Midnight 23-24 April 1564
by Dr Satyapal Anand
Twirled around the neck of the baby
Was the maternal cord
As if the new-born had reached the end of his life
Even before he was born.
The midwife was an expert in her craft
She got up
Looking for a pair of scissors
She went around the room
Couldn’t find one
So she bent and reached down
The blood soaked cord she cut
With her teeth
Removed the entanglement
Freed the tiny neck from the noose
The baby shuddered a little
Whimpered as if he was complaining ….
“What would the world need me for?
How would it gain if I lived
I’m but an ordinary baby
That’s what I am! “
The baby said to himself.
The midwife spoke to the mother
“Here is your William, young mom
The baby’s clean now.
Doesn’t he look cute ? “
That was the poem I wrote first in Urdu back in the waning years of the last century and then translated it into English for inclusion in one of my books published by Trafford Publishing in USA. The Notes I appended with the poem were
Shakespeare was born, midnight 23-24 April 1564, in England
Satyapal Anand was born the same night 367 years later in India.
Both had to undergo the same cord-cutting rigmarole.
I had no idea that with its publication in the sparsely circulated Literary Nook a magazine that probably reaches fewer than a couple of thousand subscribers it would be reproduced by Huffington Post. Then came a plethora of comments by the readers – both ‘healthy ‘and ‘unhealthy ‘in nature. Some were published but, as per the magazine’s policy, all were sent to me by email.
Some of these were very interesting. Since there is no copyright bar in reproducing them here, I venture forth and do it with the same impunity that as some say, is the hallmark of my writing … the Satanic part of it!
John Hollinger wrote:
Hindus are always keen to know about their previous birth cycles. When I was in India, I was taken by a Hindu friend of mine to an astrologer who told me that I was born a Yahoodi (Jew) in Roos I.e. Russia. The Germans put me in a gas chamber and killed me. When? I asked him. He said after some calculation, Seventy seven years ago. This put the year of my incineration in a gas chamber to 1941. “Well, Sir, I don’t know. The period your atman was in a void before your present birth, I cannot calculate. “Later, my friend told me that the astrologer was an illiterate man and knew only his own method of calculation that had come down to him from his own forefathers. How did he divine the fact of German gassing of Jews, my friend as well as I did not know…. So, does Mr. Anand think …. “ … John Hollinger asked in his email, “…that he is Shakespeare re-born, and that for four centuries or more Shakespeare’s soul had been wandering in the void?
Kamala Kapadia wrote from some city in Ohio:
Hilarious it is, indeed, Mr. Anand. I have no exact statistics but I can assure that all over the world thousands of babies are born each year on the mid-night of 23/24 April. Are all these babies reincarnations of Shakespeare? Be reasonable, Mr. Anand; don’t be a poetic buffoon to claim that status … The historical fact of the maternal cord being wound around the neck is, however, something novel for I never read this fact (or otherwise) concerning Shakespeare.
Matthew Shanks wrote from Chicago. “Good ! I know poets have always something in common. Shakespeare reincarnated — and you? A python and a worm? What a comparison! Why don’t you write plays like Shakespeare, man? “
My friend, Dr. Sadiq Hussein wrote from Pakistan.
The more I read your book One Hundred Buddhas the more I tend to believe in the phenomenon of transmigration of souls. Being a Muslim, my belief and my logic seem to be in conflict here. Could it be that Shakespeare’s soul went through a long cycle of births and rebirths in the 367 years that elapsed between his birth and yours? What an idea!
The best (or the worst!) comment came from a man (Joshua Young). It was from London, Ont. Canada. “You, Sir are a Falstaff as also all other Shakespearean clowns rolled into one, because you have their bluff, their wisdom wrapped up in tomfoolery and their sharp tongue. I wish I could see you in person to know if you dress up like a Shakespearean fool also. “
Well, these are not all. There are others, some prosaic, some poetic, some even bordering on metaphysics.