Of greatness born!!!
   Date :13-Aug-2019

 Of greatness born
By Vijay Phanshikar

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore—
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

- ‘Harlem (Dream Deferred)’,
A poem by Langston Hughes

Of greatness born!!! THIS is an eternal, universal question humans have often asked themselves! Really, what happens to the dream deferred?! And, is it really a dream in the first place if it is deferred? Yes! And, no! Yes, dreams do get deferred in the vagaries of life. Yes, dreams are defeated, too, in the process of living! Yes, dreams also are crushed when life’s compulsions weigh heavier than one’s commitment to the idea of the future that dreams happen to be! And then, there is yet another category which we tend to overlook more often than not -- Dreams are ignored as well. Oh, my God! Do we ignore our own dreams? Really?! Yes, many of us do. We do see dreams -- really big ones -- and then ignore those. We then stop seeing and sensing those dreams, those wonderful ideas whose seed we sow in ourselves. Occasionally, we recall those dreams as we pass through the rigours of life, get roughed up by other, more practical considerations. In that case, we ignore our own dreams and live life lifelessly.
This is, however, an altogether different category -- of ignoring our own dreams. Here, in Langston Hughes’ consideration, we are looking at deferred dreams -- the dreams we have set aside rather knowingly, or turned our backs on our idea of the future, for whatever reasons, legitimate or genuine or not. When one defers one’s dream, does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or fester like a sore and then run, or stink like a rotten meat, or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet, or just sags like a heavy load -- and finally get useless? When the poet asks this composite question, obviously he has almost experienced all these implied similes in his own thought or about his own dreams -- or at least sensed those in some people’s cases.
Dreams going sour or sore is a regular, universal experience. But when deferment takes place, there is a suggestion that one has done it knowingly, being fully aware that one is turning one’s back on the dreams! This is a terrible happening within, actually speaking. And when that happens, it must be leaving a terribly bitter taste in the mouth.
Or, still in other words, it must be leaving a stale tastelessness in the mouth -- indicating that life is no more a delicious experience; a sweet, darling taste on the tongue -- of a dreamlessness accepted with full awareness, so to say! But then, Langston Hughes’ idea of life was not of one given up. He was, not exactly in ideal sense, a person who often looked forward to life and its challenges. So, he does recognise the possibility that occasionally, a dream may have to be deferred -- for whatever reasons, right or wrong. But then, despite all the gloomy possibilities that he mentions in this wonderfully-worded poem, he also makes an open-ended suggestion -- that a dream may explode some day, some moment -- of reckoning, or realisation that one is born to pursue only that dream! That’s the point when greatness is born! -- Perhaps reborn!!!