The Diwali break is over. It’s back to work and back to school.

While out for a walk this morning we saw school children walking reluctantly to school- after a break of a few days which makes going back to school that much more difficult for both the students and their parents. As a young mother told me” I don’t know why they have so many holidays at a stretch. It becomes tough for all of us to get back to our routines.”

I told my wife I was reminded of the famous extract from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” said to be written in 1598-1600.

“All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players;They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms; Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lin’d, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

This passage makes more sense to me now that it did when I first studied it over 40 years ago. How true it is that all of us play the different “parts”- each with it’s own joys and challenges.