As a child, I never understood taste. I listened to what everyone around me listened to; enjoyed what everyone else enjoyed and so on. I knew nothing. It was during the first few undergraduate days, I was talking to one of my friends. I told him that western music can be identified by Britney Spears. He saw through my lack of knowledge and I was therefore introduced to a whole new world which I never knew existed. Gradually I started listening to more and more things, watching more and more movies and reading more and more books. I noticed that there were somethings which I liked much better than others and slowly but surely my taste has now become very rigid.
Speaking of it, let me share a certain author which I have started reading.The author is Hermann Hesse. I have read a couple of books and am reading some of his poems. He wrote his poetry in German and it amazes me how well has the translator carried the lyrics. Here is one
Only on me, the lonely one,
The unending stars of the night shine,
The stone fountain whispers its magic song,
To me alone, to me the lonely one
The colorful shadows of the wandering clouds
Move like dreams over the open countryside.
Neither house nor farmland,
Neither forest nor hunting privilege is given to me,
What is mine belongs to no one,
The plunging brook behind the veil of the woods,
The frightening sea,
The bird whir of children at play,
The weeping and singing, lonely in the evening, of a man secretly in love.
The temples of the gods are mine also, and mine
the aristocratic groves of the past.
And no less, the luminous
Vault of heaven in the future is my home:
Often in full flight of longing my soul storms upward,
To gaze on the future of blessed men,
Love, overcoming the law, love from people to people.
I find them all again, nobly transformed:
Farmer, king, tradesman, busy sailors,
Shepherd and gardener, all of them
Gratefully celebrate the festival of the future world.
Only the poet is missing,
The lonely one who looks on,
The bearer of human longing, the pale image
Of whom the future, the fulfillment of the world
Has no further need. Many garlands
Wilt on his grave,
But no one remembers him.
I cannot describe how much I appreciate his writing. It is not that he is extraordinarily deep. It is the simplicity of ideas, the lyrical prose that he writes. I will not maim him more by my banter.
On the other hand, I am trying to finish Mansarovar by PremChand. As a part of my curriculum I had read few of his works. I always wanted to read more but never had the opportunity. I guess the reason why I like him is because of his simplicity and proximity to the truth. I cried so much at the end of Idgaah.
If you really want to appreciate it you must read it in Hindi.
Everyone likes and dislikes a certain number of things. The choice that he makes depends on what he has seen and what has been his upbringing and something which people call genes. I do not think that a person’s taste decides his intelligence or quality. Taste is not a style statement. It is what you like and you need not like the same things as others. It does not make one superior and the other inferior.