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Monday, July 30, 2012

Troubled communication

A female ex-student, now in her late-20s, had this exchange with me via email very recently. She, as you will read (still, though maybe not much longer-) claims to have some respect for me. After having read very closely, do tell me what marks you will give me if I were being judged as her teacher: how much of my values (leave alone my knowledge) have I been able to transfer to her? I have no objection to being given poor marks, mind you: if the teacher has failed, it’s largely his fault, after all… the only thing is that comments should come solely from those who have known me well, and for a long time, and like to think things out in depth before shooting their mouths.

Dear Sir,
This mail is in response to your blogpost ‘What happened in Guwahati?’ dated 18th July 2012. With all due respect Sir, and to say the least, I was surprised to read a post of the sort on your blog of all places. The comments on the post are even more startling. I am not a bra-burning feminist trying to rip apart every male in sight, but I also find it difficult to come to terms with a school to thought that blames the wallet owner than the pickpocket, on grounds that the victim should be more careful of his belongings!

A certain Sunandini Mukherjee writes, ‘Most girls love to draw people’s attention towards them, put on clothes and attitude which are not really decent for that purpose but then feel ‘insulted’ on being greeted by lewd comments by loafers on the road.’ Really? I wonder; is that really why I dress the way I do? And do I lose the right to be offended by people, who have no semblance of etiquette, thanks of the length of my skirt? Is dignity defined by the droop of my d├ęcolletage or the rise of my hemline? I have not judged women who step out of their homes in salwar kameez and oiled hair, then what has given them the right to judge me? Sir, I have taken your classes very seriously, and a lot of things you told us have stayed with me till date. I shall also take the liberty to say it has shaped me in many ways. You spoke about the real meaning of independence one day – ‘Do as your heart pleases, as long as your actions do not bother, adversely affect or hurt another.’ So then, what is wrong if a 20-year old girl or for that matter a young man, decides to go out drinking with his/her friends late in the night? Should an ideal society not flourish on the tenet of Live and Let Live?

While the media angle is a different topic altogether (I completely agree with you Sir that TRP reporting has become today’s norm, and it is shameful. Personally I have written a letter to Mrs. Ambika Soni in a hope to be one more voice against sensational journalism.) I also wonder if it is such an eyesore to see youngsters behave like, well, youngsters. Which teen does not falter, have lapse in judgment, and make friends only to realize later in life that they were probably not worth their while? Why is there such an expectation from scholars, intellectuals and litterateurs that 20 somethings should behave, think and operate like them? I know most great men started young, and that is inspirational. But let’s face it, not everyone is meant for great things. The world is made up of all kinds of people and the world better make place for the average man. It’s no sin, according to me.

P.S.: This is just my point of view and I felt a strong need to share it with you. Hope you make space for it, Sir. I didn’t send it in as a comment, because I was not sure if you would like it.
Regards,
X

Thank you, X. We might talk about this again, if I am around, in say twenty years’ time, preferably when you have a teenage daughter growing up at home … I shall take the liberty of observing for now, however, that you do NOT read my posts with a tenth of the attention that I demand from my readers. And that is hurtful at best, and offensive at worst.
Sir

Sir,
I am sorry if I have offended you in any way. That was not the intent.
X

Good to see that, at least, X.

In response to your angry question, here’s  a poser. I too, like you, say nothing about women who step out of their houses in salwar kameez and a lot of oil in their hair. So they shouldn’t say anything about how I dress either, right, especially in my own house? So would it have been perfectly all right if I took my classes all these years in my underwear? Or do different standards apply to men and women here (and one standard for teachers and another for all other men?): women have a ‘right’ to be free in how they dress, whereas men don’t? And am I a very foolish conservative if I say that I can quite understand why 99% of parents wouldn’t have wanted to send their kids to my classes?

I notice also that you very carefully stepped aside the challenge that I threw at you: that I would like to talk to you again about this when you are raising a teenage daughter… and don’t give me nonsense now about how mothers have to be careful about their daughters in this society full of bad men, please. If you insist on your rights you must carry the responsibilities that come with it (like it or not), and you mustn’t suddenly change tunes when you have your own daughter to bring up…

All evil springs from people insisting upon rights while denying the concomitant responsibilities. I have an unchallengeable right to stay naked only in my own house, and only when I am completely alone. At all other times, my right must be restricted by how others feel.  Even if I am in no danger of getting raped. Otherwise I am telling all others, including my maidservant and my wife and my daughter ‘You are not human; your opinions don’t count’.

Having typed that much, I already have this sinking feeling that I have wasted my time: you will not do me the courtesy of taking time out to think, really think  about what I said. Anyway, I won’t try again.
Sir

No Sir, you did not waste your time. I understand that not everyone will share or agree with my point of view. I respect your opinion, but that said, I am not sure your respect mine Sir. You have already made up your mind that any counter-discussion from my side will be ‘nonsense’. What I intended to do with my mail was to merely have a healthy exchange of views (I believe such a thing can happen even if opinions clash) But I fear Sir that this attempt of mine has only offended you. I apologize for putting my disagreement forth.
X

Just one question for the reader: was this girl ever actually interested in a ‘healthy exchange of views’? (for those who might be curious, I was merely using what is called the ‘Socratic method.’ Took the first step  would be more accurate, because I couldn’t go any further.)

