Friday, October 06, 2006

Dining Philosophers

Author’s note: Like anything else in this world, there’s no pre-requisite per se for this post too. But, read this previous edition anyway, it’s life-affirming.

“Now, we all agree that you’ve become nihilistic, don’t we?” asked Vels addressing a grand audience of one person in one of those vegetarian restaurants where Sambar tastes, well, like it does in Tamilnadu and Vada (not Vadaa) doesn’t have coconut pieces ingrained in it.

Ashok is not a man who’d concentrate on his Sambar Vada (not Vadaa), much as he loves it, when posed with a question of such proportions, especially when he isn’t quite sure about the answer himself, like this one. In fact, that’s when he comes out flourishing with obscure drivel, dishing theories one after another. But, in this particular case, he chose silence and Sambar Vada (not Vadaa) over sublime nonsense for a few precious moments.

Then, very assuredly, he mumbled, “Huh? I am not nihilistic.”

Vels, a little perplexed, continued, “Damn you bastard! So, now, do you claim you believe in something? One of those times you even said you staunchly believed in bullshit and blah, trying to sound very cool and Woody Allen.”

“‘Positively, no,’ I should say.”

“Then, you are one.”

“But, I don’t believe in Nihilism either.”

“Another one of your failed attempt at quirky witty and whatnot one-liners. Now, I can’t bother too much to point out the absurdity in your logic, can I?”

“Don’t. I’ll do that myself.”


“See, I know it’s absurd. That’s exactly why I am not nihilistic.”

“You are just fooling yourself.”

“Right, that too.”


“Yes, I am fooling myself, admirably well” – Vels started at this moment – Ashok snapped and continued, “I know, you are going to point out that how the hell would it work when I am aware of it.” Vels just nodded in anxious agreement.

Ashok continued, “It would work exactly because of that. I fool myself and I am so well aware of it, and when one’s so well aware of fooling himself” – Vels interrupted and finished, “He can’t fool himself anymore. That is all.” in a heavily M*A*S*H-influenced tone.

Just as Vels thought he had concluded the topic in an unexceptionable fashion, the hot Pongal Ashok had ordered arrived. As if to assert his winning, Vels dragged the plate by his side and gazed satisfyingly at the Pongal.

With a degree of composure that he had not feigned in months altogether, Ashok continued unperturbedly, “No. I fool myself – not to mention that I do that admirably well - and am so well aware of it, and because I am so well aware of fooling myself, I fool myself, um, very correctly. Yes, I know to fool myself very correctly, precisely, exactly. The perfection has come over the years.”

“Why do I feel that you never knew this darn crazy logic yourself just a few seconds before when I snatched your Pongal?”

“Right ho! If my reasoning was that spontaneous, it should be all the more appropriate.” Ashok closed the case, dignifiedly leaving the Pongal for his companion and deciding to have a nice Masaal Dosa (not Dosaa) for himself.

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