“good morning, class,” the professor said, “today, we are going to learn a new topic, that is reasoning.”
all the students were pretty much excited as they all thought that they were very good at it and they all immediately put on their thinking caps.
“before we begin, let us have a little drill for your minds.” said the professor.
the students were all ears and the their excitement, which showed in their glowing and smiling faces, was contagious.
“i will tell you people a simple statement and you are supposed to tell me what you conclude from it.”
“so here’s the sentence. listen to it carefully,” said the professor, ” a person said, my neighbour’s second wife is beautiful.” “now you guys tell me, what do you conclude from the sentence?” asked the professor.
there were various answers that flowed in from the ignited minds. the professor simply smiled a smug i-expected-this smile at receiving the responses. some of them were :
“the neighbour is divorced.”
“he had a terrible looking/less beautiful first wife.”
“the guy is trying to hit on the neighbour’s wife.”
“the guy isn’t that happy with his own wife.”
“the neighbour must have had a bad first marriage.”
“both the men are flirts and jerks.” (this was from a typical girl of the class) (girls, i tell you, never cease to amaze me!)
and this continued for a few minutes and then there were no more answers from any of the students. after waiting for a couple of minutes more and convinced that all the geniuses have exhausted their minds, the professor thus spoke :
“i knew these would be your answers and i don’t blame you for that. we are all like that. i asked you to give your views or conclude something from the sentence, but you guys just started imagining.”
then he exploded the bomb. though he din’t point out one by one, he simply mentioned the replies and smiled at the person who had given them.
“do you guys know the person, the neighbour or the neighbour’s first or second wife personally ? did you guys see any of the above four mentioned ? did you guys read anything about them in newspapers or magazines ? no. then, why are you judging their beauty or character? and on what basis are you judging them ?”
“he was divorced and he had a bad first marriage. it’s not necessary that he was divorced. may be they had great and happy married life but may be his first wife passed away. or may be she eloped with her lover.”
“he had a terrible looking/less beautiful first wife. this is the most atrocious conclusion. (there was a hint of anger in his voice) his wife may be more beautiful than today’s leading bollywood actresses even. when you haven’t seen a person, how can you just pass lame judgements about their beauty ?”
” the neighbour is trying to hit on the woman. both the men are jerks and flirts. another appalling one. thank you girls, for being incorrigible and having almost same mindset about certain things. anyway, when you dont know of their history, you can never pass a valid judgement about their character. when i say so and so girl is beautiful, it doesn’t necessarily mean that i like that girl and i want to or am trying to woo her. its just an expression of my feelings.”
finally the professor explained.
“there is a thin line between conclusion or reasoning and imagination. when i asked you guys to reason or conclude, you guys simply started imagining. it’s a plain sentence. the best conclusion would be that he is simply praising the beauty of the woman. all the answers you gave were only the result of imagination. there is no need to go off the track and imagine lame things about the beauty or character of the four people. in fact, there are only three people. i just mentioned the person, the neighbour and his wife. from nowhere, you guys bought in his marriage and his first wife.”
“when someone sees a girl and a guy holding hands on road or in the college campus or anywhere, the only thing that comes to his/her mind is that those two are a couple or in love with each other. (everyone gave a so-true, even-i-do-the-same nod.) (in an angry voice) what non-sense !! how can holding hands be a sign of only love ?!! can’t it be a sign of support, care, comfort ?!!
may be they are cousins. may be he’s helping her walk as she is weak. may be they don’t even know each other. or may be they are just friends.”
(then the professor calmed down and after inhaling a deep breath) “this very imagination is one of the biggest problems of our lives. lame imaginations and narrow-minded views lead to troublesome conclusions and result in loss of peace of mind. when we learn to reason instead of imagine in all aspects of our life, then we can be much more happier than we are now.” everyone had that yes, i-realised-how-stupid-i-was smile.
that explanation left everybody astounded and surprised that how true it was. that how stupid we all are to come to stupid conclusions on the basis of baseless and lame imaginations. and how we can avoid unnecessary tensions and frictions in our lives just by broadening our views a little.
that was the end of the class and the professor left telling (or reminding), “reason and conclude, but never imagine and conclude.”