Funny how poetry evinces so much passion. Did not realize.
As a poetry junkie, loved your last column. Would love to meet your father some day. Like your father, I too “had to memorise” Abou Ben Adhem as a schoolboy!
By the way, if I am not mistaken, the correct verse is “An angel writing in a book of gold” – and not “an angel writing in leaves of gold”.
Here’s the link to a piece on Abou Ben Adhem and, incredibly, an obscure topic in the biological sciences. It is by, who else, a South Indian Brahmin (Tam Brahm, perhaps) scientist based in the US!
I think you will like it.
Best regards. Vivek
PS: Do let me know if the link does not open.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Padi Moorthy <[email protected]>
Subject: May the professor’s tribe increase
Date: November 16, 2015 at 9:15:13 PM GMT+5:30
To: Shoba Narayan <[email protected]>, “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
My dear Shoba,
Read your piece on your father’s love for poetry
You are lucky to have a father who remembers Abu Ben Adam.
He has the talent to remember lines and recite them
My memory is notorious
But of all poems I remember Casabianca !!
The boy stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled
The flames that lit the battle wreck shone round him over the dead”
In a school elocution competition I recited this poem with tears running down my cheek
I got the first prize for CRYING
When some one passes, I remember this dismal Tamil verse, not Kamban or Bharathi
Andandu thorum azuthu purandalum maandar varuvaro Manilatheer, Vendaam
Edu vazhiye naam pom alavum
Nammak Enna endru
Ittu, undu irrum.
Notice the emphasis on Ittu(Give first ,then eat and stay on)
Not sure why thatha calls this Give Eat Live a dismal poem.
I kinda’ like it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWQ__mqY9RE
I came to it thru’ the Tamil movie Iruvar.
It had the Mu.Ka character teaching his daughter that. (He had just lost the election and had plenty of time on his hands!)
Something about the way he said the lines made me go look for the rest of the verse.