Tuesday, March 20, 2012

024. Spring Time. O Henry Story. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

024.

Spring Time. O Henry Story. Reintroduced By P S Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 6th Jun 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/3rrqb.i5/
Posted in Wikinut  Short Stories

 

O. Henry’s stories are famous for the twist towards their end. William Sydney Porter was the real person behind this name. He wrote more than Two hundred short stories, almost all of them equally famous. His stories are noted for the great sympathy they show towards human life. Here in this story he is describing how the happiness of spring is returning to Sarah’s life after the cold of a winter. 

Typewritten menus for a restaurant in exchange for three meals a day.


The O. Henry family in 1890s.
Sarah made her living through type writing. In the cold winter times, food was a problem. She made an agreement with the Schulenburg (Shoolenberg) Restaurant near her home. According to the agreement she would type the bill of fares for their twenty one tables each day and they had to provide her with three meals a day. When spring finally arrived it had no character of a spring. The snow of January still lay there in the streets even though it was March. And spring was already delayed a little in that American City of Manhattan. When spring arrived, there were changes in the menu of the restaurant. Soups became lighter, meat dishes changed and fried foods altogether vanished. 

Life in distant farms in the countryside can be as calm, quiet and peaceful as a gently flowing river.


Typing away dreams.
While Sarah was typing the bill of fares for the restaurant, her mind flew back to the country side she visited during the last summer. Life in distant farms in the country side can be as calm, quiet and peaceful as a gently flowing river. After the tediousness and monotony of life in a city, the life in the country side seemed to her appealing and pleasant. She had there fallen in love with a young farmer by the name of Walter. He was a very clever and modern farmer who had a telephone in his cow-house. He could even calculate cleverly the effect of Canadian wheat crops on the American prices of commodities.

Heaven sent Dandelions to show how pleased and delighted the ethereal realms were with earth.
 

Distant farms can be as quiet as a flowing river.
Sarah and Walter loved each other and he had decorated her hair with dandelion leaves and flowers as an expression of his love. She had left those flowers there for his caring and walked back home happily. We living in cities great and small can assume how much she might have wished to stay forever in those glens, vales and coves. How much will not an insecure girl wish for a safe and secure life under the protection of a loving husband! Her wishes were granted. They had agreed to get married in spring but he has not yet arrived in her town. She is awaiting him and she wept on her type writer.

No human beings are left alone. Teardrops of a loner are wiped away by invisible hands. 


Two dandelion friends catching the Sun.
In the evening the waiter from the restaurant brought Sarah’s food and the next day’s menu. While typing, a dish item in the menu caught her attention. It was ‘Dandelion with Eggs.’ Dandelions are not only a food but a symbol of love also. While typing, the very word Dandelion made her remember her long awaited lover and weep again. In her grief and tears a strange thing happened. One tear drop fell on the type written menu and one word was mistyped.

It is an invisible God that leads the way and walks a few miles with us.


The last Typewriter Factory closed in 2011 in India.

The next day, Walter from the country side arrived Sarah’s town, Manhattan searching for her. She had moved from her old address and the letter she sent him from the new address unfortunately had not reached him. Therefore he was not in a position to know about her whereabouts. He by chance stepped into the Schulenburg Restaurant and was given a menu of that day’s dishes. But what a bill of fare! There was the all distinguishable mark of a tear drop on it. ‘Dearest Walter with Eggs’ typed in place of 'Dandelion with Eggs'. And there was the tell tale characteristic of his lover- the capital ‘W’ typed above the line! The instant he sighted this strange bill of fare, Walter knew who the typist who created this laughable thing was. Without waiting, obtaining her address from the restaurant, he rushed to her house.


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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Tags

American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Literature, English Short Stories, English Short Story Writers, O Henry, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Short Stories, Spring Time, Stories, Studies, William Sydney Porter 



Meet the author
PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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Monday, March 19, 2012

023. The Nightingale And The Rose. Oscar Wilde Story. Reintroduced by P S Remesh Chandran

023.

The Nightingale And The Rose. Oscar Wilde Story. Reintroduced by P S Remesh Chandran

 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 6th Jun 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/13yul8ts/
Posted in Wikinut  Short Stories

 

Birds love for their life. They do not change partners in the middle of a stream. They do not know about the fickleness of human love. And they do not know about the instant fancies of immature human mind that we call love. Knowing not this cost a Nightingale its dear life. That is the story in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Nightingale and the Rose.’ 

Human passions mostly are lust and licentiousness misnamed as love.


