I have had only this to say about Rabindranath Tagore every time I have finished reading one of his books: Pure Genius. He was way ahead of his times – he understood the human mind and emotions with precision and his tales always had that naughty twist in them. He saw the world for not as is, but for what it was and the possibilities that could exist.
While reading this collection of 9 novels and novellas written by him, what struck me the most was his stance on women. All of Tagore’s women are strong characters and all the stories are centred on them, and how can one forget the themes? The thought-provoking and often lingering themes of widowhood (which he abhorred), a woman trying to assert herself in a so-called man’s world, separation, comedy of errors (sometimes) and many such themes in different ways, make you wonder: What was going through the man’s mind when he wrote all of this?
For me personally, the entire collection was a joyride. From Choker Bali (which most of us have seen and loved) to the lesser-known Farewell Song, which beautifully explains the angst of love, to Four Chapters – that relentlessly tries to explain the complexities of love and its existence. All these stories have one thread in common: The grandness of life and the ability to live it through. The writing I can’t even comment on as it is perfect. Every word is in place and nothing seems wasted.
So when a collection is that perfect (but obviously), what else do you write about it? Except mention that they produce them anymore like him.