Yes, the buzz word in these days seems ‘creative writing’, what with a host of opportunities that our Editor in Chief, Medha ji offers. Personally, I wonder if such a course is at all the need of the hour given the quality of writing of fellow members that one gets to read. But then perfection is a relentless pursuit, and nothing is too much to that end.

Having said that, if I were asked to give a pep talk (to the best of my poor ability) on creative writing, here are my two cents – take it or leave it.

The expression, “Speaking of…” provides an inexhaustible scope to any writer to hop from one topic to the other. It is so tactfully used that the reader does not feel the switchover – except in this instance where you will be doubly watchful. Here is an attempt to keep using this expression and make much ado about nothing.

Speaking of much ado about nothing, one is reminded of an incident in which a hotel owner, an ardent admirer of playwrights, named all the rooms after famous plays. A just-married couple checked in for the night. They were shown one room, named “Taming of the Shrew”. They did not like it, and were taken to another, “Twelfth Night.” They rejected that too, and finally just accepted the third room. The next morning, as they checked out, they observed that their room was named “Much Ado about Nothing” –a well-known play of Shakespeare.

Speaking of Shakespeare, there is a school of thought which believes that Shakespeare was an Indian. They say his original name was Sheshappa Aiyyar and that he migrated to UK as his literary talents did not receive recognition in India. He shot to prominence in England and anglicized his name to Shakespeare as he observed that Englishmen had difficulty in pronouncing his long name.

Speaking of long names, we are familiar with quite a few such names: Srinivasavaradadesikan, Ananthapadmanabhan, Meenakshisundareswaran, etc. Such names mostly originate from South India, if you take statistics.

Speaking of statistics, one is reminded of the havoc that the statistical average can cause. Think of the man who, guided by the statistical data that the average depth of the river was only waist deep, ventured to wade through the river, and never got to the other side. This of course, is not to suggest that statistics is useless and that all statisticians should be turned out—no, not especially in these days when it is very difficult to get a job.

Speaking of jobs, one fellow applied for the job of a Security Officer in a company. In his application he mentioned that his father had worked as Chief Security Officer for arms and ammunitions in the Defence Ministry for 25 years and had displayed exemplary alertness in his job, etc. The boy was called for interview, and was asked: “What is the age of your father?” “65, Sir”’ replied the candidate. “Sorry, we cannot offer him the job; he is too old,” said the interviewer. The boy replied, “But Sir, it is I who have applied for the job, and not my father.” “Yes, but you have given details of your father, and not about yourself”, shot back the panel member, bringing to close the interview.

Speaking of interviews, we have heard many anecdotes about the interviews that have reportedly taken place in the selection for the Indian Administrative Service. One candidate was asked: “How many senses does a man possess?” He gave the figure as five. “Don’t you think there is also a sixth sense, called commonsense?” queried one of the interviewers, to be one up. “Yes gentleman”. The chap replied, “in that case there is a seventh sense also, called non-sense.

Speaking of non-sense, perhaps that is what exercise I am engaged in right now, and it is time I stopped making much ado about nothing.

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Sundaram Venkatesh

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