Universal messenger of delicacy, fragrance and love.
Human love does not deserve the attention of the creatures of ground, sea and air. The Nightingale and the Rose is a moral short story by Oscar Wilde, the famous English writer. It is the story of the sacrifice of a nightingale for the sake of human love. The moral of the story is that human love and sacrifice are worthless, deserving not the attention of the other creatures of the ground, sea and air. Even though there always are immortal love stories among the mortal human beings, most often their passions are lust and licentiousness misnamed as love. It is widely thought that the world did injustice to this great writer. This reintroduction of his famous story is a humble tribute to this great lover of man and bird and beast.

The fickle human emotion of the immature that is called love.


All creatures react in their own ways.
One day a young student was found weeping for a red rose so that he could present it to his lover and dance with her. The boy was such enamored with the girl that he thought, without her, his life was going to end. But in that time of the year there were no red roses. The nightingale and the other creatures in the ground, water and air who were listening to this lamentation of his reacted according to their natures. While the other creatures either ridiculed or pitied him, the Nightingale decided to help him. She straight went to a rose tree in the garden asking for a red rose for the boy-lover. 

Why Nightingales alone warble unending love songs into the sky?


Warbling unending love songs into the air.
The Nightingale was such an admirer of true love about which she had been singing and praising in her songs for years that she decided to help the true lover. The rose tree, though without any red flowers then, revealed to the nightingale that if she was willing enough to make a self sacrifice, she could produce one with her own blood. She only had to press her heart to a thorn and singing without stop in the moon light, inject her blood into the tree. If she could do this, a red rose will bloom in any of the branches before Sun rise. The Nightingale summarily agreed to create a red rose by paying the great prize of her life. And in that very night she caused a red rose to bloom on the tree by her self sacrifice. 

Why birds are created such sympathetic and considerate to worthless human passions?


They do not change partners in the middle of a stream.

When morning arose, the boy-lover saw the red rose on the tree and rushed to his girl friend with the rose. But within that time she had promised to dance with another boy, a rich one who had offered her gold buttons instead of cheap roses. Thus the boy’s love ended in folly and disaster, unnecessarily causing the death of a Nightingale. The boy threw the precious red rose into the street where a cart-wheel went over it. We will wonder what preciousness is there in the supposed love of unripe human beings and why birds and other creatures are created such sympathetic and considerate to worthless human passions.




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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Tags

American Literature, American Writers, Appreciations, English Literature, English Short Stories, English Short Story Writers, Nightingale And The Rose, Oscar Wilde, Reviews, Stories, Studies 


Comments

Rathnashikamani
7th Jun 2011 (#)

Great review.
You're an expert in appreciating English literature.

PSRemeshChandra
7th Jun 2011 (#)
Might be, though I cannot play with words as you do. 

  


Meet the author
PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

022. Shaw’s Views On Freedom. Re-introduced By P S Remesh Chandran

022.

Shaw’s Views On Freedom. Re-introduced By P S Remesh Chandran
 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 
By PSRemeshChandra, 21st May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1vq_e18x/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 
Bernard Shaw set human minds on fire everywhere. We would be thrilled to even think about the judges, parliament members, writers, academicians and newspaper editors in England, India, America, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Russia who very much wished for the head and blood of this acerbic philosopher of wit and wisdom. Shaw’s thoughts on Ultimate Freedom Of Man that infuriated these so called intelligentsia but pleased common people everywhere are reintroduced here. 

The fearless intellectual who attacked the Victorian vanity and ostentation.



A colour poster for Shaw's play.
George Bernard Shaw was a British dramatist, critic and philosopher. He was a Fabian Socialist who led British socialism away from Marx. This fearless intellectual of Irish origin attacked the vanity and ostentation of the English society. Like Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy, he was a staunch vegetarian, bold in his opinions. Arms And The Man, Man And Superman and The Apple Cart are three of his major plays. This article is based on one of his B.B.C. Radio Broadcasts in which he is defining the characteristics of freedom. He is of the opinion that ruling classes talk of freedom for the people but they reserve it only for themselves.

There can never be a perfectly free person theoretically. 



A portrait of George Bernard Shaw.
Half the day we are slaves to necessities such as eating, drinking, washing, dressing and undressing. For another one-third of our life time we are slaves to sleep too. So theoretically there can never be a perfectly free person. Chattel slavery is said to have been abolished legally but it continues to be in other forms. Even voting in elections does not liberate a person. Two rich friends ask us for our vote and we have to choose one of the two, which is not real freedom.

Slavery of man to nature is natural but slavery of man to man is unnatural. 



