An Adage a Day-A stitch in time saves nine

This was the proverb that was given as a topic at the recently concluded Division Nine Toastmasters Conference here in Bengaluru on 30th April,2016. It was interesting to watch the participants grapple with their ideas and come up with a concise, perfectly tailored 2 minute speech in a matter of seconds. As I was listening I realized how much proverbs, adages or sayings are still  a part of general conversations and how sometimes we miss the context altogether. Perhaps brushing up a few of these adages or proverbs should be a good idea.

Any speech or piece of writing should have the basic outline of opening, body and conclusion. When the speaker is able to grab the audience attention with a perfect opening using a story like TM KVM Kishore did or sharing a personal experience like TM Chetana did the speaker has set the tone and there is anticipation in the air. What is interesting is to note how successful speakers not only manage to express their ideas with a perfect opening but also come up with a solid body and great conclusion. The kind of conclusion that rings in the ears of the audience even after the speech is over.

The English teacher’s aid in teaching creative writing ie 4 W and 1 H which stands for  who/ what,when,where,why and how can be a ready made tool to develop a good speech on any given topic. A discerning speaker will be quick to connect this to something of immediate reference to the audience. This way the speaker establishes a quick and strong bond with the audience. The audience is led to empathize, mock, question or introspect as the speaker holds the stage and takes them through an array of thoughts and emotions through his/her speech.

The newspaper headlines today scream about the water woes that is plaguing the country. Many parts of the nation is reeling under severe drought. Water has become a prized commodity. Though there are efforts to address the issues, they are far too less compared to the severity of the situation. Farmers are committing suicide as crops fail and they are over burdened with debts. The relief which comes after the drastic step is taken only adds to the family list of grievances and sufferings. This is what comes to my mind when I think of the proverb. Here’s what I would say on the topic.

A stitch in time saves nine refers to the need to take timely actions. Many of us who procrastinate realize the importance of having followed a schedule too late ie when the task becomes too unwieldy to manage. Whether it is regaining your fitness or preparing for an exam or cleaning your home, well planned small  tasks will make our lives easier.

Looking at the precarious underground water table across the country, one realizes how meaningful the proverb is in this context. Measures like recharging the water table through rain water harvesting, revitalizing the ponds, lakes and wells, stopping the disposal of untreated waste into these water bodies can go a long way in saving our water resources.

Even in matters of the heart, the proverb holds good. For instance if you want to placate a grumpy child, a partner or a friend it will be good to do it at the earliest rather than wait for the issue to blow into a balloon which can only burst.

If there is a friend who you want to shake hands with, if there is a misunderstanding you want to remove you can start now. Small measures taken well within the time help mend relationships and situations for the better.

So what is the task you have set aside, dealing with your angry spouse, making a new friend or pitching in to save our natural resources, shedding an old habit or learning a new skill,the time is to start now! A stitch in time surely,saves nine.





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