I never watch a movie or read a book that’s wildly popular. It’d never lived up to the hyped-up expectations. But I finally found the perfect unassuming setting to watch the Godfather – on a flight from Singapore to Bombay, exhausted from a long work trip. With no expectations, I was able to think of it as just another movie. Halfway through, I was floored. I can’t pinpoint what it is about the movie, but I can make an analogy that I think makes sense. It’s innately Italian, like their food. I recently had the pleasure of eating one of the best pizzas I’ve had in my life. And it was simple. Pure. Every element was wonderful, you could tell that the tomatoes were from a particular source, that they wouldn’t settle for less; the dough was kneaded and baked to ‘just rightness’. The same goes for the movie – what works is the simplicity, every aspect is well thought of, and well brought out, without overdoing any.
Why isn’t it with people? Why is there so much over-the-topness, bling, glam quotients, one-upmanship? Most people avoid simplicity, because of the fear of being found out. For example, people might find out that I didn’t know enough to do it right, so I jazzed it up. I didn’t have a tight vision or script so I put bells and whistles. You get the point.
The moment you’ve put enough thought, soul and belief into a project, you’ve gone all the way, you’ll be prepared to strip it to its essentials. Because if the basics are good, they’re all that matters. (This applies to character as well.)
As an apple appreciator (not fanboy, I use an android phone) I have observed that focusing on cutting down fluff and making the essentials awesome really works at all levels.
On a side note, Italians are just like Indians. Only classier.
But who decides classier? Is it an absolute or a notional definition? I guess there’s both versions.
So the notional version is the one trotted around by the so called gentry, who decide what clothes are acceptable (suits in the Indian climate? Classy my ass) or which hand to hold the fork in (how in hell does it matter?). That, I believe is a crappy, servile notion to subscribe to.
The absolute version is of course harder to define, but some aspects off the top of my head would be: can you be virtuous without being in someone’s face? Can you stand up for someone while not putting another down? Can you with simple acts, improve the atmosphere around you?
I guess that would define real classy for me.