Saturday, August 11, 2012

On Busybodies - Part I

(How wonderful for me that I located my wall magazine posts of 1986-88 while at IIM just as my creative juices were running as dry as the Bangalore borewells! Here is one more of them. Considering that patience to read is a lot lesser than it used to be, I have split it in two)


If this society has come to such a sad pass, it is entirely thanks to busybodies. What would a normal person do if an apple fell on his head? He would probably rub the sore spot, curse fluently and, then, munch the apple in peace. Did Newton do that? No! He had to think about why the apple fell down instead of floating about in the air and, thus, plague all future generations of school-children, who couldn’t care less about whether of not gravitation exists.
There are such busybodies in every field. Sane people used to toss a coin to decide who was going to pay for the next drink or whether the girl he was infatuated with loved him or not or whether to jump off the building or lie down on the railway tracks. Does this satisfy the busybodies? You are right, of course it does not. They keep tossing a coin till it wears out in order to prove that this coin would fall about fifty percent of the time with heads up and the other fifty percent with tails up. One only wishes that the coin they chose was the Sholay one, with heads on both sides! Had it been we would not have to understand the habits and lifestyle of this mysterious animal called probabilities!
If only the International symposium of unsuccessful artists had not met, life would have been much less miserable. Having learnt that they cannot go beyond drawing lines and curves they would probably have given up art as a bad job and gone into other lines (or curves) of work. Some may have spent a little time in writing articles in excruciating detail about how useless art was for the rest of humanity. It is, as usual, the busybodies who set out to prove that lines and curves were of seminal importance to humanity. (Ah! Well! All men know about the curves that are of seminal importance to them but they were not talking of that!). One chap suddenly pops up with a rush of excitement and says, “Eureka! Supply and Demand curves!” The others chorus back, ‘The what and what curves?” He sets about explaining himself and before you could say ‘uncle’ (or ‘aunt’! I do not want the women on my neck!), Economics was born. Thus it is you now have a set of people who make their living by telling you why things were bad yesterday or why their predictions were prevented from coming true by various external and extenuating circumstances (Maybe the ‘Foreign Hand’, which was such a favorite of our yester-year politicos, was borrowed from the economists!). They also have a penchant for ‘On the one hand and on the other hand’ and bemoan the lack of more hands so that they could create more options. Thank God, economists are not Ravans – we would be going dizzy listening to them juggling twenty possibilities!
Where was I? Ah! Busybodies! You know even Cocktail parties can prove to be really dangerous. Initially, it starts out with a few businessmen unwinding with a couple of drinks. One guy says languidly, “My Company made a whopping profit” with a smug smile on his face. Another businessman, not to be upstaged, says “Well! Mine made a bigger profit!” To which the first one says, “Says you!” in un-parliamentary and rude language.
The affected businessman could have merely spent the day in thinking of the-twenty-different-retorts-that-I-could-have-used-but-did-not. Instead, he calls up a subordinate and says, “Look! Figure out a way to prove that we made a better profit than that dirty so-and-so!” The subordinate gets to work and look at what you have – Accounting, especially the creative version, finance and associated pains-in-the-you-know-where. Now you know the supreme importance of accountancy. Without it what would happen to the bragging rights of the top management at cocktail parties – particularly the ones that go by the name of Board Meetings, Annual General Meetings and the like.
Let us have the rest of it later!

12 comments:

  1. Interesting start. Waiting for the next part.

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  2. Fabulous start! Eagerly awaiting the concluding part.

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    1. Thanks DS! Hope the second part lives up to your expectations :)

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  3. Gosh ..ur articles from iim days are classics Suresh . Wow ! Even I always felt that newton should have simply eaten the apple :)

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    1. Thanks Jaish! Whether it is a relief or a disappointment I don't know but this is the last of them :) The others are too full of specific happenings of that time at IIM to be of general interest.

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  4. life would have been so peaceful for many if those visionaries and intellectuals just watched TV the entire day (for newton and few others television was not an option. but they could easily have opted for some other mode of entertainment). but for people like us, it wouldn't have made any difference. we always stayed away from any information.

    enjoyed the start. let's have the rest now!!

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    1. One can't help wondering why their parents did not just give them marbles and ask them to go play :):)

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  5. Yes why oh why did they not sit quietly and do what they were supposed to do :). But who among us does that anyway?

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    1. I do :) At least the only complaint against me has been that I do not even do what I am supposed to do :)

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  6. By God...the Genesis of Economics, Accounting and what not...and what they owe to squiggly lines and party bickering? Wah, what a take!
    Meanwhile, I also had a strange a-ha moment. You know how Sholay still continues to rule our hearts and minds even to this day? I feel that's because of the uniquely solid character definitions in the movie, quite unlike Bollywood is generally used to. And after reading this post I kept thinking - even that bloody coin in the film had its own personality! :)

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    1. Sholay - absolutely, Rickie! There is only one scene for Hangal, the Soorma Bhoplis and Asranis have no role to play except for a small bit - and, yet, each one is extremely well-etched. To the extent that we still remember them today.

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