Seven dangers to virtue…


And five verses on one!

I have a very talented bunch of school friends and every day we exchange a rather large number of emails. Sometimes there are short little exchanges at other times we have long and serious discussions, we share jokes, tease each other, occasionally we have violent (and vociferous) differences of opinions and occasionally these take the form of impromptu verses.

Here’s the result of a recent exchange.

Our friend Rajpal, in the spirit of the passage of the past year when thoughts turn to introspection, sent a post that claimed there were Seven Dangers to Virtue attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.


This was accepted by the group with sage and solemn agreement. One friend, Pavan, decides he’d add one more danger to human virtue, claiming that, “One could add another. Desire without rationality.”

Well, I thought, desire is irrational.

And so I challenged him with the following comment, “My dear friend the trouble is Desire knows no reason; it is, and therein lies the sting.”

That last phrase set off my rhymester bells and before I could control myself, out came this verse:

Heart and head they will not meet

Heart responds just to the sweet

For often when the head says no

The heart, dear heart, it will say ‘go’.

And when the heart heads for a fall

The head it says, ‘I told you so’.

Philosopher friend Pavan bats this back at me within minutes:

Crave on dear heart, for life is short
Let not the head, thy zing abort.
To fall and hurt is also gain
For what is life without some pain.

A third friend nicknamed ‘Kandy’  jumps in with:

The head and heart are never in sync
But do not let your spirit sink
Go ahead with all your zest
Get what you want and like the best.

Now I had to respond to these two and at least try hold up my end of the argument. So…

Love it!
And therein speaks the heart
For versifying is an art
Well said dear Pavan you are right
And so say artists, with all their might
’tis better to have loved and lost
To have your heart in tempests tossed
To give your might, your main, your all
Than never to have loved at all…

That’s the crux of my lament
Love and desire know no reason
Nor do they follow any season
And so you prove my argument!

In leapt Avinash – not in verse – reminding us that in a battle of wills between head and heart, most times it is the heart that wins. Finally, Mallika, our master poet, counsellor and chorus all in one, rolled out the final poem in the series…

Rajpal is our conscience keeper, he
Brings us our daily homily!

To the seven evils the Mahatma bade
Us save ourselves from, Pavan could add
Another, and as is our wont, you’ll see
Our ever youthful gang of G&G
Concentrates our talent on the eighth
Far more meat in that one, i’faith.
But Avinash made the connexion plain
Desire and Pleasure are brethren twain!

But Love – that’s a whole other ball game;
And that’s the one Rohini’d blame
For the Human Condition (with apologies
to Hannah Arendt, for her treatise
Placed procreation at the level of Labour –
But Love’s a task none would abhor!)

Arun Kandy joins the team, with yours truly
Bringing up the rear, with many a rhyme unruly!

Twixt Head and Heart, both, we must agree
Are ruled by our chemical inputs; verily –
(Like Pavlov’s dogs) what we eat are we,
And our choices are really not that free!

Superb argument. Case adjourned… unless of course our readers wish to add their views here!


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