to lie or not to lie was no more a question

Tata’s birthday was last November, and this is something that occurred to me then. But I’ve somehow gone out of touch with writing so not put it down. But though there are lot of articles pending, felt should not postpone this any more… so here goes…

We had a West End Cooperative Society with Jeejabhai  at the corner of our street. Once  when I was say around 10 years old or so, Amma wanted to buy somethng from there and I too went with her. And she was inside the shop, alone came a baloon man selling a lot of colorful baloons. They looked so cool… I was outside and asked him how much was one – it was 25 paise. Now I really wanted one … what do I do? Asking Amma… not much of a chance. I suddenly got a real smart brainwave – I ran home… and Tata was there – and I told him that Amma wants 25p more. He gave it immediately, I went there and bought my baloon… and came back with Amma waving it triumphantly that With I’d won a baloon with my smartness!As soon as we came home Tata was at the gate and someone asked who got me the baloon I declared my clever trick and laughed about it. Then Tata caught me and took one belt and gave me a sound beating. I cried so much – more than the pain of the beating, it was the fact that Tata whom I loved so much had beaten me. Very rarely I have been beaten by anyone, and least of all Tata –  compared to my other cousins. So a beating for me was much more emotional than physically painful and I felt terribly ashamed of myself and hoped that he would love me again [which of course he did as he continued to be one of my eternal friends till his last moments many decades later]

But as I grow in my ability to see and examine my own entire life and character, I am able to see that beating was a turning point in my life! Because in those moments of shame and silence that followed the beating – there was a decision not just one that was made by thoughts but a change in my heart, deep inside – that I would never lie.

Just as an example, I remember another incident many years later in my school days when all of us kids had gone to one of our neighbour’s house, and had put in a lot of sand on a stone bench in his front yard and made all kinds of designs on it. Then the neighbour – a cranky old man – suddenly spotted us from his window and started shouting. All the kids fled – all except one who stayed on… and started cleaning up everything. Even when the old man came out, the kid felt scared but still stood his ground, and took the scoldings which in a few moments stopped and the old man and the kid started cleaning up the place together – then the old man told the kid he could go.

I can hardly believe I had that kind of courage to be that kid and I thank Tata for it. I gave my own example merely for the reason that really I live to a large extent atleast what I talk about.

But please note that I am certainly a very dishonest fellow and am only trying to be honest. Consistency is what matters the most – theres no big deal about some ad hoc incidents and I still have a lot more to go to better myself. I’m merely sharing what I have learnt, you are welcome to correct anything or please add to it.

So coming to the current day, the kids of the next generation are so sharp that they simply learn so much from us – even the things we dont want them to learn! So being honest cannot be some moral science that we “must try to inculcate in them”. Being an example is the only chance we have.

Agreed that we’re all in general honest people. Even outwardly very honest and sincere people cannot resist for example cooking up rationalisation to cover up or justify any mistakes – this is the kind of honest I’m talking about. For example when we develop a grudge it may well be a lie. Because we come up with perfectly good reasons which are biased – we give ourselves or others a very distorted view about all the things the other person did on why we should be angry with him or her, while we have a completely clean view of ourself! 🙂

So being honest includes those little white ones that we take for granted as if they don’t count. Many say a little bit is inevitable and supposedly without it there’s no way to survive in the world, but it all too often just becomes a convenient habit. Telling just a partial truth can be a lie as well. Cigarette smoking is a lie – I dont know any smoker who dosent promise himself that its his last day of cigarettes, or convinces himself that there’s nothing harmful about it. Giving false alibis like telling some unexpected guests that we’re not going to be available. Or justify something we know in our heart is wrong, by creating some perfectly rational justification for it by just putting in some past points together (we’d all make very good lawyers that way!). Cheating or bribing children just for fun or to get them to do what we think is right for them (or us). Saying good morning without meaning it can be a lie! 🙂 Inpunctuality, unreliability, lack of commitment and so on are all in the list 🙂

I know now that with every lie, I’m deceiving not just someone else, but also myself! 🙂 But still lying is so convenient that reversing it can be quite hard. But whenever I’ve succeeded – I know beyond doubt that its also the most natural, carefree, lighthearted, tension – free and healthy way of life! 🙂

There are so many people who are getting on just fine even with all kinds of lies, even really big ones, so what’s really the big deal about it when everyone is getting away (apparently at least) with it? I feel that if we can learn to be honest fact is that if we learn to honest in ordinary things, then we can learn to be honest in the most important thing of all – we can be really honest in our love to all as well.

6 Responses to “to lie or not to lie was no more a question”

  1. msanjay Says:

    Recalling a story (maybe not completely accurately) Upendra told me a story about Gandhi Ramakrishna Paramahamsa…

    A lady approached him with a child and told him that no matter what she did the kid was just obsessed with sweets and she said that he respects you a lot maybe if you tell him to stop he might stop. Ramakrishna agreed but asked her to come next week. Then when she came again he asked the kid to stop eating sweets. So why on earth did he take a whole week just for such a simple thing>? He answered that he himself had not eaten sweets the whole week and so could tell the kid the next week :mrgreen:

  2. Patil Says:

    Hi Sanjay,

    Keep up the good job,Your blogs are good i will find some more time to read all.

    I would like to share this with you to make a correction on the above story Its not related with Gandhi……. Its happ.. with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.(Book By vivekananda)

  3. msanjay Says:

    looks like I was a bit more inaccurate in recalling than I thought 🙂 – many thanks for the correction and comments Patil

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