Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dis honesty is the best policy ?

Being honest, sometimes, is a most difficult thing, also foolish. Err, make that most of the times. Last year when one of my hostel friends asked me how he looked, I should have realised that even Salman-like for an answer wouldn’t do. As I soon found out, he didn’t consider Salman any good in comparison to how he evaluated himself. Not that I told him that he looked Salman-like, what I told him was that he resembled closely the chhole-kulche wallah who fled and married our maid’s daughter. That was the end of our friendship. No sooner had that happened than I read the following in The Fall:

"Above all, don't believe your friends when they ask you to be sincere with them. They merely hope you will encourage them in the good opinion they have of themselves by providing them with the additional assurance they will find in your promise of sincerity. How could sincerity be a condition of friendship? A liking for truth at any cost is a passion that spares nothing and that nothing resists. It's a vice, at times a comfort, or a selfishness. Therefore, if you are in that situation, don't hesitate: promise to tell the truth and then lie as best you can. You will satisfy their hidden desire and doubly prove your affection."

So I cultivated, rather painstakingly, the pretentiousness so essential to comply with the above. But at times the original does rise from slumber, and puts me in really awkward situations. Honestly, if someone tells you he's always honest you can be sure he's the biggest liar, and this the biggest lie; and if that's not the case then you can be sure he's hated by all. Really, never tell a duffer he's duffer, never tell a fat man he's fat, and never ever ever do that for a fat woman! Because, you know, a calm fat woman is way better than an angry one. One fine morning, I told one of my 'well-fed' classmates that the floor vibrated when she ran on it, so she had better walk slowly to the room even if she's running late for the class, because, I added, durghatna se der bhali. It was meant for levity, but sensing that's not the effect it had had on her I cleverly diverged to something else. That afternoon our Maths answersheets were distributed, and she had failed. I wanted to make up for the morning by expressing sympathies. I began,"It's a little shocking, isn't it, after all You.." when she cut me short, " Shocking? It's outrageous. I ? I ? I am fat ?"

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