The power of simplicity..

There are very few individuals that we can associate the word simplicity with. Many would think of the Mahatma as the epitome of simplicity and for the right reasons. My representatives for iconic simple individuals besides the Mahatma, who have left and continue to leave a profound effect on our lives and more so in their various professions are RK Narayan , Satyajit Ray , Mother Teresa, Abdul Kalam , Illayaraja , K Balachander , Narayan Murthy amongst a very few others. Each one of these individuals have not led flamboyant lives and have remained humble, they have drawn strength from their humility and let their work do all the talking. There may be many more to add to my list but there would be a million times more individuals who have been successful without leaving their marks. When one is simple, it touches our hearts and we tend to remember not just their work but also the persona for time immemorial.

Then we have simplicity in work, which need not necessarily be made or produced  by “simple” individuals but by even those who have led lives of flamboyance and style. But when the end result is simple, it remains endearing. It could be a simple narrative, a simple painting , a simple drama , a simple song or a simple movie. But what is the true meaning of simple? Some known definitions vary from – not complex; not infolded or entangled; uncombined; not compounded; not blended with something else and so on. When we say, ” lets keep it simple”, we are trying to imply ” we need to be clear so that there is clarity in our understanding”. It is easier said and done. Our minds dwell on a million things and does simplicity need to be dug from the dungeons? If all of us just lived on air, water and fruits without the influence of  the internet , i phones , our jobs , relationships, everything would be simple? Probably not.

RK Narayan’s stories are a masterpiece, a work of utmost clarity. When I read Malgudi days, I imagine the river Sarayu that flows through the sleepy fictitious town of Malgudi where simple people lived, leading simple lives. Narayan’s Malgudi days was brilliantly re-created as a television series on DD by the late Shankar Nag in 1986. Who can forget the title track of L.Vaidyanthan, once again it was a simple tune yet soulful and one that has left its mark.No wonder Narayan’s work “The guide” which he wrote in 1958 was made into a movie in 1965, starring the graceful Waheeda Rehman and the dashing Dev Anand. This movie is a classic example of providing limitless expressionism while dealing with invigorating relationships. The movie dealt with a very delicate subject and if it were not for the power of simplicity and realistically portraying it as a relationship between two individuals who simply understood each other despite the myriad of issues that they each had to deal with, it would not be remembered today. Simplicity can be woven even in a labyrinth of complex issues. There is no disputing the fact that this movie remains a masterpiece. 

Relating simplicity with movies I wish movie makers had the knack of telling us a simple story with not many frills attached. Most maker’s claim they cater to the frills to appease the masses, a line of thought I disagree with even in current times.At a time when 350 million USD are spent to create movies like “Avataar”, we have a movie like “paranormal activity” that was made with a cost of “USD 15,000” and has made gross revenues of USD 140 million, a home production quite literally as large portions of the movie were shot at the actor’s home. Closer home would be “PAA” that was made with a modest budget of  15 crores and reaping rewards.There is no formula for success at the box office and there is also no guarantee that simplicity would do the trick number wise, it probably may not. But once in a while we encounter the power of simplicity which takes our breath away, as someone rightly said that life is measured not by how many breaths we take but how many times our breath is taken away.


11 Responses to “The power of simplicity..”

  1. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Gr8 thoughts!!!!!!

    I would rather prefer defining Simplicity as “Simple people are like stained glass windows.They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.

  2. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Brilliant Sharmila….

  3. Anand Khare Says:


    It is really difficult to be simple. I would like to add Manmohan Singh, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar in the list of great but simple people we know. According to my analysis, great acdemicians, doctors and other learned people tend to be simple in life because they touch many lives and know the complexities of the wold.


    • Anand – Yes, one can include the three in the list without a doubt. I think it is far too simple to be simple, but people fail to see the obvious and I agree that the learned who have the ability to touch lives are epitomes of simplicity.

  4. Sharmila, Leonardo da Vinci stated, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. In that sense, this post is the epitome of simplicity.

  5. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    You are*** :)) welcome Sharmila

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