Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


A Swiss journalist once asked writer Edward Gibbon how he could write so quickly during the time he lived close to the woods of Lausanne. For a period of ten years, Gibbon produced volume after volume of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

His writing speed astonished most readers, who hardly had time to finish Gibbon's latest volume before the next one was published. The story goes that Gibbon changed subject and tried to avoid answering the question, but the journalist insisted.

What was Gibbon's secret? Did he dictate his work to a secretary? Was he employing several assistants to research the books for him? After a long silence, Edward Gibbon shook his head and explained his secret to the journalist.

The key to his high productivity was relaxation, taking it easy on Sundays. From Monday to Saturday, he usually wrote twelve pages per day. On Sundays, only six.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Chris Gin under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


A Swiss journalist once asked writer Edward Gibbon how he could write so quickly during the time he lived close to the woods of Lausanne. For a period of ten years, Gibbon produced volume after volume of "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

His writing speed astonished most readers, who hardly had time to finish Gibbon's latest volume before the next one was published. The story goes that Gibbon changed subject and tried to avoid answering the question, but the journalist insisted.

What was Gibbon's secret? Did he dictate his work to a secretary? Was he employing several assistants to research the books for him? After a long silence, Edward Gibbon shook his head and explained his secret to the journalist.

The key to his high productivity was relaxation, taking it easy on Sundays. From Monday to Saturday, he usually wrote twelve pages per day. On Sundays, only six.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Chris Gin under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Story of Krishna and the hat

When Krishna, prince of Shurasena, announced that he would be visiting Vrindavana on the first day of spring, the news created great commotion. Seventy-seven years had passed since the last time a prince had set foot in Vrindavana and nobody remembered anything at all.

In cafés, men argued about what protocol rules had to be followed. At the market, women discussed about what preparations had to be made. At school, teachers drew the genealogy chart of the royal family on the chalkboard. In reality, nobody had a clue about what to do.

The mayor of Vrindavana called an urgent meeting of the elders council, listened politely to different opinions, and made a dozen objections against every suggestion. After a long debate, when the elders were tired and wanted to go home, the mayor put forward his own plan.

They would not organize a banquet, he explained, to prevent the prince from becoming overweight. They would not hold a beauty contest either, since the prince already had seven hundred wives. Instead, the citizens of Vrindavana would walk in procession before Prince Krishna, all wearing their ceremonial hats.

Boring proposals that fit tradition tend to be quickly endorsed and the mayor's plan was no exception. Although people in Vrindavana were divided since time immemorial by their allegiance to the morning and evening philosophies, many of them enjoyed wearing hats on formal occasions.

“Warmth gives life,” was the essential tenet of the morning philosophy, highly popular amongst cloth manufacturers, who on weddings and birthday parties, always wore an orange hat. The evening philosophy, which professed that “light gives warmth,” was the favourite of candle-makers, who never failed to wear yellow hats on funerals and anniversaries.

The elders council issued directives, the mayor wrote instructions, and citizens received orders. On the first day of spring, every man and woman without exception was to join the procession. Besides, each one was to wear an orange or yellow hat, with no other choice than that.

When the day arrived, citizens filled the streets, wearing orange hats on one side and, the rest, yellow with equal pride. The mayor inspected the crowd satisfied, but he froze when he discovered horrified a little boy wearing a hat of a colour that was not authorized.

“What on earth is that?” shouted the mayor, pointing at the kid. “Take him to jail and put him to death so that justice can prevail!” While the crowd echoed the mayor's command, Prince Krishna arrived, stopped the procession, and asked for an explanation.

“He has disobeyed orders and must die,” the mayor gave as reply. “Our tradition provides two philosophies for everybody's guide and no one can remain outside.” Krishna looked around the crowd, inquired if anyone had talked to the boy, and obtained a negative response.

“Let me speak to him, so that we can hear his reasons,” said Krishna. He advanced amongst the orange and yellow factions, walked up to the boy, examined the colour of his hat, and asked him why he had done that.

