Open Page

Line of least resistance

Many take things lying down to avoid a confrontation.

Many take things lying down to avoid a confrontation. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s a sign of the times that we choose to look the other way when routine violations happen right in front of our eyes. Perhaps, it makes better sense to be discreet rather than tactless in a sensitive world.

Now, we do not argue with the roadside vendor who plays a loudspeaker annoucing his wares at high decibel levels, which is an assault on our ears. Since it concerns his livelihood, we cannot complain about noise pollution. All we do is simply hang on to the philosophy, “This too will pass”, every time a vendor moves past and creates a ruckus.

Standing in the middle of the road, a drunkard in our colony raves and rants holding up traffic. Once he regains normalcy, he goes around collecting money for more drinks. Unable to put up with his bluster, we residents oblige at once, just to get rid of him. Ironically, we end up paying for disturbance in order to buy peace.

A pet dog in the neighbourhood barks and howls eerily throughout the day. Rumour has it that the owner is even fiercer than his bloodhound and so we don’t mess with him. Once, a newcomer to our area decided to confront him only to retreat hastily with his tail between his legs. He then understood why we residents always take the line of least resistance.

The mangoes and guavas in our garden are filched now and then. We are aware of this as we hear a violent rustle of the branches at night followed by shouts from our watchman and the sound of a stick being thrown at them. That’s all! No-one wants to take them head-on. No point in earning their ill will as they live too close for comfort.

During the Aadi festival season, our neem trees sport a bare look, shorn off all the leaves. Not to worry! The leaves will soon reappear in the form of skirts around the hips of the devout prancing around in divine ecstasy in the procession crossing our street. Similarly, one or more branches of the curry leaf tree is stripped bare every day and the leaves find their way into someone’s cooking pot. No problem, as long as the intruders close the gates as they leave.

In more sophisticated circles, a book is borrowed and forgotten altogether. Here, there is no time limit as it’s not like money, you see! Moreover, it’s assumed that the lender has already read the book, so where’s the hurry? Recently, a friend called to inform me that she has donated a crate full of books, only to realise later that it included some of mine too which she had borrowed a long time ago. Was that okay with me? I assuaged her concerns with as much sarcasm as I could muster, saying even if I didn’t get back my books, at least I’ve earned some punyam (blessing) through her good deed.

Not many are aware that in some quarters, childless couples are allowed to lift a small idol of Lord Ganesh from anyone’s house, worship the idol for a specified number of days and wait for results. Now, this may sound like an “urban legend”. but residents of our colony brace themselves for this during the Navaratri festival when the dolls are out on display. As usual, there’s no alternative.

saraswathi100@yahoo.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 7:59:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/grin-and-bear/article65567189.ece