ABOUT RABINDRANATH TAGORE:
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a man of prodigious literary and artistic accomplishments. Apart from playing a leading role in Indian cultural renaissance, he was the first to popularise modern India in the world literary scene.
Although Bengali was the language in which he wrote, all other modern languages of India have been moulded partly by his writings.
Bringing out the harmony of ideals, from East to the West, his poems had a universal appeal as they transcended the barriers of space and time. Broadening the bases of Indian nationalism, images of deep humanism like peace, love and joy seem to be among a few undertones of his writings.
Day by day I float my paper boats one by one down the running stream.
In big black letters I write my name on them and the name of
the village where I live.
I hope that someone in some strange land will find them and
know who I am.
I load my little boats with shiuli flower from our garden, and
hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land
in the night.
I launch my paper boats and look up into the sky and see the
little clouds setting thee white bulging sails.
I know not what playmate of mine in the sky sends them down
the air to race with my boats!
When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my
paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars.
The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, and the lading ins
their baskets full of dreams.
Rabindranath Tagore’s “Paper Boats” a poem from his collection “The Crescent Moon” , highlights a child’s peculiar psychology. Focusing on a mystic quality found in children, “Paper Boats” is a first- hand narrative of a little girl who is lost in her world of playfulness and makes paper boats, as she writes her name in big black letters along with the name of her village. Leaving them fondly into a running stream, with the hopes of them being found by someone somewhere in a distant land, she longs to be known and recognised.
This makes us question our lives, how often is it that we crave for human connections? Why is it that deep down, we are looking to belong, somewhere to someone. Is it just a human tendency to want something to hold onto? Are we all looking for anchors, reminders that we matter! What is the importance of this sense of connection, a sense of security?
Beauty withers with age and materialistic pleasures are loyal to none, but the love that makes your heart beat, stays! At the end it is all about how much we have loved and have been loved.
This little girl in her innocent attempt to write her name and that of her village is wanting to be seen, to be heard to be acknowledged, to be understood! Children often anthropomorphize nature, hoping to find something they can cling onto! Wanting to present her unknown friend with her invaluable gifts of her friendship, she innocently filled her boat with Shiuli flowers (Parijatha flowers) wishing the receiver would find as much joy in them as she did. Naively assuming that somewhere among the clouds she has friends, who launch white clouds which compete with her boats, this little girl seems to live in her own world of magical and optimistic sensibility. She dreams how her paper boats float mesmerizingly under the midnight stars!
She dreams that there are fairies, sleeping in them, often loading them with a basket full of dreams.” Sometimes dreams are all we have. Dreams are limitless, with no barriers and no discrimination. Dreams ironically can make us feel alive! How wonderful would it be to be able to turn imagination to reality! As impossible as it may be at times, we as humans cling onto our dreams because they are our very own, something that emerges from our deep subconscious, always pushing us forward.
”Paper Boats” very beautifully talks about a child’s perspective and how often we tend to get lost in a world of our own as children. A make-belief world wherein reality is so dreamlike that life seems as carefree as a child sailing paper boats in a stream. It talks about beauty in simplicity, how childhood is uncomplicated. Something as inexpensive as paper boats, makes a child immensely happy then is it that as we grow up our idea of happiness changes? Is it only through materialistic pleasures that we derive happiness? Is it that we tend to evaluate happiness in terms of monetary value? Is that what we truly desire or are we just succumbing to the wishes, pressures and norms of the society? Maybe we are so caught up in the rat race that we confuse money with happiness, eventually to realise on our deathbed that the most beautiful memories that we possess are those careless times of cheery laughs when we set some paper boats to sail. That was the moment when you were happy, truly happy, infinitely happy!