Why did it take me 30 years to appreciate Shakespeare’s Greatness!

It was 30 years ago that I read multiple works of Shakespeare as part of my university course, among them King Lear, which I thought was the most boring. I was only twenty years of age, but was it okay for a literature student to not appreciate a great work by one of the greatest literary figures ever!

And suddenly this morning it all clicked into place, the essence and truth of the theme of King Lear. IT IS AN AGELESS PLOT, but you can only comprehend it fully when you get to live it, in life!

This morning, at 4am,as I reread the scenes, I can’t stop my tears from streaming down , for in this now, the scenes unfold with such clarity and meaning it hurts me real painful.

The story briefly:

The story opens in ancient Britain, where the elderly King Lear decides to give up his power and divide his realm amongst his three daughters, Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril, intending to give the largest piece of his kingdom to the child who professes to love him the most, certain that his favorite daughter, Cordelia, will win the challenge. Goneril and Regan, corrupt and deceitful, lie to their father with sappy and excessive declarations of affection. Cordelia, however, refuses to engage in Lear’s game, and replies simply that she loves him as a daughter should.

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KING LEAR: Now, our joy,

Although the last, not least; to whose young love

The vines of France and milk of Burgundy

Strive to be interess’d; what can you say to draw

A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

CORDELIA                Nothing, my lord.

KING LEAR               Nothing!

CORDELIA                Nothing.

KING LEAR               Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

CORDELIA                Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave

My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty

According to my bond; nor more nor less.

KING LEAR               How, how, Cordelia! Mend your speech a little,

Lest it may mar your fortunes.

CORDELIA                Good my lord,

You have begot me, bred me, loved me: I

Return those duties back as are right fit,

Obey you, love you, and most honour you.

 

KING LEAR               But goes thy heart with this?

CORDELIA                Ay, good my lord.

KING LEAR               So young, and so untender?

CORDELIA                So young, my lord, and true.

Her lackluster retort, despite its sincerity, enrages Lear, and he disowns Cordelia completely.
Meanwhile, the King of France, present at court and overwhelmed by Cordelia’s honesty, asks for her hand in marriage, despite her loss of a sizable dowry. Cordelia accepts the King of France’s proposal, and reluctantly leaves Lear with her two cunning sisters. Now that Lear has turned over all his wealth and land to Regan and Goneril, their true natures surface. Lear goes to live with Goneril, but she reveals that she plans to treat him like the old man he is while he is under her roof. So Lear decides to stay instead with his other daughter, but soon realizes that Regan is conspiring with her sister against him.

News arrives that Cordelia has raised an army of French troops that have landed.

Tired from his ordeal, Lear sleeps through the battle between Cordelia and her sisters. When Lear awakes he is told that Cordelia has been defeated. Lear takes the news well, thinking that he will be jailed with his beloved Cordelia – away from his evil offspring. However, the orders have come, not for Cordelia’s imprisonment, but for her death.

Despite their victory, the evil natures of Goneril and Regan soon destroy them. Both in love with Edmund (who gave the order for Cordelia to be executed), Goneril poisons Regan. But when Goneril discovers that Edmund has been fatally wounded,  Goneril kills herself as well.

As Edmund takes his last breath he repents and the order to execute Cordelia is reversed. But the reversal comes too late and Cordelia is hanged. Lear appears, carrying the body of Cordelia in his arms.

imagesKING LEAR: “Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:

Had I your tongues and eyes, I’ld use them so

That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone for ever!

Mad with grief, Lear bends over Cordelia’s body, looking for a sign of life. The strain overcomes Lear and he falls dead on top of his daughter.

 

Bucket List No. 1

Retire.

retirement quotes

When do you know you are on the path of retirement?

Probably, when you start reading articles titled ‘Worlds top 20 places to retire’. ist2_729612_island_rest-OneCredit

Whenever I mention retirement, people usually look at me with raised brows, as if I had spoken the unspeakable. Some even try to tell me that I sound pessimistic or depressed; why else would I be thinking of old age and death?

But, hey, when did I talk of death? And no, I am not afraid of dying. Death is the logical end of life, and if it is peaceful and comes when you have met responsibilities reasonably well, nothing like it. It’s rather a welcome change.

Retirement could also mean a new beginning, like being born a second time, living those carefree pre-school days once again. By retirement, I mean retirement from the labour market: from working for others, taking orders, working for money, working for fixed hours, meeting deadlines, basically, not to be hired or fired.

That is pathetic, to lead that life even after the age of fifty.Image

By retirement, I mean working for pleasure, being my own boss and working on my own whim, doing what I want to do at any point in time.

By retirement I also mean living in the moment, being where I want to be, doing what I want to do at any given moment, without worrying about the world’s take on it.

I have been in semi-retirement for a while now, for the past couple of years, earning only enough to meet my needs, working only three to four hours a day, which many find stupid. But I don’t have any wants! So, I don’t see a reason to toil, I mean barter my time for cash I have no use of.

I know I can work for six to seven hours easily, make at least twice the money I do now without any extra effort. But I just don’t want to do it. I don’t mind the money, which I can donate, give away. But I do mind the confines of time that come with making that kind of money. And besides, I hate being submissive, taking orders and pretending to be scared when an incompetent senior tries to blame me for what he (mostly male bosses have been bossy without always any right to be so) thinks are errors. In the past, when this happened, I had always felt a rising anger within me, which I used to suppress to a point when it all rained down as tears, which my tormentors and onlookers mistook for timidity, weakness, and the like. Whenever, I had failed to control my temper in office, I had either quit the job in the spur of the moment, or yelled at the boss to “shut up” resulting in me being sacked!

Okay, I am drifting. Panama-retire

I am ready for retirement. Actually, I have been ready for it the past couple of years. I just am not able to decide where to be for the rest of my life. Ideally, I want to be in one place, from where I can be available for my parents, and where I can do what my heart always wanted to do, give back to the world a slice of the goodness I have received in life from people, including total strangers. I wish to set up a school for the under privileged, run a non-profit organization for rural women and write, books, my books.

But as of now, I need to be sure where I want to spent my sunset years (read 60 plus!).

I also need to allow time for my son to decide where he wants to be for the next 20 years of his life. I definitely want to live near him, with him if he wants me to.

Till that happens, I will be browsing for peaceful places to retire, in India, my country; and elsewhere on earth. I don’t mind Mars too, provided someone would set up an FM radio station that plays Bollywood music 24/7.