Once upon a time.

10.3.B. Once upon a Time. 

'Once upon a Time'

  Here 'Once upon a time' suggests how people
were once, is far from what is being witnessed in the society now. 'Once upon a time' is a phrase used in 'fairy tales'. Maybe the poet thinks that expecting sincerity in people's actions is like a fairy tale, which is not real.

    The poet looks back at a time in the past when people were honest, sincere in their dealings with one another. He regrets about the behaviour of the people now. He says that he wants to see the frankness of people that existed long time ago. The poet expresses his sadness comparing his laugh to that of snake. Teeth are expressionless and they do
not express anything. The expression 'ice-block
cold' eyes refer to eyes without any warmth.

    When the poet says 'people search behind his shadow', he means that people say things what they do not mean and they are hypocritical. The poet uses the words 'hearts' and 'faces' to refer to emotion. He says that people in the past showed emotions on their faces coming from the heart when shaking hands or when laughing. It is true that we can see the emotion
in one's eyes. The poet says that people these days are not sincere when they say 'feel at home' and 'come again. They don't really expect others to go there. The speaker tells us that he has learnt to deal with this fake, insincere world by changing himself to one of those people. Like others, he too hides his real feelings. He says that he has learnt "to wear many faces like dresses” Just like people keep changing dresses to suit different occasions, the poet has learnt to behave differently in different situations.

    The poet admits that he has learnt to say what fits each situation instead of speaking the truth. He fakes his behaviour. When he feels like saying 'Good-riddance', he says 'Goodbye'. When he feels like saying 'Good-riddance', he says 'Glad to meet you'.

    Here 'muting' refers to 'changing all the time'. It may also be like the poet has learnt to behave in such a way that it 'mutes' or 'silences' his real feelings. He tells his son that he wants to get rid of this false laugh showing only the teeth. The comparison of his laugh in the mirror to snake's bare fangs brings out the fact that the smile is artificial and might be dangerous. The poet regrets his fake behaviour and so expresses his desire to unlearn all those bad things and learn how to laugh sincerely. The poet asks his son to show how to laugh sincerely. Children do not fake things. They show what they feel inside. Again, the phrase 'once upon a time' reiterates the fact that he wants to be what he used to be once.


K Naga Raju S.A. English.

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