|Statue of William Shakespeare|
We know about expensive volumes of such classical books decorating many a Rana drawing room but the personal collection of Field Marshall Kaiser Shumsher J. B. Rana was legendary. He probably was one of the few Rana aristocrats of his time known to actually read some of the tome in his collection as he was keen to impress visitors with his sharp wit and chosen quotes from the classics. His personal collection was later turned into the Kaiser Library.
It was only at High School did I get re-introduced to William Shakespeare. Firstly it was through those Classic films with Laurence Olivier starring in the role of both "Hamlet" and "Richard III" did we start appreciating the plays of Shakespeare. Then came Class X where we did "Julius Caesar" in English Literature classes. Both the enthralling story and Father Eugene Watrin's knack of explaining the historical context held our attention. There never went an Elocution Contest without either the famous speech by Brutus defending the murder of Julius Caesar or its equally famous rebuttal by Mark Anthony recited on stage by our future thespians.
The real challenge for us was "Macbeth" our Shakespearean play during our Senior Cambridge year. We had to pass our exams on it. The burning ambition, the recourse to sinister, supernatural powers for the fulfillment of that ambition and the inevitable slide to madness and doom is as relevant today in power politics as it was in the time of Shakespeare's fictitious kingdom in Scotland. Macbeth and his lady filled our days and perhaps our nights too.
That was back in 1970 and we passed our Senior Cambridge examinations. Thereafter Shakespeare went into the recesses of my mind except when a brilliant movie like "Shakespeare in Love" came to us in video. It was in 2008, the year after my daughter Monica was transferred from New York to her present position at an investment bank in London, that I got re-acquainted with Shakespeare. I had accepted the plan to visit Shakespeare's home town with enthusiasm as I had missed such an opportunity several times before. I remember the weekend she had booked our trip to Stratford-upon-Avon very well as what was awaiting us there was a big surprise.
|Shakespeare's Cottage, now a museum|
|Procession in period costumes|
Another surprise for us, especially for my daughter Monica who graduated from Harvard University in 2006, was the plaque we stumbled across during our walks. The founder John Harvard's mother Katherine Rogers actually hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon. The family was well acquainted with William Shakespeare and his family. John Harvard emigrated to New England, USA with his wife in 1637. This was the jewel in the crown of my quest for the historical Shakespeare.
|Monica at the house of mother of founder of Harvard University|