Monday, March 18, 2013

Riding Hobbyhorses


I have always wondered why this equestrian metaphor has been applied to someone who waxes eloquent on his pet subject, regardless of whether it is apt in the circumstances. It has pleased me no end, nonetheless, to have this so applied since I am a past master at this and the metaphor sort of makes me feel that I have added horse-riding to my immense repertoire of skills. There is one hitch, however. It is impossible for someone to appear elegant while riding his hobbyhorse.

Even the geniuses can make a hash of their reputation when they mount their hobbyhorses. Take Stephen Hawking. In his days when he developed irreligiousness and lost his then wife as a consequence (No! No! I do not say he did the one to achieve the other) he had written a book on the Universe in which he says that the age of the universe has been conclusively determined and, thus, “Even though Science has not disproved the theory of God creating the Universe, it sets a limit on when he could have done it” or something to that effect. What he meant was that based on the ideas of the evolution of the Universe and the current state of the Universe one could back-work when the Big Bang that started off the Universe could have happened.

He does say “…when he could have done it…” as if to mean that God had no choice but to create the Big Bang on time! Now that sort of egregious error of logic could never have been committed by a super-genius like Hawking but for the fact that he was concentrating on riding his hobbyhorse at that time. To explain – if it takes me one hour to reach your home from my home and I reach your home at 1 PM you know that I did start from my home at 12. But to assume that someone or something had held a gun to my head and said “You have to start at 12 – one minute earlier or one minute later and you are dead” is a huge stretch of logic. I did start from my house at 12 but I could have started at any time.

In that, riding hobbyhorses is like equestrianism. You probably are concentrating too much on the pain in your butt that your mind goes numb. Before someone starts flogging his hobbyhorse let me hasten to add that the Hawking example was not meant to conclusively prove the existence or omnipotence of God. I am only trying to say how you can be driven astray by your hobbyhorse.

Now where do I get off sounding like some logic professor? We all ride our hobbyhorses at times and, invariably, look stupid when we do so. There are people, however, who suffer more because they do not know when and where to ride them. Like the chap, whose hobbyhorse is the divorce laws, mounting up on it when he is congratulating the bride and bridegroom; like the chap, whose hobbyhorse is his irregular bowel movements, trotting it out at the dining table – people like that.

I draw your attention to this simulated conversation below

A.R. Rahman (proudly): I got an Oscar for my music in Slumdog Millionaire

Well-Wisher : It is more than sixty years since we got independence and we are still running after foreign awards.

After that, our well-wisher is astonished, hurt and wails, “Nobody understands me” when he understands that Rahman is less than impressed with his doughty patriotism. That is what comes of riding hobbyhorses – you really do not understand that there is a time and place for riding horses. It can end up with the horse choosing to evacuate itself in the middle of your living room and you finding yourself knee-deep in horse-shit. There is no real point in weeping copious tears about the world not understanding you. You will have to deal with the shit yourself.

All of us have met those people who we consider as bores (Of course not me! You are saying that only to hurt me). They buttonhole you and flood your ears with their pet ideas till you decide to sacrifice the button and get away. I plead for more understanding for these people. After all, all of us do ride our hobbyhorses at times. It is only that these people have got on the nag and, then, forgot to dismount. Some may even be unable to dismount – sort of more like hobby-tigers if you know what I mean.

Now, just to prove that I can dismount, I leave you here to ponder on all this wonderful philosophy!

If you liked this you may like to check out the index of other posts of this genre or read a selection of similar posts.

52 comments:

  1. One usually has to ride their hobbyhorse through tricky terrain. A disinterested, and if in the presence of friends, a vociferously vocal audience has to be maneovered tactfully.

    One must avoid cautiously the sandtraps of overly pointed questions which require you to have a PhD in your hobby to answer correctly.

    Plus the pain that arises in the backside being more an affliction of the audience than the rider, suitable palliatives in the form of copious amounts of fermented liquids must be provided to ensure a continued performance of the hobbyhorse.

    Much like horse riding, hobbyhorse riding is an expensive sport, and may cost you an arm and a leg, literally in some cases if the audience is suitably riled.

    Beginning my day with smiles, thanks to you Suresh sir :-)

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    1. I liked that '..may cost you an arm and a leg, literally in some cases if the audience is suitably riled' particularly :) Thanks Mixi!

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  2. Suresh, This one flew over the cuckoo's nest!

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    1. Indeed, the vacuous coconut atop my neck is a cuckoo's nest!

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    2. In which case mine stands besides yours :) For your comment flew over my cuckoo's nest too :)

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  3. Beautiful Article! It's not only celebrities but so many others ride their hobby horses too in the hope to get noticed someday....

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    1. Thanks Bushra! Some do because they don't know anything else to do :)

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  4. :) Hobbyhorses can be very dangerous indeed. I reckon an uncle who got beaten up by East Bengal football club supporters 'cuz he had Mohunbagan Club history as his hobbyhorse and he rode into the wrong terrain.. Good One to read before I sleep off and ride mine into uncharted territory.

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  5. Riding a hobby horse is much easier than to get down because when the hobby horse starts the journey few realize that they are entering Like Abhimanyu.

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    1. Absolutely Pradip! Even Arjun can't escape this Chakravyuh! :)

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  6. Interesting article, CS. And I agree, we all have it.. though the degree might vary in different situations. I guess, if we all thought twice before we spoke, we could drive these hobbyhorses away.

