While normally one would think what is the motivation one gets while working in Government, I could say that all the motivation that I got to improve my skills, including writing, was during my sarkari career. I could write a few articles,and a book too which I got published. And, believe it or not, it was Mr. N. Vittal, (then Secretary, DOE) who was the prime motivator both in my official career and in my personal writings.
After my retirement, I suddenly felt the absence of a PA, peon, xerox facility, office time included (of course I took care always that official work did not suffer on any count) made me poorer and I had to refrain from writing, may be due to this, may be my thinking has slowed down, and perhaps nothing to think on, making me fall into a coma-like situation, so to say, for a long period.
Suddenly, a gift from my son from America of an iPad, brought me memories of my past fifteen odd years. The sudden arrival of the iPad worried me as to what am I going to do with this, how am I to learn computer at this age, how do I manage with my bad eyes and what on earth am I going to write on. Well, when you have no topic to write on, what do you really do? The situation can be compared to the ‘girl seeing’ ceremony, when for the first time you tremble, without knowing how to begin, what to say, how to say and what to ask etc.if you get a chance to talk to the girl alone at all. I am
talking of the arranged marriage, where you don’t have much knowledge about the girl and may not have seen the girl also earlier. These days are so advanced that boys and girls do not face such situations. Well, those days there was not even a chance for the boy to talk to the girl or vice versa.
I have read in one of my college lessons in English, where the author tries to write to his friend. This is how he begins: Dear ….. I have again and again tried to write to you some thing, and several such beginnings have already filled my waste paper basket.
You know the predicament. And as for the discursive writings, I recall what Mr. R.K.Narayanan says:’the scope for such a composition is unlimited-the mood may be sombre, hilarious or satirical and the theme may range from what the author notices from his window, to what he sees in his wastepaper basket, to a world cataclysm’. I now wish I had all the stuff thrown into the waste-paper basket I referred to earlier. Perhaps, from now own I must doubly check my waste paper basket.
Yes I could write on how the government works, a middle on Working Smart, a poem Sorrows of Subbu addressed to Mr. Vittal himself bringing to his notice how my case for counting of my past service in an autonomous body for full pensionary benefits was being handled as if to harass me, Capsicum Pakoda (eulogizing it’s virtues – the ones I ate in Kodaikanal) to mention only a few such odd topics.
I am feeling happy that I could write (now of course type, that too I myself, that too with a single finger, on the small key board hunting for the p’s and ‘q’s, on my new iPad ) something, without anything,justifying what Mr. RK had to say. I also remember what one of my earlier bosses, while working in AIR Calicut (who had an English literature degree from a leading Madras University) once told me: ‘Subramaniam, saipinte bhasha ullappol engine venamengilum ezhutham – when you have the English Saheb’s language, you can write whatever way you want. Again, was it Johnson (or Boswell) who had said: ‘any fool can write a book.