The rotating writing hut of Bernard Shaw.
Slavery of man to nature is natural whereas slavery of man to man is unnatural. Both are different. Natural wants are slavery indeed but nature is kind to her slaves. Eating, drinking and sleeping are made pleasant experiences. Building families and societies also is made pleasant. ‘We write sentimental songs in praise of them and in England a tramp can earn his supper by singing Home Sweet Home.’ But slavery of man to man is hateful to body and to spirit. In course of time slaves and their masters form their own organizations and enter a civil war known as class war. Karl Marx spent his life proving that slavery of man to man will never stop by itself unless stopped by law. Speaking and oration will not do but everyone has to do his share of the world’s work by his own hands and brain.

That notorious phrase of Shaw, ‘this prodigious mass of humbug.’ 



A scene from Candida acted on stage.
The combined body of parliaments, legislation, judiciary, literature, education and journalism looks to Bernard Shaw as a prodigious mass if humbug which in layman’s terms means Victorian vanity and ostentation. These great institutions of society just promote and help slavery exist and reign in its all forms. They always and everywhere in this world wish to establish and make people think that they are superior to everything and unquestionable. The foolery that is concealed in them is that everywhere in this world people hate these institutions to the depths of their chore. Only the parasites who live by these things would love them. We would be thrilled to even think about the judges, parliament members, writers, academicians and newspaper editors in England, India, America, France, South Africa, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Russia who very much wished for the head and blood of this philosopher and playwright. But he pleased people everywhere and reflected well their inner feelings. So long as these vain institutions exist in society no absolute and unconditional freedom is possible. These institutions, with the help of a falsified history, snobbery and dishonest politics, through preparatory schools, public schools and universities make citizens think that they are supreme inevitable and of paramount importance. When we read about these lines of Shaw that set human minds on fire everywhere, we should also note that individual freedom of opinion in England at that time was such acute sharp and great that he was not touched. The only other magnificent individual experience of such liberty of not only opinion but action also comes from post- Second World War France of De Gaul where the traffic rules-disobeying Sartre was ordered not to be touched by Surete. When viewed from a distance, those vain institutions Bernard Shaw mention here look really like epithelial corpuscles shed from our body when compared with the ultimate human freedom they imprison and impersonate.

Intellectual slaves of the modern day wish to have an owner and be possessed. 



Inside Shaw's movable writing hut.
Because these great social institutions do not respect real individual freedom and behave always superior to all common citizens at the cost of their internal fury, the inferiors sometimes become bold enough to rise in revolts and upset everything. Some courageous leader who has brain and energy like Napoleon will jump at the chance and become an emperor utilizing the heat of the situation. It has happened in France and will happen everywhere else at one time or another. It happened in France not because the people there were autocrat-minded; it was their only way out of intellectual slavery. People everywhere are basically liberty-lovers but the brainwashing by modern social institutions has been such strong and continuous that they have nowadays forgot to revolt. Intellectual slaves in America and Britain will also be willing to vote on ballot papers showing that they are not only revolutionaries but liberty-lovers and democrats also. Occasionally voting becomes a short respite in the long reign of intellectual dependence and submission. Ancient teachers since the time of Aristotle have taught rulers to behave proudly and impress people. In the history of physical comfort we see that people in power won’t sleep in the presence of the public lest their real nature of bestial helplessness and vulnerability would be revealed to the people and all their pride lost. The effect of impressive pride is such strong that modern day slaves find masters indispensable. They wish to have an owner for them. Slaves will not vote for women and women will not vote for women. When voting for women was first introduced in England they utilized it for defeating all women candidates including many who were dedicated to the problems of women. They elected only one woman, no doubt a titled lady of wealth, authority and personality. The slaves have practically no escape from slavishness.

Where there is poverty, we shall not sing about patriotism.



Malvern Theatres where many of Shaw's plays were acted.
Human nature is the easiest thing that can be changed. People of England should change their politics through propaganda and education before they get real freedom. Those already schooled in slavery should be de-schooled. Large scale scientific farming and industry will increase national wealth which can also be distributed equally, but too much exploitation of nature through science will backfire. Nature will take her own counter measures in the form of anything, including reverting people’s minds to laziness. Though we can cultivate sky and earth by drawing nitrogen from it to improve the quality of our cattle, grass, milk and eggs, nature may have many tricks up her sleeve to check when we are exploiting her too greedily. This anti-scientific thinker’s comments in this regard are justified. Too much exploitation of nature means too much exploitation of workers which when reach a climax will cause general strikes, thereby dwindling production in their turn. According to Shaw, general strikes are trade unionism gone mad for they halt all production activities. Extravaganza in spending is what deprives production of its usefulness. Shakespeare’s character Eago asked people to put money in their purses and not to take out of it. But people earn the least and spend the most which habit causes poverty. Until poverty is wiped out clean, we shall cease to sing about patriotism because where poverty exists we are not patriots but drones.