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    1. And then driving away hobbyhorses may end up becoming our hobbyhorse :)

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  7. i was thinking of something witty to comment here but thankfully my common sense got better of me and I saved myself from putting my big foot in my even bigger mouth...:)
    If we compile all the examples (celebrities, writers, politicians.etc.etc...) we can write a book...:)

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    1. When it comes to humor you should never let commonsense get in the way :)

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  8. My ponies never grew to be horses.. ;)

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  9. hahaha, this is amazing!!! even though i was finding it difficult to keep my eyes open (which has nothing to do with your post. it's just that i didn't sleep last night), i didn't want to miss an opportunity to have a good laugh. and trust me, i have been laughing for the past half an hour (yeah i read it a few times).

    you have been leaving encouraging comments on my mediocre blog but let me tell you i can never write half as good as you do :)

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    1. Debs! You are being too generous. I, at best, mildly tickle. You are the one who writes well enough to get the belly-laughs!

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  10. Suresh, I could not stop laughing :). Can I say that I understand it crystal clear. You are absolutely right! How does one get it through their ingenious heads. Poor AR Rahman. Actually, I am beginning to have some empathy for celebs now. I am now going to ride on my hobbyhorse and go take a walk :). Good work my friend!

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    1. I always thought celebs have a tough time. :)

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    2. Seriously! Poor AR Rahman! There are those hobbyhorses who get on the nag and forget to dismount and then there are those who do not wish to dismount. Maybe the pain in their butt is collateral damage in return for the kick they get from kicking others!

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    3. Everyone does things for kicks - and complain when they get kicked :)

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  11. It's all about finding balance and knowing when to get off before you give other people a pain their behind from your hobby horse! ;)

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    1. That's the most important thing in horse-riding - Balance :)

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  12. Loved that AR Rehman example!! And I have had my fair share of run-ins because of my Hobbyhorses!!

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    1. Everyone has, DS! It is a problem only when you don't know how to dismount :)

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    2. Yes,not knowing when to dismount;it is so painful for the audience.

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  13. The divorce lawyer must have had a hard life ;-)
    I guess the trick lies in knowing when and where to stop. Loved reading this, like always! Interesting incidents , btw. :)

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    1. When and where to start as well, Akanksha :)

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  14. There's a thin line that divides passion from obsession. And as usual we are the last ones to know.

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    1. The difference between hobbyhorses and hobby-tigers :)

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  15. I was imagining all those times when I have been riding my mighty hobbyhorse(s) and managing to drive people insane! reading this was kind of a reality check for me and i know now that I have a lot of apologies to make!

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    1. We all do that :) How do you think this post came about? Because I am one of the foremost riders of hobbyhorses that I know of :)

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  16. Hi Suresh

    I can go on yap-yap-yap on and on about topics that interest me without the slightest realization that the other person is yawning away to glory or in some cases has already fallen asleep - blame it on the adrenaline that goes rushing when I begin the talk ha ha :)

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    1. I am also one of those who flogs his hobbyhorse to death, Jaish! :) That is how the idea for this post came :)

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  17. I have suffered recently because of this and thus know the pain. I am a very non-violent person but that day all my hidden knives were out. The guy never knew that he was this close to the gates of hell.

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    1. Ah! Amit! Gates of hell too, huh? :)Well I am not merely non-violent, I am this people-pleasing Libran but sometimes hobbyhorses can squash all the goodwill out of you. :)

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  18. Ok, this took a couple of reads before I 'got' it! Considering that the point you were trying to make was so delightfully simple, I must rue my own intelligence (or lack thereof) for horsing around with it for so long!

    And so, regardless of whether anyone thinks it inelegant or whatever, I shall continue to ride my favourite hobby-horse of savouring your blog as long as you ride your hobby-horse of writing it! :)

    Alternatively, the above sentence could also be written as - I shall continue to ride my favourite hobby-tiger of devouring your blog as long as you ride your hobby-horse of writing it! :)

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    1. You are the second to find it difficult to understand readily - so, even if the point is simple, I must have been very unclear in my writing. Must do better. I am grateful that both Umashankar and you let me down lightly by blaming yourself instead of blaming the opacity of my writing.

      Ah! That's one hobby-tiger ride that, I hope, will be akin to the 'riding a tiger' metaphor in not allowing you to dismount readily :)

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  19. There's something called 'too much of a good thing'. Moderation never killed anyone yet, but people don't like taking a risk by trying it on. To such people one is compelled to lament thus, "Oh, SOH... whither art thou?"

    Dagny

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    1. hahaha! With hobbyhorses, u get all sorts of problems - the blinkers get in the way of clearly viewing situations, u are so addicted to riding that you do not think of whether it is the right time or place to ride and, of course, you forget to dismount :)

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  20. ROFL! In retrospect, most bloggers must be riding their hobbyhorses when they talk to the rest of the world, which they think is totally oblivious of the state of blogging nirvana!

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    1. At least with bloggers you can just exit the blog without giving offence :)

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  21. I get where this is coming from. Good one.

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  22. I really liked "got on the nag and, then, forgot to dismount ..". As some one has already commented, it open a 'reality check for all'.

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    1. Well! It started as a reality check on me :)

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