This post is dedicated to Asha Roy, the woman who reads (and loves) classics too much.
Last day she shared a pic with me. The pic described a classic as something which everybody respects but nobody reads. Till a few months back, I used to feel quite devastated at the preferences of the current generation of readers. But I upset myself no more. I have come to realize (call it an epiphany if you want) that classics are too beautiful to be understood by everyone.
A classic is that rarely beautiful thing which can be appreciated only by those rarely beautiful people. You tell me, can an internet-bred 21st century romance ever be better than Victorian romance? Can Nikita Singh or Ravinder Singh or Chetan Bhagat or Durjoy Dutta (all bestselling authors in their own right) ever be purer than a Jane Austen or a DH Lawrence or an Emily Bronte?
But here comes the chimera. A classic requires a certain level of intellect and patience which not everybody has. Some readers find these voluminous books to be having quite a toil on their grey cells. Some frankly lust after books which move at breakneck speed. For them, the task of sitting through a Tolstoy is going to be a laborious ask too intimidating to be ever encouraged.
But those who love literature and love it truly will neither find classics daunting nor laborious. Rather they will tremble before its beauty, stunned and elated at having a piece of old treasure on their lap.
This brings to mind a quote by Alfred Gardener I remember from my class 11 days, "If diamonds were as plentiful as pebbles, no one would have stooped to pick them up."
It is the rarity of a diamond that makes it so treasurable. In the same vein, it is the rarity of a true classic lover that makes him/her so delightful a person.
I am, hence, glad to have a friend in this girl. Even though there have been cracks in the friendship and a huge question mark looms over the tenure of the relationship, I am glad that our paths crossed. Over the years, we have had some fascinating conversations which only two true classic lovers could have actually had.
I am not sure of the future of this friendship. Now, it all seems like all those talks happened in a different planet on a different time zone. But come what may, as long as my memory serves me and perhaps till my last breath, I shall cherish these conversations as the most beautiful memories of my life.