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The Cart Before The Horse

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I don’t know about you but I am quite well-known for putting the cart before the horse. When I was Manager (we were called Agents in those days!) of the Coonoor (Nilgiris) Branch of State Bank, I used to travel with my young kids in the hill train. The train will be pushed up by the engine from behind the coaches. I would point out to my critics that putting the cart before the horse was sometimes an unavoidable necessity and cite the example of the Nilgiri trains. You may wonder why I am bringing the cart and horse business all of a sudden. This is only to confess that I have this habit of titling my blog before I even have a subject to write about! Those of you who are familiar with Tamil cinema would not have forgotten Thangavelu who poses as a famous writer to his gullible wife in the film ‘Kalyana Parisu’ while in reality he cannot write a single word, let alone a story!


    A friend of mine was always obsessed with the idea that there was a writer in him and that he must get him out soon and introduce him to the world. He bought a hundred page note book and came to us seeking our good wishes before he started his story. A member of the club asked him if he had a short story in his mind or a novel. When he indicated his desire to write a novel, the member told him to buy a thousand page note book if had a novel in his mind for anything less than that could only be a short story. Another friend advised him to use the forty page note book that he had to write ‘Sri Rama Jayam’ before he started on his marathon novel. There was a subdued laughter on hearing this suggestion. When we asked him what kind of novel he had in his mind, he said that he targeted mainly critics because a good word from them would catapult his novel to glory. The ‘Sri Rama Jayam’ friend asked him if he planned to hire the critics, there was subdued laughter again.


    My heart bled for the aspiring writer. I know how the desire to write something without having any idea about what to write is a scourge worse than cancer. It first gnaws at our heart and slowly spreads to the other parts of the body. The only area that it doesn’t reach is the head! I never cease to feel amazed at the deal that Sage Vyasa struck with Lord Ganesha to be his scribe. Ganesha agreed on the condition that Vyasa should never stop the dictation even for a second. When Vyasa agreed, Ganesha broke his tusk to write the epic Mahabharat! During the last Ganesh Chaturthi, I saw an image of Vyasa dictating the epic and Lord Ganesha slamming it away on a keyboard!


    As I struggle to find a subject to write about every time after I give a title to my Rambling, I think about the people who created a masterpiece on their very first attempt. People like Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility), JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner) never fail to inspire me to operate my keyboard with one finger and one eye! “It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime"writes Khaled and I say Amen! After all, what I write is about some incident or other during my long march through life! They may not be enough to inspire a magnum opus but they provide good background for a Rambling.


    The friend who bought a hundred page notebook to commence writing if an inspiring thought strikes him is no laughable subject. Right now, he has plots of stories that he had heard from his grandma but it is not unlikely that he may hit the jackpot one day. There is no graduation process in writing. Just start typing and don’t forget to read it yourself first! I always laugh a lot when reading what I have written because a friend once advised me that if the writer found his subject boring, then he must close the subject and sleep it off. Laughter, he would say, must begin at home like charity. I recall an extract of Wodehouse that goes like, ‘At the age of eleven or thereabouts, women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.’ No one states facts of life better than he does. I am in my mid seventies and I am waiting for that stage in my life!
     
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  2. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Now that is a great idea CS. I often wonder what to write about and realising that there is just one topic right now that is topmost in my mind and that that topic is likely to ensure I lose all my friends, I refrain from writing. I had never thought of the other option viz. writing a title and then finding something to write about it. In fact, I think a horse might find it easier to push a cart than to drag it behind it.

    I am trying to imagine you reading your snippet and then going rofl before posting it. :) Believe me, I can almost picture the scene. :p

    If I keep waiting like your friend to collect stuff over the years to write about, I might never probably end up writing anything. To collect material, something needs to happen. If life is not happening, make the stories happen anyway. :)
     
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  3. parineetha

    parineetha Finest Post Winner

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    Cheeniya Sir, i had mastered the art of putting cart before the horse business ;) colloquially something like doing it 'ulta' no? Yes! I workout math that way..When it has to be LHS = RHS, I derive out the steps from the answer..Don't ask me how i can prove anything is function of something and something has a relation to everything. I can bring any integral or differential or exponential and even superficial function, linear or non linear, regression or progression, sometimes can be even a complete digression :p.. who cares? Its the outcome that matters right..Tie the cart before the horse or horse before the cart, as long as it pulls is my theory.
    When it comes to writing, I fancy the idea of first titling that too long ones..It's so convenient u know, u can write about each word..Say "birds of.. feather.. flock..together' I can talk about birds, colourful feathers, about flocking then swarming..:facepalm: just anything and still argue 'yea that's creative writing':D..
    Loved your rambling cheeniya sir and those annecdotes are super fun...
     
