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a middle riddle

a middle riddle

a middle should really be a middle, said rajan in a deep and philosophical voice. then he relapsed into silence, a deep silence. whenever he chose to relapse into a deep silence, his friends, or even his enemies, dared not interrupt it, especially after such a philosophical statement which he had just made. the friends, gathered around the table with coffee in front, waited in silence. they knew from their rich experience that it took much stronger men than they were, to stop rajan once he chose to give his views an any matter. they had no option except to wait

and he would have plenty to say. he was on his favourite topic. he was a well-known middle writer. his middles were spread all over delhi and beyond. no matter what you did when you did, you could not avoid his middles. if you were to open his drawer, a middle was bound to hit you in your eyes. if you passed by his green file which was always on his table, a middle or an unfinished middle will stare at you accusing you of prying into his private papers. if you were to relate a funny incident in his presence, or even an incident not so funny, his fingers will fly over his typewriter to produce another of those middles. his middles were everywhere. editors awaited them. compositors abhored them. proof readers dreaded them. readers looked sideways. he often remarked that his middles made his ends meet.

and so everyone waited. after a due pause, he resumed “yes, a middle should be just a middle. it should be over when it is still in the middle, i mean the middle of the page, not the middle of an idea. a middle should be concise, precise, to the point, and direct in its expression. above all it must be devoid of humour”.

he saw the doubt on the face of the listeners. so he added, ”yes, certainly. you would think that a middle is expected to be humorous and funny. i do not deny it. in fact, that is the fun of it. it should be humorous and yet should have no humour”.

this was mysterious. one may be wrong but it appeared that there were more contradictions here than in shrimati gandhi's stand and statement on the congress unity.

“humour”, he explained seeing us still incredulous. you see, humour lies in the the minds of the readers just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. so if you do not have humour in an article which is expected to be humorous, it presents a challange. you start looking for the same. and who knows where you would find it. you may even pretend to have found it. and the writer does not have to sweat to create humour”.

and now that this middle is over, will some one tell us where the humour was?.


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