He strode into his college early the next morning. He taught literature at a college to students who didn’t seem to care. But honestly at the age of 17 did he really care about life or literature? Growing up, his grandfather would take him to a quaint library near their house on a scooter. Every evening, grandfather would force him to borrow a new book and squat outside the house till he finished it. His love for reading began early and the interest was nurtured. Wasn’t he lucky? He had access to a good library and a grandfather who encouraged reading. Many of his students lacked a love for reading or an inkling of interest in books. They came for the compulsory credit from the class.
Was he merely ‘lucky’ to have had the fortune of reading while growing up? Presently, he dismissed it and proceeded to teach his class Shakespeare. The class did not feel the passion in Portia’s speech; neither did they react to the cruelty of Shylock. They sat mute and dopey or simply used their lips to read. He shrugged his frustration off too. After switching jobs for many years together, he finally settled for this job in the college. His qualifications could have gotten him better jobs but his soul craved the literature. He couldn’t forget the mockery he was put through in his family. Only fools leave the material world for the literary, he was told. He wondered if his choice was an act of rebellion?
In this frame of mind, he imagined a few new labels: Unmarried, 35, silent, Hindu, heterosexual, lonely, God-fearing, nationalist. These felt deeper and closer to his personality; however admitting them scared him. This process had forced him to discover himself without pressures of society’s cruel judgments.
As the list of labels grew, the size of the boxes increased. As the invisible was being acknowledged, the visible was frightening. His inner gaze would never play truant again. But was acknowledgement enough? He pulled out his copy of Shakespeare to read. Only words could help him find his way or rather distract him today; words of a great writer of course, not his own.
You speak an infinite deal of nothing, he muttered to himself.