Expensive Simplicity

Simple is not cheap. A oxymoron, yes. Yes, it sounds contradictory but it is very difficult to be simple. Simple in the mind, the thoughts, the deeds and the action. For example, a lot of us, try to maintain a healthy life style. We know it is not good to eat processed foods. How many times do we give in to the urge? Or being an early riser daily is the most simplistic but one of the most difficult habits to master for most of us.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, Davinci, most famous for the Mona Lisa, found elegance and sophistication in simple things. Simple life, being content with what we have, all easy to say but very difficult to do.

I first experienced this term when we were in college. The vice chancellor had resigned and temporarily the district collector had been appointed till a new VC could be appointed. She had come to the college, wearing a simple cotton saree. She stood out from the rest of the faculty, academics accomplished in their own right. She was so simple and elegant at the same time, that one was forced to pay attention to her. I have a crystal clear image in my mind of this lady in a handloom sari, holding court amidst a crowd with ease.

An elegant and simple dress, with the right cut and cloth is expensive. What is more expensive is the elegance that is required to carry it on. When I say “expensive”, it is not only the cost of the material or the possession, it is the process invested in the process of making ourselves worthy of the elegance. It comes naturally to a few blessed ones, but to the many mortals like me, it is a very lengthy and occasionally painful process of introspection.

In today’s world, Apple’s products can be considered epitomizing the concept exceptionally well. There are many a tale abound about how the legendary Steve Jobs have achieved this, albeit a grueling process. Even as I write this article, I am struggling to keep the sentence structure simple. Simple and convey the meaning, connect to the reader and make the reading a flow. A flow as gentle as a river.

We achieve simplicity when the expression becomes the most basic, the most natural form for the given situation. When we are true to ourselves, to our own definition of self, can we express simply. It is the most difficult thing to be honest to ourselves without cloaking excuses around.

To those who has achieved this – I salute you. To those who understood what it means and are striving to get there – I respect you.


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