Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Uniquely Honest

Updated: June 18, 2011 10:32 am

India That Is Bharat

Congressmen are nothing if not creative. At least that is what Satiricus admiringly concluded when he read in the papers the other day about respected Rahulji’s mass membership drive for the Youth Congress. And if creative and imaginative mean one and the same thing, what is the difference between imaginative and imaginary? Satiricus wouldn’t know, became, being a journalist, he is illiterate. Still he can certainly say that the exuberance with which young men are becoming young Congressmen testifies to an exquisite exercise in flights of fancy. Look, for instance, at the rows upon rows of newly-enrolled members on the Youth Congress website—member’s name Roti, father’s name Sabzi; member’s name Juta, father’s name Moja; member’s name Lal, father’s name Pila; membar’s name Pila, father’s name Nila, and, to cap it all, member’s name ABVP, father’s name BJP. See? Could there be a more meaningful response of the masses to the massive membership drive of the youthful Rahulji’s Youth Congress?

            When these names were brought to the notice of the AICC secretary in charge of Youth Congress affairs Jitendra Singh, he said there were thousands of such cases. Satiricus is impressed, for this proves that everything is in a name, any disclaimer of Shakespeare notwithstanding. But he is also perplexed. He cannot understand why, as Jitendra Singh said, these names were taken out of the website. Why this modesty in concealing classic cases of creativity? But apparently there is not only modesty, there is even nobility. For Jitendra Singh said: “If we were not transparent, we would not have put these names on the website. Ah, how righteous! Satiricus quite agrees that unless something like this Youth Congress campaign is transparent, we can neither see it, nor see through it.

            Then again, the Congress leader pointedly pointed out that at the time of voting the listed voters have to prove their identity, and at that time those with fake names are exposed and rejected. He even went further and assured that only one per cent of the total rejected is due to such fake names; others are rejected for not furnishing required identification documents, including a bar code number. Can any political party be so uniquely honest? Satiricus doubts. For according to the Youth Congress website, “the bar code is the unique identification number that is assigned to you when you submit your (membership) form. … During elections the barcode number will be used for voter verification.” Well, now, should that not ensure sufficient satisfaction about the veracity of the verification? Alas, no. For according to the press report, it was found that all those with fake names had bar code numbers. How to explain this? Simple. This must be the dastardly doing of “some mischievous elements—or even some opposition people who want to discredit Rahulji’s reforms”. That settles it. “BJP, father of ABVP” is clearly the culprit.

Genomic Happiness

A steaming cup of coffee makes Satiricus happy. A lukewarm cup of coffee makes Satiricus unhappy. Alas, that was then, not now. Now a grave-faced psychologist has to tell him when he is happy—or when he should not be. For now new research in the US of A (where else?) has warned him—setting a goal of happiness can backfire. Explaining this unhappy consequence of the search for happiness an erudite article, in a journal called Perspectives on Psychological Science, says: “Happiness shouldn’t be thought as a universally good thing, and pursuing it too much can make people feel worse.” Now this is really too much for simple Satiricus, who can easily drown his unhappiness in a hot cup of coffee. For if, as this learned article teaches him, happiness is not a good thing, does that mean the opposite is true and he should enjoy feeling miserable?

To make the confusion worse confounded—and make usually happy Satiricus unusually unhappy—another study, this time by the Brits, says people who are too happy die young. Good Lord! Does happiness actually kill people? Well, it’s like this, says the sombre study—too happy people are too cheerful, too cheerful people are not enough careful, and if you are not careful enough, you are more likely to have a fatal accident.

            Fortunately and happily, there is another study by happier Brits. They say it all depends on the ‘happiness’ genes that you inherit from your parents. There are two sets of these genes, the long strands and the short strands. If you inherit the long strands, you are very happy, if you inherit the short strands, you are less happy. Translated into English, the long and short of happiness depends on long and short genes. At least that is what the experts say. And who is an expert? By definition an expert is he who makes simple things complex.

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