Book Review: The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust by Marcel Proust (2001)

51P-jDkx97L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust by Marcel Proust
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Mezzanine.
That is where my soul lies right now.
Elevated, with the soft avalanche of rippling visions,
erupting from the nubile eyes of a young Proust, from a lowly level that
seethed with diminished dignity and blackened clarity
to a mezzanine level, worthy of a corner seat
in a giant hall of evolved consciousness.

Analysing discarded memories from the forgotten boxes,
left lying beneath unpleasant mounds of soiled fates and muddy losses,
had seldom turned so aromatic an episode, so imminent an occurrence.
Like a foreigner, unknowingly leaving his secret trail in a new land,
Proust suspends slings from the trees of solitude and
provides levers for the uneven roads of melancholy
for the subsequent travellers to embrace,
a road that is guiding rather than deflecting.

Rising from sundered love and falling in unrequited one,
can bear the laurel of bright crimson, he says,
if one refuses to corrode the vial into which the rejection flows
and uphold its skill and tenderness to tend to a sapling anew.
Incidentally, love never vanishes.
It just finds another home.
And it could be ours if we keep the doors open.

Clinging to nature when the season within, wither away
and opening the balustrades of will to absorb the bounty outside,
is one of the treasured practice of a beating heart.
One may never fathom the gurgling but the streams of life,
from every cloud to every leaf-blade, comes rushing
into the boroughs of a pained being,
finding the most contused corners and
healing them with incomparable patience
and ushering in a memorable convalescence.

Eulogizing absence is no crime, he tells me aloud,
for existence of this little chap fills the room.
It is in this fella’s appearances that one discovers meanings,
alluding to our deepest darlings and abhorred devils.
A supreme leveller that brings everything to one plain
and seeing things in clear light becomes the only way to be.

Loftily holding pity has never found a fertile endorsement,
if all it does is direct pompous vacuum into a promising mind. But
given a chance to extend it as a resurgent mirror to a discoloured soul,
never turn away from holding the hinges as tightly as you can.
He repeats it with a tearing urgency.
Pity should always appear in a positive veil,
just visible to ring in its presence
but never portentous enough to inveigle dilution and lose its purpose.

Pantomiming the faces of jealousy, he shot a wave of dereliction;
shot across all that was good on the stage
and all good falling prey to the obnoxious wave of embittered emotions.
My awareness of jealousy as an aberration,
intended to be excluded in all human equation notwithstanding,
it was in Proust’s rousing enacting that I saw it in another avatar.
Jealousy, you would never be a hero.

Rummaging through the yardsticks of success,
should I ever find a prodigy winning over years of education,
I should not fret. Proust is clear about it.
For prodigious potions have limits, education has none.
Nor does it matter at the end
when life accounts are settled in isolation.

Onerous are those tears that trickle without reason
and privileged are those that trickle with it.
Knowing what to preserve and what to silence,
is knowing what to live for and what not to.
At the sight of their coalescence, he tells me,
aim straight for its source;
not what is visible but what is being hidden in those eyes.
Yes, that’s the key.

Under the rustic umbrella of life, should there be a sign of the end
And if death comes as a beating, torrential rain;
You can merrily choose to let go of that umbrella
if you have learnt to splash the waters under it.
Perhaps the highs of life that sat atop the clouds
and the blizzard of colors that brushed the trees
were hitherto invisible, hidden under the clout of this umbrella.

Summing up the emotional bandwagon of living
and the intellectual thinning of being,
Proust left me with a solstice of iridescent vantage within whose lips,
many questions rose and fell with ferocious equanimity
and their answers lurked in assured vanity,
and I swam with an induced current which kept me afloat,
a little sunk and a little tethered.

Told as an early teacher, garnished with an inexperienced eye,
the notes I made at the end of his class
seemed nothing short of a phenomenal ally.
Truth be told, I sail into another year
holding tightly to his incandescent thoughts, to steer clear.

wallpaperup - soul (standing on spiral)

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