An Ode to a Dot…
These days I am completely floored by the versatility of a seemingly very tiny entity — a dot. Just as I completed my previous sentence, it came right there at the end clearly declaring the end of a sentence.
It is amazing how a single dot is an explicit concluding bit of every sentence while adding two more dots to one, opens up innumerable possibilities, hence dot, dot, dot.
To convey the intention of an unambiguous closure or finality, we even take its support while talking by clearly stating “period”.
Let’s talk about the role of a dot or a point in various scripts that we use for different languages. In the Devanagari script used for Sanskrit, Hindi and many other languages — अनुस्वार (anuswaar), नुक़्ता (nukta), विसर्ग(visarg) are the different avatars or names of the dot. Whether it is an anuswaar which is written above the top line, a nukta which adorns letters at the base, or a visarg — a pair of dots written vertically, this dot lends uniquely perfect meanings and dictions to the letters and the words. Taking an example, word है (hai) becomes a हैं (hain) just by the addition of this beautiful dot at the top.
In the Roman script which is used to write languages like English, it is hard to imagine small letters like i and j without the dots sitting prettily at the top. In fact, these dots work as beautiful embellishments in calligraphy writing.
Besides, scripts like — Gurmukhi (for Punjabi) and Arabic (for urdu) use these dots quite liberally. I admit, I am not a multilingual person yet I am pretty sure the dot has its presence in many more scripts and languages across India and in the world.
Moving on to explore another dimension of this dimensionless entity. Have you ever wondered how would the fractional part be represented in the absence of a decimal point? How would the mathematical calculations be done without a decimal?
Now, try viewing the decimal as the focal point, you’d see a just mediator assigning appropriate value to the digits in the whole and fractional parts of a number.
Not just that, all figures in geometry base their existence on this quite unassuming yet so powerful point or dot. The great Mathematician Euclid defined a line as a set of points which is extended in opposite directions infinitely. One can easily imagine how fundamental and all-pervading this point/dot in the field of geometry is , right?
Not interested in mathematical definitions? Don’t fret, I am sure you will appreciate what’s coming next. Paul Klee, a Swiss-born German artist, true to his artistic temperament, said, “A line is a dot that went for a walk. A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.”
In short, whether one sees mathematical patterns everywhere or one happens to be an aesthete, a dot is an indisputable fundamental building block which facilitates the creation of everything. Hence I prove my point, “period” because, ‘a dot is all you need to make a point’. Here I intend to make a point about the dot itself.
Dots also come as a great aid to view things with a right perspective whether it is life or happenings all around us. Individually, each one of us indulges in reminiscing, trying to see the time spent through a rear view mirror and it is hard to miss the dots joining together to make a unique tapestry- that is life.
So the power of a dot is to be reckoned with because from it everything begins and at it, all end.