YOU KNOW HABITS DIE HARD My late dad was often telling me practise to write less to convey more. While he was speaking less to convey more, I was always keen to use as many words as possible while writing and speaking. When I stayed away from home during the era that had not heard of Internet or smartphone or simple mobile, the only way to communicate with dad was inland letter card. When I began using bombastic language to impress dad with my word power, he was content writing a post card hardly any white or grey space left out. “Brevity is the essence of communication or correspondence” he told, citing the example “Quit India” Of the Father of The Nation. He used to say often, that If one's aim is to reach the lowest of the low, his or her communication to them should be naturally in simplest words or phrases as the layman is not interested in joining your party as he has not understood your communication. He further added that the communication should be lucid and straight and avoid circumscribed sentences keeping in mind the literacy level of target audience. This our country politicians understood well. Dad took great care in placing punctuation marks especially the full stop. He said that redundancy and superfluous statements to be avoided. Dad was mentioning of a reprieve case where the Governor of the state was to take a decision and convey it in few hours before the time arrives for the prisoner to be sent to gallows. As Governor was camping outside the capital of the state during pre Internet era, he communicated his decision to jail superintendent by wire. The wire message received in good time and the hangman freed the prisoner who sought reprieve from being hanged. Later when Governor came to know that the prisoner was not hanged, he was quite taken aback. He had dictated wire message as “HANG HIM. NOT LEAVE HIM” but in telegraph office transmitted the message as HANG HIM NOT. LEAVE HIM”. A switch in placing the stop at a different place in the sentence proved quite lucky indeed for the prisoner. He would begin the letter-writing always with a tamil letter ”உ” written at the centre top of the page or post card or inland letter card. When I asked him, why for it, he advised that it is better to begin the letter with prayer to Lord Ganesha so intent of contents of the letter remains positive to all concerned. When I was nine, He would insist that I read always bit loudly, especially the text books. Though I reluctantly followed his instructions in this regard, later I realised the importance and benefits. I was walking hither & thither, by-hearting loudly a passage containing the word “miscellaneous” loudly. When I read for fourth time, he softly corrected me of its pronunciation. I Was pronouncing it incorrectly as “miss-kell-Ya-noss”. When I heard English to Tamil dictionary was available at a discount with the LIFCO press, I walked the distance from Triplicane to T Nagar and purchased it for for ₹4.50 saving ₹0.50. When dad came to know of this, I remembered that night he massaged my calf muscles. But the dictionary use was largely in his hands juxtaposed with the THE Hindu Editorials. Later I clung to his habit that made me familiar with newer words which facilitated easy taking down short-hand dictation at the institute in summer mornings. I learnt correct pronunciation of many words from dad. Even to this day, Facade, mote, fledgling etc are the words as and when I come across, it would remind me of my dad. He was fond of coffee to the point of addiction. At home or hotel, he would always share a fraction of it with me. I continued the same habit with my son and spouse and daughter. Dad while reading anything, he would make small pencil dot corresponding to that passage and gently top fold that page corner and then leisurely in one go look for the meaning of the words in those passages. I too followed the same habit and later wondered how that habit enriched my recognition and functional vocabulary. During my pliable age, dad taught me all this and you know habits die hard.