The Prized Poem…

The after-dinner hour takes me to the pages of newspapers, magazines, and though I am not mad about current affairs of the world and movies, still, I am drawn to certain events and happenings. Sometime back, I read about the star who rose to fame as Danny Zuko in a film Grease (1978).  Among his three homes, there is a Florida mansion built to resemble an airport terminal and has parking for the trained pilot-actor’s privately owned jets.  Six months after the tragic death of his only son, Jett, during a family New Year holiday to the Bahamas, the actor has been living the life of a virtual recluse, having cancelled all his assignments at work.  When he made a rare appearance recently, he cut a miserable figure, sporting an eccentric handlebar moustache and a shapeless baggy shirt.  This is the 55-year-old, double Oscar nominee, John Travolta, looking grossly over-weight and on the edge of self-neglect.


John Travolta’s 16-year-old son, Jett, was widely suffering from autism.  Travolta’s feeling of guilt is probably driving him to pieces, because the boy was being treated mainly by programmes of vitamins and detoxification, rather than conventional drugs.  This course was taken by accepting in faith a religious organization which considers diseases like autism, more to be merely psychosomatic.  To make matters worse, Travolta and his wife are dreading returning to the Bahamas at the end of September, for the trial of an ambulance driver called to treat Jett.  This man and his female accomplice are accused of trying to exhort 12 million pounds (Dhs. 72.31 million) out of Travolta by threatening to go public with embarrassing private details surrounding the teenager’s death.


The print carries on to report further. The Travolta family’s anguish does not stop here; as active members of the ascribed religious sect, the organization expects of them to undergo intensive sessions to establish whether the family’s negativity might have contributed to the grievous event.


Our lives probe us in so many ways.  The hotchpotch of events can match our scenes: hurling us, between endless situations of being surrounded on all sides by – The Devil and The Deep Sea.  According to the article, Travolta’s present dilemma possesses added dark shades, including his relationship with 29-year-old Kathrein, described as Jett’s nanny, at the time of Jett’s death.  Also, moving away from the sect for good, may prove to be a difficult, awkward task for the actor, as he has overly confessed his inner-secrets as per the required regimental rules of attaining membership to the religious group.  As things stand presently, too much is already lost and the remaining is on a rampage of getting destroyed. 


With audible sadness I have read the article; tied to my sadness is a profound piece of enlightening thought in the form of a poem written by the great Indian philosopher, writer, poet – Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). 


Where The Mind is Without Fear


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the dept of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
Backing my own sentiments: attached to the disconcerted developments in discussion, and forever saluting to the Nobel Laureate, I would humbly add to the last line of the above verse:  Into the heaven of freedom, my Father, let our souls awake....


  • The above prose-text was written on 2nd of August 2009.


Geeta Chhabra


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