George Bernard Shaw, GBS as we all know was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist–a person who engages in a controversial debate, and a political activist. A carefree and bindaas person by nature. His influence on the Western theatre, culture and politics from the 1880s to his death and even beyond was tremendous. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman, Pygmalion and Saint Joan. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925GBS was a great thinker of his times. One day, a dinner was arranged at a British club in his honour. The rules of the club mandated that the men, wear a suit and tie. It was probably the definition of the elite class in those times.
But Bernard Shaw, being who he was, walked into the club in his usual casual attire. The doorman looked at him and said politely. ‘Sorry sir, I cannot allow you to enter the premises in this outfit of yours.’
‘But why not?’ He asked.
‘Because sir, you’re not following the dress code of the club.’
‘Well, today’s dinner is in my honour, so it is my words that matter, and not what I wear.’ Replied GBS, which was a reasonable explanation.
‘Sir, whatever it may be, I can’t allow you inside in these casual clothes.’
‘Shaw tried to convince the doorman but he wouldn’t budge from his stand. Fed up. GBS walked all the way back to his house, changed into appropriate clothes and re-entered the club.
A short while later the club room was full with people awaiting his speech. He stood up to address the audience, but first removed his coat and tie and placed it on a chair and then announced. ‘I’m not going to talk today.’
The crowd was surprised and there were murmurs in the audience. Those who knew him personally asked him about the reason for his out-of-character behaviour.
‘Shaw narrated the incident that happened a while ago and said, ‘When I wore a coat and tie, I was allowed to come inside. My mind is in no way affected by the clothes I wear.
‘This means that to all of you who patronize the club, clothes are more important than brains. So let the coat and the tie take my place instead.’ Saying this he walked out of the room.
Moral of the story: What lies inside is more important than what lies outside. Grey matter or the brains are more important than your dress.
Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi
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