I dwell a lot on symbolism. I also lay a lot of importance on character and values and what I have come to call in recent days: worth of words.
The first two would not be difficult to understand if you are educated. (It may be difficult, if you have confused your literacy for education, though. I sincerely hope that with my ‘open letter’ you shall stand corrected.) And the third one, is rather tricky. For in the great mass of gibberish spoken, said, enunciated, dispensed with, expressed, uttered, voiced and articulated – informally as well as in formal structured environs are sometimes, nee most of the times just: words. I have over the large part of my adult life found this to be a disturbing trend which was an exception earlier rather than the rule. Fortunately, it has not yet become the rule but the downward spiral into that abyss of worthless words is sucking many earthlings into its never-ending void. Thus, as a recent pastime I have started to look-out for the worth of words.
Groups of words ranging from “I love you”, “You are so special”, I respect and admire you”, “You look so lovely always”, “You are my role model”, “You are such a pure soul” – all of such kind, said in a personal capacity, have me looking deeper. These words have been coming my way more often, not because of a disclosed area of research but due to my very recent joblessness and movement away from an institution. The funny part, however, was that such words did not come my way in the immediate aftermath of my exit but subsequently. Which is what made me intrigued. The worth of these words increases immensely if they are meant and felt. And the instrument for measuring the ‘worth of words’ hasn’t been invented yet. Sadly, neither can any analysis of available data help with verifying the authenticity. Most of us are thus left to fend for ourselves. Often getting conned in the bargain.
BTW I’ve saved myself this time and will let you in on my little secret soon, once I am done with the theoretical part.
Then we have a large volume of words spoken at workshops, seminars, events, meetings, conferences and the like – all such kind of collective knowledge transfer (Good heavens, I have heard this somewhere! Exactly what I am about to enumerate) has me look beyond the venue/event, to look deeper. The worth of words expressed thus, increases manifold when the giver of this knowledge transfer follows the same in whatever they profess to be good at. Here too, there’s no standardised measurement technique. Thus, leaving many disillusioned. Have been conned here too, sadly; only saving grace was that I was part of a group.
This was the theory. Now for the formulas and solutions. Sorry folks, to be the pessimist, which is definitely very unlike me, but when I talk of the ‘worth of words’ this is what it is. How do you ascertain the worth of my words, for example?
I hope there was this ‘pregasure’ type strip where my words could be dropped in and a simple colour change would let people know the worth of my words. Or even a barometer under the shade kind-of-thing would have worked and the higher the temperature, higher the worth of my words. Or even some kind of fancy Bollywood style machine which could have had had either a needle or red/green light to visually let everyone comprehend the worth of my words. Advantage would have been that, in this last contraption, even literacy would have worked just as well.
Alas! So, it is not in reality. Then I guess one should have some formula which can be applied to simplify this knotty issue. Somehow, it is here that I appreciate what my husband always says to tease me, that if it were math, he’d give me an instant answer but with the English language, it’s not possible he avers. The reference to the context is about poems and Shakespeare and the like, which always required a large amount of explanation and writing – the obvious as well as the hidden which my school going son found to be a drain on our environment. Nothing noble there, just that he never fancied putting pen to paper too much and saw ‘that’ as his great and thoughtful contribution to our environment as he was saving on paper by writing a few words or sentences as opposed to many. Never found it funny then as I find it now. Neither my husband’s observation nor my son’s ‘thoughtfulness’ but that was then, and this is now – many a grey-hair year more and many a comfort zone career year beyond.
A formula was needed. I figured out one for myself. You could try it too, or rather keep it at a distance with one eye on it while you deal with the next barrage of words. And figure out for yourself whether the formula works or not. With the next onslaught of words – compliments or criticisms – evaluate fast, at lightening speed (whose formula I know not, being Math illiterate; except that light travels faster than sound & I remembered this my whole life because of the thunder and lightning example given by God bless whoever!) where this could be coming from. Are you important wherever you are, presently? Are you close to the next important person around? Does your word carry weight? Can you be trouble, if you want to be? Can you be of some use now or later due to anything at all? If it’s an outright “aye”, for all the above, accept the words with a foot note to yourself that you shall assign their ‘worth’ at a later more appropriate time.
Formula One of only one: The ‘worth of the words’ being said to you is often, directly proportional to your ‘worth’ wherever you are, where they are being said to you.
Exception: Conditions apply; please read the offer document carefully before you invest your time and emotions! (Do not roll up your eyes in ‘as if’ mode, for I have my ‘conditions applied’ close, warm-hearted and sanguine group of well-wishers whose ‘worth of words’ is priceless and with an authenticity & legitimacy that does not require a ‘till proven otherwise’).
Coming to the large volume of words, it is here that the terrain gets problematic and complex. There are two reasons for this. One, because in a group the onus of understanding it in one way only is not on you; you are free to have your own ‘take-away’ (have fallen in love with this word!), with as many meanings or synonyms as you may want. The typical advantage of being faceless in a mob. Two, such trysts with voluminous word sessions is mostly without a choice. And only sometimes voluntarily – which is when you would spend some monies from your pocket for it, so even an insipid flow of words seems like pearls of wisdom. Or another scenario where monies are paid but not from your pocket in which case such volumes of words are considered necessary evils and exigencies of where you are and the coffee and the cookies and even the lunch garners more TRP’s from you than the actual flow of words.
Thus, we are left with only ‘with voluminous word sessions is mostly without a choice’ in which case the formulas are two.
Formula One of two: The ‘worth of the words’ being said to you is often received by you in direct proportion to your ‘worth’ in terms of time spent, wherever you are, when they are being said to you.
Exception: Conditions apply; please read the offer document carefully before you invest your time and emotions! (Do not snigger please, for I have been part of groups which are on the other end of the room and larger in number than on the side which stands behind a public address system. Yet, my ‘take-away’ has always been what was meant to be taken-away.)
Formula Two of two: The ‘worth of the words’ being said to you is often received by you in direct proportion to your own sense of ‘worth’ in terms of your perceived importance wherever you are, when they are being said to you and your ambitions thereof.
Exception: Conditions apply; please read the offer document carefully before you invest your time and emotions! (Do not guffaw please, for I have been part of groups which are larger in number but have been on the other side too, which stands behind a public address system. And the ‘worth of my words’ was different for every different earthling present there and the onus of maintaining that thin line of rationality was always on me.)
Now for the solution.
Only one for all situations:
Be you, for “there is no one alive who is YOUER than YOU” (Dr.Seuss)
Of course, all else like being in the right place at the right time, keeping
the correct company of like-minded people, prioritising your life and its
goals, loving what you do otherwise not do it at all, speaking your mind and
empowering those who think twice, ‘for its another day for you and me in
paradise (Love you, Phil Collins!), support & facilitate the growth
of others honestly with no ulterior intention, share your knowledge &
intellect for that’s one property whose value increases when its not with you
but with others (don’t forget intellect will always defy economics) and
never be afraid to start the ‘fire’ for “We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it”. (Love you, Billy Joel)
Well, I sincerely hope you do. I did, I have.
PS: I wonder what worth you put to my words: Start the fire? Fight the fire? Didn’t start the fire? Tried to fight the fire?
2 thoughts on “An Open letter to all who are educated!”
Great! Shashi Tharoor will love this. And the photos are awesome.
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