“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say”, says Italo Calvino whom I found quite true just after closing the massive literary book of “Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury tales”.
I just wanted to know who had shared the best story in the book. How confusing? “I have never in my life been confronted with such a boring person as yourself”, said my friend laughing at me and making a joke out of my thoughts.
I kept the book on the shelf where I had the collection of the writers’ books that I adored more than anything else in the world.
“Girl you gaze at them like they are some sort of treasures”, said my friend again in a teasingly tone. I looked back at her and smiled, for the poor thing has never known the taste of literature and the happiness of reading the masterpieces of legends.
Somehow all of my friends envied me for being a book worm, and they pitied me even more for reading ancient ones which were rarely given attention by teenagers of this generation and of course, I was an exception.
“What in the world is actually in those things which makes you admire them so much? She asked me again being confused.
“I had just found out what I am going to do with my precious minutes, sit with me for we have a long discussion today.” My eyes sparkled as I told her the same.
I took “Pride and Prejudice”, a book by the legendary writer “Jane Austen” and kept it in front of her. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
I heard laughter as I re-quoted Jane Austen’s words and I smiled back. “This is humor I learnt from her. Jane also has a message for you, I said”. “What? For me?”, she jumped from the couch. “Yes you”, she said.
The person, be it a gentleman or a lady who has no pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid, I cried tears of laughter turning my back to the window. “Hugh! That is why I despise them”, she said in a jealous tone.
I persisted in looking at the shelf and aye! I said, taking out the book of Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” Hold it for a while.
She opened the book and turned the pages, until she uttered the words: “The timeless in you is aware of timelessness that sounds creepy,” she said looking at me.
“Ah”, I said. Is wanting someone to enjoy philosophy, being aesthetic, and believing in love and dreaming of a perfect world creepy? He is known as the prophet of the west for the knowledge he possessed and the things he knew.
“No. I… I didn’t know he was”, for once my friend was speechless and I found her lost in the thoughts.
“Hey! Why don’t I read some verses of “John Keats’s “Ode to the nightingale.” Sure”, she said like it’s something I would think about the rest of my life. She laughed again getting on my nerves.
“in the next valley-glades: was it a vision, or a walking dream? Fled in that music: – Do I wake or do I sleep?”
I finished reading its last verses and to my surprise, I found her crying which she contradicted was the reason of wind blowing so hard that her tears touched her cheeks, and of course the windows were closed”. “John Keats died at the age of 25 and was titled as the father of English poetry”, I gave her an understanding if she was eager to know, but could not ask”. She was as shocked as nothing I have seen for a while.
However, I pitied the generation of my kind for knowing so much about action and lifestyle, but knowing so little about emotion, sacrifices, humor, intentions, and inspiration that they have buried with the classic literature.
It was for the first time that I shed a tear for the abandoned books like they were some sort of hypocrites to be hated so much. Jane had told me humor, Chaucer had given me an explanation of reality, Keats made me see the world with his poetry, Fyodor travelled within my veins to give me an understanding of psychology, Charles Dickens had always uttered about expecting great, George Orwell cleared the fact that humans really are animal breeds, Shakespeare made me realize he never died, Oscar wild confessed he wrote the best yet never accepted, and Virginia Woolf used the stream of being conscious forever, but yet they are hated, ignored and rarely appreciated by youths of my kind.
I looked down at my palms. Maybe, it was my sadness that as crystal clear, showed on my face that my friend began to notice. “What happened?” “It’s nothing”, I answered trying not be noticed. “Let’s go and watch the movie you mentioned earlier”, my friend said hesitatingly.
“Yes, do you think I can read one of those books and borrow it for a day or two? “Anyone can”, I felt the happiest person in the world to live history in present. “I finally did it”, I said looking at the shelf with pride.
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