Friday, the unthinkable happened.
decided to be nice to one another. And it didn't have to stop
there. They had to refer to only nice things about people
they know when talking about them. What a gargantuan and complex
task. Oh! Think about what women would do from now on the
phone and at kitties. Think about what the men would do in
the public lavatories. Think about the spark-less atmosphere
at the work place when men and women generate data upon data
of pure facts without spicing it up with tales of the manager
on the third floor or the secretary in the elevator. Ah gossip!
The elixir of life! What were we to do from now on?
must understand, as I'm sure you already know, that it is
not all that easy to be nice all the time and to every body.
One, it doesn't come naturally to any of us; two, since people
are not used to niceties from others, too much of it all of
a sudden from all sides would be nauseating.
from these practical considerations, one big foreseeable glitch
was in getting people around to complimenting others with
honest, heartfelt words. That would still not be that difficult.
What really would be, was having to have them THINK positive
about the second person without any malice, whatsoever. Impossible,
don't you feel? There are three kinds of people in this world.
One, and these genuine souls are the next best alternatives
to angels on earth (and therefore, an endangered species),
people who see only the good in you, and say only the most
genuinely wonderful things about you all the while meaning
every word they've spoken. When you are down in the dumps,
give them a tinkle and see the dark clouds above you disappear
in a jiffy. Two, there are people who feel you are devil incarnates
but want you to believe that they see you as messiahs (easy
to spot, one doesn't usually pay any attention to their opinions);
and three, those who know you are essentially good or harmless,
but still go out of their ways to disturb your peace of mind.
the first category (who would not get in the least bit affected
by this new law of the land), the other two sets of people
(which includes most of us) were to have their lives completely
transformed henceforth. Oh! How were we to survive with so
much meanness bottled up inside us? The solution came in the
form of hypnotic mantras handed to us, free of cost, to chant
and soothe our nerves. "You are nice, I am nice, The
world is nice, You are…"
For two full days, only positive energy flowed through the
city. So strongly polarised the city became that the world
sat up and took notice of the wonder model of goodness. It
was all honey, sugar and jaggery, and nothing short of the
dreams of utopia that had died with Sir Thomas More. For two
days, it was perfect. No crime and no bodily harm was reported
from any corner of the city, but more significantly, no one
spoke ill of the other, there were praises for one and all
in the air. For once, Goodness was seen to be triumphing over
Meanness. So picture perfect it all appeared that the Gods
were contemplating switching their abode from up there to
the Earth. Grapevine (the non-malicious one, of course) was
that suitcases were seen floating around in the stratosphere
all packed and ready to make their descent.
day three, characterised by a marked complacency among the
believers and non-believers alike, the trance of the mantra
began to wane, probably because they stopped chanting it enough
number of times. The not-so-nice thoughts tried to force their
way up to the surface only to be pushed back by the accumulated
goodness of the last two days, which created such tremendous
bi-polar energies that our bodies began to twitch. Initially,
we all faced our occasional twitches bravely. Since we all
felt uncomfortable around our temples or our chest some time
or the other, we tried to accept it as our regular bodily
functions as any other. We itch, but not at the same time;
similarly, we twitched, but not at the same time.
twitches became uncontrollable, spreading like an epidemic.
How much longer can you curb your natural instincts and play
saint without facing an acute shortage of meanness (the oxygen
equivalent of the mind and soul) in the system. We gasped
for some relief, our bodies convulsed, some tried to help
themselves by throwing up their extra goodness that they had
accumulated in their minds.
five, the doctors' chambers were spilling over with patients
diagnosed with diarrhoea, indigestion, heart burns, anginas,
and similar maladies showing a partial malfunctioning of the
systems. Acquaintances, well wishers, friends, supposed best
of friends, confidantes, bosom pals, all bumped into one another,
and managed feeble sheepish nods, not knowing what to do upon
being exposed thus. But one thing was clear. Something needed
to be done, and done quickly.
in an emergency meeting of the administrative body of medical
practitioners in the city, tough decisions were taken unanimously.
The doctors prescribed immediate and complete reversal of
the niceness mantra, and recommended a strong daily mandatory
dosage of nastiness to one and all.
of this treatment started showing up late last evening, with
people feeling themselves again. There were jubilations on
the streets to celebrate the fact that people were no longer
needed to be nice when they didn't want to be.
been a week since the decision was taken collectively at the
Town Hall, and for the first time since then, we felt unrestricted
this Friday morning. Within a short span of six days, it was
concluded that it is not wise for humans to tamper with basic
human nature. It is not easy to be nice. Nor is it good for
(R) thedailystar.net 2005