A Facebook friend once told me that when she reads the comments on her wall, she feels like paying for their education. I did not disagree. I often read her wall. An Ayn Rand fan who recently landed in Delhi told me: “You cannot reason with these people.” True. I had learned this the hard way.
It is not open to argument whether that the greatest problem mankind faces is stupidity. Sentimentalists might tell you that it is “world poverty”, but that is a red herring, and merely a symptom of this deeper and more important problem. But then, they would also tell us that the problem doesn’t exist, and that we are all equal, wouldn’t they?
One example would illustrate my point:
A year back, I noticed that my internet connection often went off at odd hours. I called the internet guy, Mr. “Blank Out”. Mr. “Blank Out” said that it happened because someone frequently changes the direction of my antenna in order to “capture” the signal. I said, “You are such an idiot. You had connected the antenna to my laptop through a cable. There is no point in changing the direction of antenna at 4 O Clock in the morning—because the cable is plugged into my laptop.” I knew that he hadn’t fixed the antenna properly, but Mr. “Blank Out” would not budge. He said something lame in Hindi, and all my attempts to reason with him failed. I had to coerce him into fixing it permanently on my roof. It never happened again.
A few months later, when I changed my apartment from Safdarjung to Malviya Nagar, I called up Mr. “Blank Out” to shift the antenna. After a while, he called me up saying cheerfully that he had reached Malviya Nagar. Mr. “Blank Out” wanted to know where my new apartment is. But, he hadn’t even taken the antenna from my old house. When I said, “You are testing my patience to the hilt”, he again said something lame in Hindi, and hung up the call.
When Mr. “Blank Out” came to fix the antenna the next day evening, I locked him up in my room, and said that they should compensate me for the psychological trauma I went through. There was a frightened expression on his face, but he couldn’t control his laughter when I said, “I knew that you guys will dupe me.”
Soon, his tall, strong boss reached my apartment. He said that he will register a complaint with the police saying that I kidnapped his employee. My knees started shaking when I saw him, but I said that I will proceed against them for wasting my time, and causing me stress. When I said, “Your employees are attitudent.”, he calmed down, and said, “Beta, I know why you are angry. You are from Kerala. You people are very intelligent. Kerala had achieved 100% literacy long back. Delhi is still lagging behind. You can see that difference in everything, including our attitude.”
He then pointed at his employees. “Can’t you see them? They are duds. They hung up the phone only because they did not understand what you are saying. There is no point in complaining to the police. We live in India. Things do not work that way in our country.” As individuals, they all know what is wrong with their organization and country. But, they all feel helpless before this vast sea of incompetence.
Post Script: While recovering from the worst illness in my life, I have been analyzing the “dud menace” from every conceivable angle—-I could not read and surf for seventeen days. Some Low IQ doctors scared me, and for a while, I even feared that I will be taken to the graveyard before I finish my darling novel. My detractors would have been pleased.