What to do with this leisure and riches generated through real freedom? 



Shaw's home at St. Lawrence Herts.

By changing the head and tail of British politics and by freeing it from aristocracy slavery and exploitation, people will begin to get more of leisure and riches. There is a general belief that freedom means more of leisure and more of money to enjoy that leisure which is not true. We have seen the rich and leisurely lose their health and happiness and die gradually. Riches and leisure became poison to them. An idle man’s brain is the Devil’s workshop and Satan will still find mischief for idle hands to do. Thus what to do with the leisure and riches generated through real freedom becomes a riddle which still remains unanswered. Even Bernard Shaw does not dare answer it directly.




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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags

Appreciations, British Essayists And Journalists, British Literature, British Writers, English Essays, English Literature, Essays, Freedom, Freedom Of Opinion, Freedom Of Speech, George Bernard Shaw, Liberty Of Speech, P S Remesh Chandran, Political Philosophy, Politics, Re Introductions, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies





Meet the author
PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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021.Bernard Shaw’s Inspiration His Own Life. Based On Bertrand Russell. Appreciation Study By P S Remesh Chandran

021.

Bernard Shaw’s Inspiration His Own Life. Based On Bertrand Russell. Appreciation Study By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum 


By PSRemeshChandra, 16th May 2011. Short URL http://nut.bz/160_gv7f/
Posted in Wikinut  Essays

 
To know what inspired George Bernard Shaw, the strange and out of the way things in his life need only be just gone through. It is clear that it was his own life that inspired him. It is very interesting to watch the tiny ship of his life navigating the tumultuous seas. Bertrand Russell’s observations on Shaw are the base for this article which is aimed at only elucidating his observations. 

Origin of the fine diction and musical rhythm in Shaw’s plays. 


A portrait of George Bernard Shaw.
Finding her husband unable to provide for the family, his mother, with her children moved permanently to London. There she supported her family by giving music lessons and singing at concerts. She had a good singing voice and remarkable skills in music. Shaw was schooled in London and there he grew up as an extraordinarily independent intellectual. He gained his love of music from his mother and her friends, which secured for him his first job as a musical critic in a London evening newspaper. Then he became a critic of plays, the essays written during which period were of very high quality and are still being read and praised. A few years later when he began writing plays, his love of music made his sentences rhythmically easy and pleasant to speak and hear. Even the very long speeches in plays like Man and Superman hold our attention due to their musical rhythm and fine diction.

Good laws passed by a few do not make a good society but good people do make good societies. 


Shaw's Corner. He lived here from 1906 to 1950.
Henry George, the author of Progress and Poverty was a very influential American economist who argued that national revenue should be raised by a single tax on land revenues, instead of levying quite a number of taxes on a variety of things. One day Shaw happened to listen to his lecture in a London city hall and joined at once his Fabian Society. Fabians condemned the blood-thirsty revolutions envisioned by the communists and believed that socialism could be achieved only through slow, steady and gradual changes in the social set up. The Fabian Society was destined to powerfully influence the British society and politics during the next forty or fifty years. In the Fabian Society, Shaw came to be acquainted with Mrs. Annie Besant, an ardent supporter of the Indian Independence Movement. As a socialist, Shaw in the beginning believed that good laws could improve and increase human happiness. But as he grew older, he trusted less and less in the power of the Parliament. Good laws passed by a few do not necessarily make a good society, but good people certainly will make good laws. Good men and women are the first thing required in the making of a Good Society.

Equal admiration for St. Joan of Orleans and St. Joseph of Moscow. 


A colour poster for Shaw's play.
His contemporaries had many opportunities to observe Shaw as a controversialist and as a man of Victorian Vanity. According to them, Shaw had three phases in his life. First he was a musical critic, Fabian socialist and novelist. Then world saw him as a writer of comedies in which he intended to lead the world to seriousness through wits. During the third and last phase he appeared as a prophet, demanding equal admiration for ‘St. Joan of Orleans and St. Joseph of Moscow’. By that time he had lost all distinction between a kind Christian and a cruel communist, which many of his contemporaries disliked.

Acerbity and sharpness, stamps of the personality of Shaw. 


