I remember my writing professor MKB Nair drilling into our heads:” Read 3000 and write 1500 words everyday. Brevity is the key. Be exact, be precise.” Vigorous writing is concise, he would often go on quoting, William Strunk Jr and EB White, from the legendary bible for writers- The Elements of Style.
I was appalled at the idea of having to write 1500 words a day, let alone be able to read 3000. But his words have lingered on in my soul and every time I sit down to write, I remember him.
I didn’t have to study Journalism. I was already writing by the time I enrolled for my PG. Why did I do it? Because I wanted a different perspective; because before I embarked on writing as a full time career I wanted to meet others who were already writing; because I knew the professors would be great. Of all the professors I met then, Nair taught me the importance of making sure each written word was necessary in the sentence, V. Gangadhar took journalism beyond the paradigm of just writing and made me think of it as a profession- Not to mention he gave me a break writing my first article outside the Times publications, and last was S. Ramachandran, the youngest of the bunch who went on to become more of a friend and a great mentor who would dissect my articles to bits and tell me where I excelled or goofed. Their impact on me was tremendous and doing that PG was one of my finest decisions ever.
Recently the desire to study has been strong again. Education, I believe, is a continuous process. There is an urge to explore further into new territories and reconnect with what I am really good at. Probably all that is required is a fresh perspective. And so if it is going to be lectures and a tutor or books and self-study, remains to be seen. Something is coming my way; all I need to do is clear the path of obstructions for the light to shine on me.