Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do people enjoy the taste of BS?

I recently watched one of the latest Bollywood releases: Rajneeti. A good movie with fabulous actors and even better acting. But Ranbir Kapoor’s (The leading male protagonist in the movie) role in the movie left me wondering about moral values. Do you have to be scheming and calculating to get ahead in life? And is it always the ones you least expect that end up weaving webs of conceit? Are people’s appetites satiated only with platter of lies? Does truth always dig itself and its owner a grave of disaster?

Here is the thing: Words hold a sacred place in my life. I don’t see shades of grey through the kaleidoscope of life. My vision is restricted to black and white. But then again, I am not an imbecile. There are times when I think my honest opinion might not be appropriate in a particular situation (Telling a host their food sucks or suggesting to someone that their wardrobe reminds me of Raakhi Saawant’s etc.) That’s when I choose the path of silence - I prefer to seal my lips, momentarily.

I always thought my habit of relying on truth was a big strength in my personality. No one ever had to figure out if I meant what I said. No false promises, no heartbreaks, no fake relationships, no pretenses. When I said, “I miss you” or “Come over” or “I care” or “I will be there,” people knew I uttered them with sincerity.

But looking at the world around me, I am beginning to question the notion of truth. I think, most human beings are shallow and insecure about something or the other. The emotional strategists and scheming folks find those voids and fill them up with their superficiality. The older we get, the more susceptible we are to falling prey to bags of lies because the feeling of self-worth begins to lessen. And irrespective of age, everyone likes feeling important and loved.

An obese child likes to hear that he or she is the most beautiful kid on the block. Lovers desire only praises however fake they might be. Bosses are thrilled if you are the “yes-man.” Even parents suffering from empty nest syndrome like to believe that the child, who gets melodramatic around them (“Come live with me” or “You are my world, and I can’t live without you”), is the one who cares more. Subconsciously, all these people might know these statements aren’t fully honest. But they fall for it because that’s what the ear in their hearts and egos desire.

A very dear friend, who suffers from a severe case of honestitis as well, said something interesting. “Manipulation and deceit brings overall happiness and tranquil in a house.”

Recently, both she and I were privy to an interesting situation. An acquaintance said to her husband that her in-laws meant more to her than her own parents. Hold on. Take a breath. Anyone who says that they love someone else’s parents more than their own are either lying or evading their past. You can respect both the sets equally, care for them on similar levels, and feel the same sense of responsibility but not love them the same way. And I am not just saying this because I know how this acquaintance truly feels about her husband’s family. Just think logically. How can you feel the same emotions for each party when one set brought you up and spent twenty (sometimes thirty years) with you? They are two unique relationships.

Similarly, men and women, who coldly denounce where they come from (life pre-marriage), baffle me. I wonder what they grew up with. It’s such a reflection on that person’s childhood and personality. Anyway, in front our very own eyes, my friend and I saw this acquaintance’s husband sink blissfully into a sofa of bliss and denial. He chose to believe what his spouse told him because it was convenient. A man’s ego is always ready to be petted, and this woman knew just the right spots. Net result: she got her way, scored brownie points in the eyes of the society, and the male ego proliferated in his castle of ignorance and smugness.

It seems liars don’t sit on societal pyre. But here is my point: you can fib to the entire world, but what about your own self? How do manipulative people sleep every night knowing that they aren’t truly anyone’s friend? Doesn’t their conscience ever nudge them? Or am I too na├»ve to believe that truth should be the foundation of relationships?


More until next time, 


Copyright © 06. 17. 2010


“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid. We fear we will not find love, and when we find it we fear we'll lose it. We fear that if we do not have love we will be unhappy.” Richard Bach 


rajiv said...

sweta, once long ago someone paid me what in my perception is perhaps the best compliment I've ever received in my life. the person said, "rajiv, i don't have to THINK before i speak to u". i guess if u can feel that for anyone, that's being more honest than u can possibly ever hope for even in reciprocation. after all even with our most beloved people we usually think for a split second before speaking , unless of course its a shouting match where you both yell and only the neighbors listen.
i'll admit that she was frank enough to tell me while parting ,"you're not boy-friend material; you're husband material" (in retrospect, i'll admit that i was a failure as both !)
your last para echoes a wonder i've felt for nearly a quarter of a century. and let me assure you - there ARE no answers to that one. and if you can ever find the answer and enlighten me i'll owe you one - perpetually .....

Anonymous said...

Sadly that's exactly why all truth qualifies as incovenient.

Anonymous said...

Very well written post, btw:) liked the sinking in the sofa of denial bit:) sandi

Anonymous said...

Very well written post, btw:) liked the sinking in the sofa of denial bit:) sandi

Hena said...

I know you'll hate me for this...but I am being truthful....

I agree with your intent but not the example. It's only recently I realised that there are a lot of children who may not like their parents as much as someone more kinder to them when they grow old...

Think about children who are abused during their childhood, substance exposed child birth and pains thereafter.....

The sofa bit is so pictorial :).

My two cents said...

Thank you all for your comments and feedback and for taking out the time to read this post.

@Rajiv: I wonder if practice makes a liar perfect at manipulation. Just a thought.

@Hena, you know I am a sucker for honesty and debates:-) You raise a very valid point. There is always an exception to the rule, but this person (who I wrote about) comes from a regular family. But you could argue there is no proof of that. True. But the thing is her affection, overall, goes with the flow of her need. It's not that she's truly crazy about her in-laws. It's a pretense, and her husband chooses to buy that lie because it suits him. And I am almost convinced (though I don't want to) that majority of the couples share a similar dynamic. What you don't articulate doesn't hurt. Deceit wins. Everyone is happy.

Pradeep Srivastava said...

Hindu scriptures have a great advice on what to say and what not to say: "Speak the truth; speak the pleasant, but don't speak the unpleasant truth" ("Satyam Bruyat, Priyam Bruyat; Na Bruyat Satyam Apriyam"). There is a similar advice in Geeta, as well. However, I am not at home right now, therefore, I don't have the exact reference.