It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. .
– Excerpt from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens.
Right from childhood, these lines by notable writer Charles Dickens always intrigued me. I was never able to comprehend what he actually meant.Initially,owing to my immaturity and innocence, I thought he might be confused about his feelings and was not able to judge the situation – after all how can the time be both best and worst simultaneously. There has to be a single perspective.His words are contradictory.The anaphora is puzzling.It is a paradox. What does he really mean?
I must admit that I have not read the novel. I tried but I could not. I don’t deny the fact that it is not one of the great pieces by a notable writer, but my taste in reading was different. I do accept that had I read the novel , I could have got the real idea beneath the words. But as I said, I was quite stubborn with my taste.
Now, when I look at these words, I get a sense of familiarity.As we grow, we learn that good and bad,darkness and lightness, hope and despair, heaven and hell – both co-exist.You will not find one without the other. It creates a kind of balance in this universe. If you have faced good times, you are bound to encounter worst predicaments. If you are filled with hope today, you will feel low tomorrow.If you are happy today, tomorrow you never know what might sadden you. If you are wise today, with time that knowledge will not be enough.These opposites definitely attract each other.
But there is a sanguine side to this whole theory. If you have been a tough time in your life, are you going to suffer your whole life?No. If you are sad today, will there not be a good news waiting for you tomorrow? No. If you are ignorant today, can the world make you stay ignorant if you work and learn hard. An emphatic No. The pearl to be picked up here is both good and bad exist in this world. It is a world of opposites. A roller coaster ride where at one time you are at the zenith, while at the other, you are deep down. But does it stop? No. It keeps going changing highs to lows, lows to highs.
Remember, Change is the only constant. Good and bad both co-exist. Fight the bad, embrace the good.