Sunday, April 30, 2017

Inspiration from Literature – “Unrequited Love” and “Self Actualization”

My love life is a story of unrequited love.

I fell in love with many girls – but – sadly – not even one girl fell in love with me. 

Even today – my saga of unrequited love continues. 

Maybe – that is why – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond is my favourite story.

So – let me tell you about my all time favourite short story – The Night Train At Deoli by Ruskin Bond

Inspiration from Literature

Part 1 – Unrequited Love

I love reading short stories. 

You can read a short story in one sitting and it immediately fills you with an exquisite sense of satisfaction.

I love writing short stories too.

I am sure you have read many of my short stories in my creative writing blogs and in my book of short stories COCKTAIL which has 27 short stories about relationships.

Dear Reader: Let me tell you about my all time favourite short story – The Night Train At Deoli  by Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train at Deoli is a beautiful story of inchoate and unrequited love. 

Each one of us has experienced this wonderfully painful emotion of unrequited love.

Dear Reader: I am sure you too have experienced the delightful heart-ache of longing, yearning – an alluring attraction for someone who is out of reach – a one way love – a love unreciprocated 
 a love unrequited.

 I am quite familiar with the delicate tenderness of unrequited love. 

In fact 
 my life story is a story of so many inchoate unrequited loves.

The Night Train at Deoli is narrated in first person by a college boy who travels by the night train from Delhi to Dehra Dun every year to spend his summer vacations at his grandmother’s place. 

On its journey up the hills of the terai, early in the morning, the train stops at Deoli, a lonely station in the wilderness.

The protagonist wonders:  

“...Why it stopped at Deoli. I don’t know. Nothing ever happened. Nobody got off the train and nobody got in…and then the bell would sound, the guard would blow his whistle, and presently Deoli would be left behind and forgotten...”

Isn’t the description brilliant 
 so breathtaking in its simplicity.

On one such journey the boy sees a girl at Deoli 
 selling baskets  and he is smitten by her… 

“I sat up awake for the rest of the journey. I could not rid my mind of the picture of the girl’s face and her dark, smouldering eyes...”

The boy looks out for her on his return journey 
– and he is thrilled when he sees her:

… “I felt an unexpected thrill when I saw her…I sprang off the foot-board and waved to her. When she saw me, she smiled. She was pleased that I remembered her. I was pleased that she remembered me. We were both pleased, and it was almost like a meeting of old friends”…

Superb writing, isn’t it...? Simply superb...

It is time for the train to leave 
 and for the lovers to part: 

… “I felt the impulse to put her on the train there and then … I caught her hand and held it … ‘I have to go to Delhi...’ I said … she nodded, ‘I do not have to go anywhere...’ … the guard blew his whistle…and how I hated the guard for doing that…”

Beautifully poignant, marvellously written, the story touches the very fragile chords of your heart.

I will not tell you the rest of this story, but I can assure you, that if you are a lover at heart, you will be touched with compassion for the protagonist and as the story elevates you to the romantic mood you will relate your very own tale of unrequited love.

I am sure you have read this story, but if you haven't it is a must read.

The Night Train At Deoli is probably Ruskin Bond's most anthologized story and you will find it in many collections including the one published by Penguin titled The Night Train At Deoli and Other Stories. 

Though The Night Train At Deoli is my all time favourite 
 I like many stories in this anthology  especially  The Woman on Platform 8, His Neighbour’s Wife and Death of a Familiar.

If you are a lover of romantic fiction you must read this story 
 it is sure get you in a blue mood  nostalgically yearning for your unrequited love.

Do read this story.

And  if you have read this lovely story  read it again.

Dear Reader – Please do read Part 2 below – and see how I got inspired by reading The Night Train At Deoli

Part 2 – Self Actualization

Literature teaches you more about the Art of Living rather than sermons and moral lectures.

I learnt more from literature  than from high-falutin philosophy or spiritualism.

And of all genres of literature  it is short stories which gave me insightful tips on the art of living and vignettes on philosophy of life.

You must have heard of the term: Self-Actualization”.

I first came across the term Self-Actualization” in the 1970s when I read about Abraham MaslowHierarchy of Needs while studying the management module during my engineering course.

We were told that the Hierarchy of Needs has 5 levels of Human Needs:

1. Physiological

2. Safety and Security
3. Love and Belonging

4. Esteem
5. Self-Actualization

I understood what the first four needs meant.

But for many years I wondered as to what was the meaning of the term self-actualization.

One day I read a fiction short story called THE NIGHT TRAIN AT DEOLI written by Ruskin Bond.

“The Night Train at Deoli” by Ruskin Bond is my favourite Love Story.

It is a simple story of inchoate and unrequited love  which happens to all of us in our youth.

An eighteen year old boy meets a girl at a quaint railway station called Deoli  where the train halts for a few minutes.

It is love at first sight.

On the return journey after his vacation  the boy eagerly searches for the girl the moment the train reaches Deoli.

He is delighted to see her on the platform.

They look at each other.

They spend ethereal moments of unspoken love  they delicately hold hands.

Suddenly the guard blows his whistle  and – the train starts moving.

“I have to go to Delhi...” the boy says.

The girl replies: “I do not have to go anywhere...”

This is exactly what I felt one morning  during my walk in the lush green park on the banks of the Mula River  and I said to myself – I do not have to go anywhere.”  

I felt that I have achieved everything I wanted to achieve.

I have accomplished whatever I wanted to accomplish in life.

I have done whatever I wanted to do.

I am living the life that I always wanted to live.

Now  I am satisfied with life  I am happy where I am – I am content with what I have.

And so  I can say to myself: 

I do not have to go anywhere...

Now  I realize what self-actualization means.

Self Actualization is a state of mind when you can say to yourself:

I do not have to go anywhere...

Yes – you have reached the stage of self-actualization when you can say to yourself: 

I do not have to go anywhere...

You have realized your full potential.

What you can be  you have become.

You are living the life that you always wanted to live.

You have reached where you wanted to reach – so now  you do not have to go anywhere.

Have you reached this stage of supreme satisfaction in life...?

Are you are happy wherever you are...?

Are you content with what you have...?

Can you say to yourself:

“I have reached where I wanted to reach  and now  I do not have to go anywhere...

If you can say this to yourself – you have achieved Self-Actualization.

Self-Actualization is: 

When you do not HAVE to go anywhere – and – you do not WANT to go anywhere...

Self-Actualization is a great feeling.

You can take my word for it.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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