Thursday, June 16

Keep It Simple Son!

History repeats, or almost. The story starts many moons ago, in a conversation between two highly unequal individuals. The first of them was first in many respects. An idol for many, he had chosen to strike out on his own despite not-so-humble moorings. Starting from scratch thus, he had risen through the ranks by virtue of sheer grit and effort, never compromising his values in the face of hardship or temptation. He would achieve a lot more in the years to come, but even in the times we speak of, was widely quoted as an example of integrity, determination and commitment to professional excellence.

The other party to the conversation was young; in fact too young to have any worldly standing. Imbued with the precocious confidence of youth, he ventured an opinion on the quality of the elder's published output. Of course he had no credentials whatsoever to comment on its technical or pedagogic merit. Neither did he have any justifiable claim to pontificate on the literary value. In fact, the little exposure he had to the Queen's was due to a love for the word, engendered and facilitated by this very conversation-partner!

Fortunately, the older man was characteristically large-hearted. He understood the recklessness of youth. Perhaps he gave some leeway to the chastity of the boy's intention too. As it turned out, he took the cheeky attempt to critique his body of work in his stride. Notably, the advise ran thus: the language ought to be simpler, the sentences shorter and words commonplace! History has it that the elder smiled and the young boy came away feeling on top of the world, an emotion of exaggerated self-importance of the kind one experiences on making an unexpected contribution in a chain of events.

The years rolled by: the boy turned into a young man and more, though the elder remained first. One day, the historical conversation was relived. The not-so-young man asked for the elder's opinion on his limited ouevre. The shoe, as they say, was on the other foot! Yet, with usual humility, the older man read through the younger's outpourings, half-smiled and nodded. Presented with what was clearly mild approval at best, the son took recourse to boyish petulance, and pressed for more pointed feedback. The father replied: "It is good, but you may consider making it an easier read, lest the message be lost in the medium". It was not a comeback, just the truth, resonating with what many others had said earlier; but that one moment had turned the idea to an important actionable!

Thank you and happy 16 June :)


Anonymous said...

And one’s heart is a stream of gratitude; indeed for him who brought this change in our exquisite writer’s unblemished writing/s.
Monsieur the change is evident and pleasant; tell me something, were you smiling (grin would be too high an expectation) while this was worded? :-)

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