Monday, November 26, 2012

87. Is that obvious?

Stating the obvious is so obvious that it rarely occurs that what is being stated is indeed obvious. Conversely, it is often unobvious not to state the obvious. Ever noticed the first observation that gets exchanged with an acquaintance? More often than not it is about weather, 'It is quite cold today', as if the other person wouldn't know what the day has been like. With the obvious being so obvious, there has not been anything unobvious about being obvious.  

Even since the word 'obvious' came into existence in 1586, it has become such a hard reality that at times it hardly gets noticed. Its absence is glaring even though its presence at time may be difficult to see. The compulsion of stating the obvious quite often turns amusing. 'Our bar is presently not open because it is closed', read a notice outside a bar. As if this wasn't enough, another notice went a step ahead: 'This door has been closed, do not enter'. Yet, the art of stating the obvious persists!

Notice this: women constantly need the obvious to be said about them. They need to be constantly reminded how beautiful they are, continuous compliments must flow towards them. Any breach in this flow can create consequences of unknown magnitude. The obvious may be invisible, like chameleon, but its absence in the case of women can reflect the true but changing colors of a chameleon. One may run the risk of not stating the obvious at one's own cost!

Delving further into the world of obvious one is reminded of Mark Twain who had quipped, 'It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.' It truly is because there is perhaps only one way in which the obvious got to be stated. An interviewee got a shock when his obvious response to a question had earned him a flak. To the question 'river Ravi flows in which state' he had stated the most obvious answer: 'liquid'. For the interviewer, however, it was obviously an unobvious response!       

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

86. It is the idea that matters


Immigrated to two different continents for carving out a 'bright future' both returned home sooner than expected! While the mechanical engineer had been to the far west, the computer engineer had chosen far east as his destination. Both in the early thirties stunned their immediate families for condemning the places considered above the heavens by most high-end literate Indians. One thought the graveyard-like silence was erring, for the other the disciplined concrete jungle proved boring.

Neither did anti-Indian tirade play heavy on them, nor was job-outsourcing rhetoric any bit threatening. Inhospitable places, synthetic illuminations and robotic humans proved monotonous for these contagiously socialized Indians. To top it all, artificial landscapes, disciplined traffic and lifeless malls added to the growing dullness. Things were consistently on the move, but neither was anything happening nor was their any vibrancy. Even kids and pets seem programmed to behave on the streets.  

Both felt that  development and progress had taken the soul out of human dwellings. Feelings, sentiments and emotions have seemingly been put to rest. Back home, it is the daily ordeal of garbage stink, unruly traffic, power cut, civic unrest and merciless cop which add to the thrill of survival. It is not India, with its perpetual problems of crumbing civility, but the idea of India that is not only intriguing but enchanting and captivating too. One only has to feel to believe it!

Who can vouch for it better than a professor friend of mine (from USA) who was robbed of his belongings during a train journey; had once slipped into a sewage drain as one cover slab was missing; and had contacted dengue during one of his several travels to the country. Far from taking a vow not to return to this country of glorious misfortunes, he returns each year to capture the mysterious world called India. And mind you, this he has been relentlessly doing for past two decades!