Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Stranger ... along the road not taken

There are lots and lots of days when I wonder if the manner in which I approach my professional responsibilities towards students and taxpayers is worth all the hassles that I bring on myself.  The road not taken is not always easy to travel--way too many potholes that Robert Frost did not warn me about.  Those damn poets and their wild imaginations about beautiful grassy paths that exist only in their minds!

Yet, I continue along that road in my professional obligations. Almost always alone.  Because, every once in a while, somebody pops up to encourge me that I am on the correct path after all.  Like today.

What happened, you ask?  Pull up a chair. Sit down with a cup of coffee and hear me out.

My latest column was in the paper today.  Of course, I was as excited to see that column with my photo as I was when the first of those happened more than two decades ago.  It is always a feeling of "hey, really, I wrote this?"

In this modern age, I tweeted that. Right from my bed.

And then I tweeted again, after having that glorious morning coffee.  I told you I am one excited fellow.  Hey, you will also be that way if you travelled an offbeat path.
A couple of emails from strangers, appreciating my column. Very exciting, of course.  But, what really convinced me today that I am doing alright is an email that the newspaper's editor forwarded me.  An email from a person who is a stranger to me. The email to the editor noted:
Thanks for Dr. Khé's columns. His writing expands our understanding of the world in an interesting, readable style. His students are fortunate, and so are we, his readers.
Note: This is not necessarily for publication I just wanted to express my appreciation to the RG for printing the comments of this brilliant writer.
After reading that email, more than once, for now I am ready to pretend that there are no potholes.  It is a state-of-the-art road that I am on.
Hey, Frost, thanks!  And a special thank-you to that newspaper reader.

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Ramesh said...

Amen to the person who wrote to the editor.

That doesn't stop me from castigating you for the grammar of the second tweet. One more reason to stay away from Twitter :)

Anne in Salem said...

Bravo to another soul who values thinking. Far too rare.

Validation can be a powerful motivator. "Thank you" may be the most powerful phrase known to man.

Sriram Khé said...

And thanks to you two also for the near-daily validation.

(wait, are Ramesh's comments validations? hehehe)

Anonymous said...

You make a bigger impact than I think you realize. Global Issues last spring completely revolutionized the way that I think, see, and interact with the world around me. It also spurred within me a desire to dig deeper than surface level and really look into the things that are not necessarily taught or acknowledged in the typical public school setting. It also gave me some good talking points for when grandma goes on one of her tirades about China. :)

Sriram Khé said...

Thanks, Anon. Feels awesome to get such a feedback.
Go easy on your grandma ;)

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