Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wisdom of Sages - The Cynic in Me

With WhatsApp, you get to read all sorts of stuff. I got this from one of my chat groups:

Ex-President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam says: 
"When I was a kid, Mom cooked food for us. One night when she had made dinner after a long hard day's work, Mom placed a plate of 'subzi' and extremely burnt roti in front of Dad.

“I was waiting to see if anyone noticed the burnt roti. But Dad just ate his roti and asked me how was my day at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember I heard Mom apologizing to Dad for the burnt roti.

“And I'll never forget what he said: ‘Honey, I love burnt roti.’

“Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his roti burnt.

“He wrapped me in his arms and said: ‘Your momma put in a long hard day at work today and she was tired. And besides... A burnt roti never hurts anyone but HARSH WORDS DO!’

"’You know Son, life is full of imperfect things... and imperfect people...I’m not the best and am hardly good at anything! I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. What I've learnt over the years is: To accept each other’s faults and choose to celebrate relationships. Life Is too short to wake up with regrets. Love the people who treat you right and have compassion for the ones who don't.’”

Of course, there is a good moral behind the reminiscence. However, the cynic in me is hardly impressed.

First, this is purportedly said by Dr Abdul Kalam. Did he say it? There are plenty of fake stuff going around in WhatsApp now. (The other day there was this anti-Muslim article purportedly written by Julia Gillard, the former prime minister of Australia. She “invoked” Christian God to support her argument. Of course, “her” article got many excited and it went viral and made many rounds on WhatsApp. Everyone is Australia knows she is a professed atheist! She is not the Donald Trump type. She would never have said it!)

I say the Dr Abdul Kalam piece is a little “plastic” – may not be authentically his lah!

Such type of incidents happened everywhere. Most loving husbands would do the same. Unfortunately, they are not Dr Abdul Kalam and therefore would not have a chance to get quoted or be credited.

Politicians love to relate anecdotes to their audiences on the “wisdom” they have acquired from their grandfather, grandmothers, fathers or mothers to mesmerize the less discerning. I am not saying Dr Abdul Kalam is one. But if you dig deeper, chances are that many of these wisdom stories have been made up by their speech writers or actually originate from someone or somewhere else.

Some years ago, I helped a friend to write his autobiography. I couldn’t help throwing in some of my personal values into the script. To the readers of his book, naturally they would think these are his!

Next time when you hear Confucius said this and that or Gandhi said this or that, I urge you to just ask yourself this question: Do you need Confucius or Gandhi to teach you those things?

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