We were walking
Through Calcutta today,
And halted in front of Tagore’s house –
Its gates were closed for Durga puja.
The guards let us take a peak over the fence:
The place really is an oasis of greenery and good taste,
All prerequisites for writing are there –
The garden in which he could drink his endless tea
And reflect upon universal things like love and beauty
Or send out letters of praise and protest
To whichever statesman or poet he wanted
While the chirping of birds overpowers
The flood of sounds from hectic streets
And the conceived smell of warm croissants,
So fundamental in shaping of human kindness,
Drifts above the neatly mowed lawns.
Nation building is a criminal act,
He notes down.
1 A riff of the title of the work by a philosopher Ruwen Ogien, The Influence of the Smell of Warm Croissants on Human Kindness and Other Questions of Experimental Moral Philosophy – a study of the school of minimal ethics and circumstantial relativity of morality (Paris: Grasset, 2012).
2 A quote actually belongs to the political psychologist and social theorist Ashish Nandy, and is taken from his article Unclaimed Baggage, published online in “The Little Magazine,” In bad faith, Volume III: Issue 2. Tagore shared similar views on the notions of nationalism and nation.
Indian Review | Author Profile | Lora Tomas is an indologist, writer, translator and editor from Croatia, currently living and working in Bangalore. In the past, She has worked as English and Hindi teacher, and Hindi advisor and translator for Croatian Television. She has also co-edited and translated into Croatian a selection of contemporary Indian women writing Popodnevni pljuskovi (Afternoon Showers), published by the VBZ Publishing House, Zagreb, 2011, and have contributed travelogues, interviews, and other articles for Croatian, Indian and Asian publications, and web portals such as Him?l, Fountain Ink, Goa Herald, Jet Wings, and H-Alter.