‘The Hammer of God’ has been an all time favorite. Chesterton’s Father Brown has been my soul delight since teenage. Recently, mesmerized by the BBC’s ineffable command of their background music-which can haunt you for years endlessly- I watched their new, delightful series based on the beloved, titular character.
The hammer was definitely not Thor’s (Forgive me Father, I could not help that pun); the story-line was totally different, and the depth of psychological analysis in the original was perhaps missing too. Except that they retained a single line about ‘the heights making men believe they were Gods perhaps!’
But my daughter and I agreed that Father Brown was adorable. His open mind, his love for scones, his ability to laugh easily ( In the ‘Bride of Christ’ he laughs out -and won my heart- when he reads the quote pasted to castigate: ‘When lust conceives, it shall bring forth sin!’) and his sweet simplicity, were hmm…plain delectable! I can bring myself to forgive that they mercilessly hijacked the classic story ‘Eye of Apollo’ only because of Father’s great charisma.Kudos, Mark Williams!
The Essays of Elia (1823) by Charles Lamb is another classic.
I got an opportunity to thoroughly relish his eponymous essay ‘A dissertation upon roast pig’ and ‘A bachelor’s complaint of the behaviour of married people’ by chance accident…( Your hand reaches out to pick a book which just had these delights tucked away in them) only to watch the movie ‘Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society’ that blew in the essay on the pig-with its whiffs of simple joys- right back into my life a few days later. Serendipity? Oh, yes! May she continue to grace my life always.
In Joseph Addison’s essay on ‘Friendship’ (1888) he writes presciently, ‘Some friend is a companion at the table, and will not continue in the day of thy affliction : but in thy prosperity he will be as thyself and will be bold over your servants. If thou be brought low, he will be against thee, and hide himself from thy face.’
Wow! How many of those ‘friends’ I have had! Exactly the above observed behavior!
Ironically, in Goswami Tulsidasji’s ‘Sree Ram charit manas’- the Hindi Ramayan- in the Fourth Canto ‘Kishkindha Kanda’, Lord Ram explains to Sugreeva about toxic friends!
” Aagem kah mridu bachan banayi/ Pachem anahit mann kutilayi//
Jaakar chitt ahi gati sam bhai/ Us kumitra pariharehim bhalayi//’
‘The friend who speaks sweet/sugary words on your face but bitterly gossips about you behind your back, that one is wicked! His mind is crooked like a serpent’s path. It is better to forgo such a bad friend from your life.’
Note: While browsing through a magazine in a shop, I encountered the confession of a royal who had it all: including depression.
He said something deep. ‘ Depression is the inability to have feelings. It is not about bad feelings.’
For sunshine, Father Brown, chewing on the delights of roast pig and ruminations on the vagaries of friendships… a toast for the joyous feelings that they provoke! Perhaps we underestimate the value of life’s most precious gifts- disguised as the simplest and easiest to find- on our life paths.
Title: Shamelessly copied from the starting of Addison’s essay.
Ovid, Met.i. 355