All ignorance is good knowledge

There are very many things in this world  to think about and involve oneself creatively, but here I am wondering how ‘Satyam’ could be punned around to fit into acatchy headline (you bet, an inevitable word play around ‘lie’ or ‘truth’ will be involved).

Well, this is the lot of an everyday newspaper man: Surrounded by a never-ending stream of information, all he or she does is the most silly thing possible  —— create senseless and tired cliches and puns that actually amuses none as no one reads anything these days (Okay, you are an exception). This logic will help you understand as to why when the terrorists were holding hundreds of people at gun-point, television journos were blabbering furiously at the camera without any comprehension.  One day, we have to decide once and for all, which is worse —— the terrorists with the guns or the ones with the mike, No, this is not yet another tirade against Barkha Dutt (by the way, she seems to have emerged as the female version of T Rajendhar as far as this column is concerned).

Anyway, the point I think I am trying to make is knowledge and information are hardly any guarantee for common sense approach and success in life. That is why a film star, whose only talent in the world could be that he could smoke cigarettes in ways that are not possible if you are sane, is deemed a success and lavished with adoration and idolation, while a scientist, who perhaps invents a cure for a life-threatening disease, is given up by the society as being an oddball.

I know this is an extreme case. But there are other every-day examples too.

Like this below.  Read carefully, it could be about you. Or me.

Situation: The car suddenly splutters to a stop on the road. And whenever an automobile conks out, which is regular considering the road conditions in India, almost by rule the man of the species steps out and, standing at an askew angle, peers in the general direction of the tyres and the underside of the car. This he will do even if only the car’s top had caught fire. This is has been his response even from the caveman’s time, when, if you are aware of history of governments, cars had not been invented as the RTO offices to issue the licence and number plates were not in place.

Anyway, after some vague moments, the man will lift the hood of the vehicle and pore over its unemotional innards. He will look at it intently, half expecting it to almost speak and point to where the problem is. The man, even though his understanding of automobiles can be compressed on the back of a stamp (‘put key, drive vehicle’), will gingerly fiddle with the various knobs and tubes protruding in strange profusion. This he, in all seriousness, will believe will rev the engine up to life again. So, he will go back to the seat to start the engine again. But the car would obviously not budge. Instead, if it had a mind, would think what sort of a goober is he to expect it to run by merely looking at and touching  it.

Till now the script is common to both the person who thinks he is knowledgeable person and the practical one. And then the plot pans out differently. Knowledgeable person: He will go to the boot of the car to fetch out spanners and jacks lying around in helpless profusion. Carefully picking up a spanner and a tweaker, the knowledgeable person, by the virtue of having read a few books on automobiles and watching similar shows on TV, will think that he could set it right and begin tinkering and tampering with the various screws and orifices that seem to make a car run. The car doesn’t read books or watch TV and hence would remain unimpressed.

After some time, ranging from minutes to hours, the only possible outcome will be his shirt being lined with clammy black grunge at strange spots. It is then will it dawn on KP that the car could be set right only by a mechanic, a person who is a specialist in wearing clothes that look to be stitched exclusively with grease and other oily guck.

But there is no guarantee that the mechanic will actually set the car right. But he is the only hope. When the mechanic indeed arrives (this may take from a few hours to some millennium depending upon one’s luck), he will look at the vehicle and, some times not even opening the bonnet, say, the fuel pump gasket  is gone. ‘It has to be changed, sir’. He will say this even if you just ask him  for directions to a particular address. Mechanics are programmed from birth to talk on these lines.

The knowledgeable person will, of course, not be convinced. He would try to suggest to the mechanic that the problem could be something else like the transmission gauge malfunctioning. The mechanic will hardly listen to him. Instead, his mind would be calculating how much to charge, a random price that is arrived at after sincerely weighing into consideration the problem at hand, which is liquor and chicken briyani for the evening.The KP will continue to haggle with the mechanic over the charges. But eventually, he will end up paying a thousand rupees more than the market rate.

Well, knowledge comes at a price. Mechanics know this.The practical person: After unsuccessfully wrenching around, he will call the mechanic and leave the rest to God. This is a smart strategy which will ensure, if not a running car, then at least a clean, grime-less shirt.

Ignorance is, as they say, well I don’t know, because I am ignorant.