There may come a time when the hard-earned knowledge we cherish would turn redundant. There may come a time when all we strove for would seem inadequate. And there may come a time when what we don't know would outweigh the combined worth of our wisdom.
For every culture, it were the established norms and the social mores that spelt doom for them whenever they were not in sync with times. Whatever we learnt and decided as edicts in stone were outmaneuvered by the wave of change, and those who clung on to orthodox and rigid principles were submerged in the inundation of novelty. When the old traditions are questioned, it's not always necessarily a mutation to be shunned, but a wake-up call. How we resist change and sing paeans of its glory is something that I feel is dichotomous. Such thoughts enter mind of their own accord, insofar as there is little to no external inspiration, and leave an indelible mark on the thought machine. I often wonder how we reached where we have? Was there a plan or we are mere accidents? No sooner such questions start pricking me than my mind tells me that better minds than mine have mulled over such existential philosophies and already left tomes substantiating their internal quest to understand the external status quo.
Had a rough day at work; it seems as though the quelling of one’s propensities are the sole concern of institutions. Writing, I have always believed, is a solitary pursuit. One cannot be at the mercy of the clock to churn out thought-provoking articles or insightful write-ups. Be that as it may, it augurs ill for the writer to work under bottom line-driven organisations. Here is where I suffer other existential questions: Is a man devoted to the rule of words a perfect fit in a world pursuing hard facts? Is artistic temperament a desirable ingredient to cooking up a perfect story? The answers have remained elusive since the time the questions started nagging on me. I have always found that I am a better editor than a writer, insofar as I am better at understanding, cleaning up and giving nuance to a copy than actually writing. It is not as if I am averse to writing or treat it as an inferior, I have always believed that the task of an editor is more difficult, for he has to first put himself in the shoes of the writer, understand and envision what the original writer wants to convey after forming his first impression, before finally giving better words to convey those emotions and thoughts that provoked the writer to pen whatever he did.
This one debate is the staple in my life. Whenever a new crop of sub-editors lands at my desk, I always start with a question: Do you want to be a writer or editor? The wide-mouthed wonder they stare at me with seems to always suggest that this is a question they never tried answering, or more brutally, nobody asked of them. An editor has to be an artist, a surgeon, a critic, a student, an honest person and a grammar fanatic all rolled into one, but not necessarily in this sequence. Artist because the world of letters always is on the lookout for the perfect medium to find its expression. None other than an artist give an outlet to the pent-up emotions hidden between innocuous words. A surgeon because an editor has to use his skills like a scalpel to operate on diseased conglomeration of words and help it stand up on its feet. A critic because without him one shall never know where he could have done better. A student because learning never stops and anything new and good is worth learning. Honesty is paramount, for an editor holds in his hand the work of others; when in custody of someone else’s property, the social contract imposes the dictum of ethics, which states one shall not demean others’ lifework, but attempt at uplifting it. Lastly, a grammar fanatic, as one has to believe in the law to impose it.
I do not correctly know why such thoughts have to be maintained in a journal, which as per established traditions is the repository of one’s dark or bright thoughts, personal during lifetime and public posthumously. I do not know whether I am in violation of any kind of ethical conduct by penning my thoughts in a digital diary open to public eye and scrutiny, but then, one never knows. Maybe someday some rational human being would take these pages apart, scruntise them and solve the juvenile questions I put much stock in. Till that day, I think I shall keep this practice intact.