Islamabad to Doha is not a long haul, but the direct flight from Doha to Washington is 14 hours. That is a long flight Hard as the airline staff may try to keep you in good humor, you do feel a kind of travel anxiety. I do not mind long train journeys as the train rolls on its tracks on the ground and you see the landscape on both sides. But when you fly for hours and see nothing out of the window but the silver clouds or the ocean for hours, the experience can be tiring. Yes, you are lucky if you find a good film: that takes away a couple of hours. And if you are lucky a second time, another couple. I saw Sandpiper, an Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton masterpiece and a black and white Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Becall mystery from the fifties. I had read about both but not seen. But my mainstay for long journeys has been and is a good book. Reading kills boredom best. The book I read was George Orwell's critical essays compiled by George Packer: All Art Is Propaganda. Orwell, an officer of the Imperial Police (IP) in Burma for a short while after finishing university, pursued finally a career as a journalist and a writer; dying of tuberculosis at the rather young age of 46 in 1950. The finest prose writer in the English language, he wrote prolifically and kept at it even on his death bed as he lay there with tuberculosis. This is a recent book that contains some of his unpublished writings as well. Most known for his "1984", he was the author also of great works like "Animal Farm" and "Down and out in Paris and London". Although Orwell commented on diverse subjects from literature to film through his career as a writer, critics acclaim him essentially as an essayist. Writing in 1946 George Orwell noted and lamented the deterioration of English prose. In his brilliant essay "Politics and the English Language" written in April, 1946 he quotes from Professor Harold Laski's Freedom of Expression as an example of bad English: "I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience even more bitter in each year, more alien (sic) to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate." Bemoaning five negatives in these 53 words, Orwell finds "One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip alien for akin, making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness." After giving a few more examples of bad writing he suggests six rules of writing English. Rule (iii) is the most famous. "If it is possible to cut a word", he says, "always cut it out." In rule (ii) he says, "Never use a long word where a short one will do." But his golden rule is (v) in which he says, "Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent." This today should be law. In the same essay he advises four questions that a "scrupulous" writer should ask himself on every sentence that he writes. "What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?" "Political language," George Orwell regrets, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment", Orwell continues, "but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn out useless phrase- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse- into the dustbin where it belongs". I conclude by quoting the opening paragraph of Orwell's Confessions of a Book Reviewer, a five page essay he wrote in May 1946: "In a cold but stuffy bed-sitting room littered with cigarette ends and half empty cups of tea, a man in a moth-eaten dressing gown sits at a rickety table, trying to find room for his type writer among the piles of dusty papers that surround it. He cannot throw the papers away because the waste paper basket is already overflowing, and besides, somewhere among the unanswered letters and unpaid bills it is possible that there is a cheque for two guineas which he is nearly certain he forgot to pay into the bank...".