Sunday, September 19, 2010

The truth in the lie

We may not doubt that society in heaven consists mainly of undesirable persons.-- Mark Twain

A quadriplegic in the neighbourhood is the cue for various religious cults to crawl out of the woodwork and offer a plethora of miracles. A guy belonging to one such cult wanted Jaya to go to Chennai to meet his leader. Jaya told him that if I agreed to the the trip, she would go. She also told him that in all probability I will bury the idea not praise it. He wanted to meet me but knowing that I would not be interested in listening to the Deepities, Eulerian bluffs and different versions of the Courtier's Reply that these guys are adept in giving, Jaya tried to discourage him from coming home. But he was confident of his persuasive abilities and insisted on meeting me so finally Jaya relented.

He came into my room sporting a big smile - beware of Greeks bearing gifts or in this case, smiles. (Bernard helpfully informs us that the Trojan horse was actually Greek.) He tried to ingratiate himself with me with standard statements - How are you? You look healthy. You will soon be alright... He then told me that god moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. Having been given this stunning revelation only about a million times before, I listened to him with great interest.

He assured me that his god was the 'Real God'. (Another guy told me that he will do a 'strong puja' for me. Have you come across this term before?) Apparently he (or she or it) could perform miracles that would leave lesser gods gaping in awe. He told me about the crippled man who could walk, the child who was cured of leukemia and such standard stories. I tried to stare unblinkingly thinking that he might take my blinks to mean that I had agreed to send Jaya to Chennai.

When he showed no signs of leaving, I tried to think of some way to politely show him the door. I looked frequently at the clock hoping that he would realise that I was not interested but he was immune to such hints. He appeared determined to make me see the light and it looked as if he would leave only after achieving his objective. Wodehouse fans will recall that Balaam's Ass had a similar temperament.

I suddenly had an idea. It is said that a tide comes in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. I was confident that this idea was that tide and lost no time in taking it at the flood. I indicated to the nurse that I wanted to pass urine. After she bolted the door, I indicated to her that I was fibbing. If you prefer a bit of syllabic stretching, I indicated to her that I was being economical with the truth. She understood what was on my mind and laughed.

I waited for ten minutes before allowing her to open the door. When people leave my room after they have met me for a while, they usually don't come back. But as Sherlock Holmes says in The Sign of Four:
.... while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician.
I knew what the average man will do but what this individual will do was anybody's guess. Like Jeeves, I tried to study the psychology of the individual but this did not ease my trepidation. There was the lurking thought that he might return to impress me with more yarns about the amazing prowess of his 'Real God'. It was too early to crow,'Elementary, dear Watson.'

But after a couple of minutes Jaya came and calmed my fears. Apparently he had left soon after he came out of my room.


  1. I see that you have smartly kept your references to a common "God" instead of naming any.

    Here are a few choice defences of people with a hotline to God:

    1. your prayers are answered even when you do not get what you want
    2. when a door closes, a window opens
    3. not everyone can speak directly to God, so intermediaries (like me) are required
    4. my miracles are true stories, every other miracle worker is a liar

  2. Tumhaara haal yeh hai to bechaari Jaya ka kya kehna....How does she manage to ward off such evils???Hats off to Jaya...BTW,Is your nurse back from leave???Or is it the new one??
    P.S.-Have not been too well hence the delay in responding to your posts..cervical spondylosis...AWFUL!!

  3. Leela,
    Sorry to hear about your spondylosis.Hope you are getting better everyday.
    The old nurse has come back.