The road not taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Robert Frost

A poem that has been read by almost everyone who reads even a little.You may be into poetry or you may think that it is too abstract for you to understand but this is one poem you probably have attached your own interpretation to.And also probably have had that faint image of how that road looks like.

By Richa Rai

Recently I passed this path and it brought this poem to my mind.The path wasn’t anything special.Just one normal dusty road surrounded by tall trees but yes,probably less trodden upon and I started connecting it to how often I hear this term repeated by people.

Whenever anyone does anything differently it’s ‘the road not taken’.You go to a place which is not that ‘touristy’ it’s the ‘road not taken’.Your friends are all doing engineering and you choose ‘arts’ it’s the ‘road not taken’.You decide to take everyone to a roadside ‘Dhaba’ instead of a fancy place for your birthday it’s the ‘road not taken’!

Do you see the common factor amongst all of these?As to how all of it is in context to other people.It is the ‘road not taken’ by other people.For me it was always about the ‘road not taken’ by myself.What I could do to challenge myself.How I could overcome my own limitations and my own fears.

Why is it that we get so caught up in this web of the society’s view of us?Why should we let other people be the judge of the path that we should follow to reach our goal?The funny thing being that they are the ones deciding that what goal you have to attain too!

Well coming back to the poem.After this musing of mine I got talking to a friend and he told me that the interpretation attached to the poem i.e rebellion,opposition etc is not really what Frost had in mind.And I remembered that the first time I read this poem I was a bit surprised by the word ‘sigh’ in the last stanza.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

A’ sigh’ of what?Regret or just of old age?Does the poet want to say that he regrets taking the choice or is he happy?

And after a lot of thought I concluded to myself that it does not matter.Does not matter whether it was the right or the  wrong choice.Because he did move on that path,he took a decision and followed through with it.And you know whatever you might do there is going to be a part of your brain that is going to say ‘Maybe if…’.

There are always going to be other ways.Always.And there is always going to be the human nature in you which is also always going to wonder.

But maybe if you have stuck to the path sincerely enough and you have enjoyed walking on it ,you will also ‘sigh’ only once,at the end of it.And that will be all 🙂

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