Our team was divided down the middle debating whether Chetan Bhagat’s “Shakespeare was the Ekta Kapoor of his times” is a mind-blowing quote or a quote that a mind blown off by the winds can produce. We let it be from adorning this list. We bring to you top 10 great phrases from literature and its keepers – which hold relevance, value and even wit within their words.
10. “We have, as human beings, a story-telling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.”
(Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking)
Gladwell seems to have worn the cloak of invisibility and entered our homes to have collected data for this one. Look close. From self-composed (un)scientific explanations for our aching joints to the nitty-gritty of economic crisis, or even just wondering why the neighbor became so rich overnight – human beings are in a constant state of coming up with explanations for things they really have no real explanation for, whether it is to avoid going to the doctor, feeling wise at a party or plain and simple envy.
9. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
(Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)
The first line of this classic, and ringing true to this day even may years after it was written. Marriage continues to be the next logical step for men who are “settled”, or whose fathers are. Most Eligible Bachelor List is the name of the most popular directory, and online research too (or so we think). Plus, the matrimonial pull-out of your favourite daily is only getting thicker by the day. Alas! If only ‘good fortune’ ensured a good match too.
8. “If a man has to make a woman the center of his love, then why does he have to enter animality into it? Can love not be complete without it? Is love just the name of physical exercise?”
(Saadat Hasan Manto)
You may nod your head in agreement if you are a fan of all things Platonic. Or, you may wonder why Manto calls it ‘animality’, even if you understand why he calls it ‘physical exercise.’ But if you really give this quote a thought, you will understand what profundity the lies within, and the level at which Manto wants you to think. It may even make you wonder to yourself what love actually means to you. Quite a thought-provoking quote!
7. “If you would stand well with a great mind, leave him with a favourable impression of yourself; if with a little mind, leave him with a favourable impression of himself.”
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
You may have read this twice before really understanding the meaning. We did. What Coleridge is trying to say? In the company of a great mind, make sure you give him reasons enough to get impressed by you. But in case you are made to suffer a fool’s company, just flatter him no end, for that is all that matter to a ‘little’ mind – ‘a favourable impression of himself.’
6. “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.”
(Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own):
If there is a woman author who knew how to say it, it’s Virginia Woolf. With one sweeping statement she has reduced to a wreck all those who chose to tow the lines of literary (and social) norms and heed the opinions that others carried. Is this a wonderful way of saying follow your own mind and have your own opinions? Yes, as is visible in all of Woolf’s works!
5. “It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
(Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita)
Now, this is what love is all about, is it not? Beautifully expressive of an everlasting first love, this quote from Lolita is a wonderful thing to write on cards and gift tags, or use as an inspiration to pen an ode to your beloved. Short, sweet, and full of eternity!
4. “The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others.”
Profound spirituality, but not so deep that it goes over our heads. Deepak Chopra is asking you to love yourself, perhaps embrace all aspects that make you ‘you’. When that is done, you automatically seem attractive to others. Shed that judgemental frown, whether for yourself or for another, and see how charming your personality becomes. A holistic love that encompasses all is what we need.
3. “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
(Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray)
Now now! We did not say that, and even though we endorse it don’t you take the plunge and blame it on us. Wilde could just have been joking, and if serious was in his own context. If not, well, remember to bear the consequences. Each bar of chocolate has a million calories and that lady sitting next to you in class might not be very fond of cheesy pick-up lines. But then, some of the wisest phrases came out Wilde’s mouth. And some of the wildest too! It’s in his name after all, isn’t it?
2. “Lo, what huge heaps of littleness around.”
(Alexander Pope, Moral Essays; Epistle to Richard Boyle)
Few have been able to match Pope’s satirical sword, or blunt it with their own wits. You would be surprised how many quotes that we use so often are all courtesy Pope. (Google and see) We like this the most. And although Deepak Chopra, just a few points above told us not to be judgemental, it does not dull Pope’s sharp, and perhaps honest, observation of his milieu. Have to say, the observation seems topical to our surroundings too!
1. “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
(Plato, The Republic)
Alright, there is much written by Plato which you may want to reject outright. Say, his idea of banishing from The Republic all poets and painters. (Even though some countries successfully manage to do just that with their intolerance of difference of opinion and religion) However, after much hard work we came across this sentence that rung true and nothing but true about what besets us in our political lives. Let’s exit our air-conditioned rooms, and vote responsibly. Or else, let’s not be surprised at the evil that rules us!