Nov 6, 2011

A Cathartic Puzzle

So, here I am, again as promised, in order to give your thoughts some tidbits, to provoke your brain function more dynamically. Yes, you guessed it right! Today, I am going to ask you a riddle. You might be wondering why I am today here with a puzzle when the internet offers so many googols of them for those who have that continuous itching of brain. There lies the matter. This is not a common riddle which depends on word play or mathematical calculations. This is also not one to trick you using the intermingling of facts and fiction. The apt adjective to denote this puzzle would be, ‘emotionally disturbing’, and that’s why I used the term ‘cathartic’ in the title to describe the nature of the puzzle. I do not know if anybody of you has already familiar with this one. However, before asking the riddle straightaway, I think I need to give you the background of how I came to face such a puzzle which had stopped my heartbeats for some seconds, talking without exaggeration.

Yes, the time was the beginning of my Trivandrum days. I was a little more grown-up one than a teenager, though the frailty, fragility and the juvenile characteristics have not completely departed from my mannerisms. I was in a hostel like place where I met with some new guys. Despite of my initial impression as a simpleton, people began to consider me for their discussions and chats a little later, when they slowly realized that I was like everyone there in terms of thoughts and behaviors.

After noon time, I usually was free, and so, that was the time we utilized to crack jokes, or to involve in heated arguments. Sometimes we used to ask puzzles to test the other one’s brain or to show off in front of the gang with our superior intellect. When a civil service aspirant joined our gang, he became the talking machine. During one of our puzzle session, when we were completely running out of puzzles, the civil service aspirant suddenly said,

“I have a different puzzle. This question was asked during a top interview for a heavily paid post. But if I ask you this question, you would either curse me or beat me up.” 

We became curious and demanded him to ask that one. He said,

“The question was asked to everyone who showed up for that interview. Of the whole lot, only one was able to give a reasonable answer, and he got the appointment. But pals, I won’t ask you this question. Because, it is an emotionally disturbing one. You might think of me as a pervert or you might stop talking to me if I ask you this question”.

That was enough to raise our degree of curiosity. We pleaded again. So he agreed to ask the question. He reminded us that the question had no definite answer. It was just to test the ability to give apt response in certain times.

He said giving sufficient pauses between words ensuring that the question was properly communicated, “So folks, here is the question; what will you do if you ever come to know that your mother is a prostitute?”
Pin drop silence. I felt as if someone hit me on my head using a hammer. My roommate, who was a very innocent one, was about to break into tears. 

We all replied that we didn’t have any answer to this question. But the civil service aspirant prompted us to come with an answer. Someone answered that he would cut the relationship with his mother. When asked, my roommate replied that he would go to that extend of suicide. The next turn was mine. Scratching my head, I replied,

“Err…well...I think I would quit my native place.” There were some more answers from others as well.

The civil service aspirant shook his head to every answer labeling each as, impractical, hilarious, pathetic, etc. We finally asked him to give us the answer suggested by the winner of that interview.

I hope that you all have formulated an answer to this question by this time. Your answer needs not be the exact one put forwarded by the winner. If you have a good reasonable answer, that is just because you are very much intelligent. If you don’t have a reasonable answer – then also you are highly intelligent, because that’s why you are here on my page to read Vanity Moments!

Exerting a dramatic pause, the civil service aspirant said, “the winner answered like this; if I ever come to know that my mother is a prostitute, first I will make sure that my father is her only customer!”

Whatever be the counter arguments against this answer, we all agreed that the winner rightly answered to the puzzle, and since he was quick in answering such tricky questions, he well deserved the position.

By the way, any of you had invented any better or similar answer to this puzzle?


  1. Very beautifully written. Came to know lots of things. Really nice and appreciable.
    You are welcome at my new posts-

  2. Well I wont lie No I did not have the same exact answer.. But what i thought was .. that no matter what She is till my mother , she had to do what she had to .. BUT Now that i am sitting her for the interview and If i get the job, maybe I can get her out of this hell... so she can live her rest of the life peacefully ..


  3. Couldn't think of an intelligent answer. Your friend's response is the best!

  4. Dear Tomz,
    in Germany such questions in a job interview are simply forbidden (it is even not allowed to ask whether you are pregnant, or what is your confession etc). I think the answer of Bikram is quite wise. I am not quite sure, whether I would really answer what I write now: "Sir, what would you answer when this question is put to you?" - then he sees what kind of insulting rot he is asking. Might depend on how necessary is the job - but IF one get it, I would take it and then be on the look-out for another one - this firm does not seem to be a nice place to work for!

  5. Tom this is an interesting question that you have posed. Have you ever thought about how these ladies - "prostitutes"as we call them are generally viewed by society? I have met some of them during the course of my work and their life is miserable- they have children too.. somewhere in our society a child needs to have its paternity established for gaining respect. But, as I read somewhere, "a mother is the only biological truth in this world"- a honest mother who had educated her son to send him until the civil services interview is really great- she may be the victim of circumstances but then that is not her fault! BTW you may like to read a post of mine that deals with something like this

  6. Couldn't think of an intelligent answer either...and thanks tomz..real nice of u to keep encouraging us all...wish u all d best buddy

  7. Someone who asks such questions surely is great to work with unless the job profile demands such interrogation. Every woman who sells her body for money has a reason behind it, very few start out willingly unlike some young college girls today who value the money than their bodies. Does that make her less human or her children the subject of ridicule....a sexist question I wouldn't answer.

  8. @babli

    Thank you


    Thats an excellent way of alternate thinking..


    yeah, it was nt my friends was an incident narrated by him

  9. @Dear Britta

    I knew that in many countries, job interviews are more discipline oriented..In this case it was not a job was a civil service interview, They wanted to know, how the candidate can deal with such situations tactically..But I wont encourage such questions..


    Thank you for your thoughtful comment..I think this is for the second time, the case of a prostitute is discussed in my blog. Earlier it was another post titled 'Pretty Littima's Profession'. It is curious to see how the women readers commented in both these situations..

  10. @Ramesh

    Thank you for your encouragements..


    to you also, I recommend my other post about a prostitute..titled Pretty Littima's Profession, written a few years ago..


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