Non-Sense And Sensibility

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“This is a bakwaas article,” my editor said with the nonchalance of someone who had made a well thought, informed decision. She probably rued not having a hard copy to fling back on my face.

I tried to look appropriately shocked and hurt. Like an aged couple we had reached that stage in our relationship where we realized the need of each other.

“But what is wrong with it?” I asked.

“It has no sense.”

“No sense?!” this time I was surprised. She had never used this alibi before.

“Yes, no sense.”

I made a quick mental note of the anti-thesis in that statement, hoping to use it in a story later. It was the burden of being a writer that a part of you always stood apart observing the scene as an eavesdropper even when serious accusations were being leveled.

“What has sense got to do with it? This is just a short story like any other short story.”

“But it lacks sense.” She seemed to be very sure about that. “Go and rewrite it. And thodasense addkarobhai.”

“What do you mean sense add karo? You tell me to add emotion, add sex, I can do that. But how can I add sense? I am a writer not a thinker.”

“You mean to say you write without thinking.” She seemed happy at having finally found a chink in the armor.

“No no, I mean I am not Socrates or Plato or, or… Swami Vivekananda. I am just a simple writer.” Modesty was always the best retreat.

“But that doesn’t mean you don’t apply sense.” She was now on the offensive and I was getting exasperated by this sudden obsession with sense.

“What exactly do you mean by sense?”

She was ready for this.

“Sense means any of the special bodily faculties by which stimuli from outside or inside the body are received and felt, as the faculties of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and equilibrium,” she rambled monotonously, darting a quick furtive glance at a post-it note stuck on her PC.

“And how does that matter?”

“It may not matter to you and me. But it does matter to the reader and it is the reader who matters, not you or me.”

She was right. There could be no argument on that point. Like public to a politician, like audience to a performer, it was only the reader who mattered to a writer and his every opinion had to be respected. I picked up my pen and left the room, thinking of how to make more sense, of how to meet the expectations of the reader.

For like the public and the audience, everything existed because of him.

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