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To save the donkey

Mirth and merriment have a bad name among the sober folks, but so do ultra-sober people among the merry. Undeniably, people sometimes laugh in contempt, and enjoy the ridiculousness of ridiculous people because they themselves come off well by contrast. But to say that all humour is invidiously self-gratifying is to feed on too narrow a diet of examples.

Many cases of amusement cannot be convincingly assimilated to the superiority model. We often make fun of people not out of joy over our superiority over them, but to include them in our social circle.

When people meet they talk on their varied interests. It is the mark of garrulity to babble in vain and pointlessly and fruitlessly to waste time; it is a part of social meetings. But no one would wish to submit to the tyranny and tolerate nonsense of all kinds.

During one such meeting I was asked why I am wearing the sweater. It was too silly of him to ask. Perhaps, he might have run out of subjects to initiate a conversation. But the proclamation was too cacophonous to bear. As though wearing a sweater is proscribed. Why does one wear it? Definitely not for the heck of it, either a dip in the barometer or a rise in the thermometer would have prompted that decision.

Sense & nonsense

By the way, anybody can talk common sense, but a few talk nonsense well. Common sense conversations on common-sense matters are gifts for anybody with any intellect at all – of any man not an idiot or not insane. Everybody is forever talking common sense and so it becomes familiar, just as everybody can talk cinema and politics, who can talk of nothing else. But skilful, graceful and elegant nonsense demands education, wit and wisdom. How a few can trifle gracefully!

While talking, meandering is common. Sometimes people jump the subject and swoop directly to a personal attack. Someone said my foot resembles that of tribal people. Shockingly, I gaped at my foot, expecting my foot to have turned to my back. It was offensive. In fact, the tribal people are not witches to have their foot turned to their back with long dreaded nails and pelt like apes. They too are normal human being. Perhaps they may have squat, stout, long or elongated feet. I was flabbergasted to know what impelled him to pass the comment. Some people resort to very silly pranks and pounce at the poise of the other person.

Distinguishing trait

Yes, talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the organisms. Strictly speaking, it is a weakness.

Many a times, people, in order to deal with their low self-esteem, install a superiority complex to counter their inferiority complex. They bask in the glory of the reflected light of their inflated knowledge. Defensively, it is a ‘magnified’ self-image of them to compensate for their low self-esteem.

A strategic folly of such fickle minds is enough to drive sane people mad. Succumb not to them, mind you; they belong to the descendents of the sect of people who initiated the historical father-son duo to carry the donkey with its legs tied over a bridge and dropped in a lake. Be careful of them; pack your cards well on time and save the donkey.

habeeb_ahamed@hotmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 5:43:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/To-save-the-donkey/article14508049.ece

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