Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Great Sentinel Lecture

On Monday, I gave a lecture to the Bicultural India programme on Rabindranath Tagore. My audience were JC1 students and about 20 of them. In doing so I revisited some of the memorable Tagore books and poetry that I have read. Somehow this line sticks in my head -

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” -Rabindranath Tagore

I posted a picture of Matt and Josh running about after my brother-in-law's beach wedding and cited that sentence. What a beautiful line and perhaps how everyone feels about children. Teachers count semesters, workers count TGIFs and lament at how fast time flies but children count moments and seem to have an endless amount of time... Which explains why sometimes I tell my kids I am really busy and have to go to the zoo another time...

All my previous blog entries inspired by the great sentinal.

I was looking back at the blogposts and I remember the more carefree days I had where I was reading a book a week and mostly on Gandhi and then Tagore. You need to be in a relaxed state to enjoy Tagore, for Gandhi you need to be in a more devout state. Its almost demanding to read Gandhi as you feel your conscience examined by the great Mahatma (wow a tautonym). For Tagore, you need to be in a mindful and relaxed state or it would be like food that has been rushed, tea that has been gulped.

I was telling the students that Tagore was like a treasure that I had unearthed, I got a quizzical look when I said that as well as many times during the talk cos I am sure the students didn't get what I was saying at times about how important Tagore was.

Here's part of a Poem called Palm Tree

Palm Tree: Single-legged giant,
topping the other trees,
peering at the firmament-
It longs to pierce the black cloud-ceiling
and fly away, away
if it only had wings

The tree seems to express its wish
in the tossing of its head:
Its fronds heave and swish -




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