My Life and Times : An Overview (by Shiva Kant Jha)
‘The Fragrant Years’ broods over what could be the best in love that suffused my early years the fragrance of which has continued in mind to save me from the torrents of negative feelings, and to sustain me even when life cast me in some sort of gas chamber. Those moments have spread before my mind’s eyes the rich rose petals on which I have read and enjoyed the lyrics which my Destiny composed. ‘A Cog in the Machine’ appears to me the years when, like the Earth, I had two movements at the same time: one trying to bear the heat and burden of the Revenue Service of our country, and the other, attempting to study men and manners, laws and morality, the earth and the galaxies, myself, and my maker….. During this period of my life, I was enriched on seeing life in the raw: I felt my several illusions stood pricked. Delight and distress came in varying proportions. I experienced enormous joys, and deep distresses. I shared the agony when my heart broke both literally and metaphorically. The slings of misfortune pierced often most unkindly making me realize the relevance of what Dante said in his Divine Comedy (Inferno V.121): “There is no greater grief than to recall a time of happiness when in misery”. ‘Illusion and Reality’ traps me in the continuous intercourse with realities, rough and inclement. I had many
moments when ‘illusions’ seemed ‘real’, and ‘reality’ turned ‘illusive’. The Bhagavada Mahapuran tells us (in Canto 11) how Krishna sat in silence under a peepal tree. He was struck by a hunter’s arrow. It is difficult to think what verdict he might have passed on his life in those final moments. But whenever I
reflect on my life with fidelity, I get absorbed counting my life’s yellow leaves, some fallen, some yet to fall, some severed from the twigs but still dancing in the breeze before acquiring rest on the soil. I have marked their beauty and rich poetry. I have my reasons to marvel, and to get amazed, at my Destiny’s choreography of my life. I have enjoyed many pursuits but what has delighted me most is that ‘noiseless sound’ of the cavalcade of events about which I have written in this Memoir. When I hear this ‘noiseless sound’, I recall the words of Keats in his poem ‘I Stood tip-toe upon a little hill’:
A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves.
[You will find the above stated ideas developed in the Second edition of my Memoir, On the Loom of Times: The Portrait of My Life and Times]