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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
Bah! Who am I kidding?!
It is just a blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

brevity is the soul of wit

Memory is a weird beast. Some memories are conveniently erased, some remain well-hidden but not quite erased, some pop up and jolt you when least expected, some linger and fester, but then, there are some that simply tickle you with a dainty feather and transport you to a magical place only you know.

When I was little, my dad quoted Shakespeare and Wordsworth with the same gusto he used to quote verses from Bhagavadh Geeta and other Sanskrit slokas:
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven is thick inlaid with...
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance...
Sthithapragnasyaka bhasha samadisthasya keshava...
Tato yuddhaparishraantam samare...
Satsangatve nissangatvam...
Anyway, for the last few days, I've been getting these disjointed flashes from my grade school days, one of which involves the class "diary" that became my inseparable companion. It was handed out by my school to every student, each school year, to record school-related notes like homework, mid-terms and exam schedules, dance/drama practice, sports day, school day and other events. The diary was about 6"x4"x½", with a maroon jacket, one ruled page per calendar day, with an idiom/phrase/saying/quotable-quote at the top of each page:
Awake, arise and stop not till the goal is reached.-- Swami Vivekananda
Power corrupts; but, absolute power corrupts absolutely. -- Lord Acton
Brevity is the soul of wit. -- William Shakespeare
I was in eighth grade when I came across the last quote above for the first time in my life - in my diary. It is not easy to get the nuances of beautiful phrases when learning four different languages in school... Maybe some day I will have to record my thoughts on how Thirukkural and Kabir's Dohas affected me at that age... Anyway, I was afraid to ask Miss NJ, my English teacher then, about it. So, I asked my Dad. I am not sure if he remembers, but, I remember having a tough time relating the words "brief" and "brevity", and wrapping my head around the phrase! But once I "got it", I was a changed girl.

Of course, brevity is something I seem to ignore in my posts here:)

Just because I have a lot of possibly inconsequential things to say doesn't mean I have to say it in ten thousand words! But, then, a beautifully-written 10-page "novel" is still a "short-story"... and I rather want to practice being a novelist:)

D, as my Dad puts it, is a man of few words, very economical with words. By the time I set up the premise when relating any mundane incident to him, he has jumped to the end and is satisfied, wanting to hear no more.

I like to establish the characters, build their personalities, set up the plot before I deliver the piece of information that I wanted to share in the first place:
Me: Synchronicity of the Universe, I tell you! You know the book i was telling you about the other day, that I saw at Border's and was wondering if it will be good for Ana? By an Indian American author? Oh, and you know I came across this wonderful space called Saffron Tree where they review children's books, right? Well,...

D: Fine, yes, i get it, somebody wrote a review of this book there. Is that it?

Me: POOP! I wanted to say it! Why won't you let me finish my story?!

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