Inside Shaw's famous movable writing hut.
Shaw led British Socialism away from Marx. Recent happenings in the Soviet Union prove that he was correct. He attacked the Victorian vanity and humbug with his own vanity and sharp wits. ‘Social Democrats considered him as an incarnation of Satan. He fanned the flames whenever there was a dispute’. In his verbal attacks he was merciless. In a lunch party given in honour of the French philosopher Bergson, he attacked the very theories of Bergson, saying that, "Oh, my dear fellow, I understand your philosophy much better than you do!” When the Czechoslovakian President Masaryk visited London, he asked to see Shaw out of respect for the man. Shaw went to him straight and lectured that the Czechoslovakian foreign policy was very wrong. And without waiting for an answer he stormed out of the dinner venue! He could not hide his vanity and hatred like the true Victorians. He found the effort of hiding vanity wearisome and gave it up when he first burst upon the world. Acerbity and sharpness were his stamps of personality.

More Christian than the Christ. 


A view of Bernard Shaw's study.
Shaw believed that churches have strayed far from the teachings of Christ. But many things in his character had the force of a religion. Reading the works of the famous English poet Shelley made him think that ‘animals are our fellow creatures, not to be slain for human food’. At twenty five he became a vegetarian. He had a strong sense of the sacredness of animal and human life. He had the purity of life and ate no flesh, drank no alcohol and smoked no tobacco. He was kind and generous to his fellows. He insisted that we have to leave the world a better place than we found it, and that the torch of life should be passed on to the future generations burning more brightly. In this sense he was more a Christian than the Christ.

The universal trio who were anti-scientific thinkers and strict vegetarians. 


A scene from Doctor's Dilemma acted on stage.
Like Gandhi, Shaw may be said to have been an anti scientific thinker. Like Count Leo Tolstoy, he believed that science can give no real account of Man. It is strange and universally known that this threesome remained vegetarians, hostile to vivisection, operation and modern medicine. Samuel Butler, the famous advocate of Creative Evolution was considered by Shaw as a sage. His words were gospels to him. Even Butler's jokes were taken seriously by Shaw. Both cruelly opposed Darwin. In personal life Shaw was a perfect man who opposed tyranny, blood-shed and cruelty. But as a religious revolutionary he was fierce and abominable. An admirable, dual personality!

A solicitous wife, the luck of all unruly thinkers. 


Pygmalion serialized in November 1914.
Shaw derived his great strength from vegetables. He was lucky in getting a very solicitous wife. We have the example of Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates before us who poured a pot of water over the useless and heated head of her husband, always arguing and finding nothing for the family! She was very kind and attentive to him, followed him like a shadow anxious about his health and prepared hearty vegetarian meals for him. Even she was not spared! The household and the neighborhood resounded with his sharp and witty comments about her ancestors.

The more he lived, the more was he inspired by his own life. 


Malvern Theatres where Shaw's many plays were staged.

Politics and journalism occupied Shaw till he was forty two. But soon he learned that politics was poly-tricks and journalism was literature in a hurry. Therefore he gave them up and took to creative literature. His earlier works were all focused on genuine social evils such as prostitution, war and religious intolerance and revenge, which touched the lives of a very large number of people. Bernard Shaw did in English what Henrik Ibsen had been doing in the Norwegian. The rich landlords of Victorian vanity considered him as an enemy. The communists considered him as an incarnation of Satan. But the poor began to consider him as a leader and champion of new ways of thought and intellectual freedom. He regarded Ruling as the highest art of all, and in his eyes, most political leaders were blunderers, insufficiently educated in this art. His works were enjoyable to the spectator as well as to the reader. He stands second only to Shakespeare among the English playwrights. Yes, the more he lived, the more was he inspired by his life. 




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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Tags

Appreciations, Bertrand Russell, British Essayists And Journalists, British Writers, English Essays, English Literature, English Playwrights, Essays, George Bernard Shaw, Irish Literature, Irish Writers, Life Of Shaw, P S Remesh Chandran, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Studies


Comments

rama devi nina
16th May 2011 (#)

What an informative and interesting post with excellent pictures, too. Well researched. Thanks for sharing.

Rathnashikamani
16th May 2011 (#)

Wonderful appreciation study by PSRemeshChandra.
I enjoyed reading Pygmalion in 1985 but I didn't get any chance to watch it on stage or screen.

PSRemeshChandra
16th May 2011 (#)

Dear Rama Devi Nina, Rathnashikamani, I once had to teach Russell in a B.A. class when I noticed that Russell's observations on Shaw were from a very close and intimate quarters, being one of his schoolmates I assume, but his presentation of those observations were not of a style that tempt readers to read more and more about Shaw. Therefore I decided then and there to simplify, update and develop his oration, which I gave as a lecture. I consider Shaw second only to Shakespeare, that too, only in conceiving elaborate themes and schemes. It is a pleasure to know that such literary adepts like you enjoyed the work. I will take more care in the future. Thank you both.



Meet the author
PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book. 

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