timings of Ariel had audience crack-up.  All the other important characters-Antonio, Alonso, Caliban, Miranda etc. were played with the expected finesse. The epilogue was welcomed with the encore of applauses.


“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep”

I was unsure of my friend’s perception of the play (as I saw him yawning twice in the play).  Anyway, the night ended, we went to our homes without much discussion about it. I slept with all the praises about the play in my head.

First thing in the morning, I read on my phone “Thanks for taking me to the play. It was nice.”  There, I smiled and thought it’s not me but Shakespeare who would work on anybody.

Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

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