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Lie another day or Everybody says I am fine

March 19, 2009

You will know when you are lying, wont you? Let’s see:

* You are busy fighting with your girlfriend. A casual friend drops by to say ‘Hello, how are you?‘. You say you are fine, wont you?
* You just had a terrible surgery and you receive friends in the hospital with flowers and stuff. You insist you are fine, wont you?
* Your friend learns to cook. Tries it on you. After eating you assert you are fine, wont you?
* You have had a bad day in the office, your boss shouts at you. You lie to yourself you are fine, wont you?
* You love someone. They don’t love you back. Your colleague looks at you anxiously. You say you are fine, wont you?

These are normal lies one usually comes across each day. One need not actually mind them.

Living in Boston and familiarizing with the Western culture has been an enriching experience to me so far. People are very polite here. They greet with ‘Hi’s to each other on the streets, you know. We hold the doors open for people following us through the door. We exchange pleasantries at the drop of the hat. Almost as freely as we pass on germs in India. People here talk animatedly. They seem excited about little things. A person will greet you a ‘Hello, how are you?‘ with a lilt and such show of affection and concern that for a moment you will begin to doubt how on earth did he come to know you had a hangover that morning. You say, ‘I am fine‘ and as a courtesy also add, ‘how are you?‘, which usually means ‘its your turn to lie now!‘.

Kids here are taught to be polite. The other day I overheard two kids talking to each other. First says, ‘I was bitten by a dog.‘ The second puts in that sympathetic, oprah-winfrey face oozing out i-feel-sorry-for-you feeling and says, ‘Of course the dog must not have meant to hurt you!‘. The kid was three years old and no dog-lover, I know.

The payment counters at the super markets are bustling with females dripping with courtesies. They greet you with such fervour that the person in the queue behind might actually suspect some foul play between you both. Until its his turn at the counter, that is. The lady greets you with a Cheshire Cat grin, ‘How are you today?‘. You lie, ‘I am fine‘. She will say, ‘Oh how lovely!‘. Under that lovely spell you pay your bill and come out with the feeling of emptiness.

The front-desk personnel in any institution/office are almost always pretty faces. Imagine yourself going to a clinical pathology lab where they collect your urine samples to test. Say you walk-in one day to give your urine sample for the test. Nothing to get embarrassed about it, right? We claim to be modern. We are neo-sapiens. But we are embarrassed when the pretty face greets us in and enquires our business. We lie and say we are fine.

Hello Sir, how are you?‘ her lips stretched in a grin from ear to ear.
Unbeknownst comes from inside you, ‘oh, I am fine‘, You actually manage to shrug your shoulder to show how casual you are.
oh, wonderful!‘. She says and hands you a beaker to return it to her after filling it with your sample.
You put up a bold face and enquire where the rest-room is so you can collect it in leisure.
It’s right over there, Sir, on your left. And please watch your step, Sir, the floor might be slippery!‘ Wow, you think, she cares for me!
You manage to come out unscathed from the slippery rest room, with your proud trophy in the hand. You wonder if she will say, ‘Oh, you made my day!‘. Instead she smiles at you understandingly, with all the smile she had ever smiled and all the understanding she can ever muster. You shove the beaker at the far end of the tray and quickly leave the lab hoping never to see the pretty face again in your life.

The above situation is imaginary, of course, and my dear friend and I were reeling with laughter when he was building up the scene for me. But the question remains:
Why do everyone say I am fine?

Why do we lie so much? Why do we lie even on occasions when both the parties know the degree of truth in it? Are we not encouraging the plasticity around us? Are we not affecting the psycho-socio-verbal eco-system that way? (That reminds me, say NO to plastics.)

There are lies and there are lies. Normal lies. Harmful lies. Harmless lies. White lies. True lies. Innocent lies. I-dont-care lies. You-go-to-hell lies. Truth is that these lies are necessary sometimes. To not hurt the other person, we lie. To keep a stranger away, we lie.

But I lie for the sheer pleasure of it. If anyone wakes me up in the middle of the night and asks if i am sleeping, I would love to contradict.

Hey you sleeping?
Ouch.. er.. ahem.. no actually, I was researching the sexual fantasies of the African primitive tribes. Want to fill-in my questionnaire?

So much for sleeping!

By the way, friends, how are you today? for once, shall we be truthful and decide not to lie today? Lie another day!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 20, 2009 5:00 am

    At the end of the post, if you had said, “Where are you?” instead of “How are you?”, I would have answered, “I am rolling on the floor laughing!” Now, you know I am lying, because literally I am not sweeping the office floor with my body 🙂

    However I AM holding my tummy and laughing out loud! 🙂

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