Friday, 30 August 2013


Just the other day, a dear friend was sharing with me his pain over separation from his teenaged son, "perhaps never to see each other again."
My friend is separated from his son's mother and I was one among many friends who had unsuccessfully tried to prevent the separation from happening.
The lady is now remarried and along with her son she is going far away to build a new life.

"You know how I love my son, Venu," my friend said, over phone from a bar around 10 in the morning. "You can't blame me for feeling down."

I didn't blame him. The next morning, after he had drunk and slept over his grief, I called him and recited to him the following lines by Kahlil Gibran in his book 'The Prophet':    

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,
"Speak to us of Children." 
And he said: 
Your children are not your children. 
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. 
They come through you but not from you, 
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. 
You may give them your love but not your thoughts. 
For they have their own thoughts. 
You may house their bodies but not their souls, 
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. 
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. 
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. 
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. 
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. 
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; 
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.


Anonymous said...

You are a wise man, Mr Venugopal but I have to disagree with you in this instance.

I am a huge fan of KG and am particularly fond of this narrative on children. However, it would appear to me and I could well be wrong, that your friend may have found solace in these words if it were his son's choice to live away from him and choose not to have his father in his life. Or if your friend was imposing his will upon his son.

Surely, no one can feel mollified when one's offspring is taken away from one? As is usually the case in custody battles, the children have very little to say in the matter.

Just a perspective.....


P. Venugopal said...

you are right. what can anyone say in such a situation? the pain is real, so is the reality of the thing. i have often felt the only thing one can do when confronted with such a situation is to try to stand outside and look at it as an interested, but uninvolved party. then a larger perspective may or may not help. life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. the arrow sure will fly to its destiny. when one has seen life over a wide span, several ups and downs in the lives of several people around one, there comes a conviction everything passes, things come and go.

Balachandran V said...

Possessiveness. Why should we want to own everything? Our creations, whether an offspring or a poem, it has an entity of its own, once born. You can partake its fruits. But to call it yours is a mistake. You, like Gibran said, just the bow. Painful, but that is the fact you have to accept.

Btw, Venu, can you get that Pinnayo Raman back to me? I have lost your phone number in a mix-up of mobile phones!

P. Venugopal said...

the malayalam version of 'what then rama' seemed the perfection of the story compared to the english, don't you think so, bals? the language relates us better to the kodaikanal background and the lives of those like raman and his family. shall call tomorrow...too late in the night now.

Sorcerer said...

The possessiveness reigns above the disconnect which is the truth called life.

Sometimes a highly evolved brain(in the case of humans) is a liability to deal with emotions.