How dreary to be Somebody, How Public Like A 🐸 Frog!!!!!!!!!!

1. Kunwar Pratap Singh was a classmate in Government Higher Secondary School Number One. The school later became School For Excellence. It became a co-ed only after we graduated. What a pity! The best of teenage years were wasted in dry pursuit of academics under teachers who were draconian to say the least. They did give plenty of scope for humorous stories woven around each one of them as they had distinct personalities.

2. From P. D. Yadav(Mathmatics and file management), Dixit sir(variety shoes and chalk) to Harendra Singh(Amazing calligraphy!)Santosh Sharma(Periodic table, lab and terror along with volleyball) to Beni Prasad Chansauria(terror, discipline and volleyball) to Mahendra Khare who was a poet and used ‘great’ as his penname: there were likes of S. S. Khare(samjhe?) and principals Hanfi(volleyball team with Sharmaji against Chansauriya ji) followed by Mishra ji whose son Rohit was a hostler with me in Bhopal.

3. Coming back to KPS who came on a bicycle as we used to go to our tuitions in those days: after our PET counseling. He had got the same college and planned about staying with me in a hostel in Bhopal.

4. On our induction day with seniors in college, since he had difficulty with English ( English as a language was taught only from standard sixth in our schools-Hindi medium Madhya Pradesh board schools,) he solicited my help. His parents were probably farmers if I recall it right. They had no time to teach him English in his budding years. I had at least 4-5 years of headstart compared to him as I was in a convent school where they taught English since kindergarten. But I was not fortunate enough to study in kindergarten. If I was not born in indigent circumstances, if I had had a kindergarten education, if my parents and teachers were not so draconian, if in my eleventh and twelfth standards I had studied in a co-ed, I wouldn’t have developed complexes towards opposite sex. Complexes which took a long time to heal.

5. This post was supposed to be about KPS. No. This is supposed to be about someone else but I am beating around the bush to be enjoyable. KPS asked for my help.

6. I was APS. Always ready to help. I gave him an Urdu verse…just four lines:

“Kul Shahar Badhawaash hai is tez dhoop mein;

Har shakhsa zinda laash hai is tez dhoop mein;

Haare thake musaafiron-aawaaj do unhen;

Jal ki jinhe talaash hai is tez dhoop mein;”

It roughly translates as:

The whole city has gone mad in scorching Sun;

Every person is a living dead(zombie);

Oh tired and lost travellers;

Give a call to those who need water(of life.)

7. I didn’t understand waters of life in those days for I hadn’t tasted it. However I think: if instead of using ‘jal’ the poet had used word “aab” or “giza-e-rooh” it would have been consistent with Urdu in which he used words like badhawaas, shaksh and talaash etcetera. Anyway…

8. KPS went upstage: recited two lines. I had made him learn all four by heart. He had such a stage phobia that he forgot lines after two…his throat parched. I felt bad for him that day. I had worked hard with him. He remained depressed about English for long and even spoke about quitting engineering. He was technically sound but the medium suddenly becoming English was a great challenge. That showed itself in form of stage phobia that day. He recovered and got his degree as well as became a teacher in an engineering college.

9. I recited Kalidasa’s “Salutation to the Dawn” on stage. I had read its English translation by (Thomas Carlyle) Dale Carnegie in a book gifted to me by my uncle after my high school. It was one of the first books I read in that language along with Shiv Khera’s “You Can Win.” That book was ordered from Jhansi as it wasn’t available here. Though I also had stage phobia: I could render the poem on stage.

10. It was that day : I was facing North. Garima the bespectacled poetess was discovered. She recited Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s poem with a clear pronunciation. I thought I was hooked. Then appeared Swati who could mimick Ravi Shastri and Tony Gregg (Pretttai Good here!!!) I was instantly confused. You know who won!

11. I veered from the main point. The main point was this(sorry for having wasted your time, energy and BW; that’s if you really read those points: you can advise readers to jump to the point number 12)

12. Kunwar Pratap Singh had a book of poetry. His sister was pursuing English literature. I hope it’s not the same lady who was in Sanskar staff in 2016 for that was a horrible experience. The book had a verse by Emily Dickinson. I had read the verse but I fell in love with her, all over again!

I am nobody;

Who are you?

Are you a nobody too?

Then(well then!): there’s a pair of us(yes.)

Don’t tell them(Shhhh!) They’d banish us!

How dreary to be somebody!

(mine: Indeed. How limited. Dry. Arid. )

How public like a 🐸 frog

To call live long day an admiring bog!

{ I had to look up live long, life-long? Hmm…bog? Ok. }

What a treasure. I might have read couple more verses by her but I got an app this year and there are tonnes of verses. I am in some kind of heaven.

14. But I really want to go to a heaven where Dickinson is! If not as a paramour, then as one of her close friends or pupils( if she teaches verse!)

15. If any of the angels reading this post have whereabouts of Emily: feel free to contact me or comment. I would make it one of my goals to pursue her heaven and reach it. (Hazaron khwahishen aisee…)

16. What kind of surname is Dick-in-son? No, really, who assumes such surnames? Like Phillip K. Dick. It’s a strange world indeed!

#authors, #emily-dickinson, #logos, #memoirs, #verse