Letter from a concerned reader Columns

Greatest mind in Madras

Respected sir/madam,

So two days ago my son said, Appa tonight my close friend is coming for dinner, please join us. I said fine as long as it is not some start-up type criminal who wants me to invest my provident fund in some stupid company that delivers jackfruit to anybody within 30 minutes through mobile phone app.

He said no, no, that happened only once. Apparently this friend is the most intelligent person my son has ever met. He is the greatest mind in Madras it seems.

Is there any self-control in today’s world? Everybody and everything is either greatest of great in the history of mankind, such as Suhasini, or it is the most horrible thing that must be condemned immediately such as chaat masala. Whether there is any place for normal, average things?

Sir/madam, about chaat masala I want to clarify. Many years ago when I was working in Calcutta branch, my colleague, one Mrs. Ghosh (the junior accountant, not Mrs. Ghosh clerk, Mrs. Ghosh cashier or Mrs. Ghosh customer who used to come and sit the whole day in our branch just talking idle things and planning robbery, I don’t know) came to my desk with tiffin box.

She said, “Mr. Mathrubootham, you please try this delicacy I have made at home.”

So I tried some samosa type item. And then said, “What is this powder on top?” She said, chaat masala. I said, “Very good, can you please buy some petrol and one matchbox from the shop and come?” She asked, why? I said, “So that I can burn my mouth immediately and if the fire spreads and I am killed, then it is okay, at least the taste will stop.”

So fine. What about other things? Everything is greatest or worst. Why? Nonsense.

So this greatest mind in Madras came for dinner. All of us sat together and my son introduced this fellow. We started talking. I thought okay, I will ask some difficult questions to this genius. I asked, “What do you think will happen to the India-China border problem?”

Sir/madam, for 20 minutes this fellow said some nonsense about how situation is complex and America and geopolitics and balance of power and Bhutan and Russia and words just kept on coming out of his mouth one after the other in random order. In between Mrs. Mathrubootham said, “Oh my god, something is burning in the kitchen,” got up and smoothly walked out of the front door and went to Ganga Sweets for pudding.

Then after solving India-China problem, this fellow started talking about Kashmir problem, Israel-Palestine problem, Russia-Ukraine problem and many more.

Sir/madam, if I could record his lecture and send it to the Chinese, then immediately they will not only leave the border but also give Hong Kong or something as free gift.

Later, my son tried to defend this fellow saying that he went to some IIT and IIM and all.

Bloody fool. Just because some fellow cleared multiple choice entrance examination in 1985 or something means we should carry him on our shoulder for the rest of his life, is it? Because you can calculate hypotenuse of benzene using ammeter and all that, you are suddenly qualified to solve all problems in the world? You shut up and do your job man. Instead of ignoring such people, folks like my son will carry them around like some avataram of Galileo in the 21st century.

Why? Because nobody wants normal, average things any more. Only great genius people are popular these days. Nonsense. All frauds with big words.

Yours in exasperation,

J. Mathrubootham


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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 12:08:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/greatest-mind-in-madras/article19284775.ece

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