People say nothing is impossible. But I do nothing every day!~ Winnie the Pooh
My dad was a great advocate of doing nothing. He was the quintessential strong, silent type. A calm, gentle yet resolute man of not many words, he never imposed his will on others, never gave advice unless asked and then again any advise given was short and to the point.
Growing up, one of the things I saw him practice was keeping mum and not taking sides in a situation where he did not know the whole story. There are as many stories as the people in it, he used to say.
He even kept mum where he did know the whole story. Sometimes taking sides is not more important than listening, he used to say.
And he did not feel the need to voice his opinions about situations or people however good or bad. My opinions shape my life, not others’, he used to say.
He was also averse to having emotional outbursts in public or private. I observed him keep a tight check on his words in many awkward situations, when most would certainly have let loose. And that included shouting at us or saying I told you so when we got into scrapes. If I am going to lose it, the situation has to be well worth the show, he used to say.
His method of making us realize our mistakes was not airing them in public but letting us mull over them in private. Anyone can choose to do anything and be anyone, be more discerning in the choices you make, he used to say.
So very early on in life, I learnt this from him that sometimes the best thing to do and the best words to say are nothing at all.
I was reminded of this recently in a novel I was reading by Elif Shifaq called The Archietect’s Apprentice.
The story in The Architect’s Apprentice is set in sixteenth century Ottoman Rule in Istanbul and gives a good glimpse of both the grandeur and the grim surrounding that era . But also transends from time to time to remind its readers of some profound truths that are woven into its fictionous tale — little nuggets of wisdom that go straight to the heart and stay there.
And one such nugget of wisdom, was a brief conversation between the architect’s apprentice and Tomasso. Tomasso was a philosopher and poet of some repute in the late Renaissance period…