At first, no answer was forthcoming, but Krishna bent over and the kid whispered something in his ear. Krishna smiled, nodded, and turned around. “This is just what I had thought,” he announced, raising his voice and presenting the boy's hat to the crowd. “This is the third colour allowed by tradition.”

“What third colour? No third colour is permitted,” retorted the mayor irritated. “Yes, there is one,” answered Krishna calmly. “The colour of happiness.” A long silence ensued, while the crowd seized the full meaning of Krishna's words. Then, one by one, the citizens of Vrindavana took off their orange and yellow hats, shook their heads, and began to walk home.

In our days, tourists who go to Vrindavana are surprised to see that people there never wear hats. Those who ask why are told with a smile that “warmth gives life” and “light gives warmth,” but happiness combines them all.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by dalbera under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Story of Krishna and the hat

When Krishna, prince of Shurasena, announced that he would be visiting Vrindavana on the first day of spring, the news created great commotion. Seventy-seven years had passed since the last time a prince had set foot in Vrindavana and nobody remembered anything at all.

In cafés, men argued about what protocol rules had to be followed. At the market, women discussed about what preparations had to be made. At school, teachers drew the genealogy chart of the royal family on the chalkboard. In reality, nobody had a clue about what to do.

The mayor of Vrindavana called an urgent meeting of the elders council, listened politely to different opinions, and made a dozen objections against every suggestion. After a long debate, when the elders were tired and wanted to go home, the mayor put forward his own plan.

They would not organize a banquet, he explained, to prevent the prince from becoming overweight. They would not hold a beauty contest either, since the prince already had seven hundred wives. Instead, the citizens of Vrindavana would walk in procession before Prince Krishna, all wearing their ceremonial hats.

Boring proposals that fit tradition tend to be quickly endorsed and the mayor's plan was no exception. Although people in Vrindavana were divided since time immemorial by their allegiance to the morning and evening philosophies, many of them enjoyed wearing hats on formal occasions.

“Warmth gives life,” was the essential tenet of the morning philosophy, highly popular amongst cloth manufacturers, who on weddings and birthday parties, always wore an orange hat. The evening philosophy, which professed that “light gives warmth,” was the favourite of candle-makers, who never failed to wear yellow hats on funerals and anniversaries.

The elders council issued directives, the mayor wrote instructions, and citizens received orders. On the first day of spring, every man and woman without exception was to join the procession. Besides, each one was to wear an orange or yellow hat, with no other choice than that.

When the day arrived, citizens filled the streets, wearing orange hats on one side and, the rest, yellow with equal pride. The mayor inspected the crowd satisfied, but he froze when he discovered horrified a little boy wearing a hat of a colour that was not authorized.

“What on earth is that?” shouted the mayor, pointing at the kid. “Take him to jail and put him to death so that justice can prevail!” While the crowd echoed the mayor's command, Prince Krishna arrived, stopped the procession, and asked for an explanation.

“He has disobeyed orders and must die,” the mayor gave as reply. “Our tradition provides two philosophies for everybody's guide and no one can remain outside.” Krishna looked around the crowd, inquired if anyone had talked to the boy, and obtained a negative response.

“Let me speak to him, so that we can hear his reasons,” said Krishna. He advanced amongst the orange and yellow factions, walked up to the boy, examined the colour of his hat, and asked him why he had done that.

At first, no answer was forthcoming, but Krishna bent over and the kid whispered something in his ear. Krishna smiled, nodded, and turned around. “This is just what I had thought,” he announced, raising his voice and presenting the boy's hat to the crowd. “This is the third colour allowed by tradition.”

“What third colour? No third colour is permitted,” retorted the mayor irritated. “Yes, there is one,” answered Krishna calmly. “The colour of happiness.” A long silence ensued, while the crowd seized the full meaning of Krishna's words. Then, one by one, the citizens of Vrindavana took off their orange and yellow hats, shook their heads, and began to walk home.

In our days, tourists who go to Vrindavana are surprised to see that people there never wear hats. Those who ask why are told with a smile that “warmth gives life” and “light gives warmth,” but happiness combines them all.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by dalbera under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]