In the crowd of stray thoughts, a stroll every evening, lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, I spend time. An array of thoughts, like the variety of flowers in the garden dancing to the tune of breeze, appears from nowhere. Whenever I take a stroll in my world of thoughts, this happens. There are a number of such thoughts - some repeatedly reappear, like speed breakers on roads; some vanish into emptiness.
At times, I am devoid of ideas - good ideas. To preconceive something extra-ordinary, something which does not touch the periphery of our socio-politico-economic environment, is sometimes very difficult, for, the problems I, as an ordinary man, face always center on every new but problematic developments in our country, which seldom have relevance to well-being of people at large. As Winston Churchill said, there are no affairs in our state, for ours is a state of affairs. Therefore, it is natural that one has to ponder over and over again on some newer idea. But then I cannot be an idealist, for an idealist is literally an impractical person.
Yet, I starved for some idea. Once it so happened with late C Rajagopalachari, eminent among the diplomats of India and a writer. He wrote in reply to an invitation to write an article for a Tamil publication: “My brain is not working now. This machine (brain) does not work at our wish. Though I am ready to accede to your request, no idea is coming out of my brain. Kindly excuse me this time”.
Of course, it is a question of talent, a god-given gift that drives one to think creatively. Good thinking always results in good ideas. But talents differ. So beautifully wrote R W Emerson, the conversation between a squirrel and mountain, which ends like this:
“……………………………………………. Talents differ; all is well and wisely put; If I cannot carry forests on my back, Neither can you crack a nut.”
I am neither a squirrel nor a mountain. I am nobody from nowhere - like my thoughts, emerging from nowhere.
Richard III could show how to cut a big piece of gold into two at a stroke so effortlessly with his axe that King Solomon praised him sky high. Then it was the turn of the king to show his ability by cutting into two an ordinary pillow with his sword, which Richard’s axe could not perform. A clash of ideas. What transpires is, an axe is an axe and a sword is a sword. And so a pen is a pen.
Rousseau, Voltaire, all could mesmerize the people with their pens. They chose the medium of pen to express their ideas. They had vision and theirs were products of intellectual thinking. Died them all, but their ideas and thoughts are still alive. Rousseau died before French revolution. Byron, Shelly or Keats all died in exile - never to see the rebirth of their revolutionary ideas. Until Raymond Weaver, preparing a biography of Hermann Melville, rediscovered the old write-ups in 1921, ‘Billy Budd’ was unknown to the world.
1993 - Appeared in FREE PRESS JOURNAL, Indore Edition