“How good and noble they are! And how base am I!”

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Friends, Letter, Literature, Musings, Slice Of Life)


Dear Sana a few months ago i had promised to tell you a story of Dostoyevsky’s first success and havent narrated it to you till this day. Today is the day.

I still remember messaging you that evening saying i broke down for the first time after having lost my job and you replied saying “Samvartha look around. There are so many people who love you and respect you. Be happy”. That was the first time i remembered this story of Dostoyevsky and it was that day that i promised to narrate to you the story someday.

I was reminded of that story again when i was in Kolkatta. I was in my room and Sunil Sir called me. He was in Sagara with Jadhav Sir, Subraya Sir, Pattabhi Sir and Vrinda. Everyone spoke to me and Pattabhi told me “We were talking about you so we thought of talking to you” and said that they all felt i was a nice friend. Then again i rememberd the story of Dostoyevsky.

Few days ago (December 1) i was reminded of the story again when i was at Pattabhi Sir’s place with Sunil Sir. Pattabhi Sir holding me said “You are such a fine man. We all love you a lot. But dont feel pampered” and this reminded me of the Dostoyevsky story.

So today i decide to narrate the story to you after a long time after the prmoise was made.

I came across this story in one of the letters written by Franz Kafka to Milena. So in this letter of mine to you i directly quote Kafka from his letter to Milena. Here is the story, in the words of Kafka:

Its a story which embraces many things and i mention the great name only for the sake of convenience, for actually a story from next door or even nearer would haev the same meaning. Incidentally, I know the story only very waguely, especially the names. While Dostoyevsky was writing his first novel, Poor Folk, he was living with a literary man of his acquaintance called Grigoriev. Although for months on end the latter saw the many written pages on the table, he received the manuscript only when the novel was finished. He read it, was delighted and took it, without saying a word to D., to the then famous crtic Nekrassov. At 3 o’clock the following morning there was a ring at D.’s door. It was Gr. and N., they rush into the room, embrace and kiss D., Nekrassov who hadnt met him before calls him Russia’s hope, they spend one, two hours talking mainly about the novel, only toward dawn taking their leave. D., who always referred to this night as the happiest of his life, leans against the window, follows them with his eyes, is quite beside himself and begins to cry. Inso doing his basic feeling, which he has described I no longer know where was: “These wonderful people! How good and noble they are! And how base am I! Id they could only see into me! If i were merely to tell them they wouldnt believe it”.

This is the story Sana, which i had promised to tell you. I am being honest to you and to myself. I remember my good friend Govind telling me once “Dude, modesty is not the best policy, honesty is”.

“These wonderful people! How good and noble they are! And how base am I! Id they could only see into me! If i were merely to tell them they wouldnt believe it”.

Hope you are keeping good. Take Care.

Samvartha ‘Sahil’

04 December 2008

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