Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Road Not Taken…..

An unusual title for an unusual poem. I first read this poem on a ‘tense’ summer afternoon, neatly printed on our English Examination paper under the title Part I (Reading Comprehension). My hands trembled as I lifted the question Paper carelessly tossed on to my table by the invigilator. Tiny rills of sweat trickled down my temple. It was indeed a hot afternoon. The roll numbers written on the polished mahogany desk had already started to fade. The lengthy question paper and the pin drop silence of the examination hall made me more uneasy. Quickly I whispered a small prayer, ( the sure shot antidote to such situations) and sifted through the questions. But little did I know that I was about to confront a piece of writing that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. …. Never before did I become conscious about the power of words to invoke a metaphor so vivid that it expresses an uneasy dilemma in life so effortlessly.
Many a summer has passed since then, but the hidden meaning in the poem still holds true and continues to intrigue me.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost (1874–1963).

The images were clicked on an impromptu trek into the Kumarakom Bird Sanctury , Kerala.