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  4. jskls

    jskls IL Hall of Fame

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    Cheeniya sir, enjoyed reading your snippet. Putting cart before the horse ... in my tamil poems I usually write the last lines/ words first and then go back and start from the beginning. Its like having story ending first even before you know the main characters or plot. Loved the way your 'sri rama jayam' added his 2 cents to help your writer friend. Now I understand why your writings are so light hearted and brings out hearty laugh.

    Good one and hope you are doing well.
     
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  5. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya sir,
    Many times it happens that final picture we see and then try to do what is needed. For that various means we follow. It can be putting engine behind coaches and push them or for that matter anything to make it work.
    For a writer flight if thoughts just flow. Kite Runner I like very much
    Dear Cheeniya sir,,
    It happens many a times that final picture is in front of eyes, then find means to reach or frame the final picture. Working for it may be different for different scenarios....one of them is putting the engine back of coaches and push the coaches.
    Ramblings are not different from any other writings (leave out Puranas). I remember once mentioning about Telugu writer Chalam. he wrote one book Musings it is titled. He says that he could not find a telugu equivalent word for it. They are all present day Ramblings relevant to his days. Just free flow of thoughts. They came every week in one magazine and later published as a book. I read the book. They can be called Ramblings of Chalam....everyone fan of his has that book. No preplanned story or characters or a line up of incidents......just whatever the mind says at that time! Even the great book "Chivaraku migiledi" by Buchibabu is the only novel he wrote and that became so famous and quite some Ph.Ds on that book.
    I like Kite runner a Lot. More than Thousand splendid suns which many do not agree.
    So, now you are experimenting putting title first and then ramble. Good. we enjoyed reading it.
    You have a variety of interesting friends in club.....too many consultations too many advices confuse a person.
    Good one. Enjoyed very much.
    Syamala
     
  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @satchitananda

    My dear Satchi
    To tell you the truth, I find it a lot easier to write if I have nothing to write about. If I have a subject and start writing about it, I get stuck at the start of every para. In fact, on such occasions, I even tried to write without paragraphs and it ended up like a badly cooked dish of potatoes! My mind likes challenges. It is the effect of all the schooling I had when they asked us to write on any of the three given topics within 500 words! I follow the same method now. On a few occasions, I even ask my grand daughters for a subject. Their suggestions are more suitable for their age group and I have to modify them to suit my style of writing. I am sometimes amazed that my rambling can interest such young age groups as ILites!
    Sri
     
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  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @parineetha
    Dear Neetu
    Your response took me back to my own maths learning. In my school, we were taught to add some ten five-digit numbers from bottom to top. Years later when I joined a Bank, we were asked to add the figures from top to bottom. Either way I never got the right answer. I am talking about banking some 50 years back when we did all the adding manually without using adding machines. A few mistakes in our addition and we had to sit through the night to ferret out all the mistakes and balance the books. Whenever there was a problem, a balancing squad would take over. It consisted of guys who grew up making mistakes and had become experts in locating the mistakes over the period. It is like saying that only a snake can know the legs of another snake!

    I always tell people to write about what they know and not about subjects alien to them. I had in a school exam went well prepared with the subject of lizard (palli) and the question was on teeth (pallu) I wrote a scholarly answer on lizard and got a zero for it. I argued with the teacher that I misunderstood the question. The sympathetic man gave me 50% of the mark for it!
    Sri
     
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  8. LakshmiKMBhat

    LakshmiKMBhat Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Sir, I always enjoy your posts. I have always wanted to ask why 'senile ramblings'? I know senile also means old. Your post are so full of life and humour. Thank you, Regards,Lakshmi
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @jskls

    My dear jskls
    You must have by now known that I am a great fan of PG Wodehouse. The best thing about his stories is that you can start reading from any page that the book opens on and laughter is guaranteed. But we can't read Agatha Christie or Edgar Wallace from the last page to the beginning. They may have written it from the end first and that is the prerogative of detective story writers. A bit of news for you. My good friend continues to walk around with his 100 page note book and the chances are that his wife may start using it to jot down her monthly expenses!
    Sri
     
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  10. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    @shyamala1234

    My dear Syamala
    Last thing first! Every friend of ours has something interesting about him worth recalling. Even the morose ones have a humour content. It is all for us to ferret it out and enjoy. Nobody lacks humour and even the docile ones start cracking jokes if there are people around to enjoy them. My son in law's mother is a voracious reader of Telugu literature and whenever she comes here, she tells about her favourite authors. Like you she too loves lighter reading but the only problem with her is that she laughs uncontrollably when she talks about the funny books she has read. Her laughter makes us laugh more than the book she describes. The more you write about the Telugu writers, the more I want to learn the language but my wife tells me to talk properly in Tamil first before I attempt learning Telugu. But my daughter who had no clue of Telugu before marriage is now an expert in that language! I have some knowledge of Telugu good enough to understand Thyagaja. As I am replying you, I am mumbling 'Santamu leka saukhyamu ledu'
    Sri
     

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