Rabindra Nath Tagore
[Tagore's Chhinnapatra or Torn letters is a fascinating collection of letters written when he was in his late twenties and early thirties. This is the second piece of translation from the collection.]
If you wish to really appreciate something, you need to segregate it with walls of free time around it. You can feel it within yourself completely by allowing it to grow on you, by spreading it all around. One of the main reasons why you adore letters from friends when you are alone in a small town is that there is free time to soak in every word, every character of the letters completely, like little droplets. Your imagination grows around them like creepers – you can feel it growing for quite some time. If you become greedy and try to rush, you’ll be deprived of that pleasure. The desire for happiness travels so fast that at times it overtakes happiness itself, and destroys everything in seconds. When you are preoccupied with land deals and litigations, you don’t ever appreciate any letter, you feel there isn’t enough to satiate your appetite. The older I grow, the more I realise, to what extent you will receive depends on your ability. It is pointless to complain about how much others can give, the point is how much I can receive. It takes a lot of training, education, and arduous efforts to take hold of whatever is within our reach. We spend three-fourths of our life to acquire the skill, and after that, not much time is left to reap benefits of the training. This is the first chapter of The Treatise on Happiness.
2 July 1893
Translated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 at Kolkata