Feb 15, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A question that likely to have haunted the intelligentsia as well as the unrefined people alike could be whether human nature is good or bad. Philosophers say, human being is basically good, though the virtue in man does not exceed his vice in a measurable amount. If we would say, human nature is 51% good and the rest 49% is bad, that could be somewhere near the truth.

In this post, I make an attempt to analyse myself as a good person, bad person and also as a contemptible character (ugly) citing incidents from my own life.

The Ugly

When I was a school boy, I had a habit of writing children’s stories along with my sister. We used to start writing during the study leave time and continued it till the end of holidays except a short break during the exam days. This time, I presented my sister one of my finest note books for writing stories. Either as a job or as a leisure time activity, story writing requires a special mood and no one can predict when this said creative mood would provoke us to write. Unfortunately, on the previous night of my sister’s exam I had an unknown temptation to deliver my creativity. But, as a custom, we wrote stories only in the company of the other. So, I asked my sister to give me a company. She hesitated, as she had to write her exam on the next day. An infuriated me then threatened her saying, “you write the story immediately, or I will get back the book that I gifted you” – well, this incident examples my ugliness to a certain extend.

The Bad

Look, I am on the way to my office on my bike. I am in a hurry. The road is full of heavy traffic. Cars rush there and buses block other vehicles here and the bikes find their way penetrating through the narrow gaps between the bigger vehicles. Then there the signal shows red. Every vehicles stop. Impatiently I keep on raising my accelerator waiting to see the red changes into green. Then there is a man, a stout middle aged well clad one, draws near me with a shy smile, perhaps finding me as the most approachable for him. In the most polite way, he asks me whether I would be able to give him a lift till the next junction. I look at his face and then I continue looking at his eyes till he feels that he has committed some formidable crime. I watch his face and seeing an embarrassment there, I reply in a loud and offensive sound, “NO”. He feels humiliated and walks away with no word. The red changes into green, and I, the Bad, move forth with no change in my decision to pursue my routine practice.

…and the Good

It was a holiday and I went to the theatre to watch Shyamaprasad’s ‘Ritu’ (Seasons). At the bike parking launch I met the person in charge for collecting parking fee. The fee was Rs. 3 and I had no change except a coin worth Rs. 5.

“No boy, give me exact change for Rs. 3. If everybody comes and give big sums, from where I can give them balance,” the elderly man said.

“Let me check”, I said while pulling out my purse from the pocket. When I found a one rupee coin I said showing it him, “what I have is only this one”.

He kept silence. I continued, “Ok…I think I have no change, do one thing, you keep the money and don’t mind if I forget to ask you the balance when we meet the next time,” I saw pleasantness at his wrinkled face. Both of us knew that nobody would care about such a small amount. But, perhaps, he might have found Rs. 2 as somehow a big amount. His lighted faces showed it.

I suddenly thought about a Rs 2 coin which I put in my bike’s pouch some two days before.

“Wait…wait…I think I have the change in my bike’s pouch. I believe I put some coins there,” while inserting my palms in my bike’s pouch I said him. Suddenly my fingers got the hold of some coins, a two rupees and some other coins, “ah…here it is,” I murmured. I turned my head to look at his face and I saw a pathetic elderly face keenly watching me hopefully. It seemed to me that he was silently hoping for if I could not have found any coin in my bike.

I pulled out my hand from the pouch and said him, “what a pity, no coins there as well,” his face again showed the same light.

He left me for continuing his job of collecting parking fee. The Good one moved to the ticket counter.

NB 1: It seems that now this blog has become suitable for bearing the title ‘Vanity Moments’. A platform for me to show off!

NB 2: Title Courtesy goes to Clint Eastwood’s 1966 Italian cowboy film, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’.

Feb 1, 2010

Enigma of Familial Relations

From the last post onwards, I started a campaign to create short, yet all-inclusive posts. I hope that this post would also end up as a short one. But here the problem is that the event I am going to narrate deals with relationships and the customary ways to address respected elders in families, which normally demands lot of space. Thus, I feel that the best way to describe the relationships is drawing a chart. To describe this post, I have to add the names of two prominent hospitals of my locality, viz, Marygiri and Marian.

(Click on the image to see the bigger size of the family tree)

One day my father tells me, “Your Ammachi (the traditional way to address grandmother) is in Marygiri, go and pay a visit to her”. I obey and go to catch a bus. On the way I meet my second cousin (called Chechi, means elder sister). I say her, “Ammachi is in Marygiri. I am going to visit her”. She corrects me saying, “Ammachi is not in Marygiri, but in Marian” Thinking that my father might have made a mistake, I go to Marian.

On reaching Marian, I embarrass seeing there my second cousin’s grandmother, who is the ‘wife to my Grandfather’s Brother,’ whom I address with a term meaning ‘younger grand mother’. But using my pretension skills, I successfully impress her by claiming that I actually come to visit her. She does not need to suspect me as it is one’s duty to visit relatives in hospitals. She is very happy for my visit. I think that my father might have mistakenly said ‘Grandmother is in Marygiri”, instead, he should have said that ‘Younger Grandmother is in Marian”.

But suddenly my younger grand mother says, “I heard that your Ammachi is also in hospital, she is in Marygiri”. Suddenly, I understand that my father is also right. Again I use my pretension skills, saying with no change in expression, “err…yes…I am going to meet her also”, so, that fixes it.

I go to Marygiri, meet my grandmother (Ammachi) and laugh with everyone there narrating the funny incident. When I reach home, hearing my account of the day’s incidents, my father asks, “Did not you embarrass seeing ‘younger grand mother’ instead of ‘grand mother’?” I answer with pride, “no, I simply used my histrionic tactics to cover my embarrassment.”

So, the only trouble was the one when I met my cousin sister (chechi) on the way to hospital. When I said ‘Ammachi in Marygiri’, referring to my grand mother, she said ‘Ammachi in Marian’, mentioning her grand mother. Admitting both the Ammachis in hospitals at the same time could only be coincidental.
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