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The Half Doctrine


Ever since the Famous Author promoted the half- idea, I have been wondering who originally developed this earth-shattering concept. Was it Aryabhata, who after inventing the zero decided he might as well throw in another idea, two for the price of one? Was it Kalidasa who, watching an unsatisfactory monsoon do (half) its thing, decided to write a lament called titled `Ardha Meghaduta,`  only the first word got lost in the manuscript- to- typesetting process? Or was it Chanakya who, after a long and fruitless (also known as a half-baked session) discussion of state matters with an astoundingly ignorant aristo, decided that half-matters are best moved forward in the absence of full matters?


 You will notice that I am giving credit only to true- blue Indians. Far be it for me to introduce a foreign element into these proceedings by saying the Bard of Avon might have had a certain English king cry: Half my kingdom for a horse! Or that Sylvia Plath might have seriously contemplated a poem of many cantos on half a bell jar.
 No siree, that would be a genuine insult to the nation’s ability to produce, as also the nation’s ability to embrace such a deep and meaningful concept.
Think about it. We have been following the half-doctrine to the t. Pretty much everything we do and have been doing, has been on the half-line. We are past masters of the half-thought wherein we ruminate, and then let things be. Of the half-action, where we are seen to be initiating something, anything,  but no one recalls having seen us finishing what we started. All those breach of promise cases (also known as love failure here in the southern parts if the country) we read of? They are but the results of the half-affair.
And so on, literally ad nauseam.
Of course, this umbrella does not gather under its protective dome men who say women ought to dress decently in order to avoid rape, people who offer discounts on six-bedroom apartments with plunge pool attached in buildings named Bounty on the Lagoon, or those who attempt to resolve road rage problems with a car jack. Nothing half about them; they are all certified full cretins.
Also, the half-doctrine somehow doesn`t seem to cover steaming landfills, human unkindness and Salman Khan’s inability to emote.
But the half lot, they are everywhere. Poets who write half-poems which,  of course, are only half-understood. Authors who write 630- page books with half-stories. Those in power who are always arriving at half-decisions, thus pressing the pause button indefinitely on taking hard calls.
Then, there’s us, who buy half-vegetables for twice the price of full ones;  who work full-time for what is virtually half-pay; who move our half-car (and you don’t need me to tell you which one this is) to one side so the tomato red Lamborghini can swish by.
Well, now that we know there’s an official doctrine that we can equate to concepts like  shunya, moh and maya, we can go on doing our thing happily.
See the genius in the half-doctrine?
Sheila Kumar worked for the Times Group and now writes for many newspapers and magazines on matters concerning just about everything under the sun. She has had her short stories published in as many as six anthologies.Sheila’s first book, a collection of short stories titled Kith and Kin (Rupa Publications) was released to very good reviews. 


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