Open Page

In splits

Humour and laughter are the most salient features of human world, I presume. A laughter or smile in a tense situation will make you forget the tension or at least to ease it out. It is said that laughter reduces stress-hormone levels in humans. That is why reading Don Quixote makes us healthier mentally and physically and we love so much the (quixotic) knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his hilarious squire Sancho Panza.

Everybody knows that a smile can make people friendly with us. Some years ago, a man came to the panchayat office where I was working then and he didn’t know where to submit the application. When I looked at his face, he smiled and approached me. Even if the matter was not connected to my section, his smile did not allow me to avoid him and I helped him solve his problem. Afterwards, whenever he came to the office, he never failed to see me and have a friendly talk.

But as Shakespeare’s immortal tragic hero Hamlet says, “one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” Some time ago, I had to face such a ‘villain’. When I was returning from the district headquarters of my department, I encountered somebody while I was walking to the bus-stand through the famous Fort maidan in Palakkad. Looking at my face, he smiled and I reciprocated, even if I had had no idea who he was. When he saw I returned his smile, he approached me and holding my hand inside his, he asked: “Don’t you remember me?” I replied in the negative and he said: “I was your classmate.” I was so sorry for not recognising a classmate who knew me so well. And I asked his name. Without answering my question, he asked me: “Don’t you even remember my name?”

In between the conversation, he noticed the ID card in my pocket and snatched it. “Oh! Are you a government employee?” Only now he pronounced my name. Suddenly I felt something foul. He learnt my name from the card. All the while he was smiling and laughing. At last he told me that he wanted a thousand rupees and asked me to lend it. When I asked him to tell me the name of the class teacher of the class in which we studied together, he faltered and suddenly his mobile started to ring. He attended the call and talking on the mobile, he managed to disappear among the crowd. He was a consummate fraudulent person who embezzles money from people convincing them that he is their classmate! What novel techniques people contrive to embezzle money, instead of honestly working to earn it!

lscvsuku@gmail.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 22, 2022 7:20:41 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/in-splits/article38273582.ece