17 comments:

Shilpi said...

I’ve got some points/questions for the girl:

1) why does she bother to write at all, when Sir has no power to stop her from wearing what she (or anybody else for that matter) likes?
2) what does she mean by “respecting” Sir when she doesn't want to listen to what Sir has to say?
3) how does the girl complain of Sir not being interested in a 'healthy exchange' when she won't reply to Sir’s series of straight forward queries/posers?
4) Does healthy exchange to her mean only that someone should keep nodding and saying 'You're right, you're right'?
5) NEVER ONCE has Sir said anywhere that girls who dress sassily 'deserve' to be molested. All he says is that he doesn't like their ways, and doesn't he have a perfectly democratic right to feel that way?

NO sane comment writer on this blog has ever said or meant that dressing badly means a girl 'deserves' to be molested, but criticised, yes, most certainly, and just as men should be, too, if they go around in their underwear... that's all that Sir meant!

All Sir is saying is that either the same standards apply to both men and women or we must accept that in many matters gender equality doesn't work, or it's just a sick joke (as in sharing toilets!)

It is ridiculous for girls to say (especially if men can't do the same) that they can have their cake and eat it too... that it is their right to dress any way they like, and also to be 'respected' by men for it!
This I have never understood myself. I am a female, by the way. If females want to wear plunging necklines – should they complain too much if the decent men go 'tsk-tsk' and indecent males ogle?

Sir has himself said elsewhere that he has a right to grow a lopsided moustache, and others have a right to laugh at it... that's democracy! So this issue is not just about clothes at all.

I think the girl has misunderstood the point and the purpose of the post. I’ll stand by what Sunandini has said about there being a lot of chhele hyanglaa girls. And Pupu too (who is not yet 16) has asserted the same.
If this girl X is not one of the girls who like males ogling , why is she so eager to defend them, or deny their existence?

The minimal meaning of 'respect', in my book, is taking time out to understand what someone is saying before I start arguing with him over imagined slights, and someone who claims to have been Sir's student ought to know at least that much!

And for the last point: 'Average' people should not claim to be proud of what they are, and that's a point that Sir keeps making. The fact that they are numerous does not make them good, admirable, or even worth taking notice of. The whole point of a teacher's lifetime work is trying to encourage and help people become better than average in one sense or the other. So it's actually insulting him to say 'you don't respect average people enough'...

Rashmi Datta said...

Dear Sir,

I have quite a few things to say in response to this blogpost.
Firstly, I give high marks to you as X’s teacher. For you have repeatedly tried your level best, through discussion and not through brow beating, to help the girl see clearly and to distinguish between the right and the wrong. You tried to explain to her through the Socratic Method, the meaning of rights, responsibilities, basic etiquette, attentiveness and the very skill of genuine debating.

I have a series of observations, questions and opinions about the subject matter of the communication that I want to put forward for the readers in general.

1. Nowhere in the original post “What happened in Guwahati” has Sir even once mentioned about the way the alleged ‘victim’ in particular was dressed when he discussed about the girl’s responsibility. He only asked whether it was correct on anyone’s part (male or female, young or old) to get drunk and brawl on streets with the basest kind of ‘friends’ and then complaint about the possible consequences. Can I keep my doors and gates open at night, dangle the keys of my vault on the door knob and then cry that my house has been looted? When I answer no, I am not endorsing theft in general but am merely questioning my responsibilities in the first place. Of course, one can dream and hope of a utopian world and cry that the world is evil but that does not change anything, does it? One should be aware of the dangers lurking around and have to take as many precautions as possible (that is why we double lock doors and gates) first and only then claim for justice.

2. I completely agree with Sunandini about there being many girls who dress scantily and behave obscenely only to draw the attention of boys and men. It is -as I have already mentioned in another comment- an open secret among women. It won’t do women any good to deny it. The word ‘many girls’ is very important here. Sunandini has not pointed out anyone in particular. So why should X become offended and as Shilpidi has said, defend and deny the existence of such girls?

3. X says that she remembers what Sir had said (and keeps saying) about independence. But does not get his point that it bothers all decent men and women and makes them uncomfortable when women roam about wearing revealing clothes. She has also conveniently forgotten or deliberately refuses to understand what Sir says about responsibility. And, why do women think of only approaching near nakedness and putting on sassy public behaviour to assert their independence? And why do such women, as a rule, never comment on Sir’s posts on Rani Rashmoni, Sudha Murthy, Amelia Earhart and Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal and on social evils concerning women folk like wife beating and dowry deaths?

4. X says that intellectuals should not expect anything more from ‘ 20-somethings’ than being drunk with mindless friends in the same country where the right to vote and minimum marriageable age for girls is 18 years! She is also quite unabashed about it. Yes, everyone is entitled to make mistakes but none to be proud of them. How can girls say that they are too ‘young’ to be matured enough and simultaneously claim to be adults? Also, from when has basic decency been equated to the ability to do ‘great things’?


Sir, about your last question- No, I would never say that this girl was ever interested in any ‘healthy exchange of views’ because she refuses to listen to and reflect upon anything that you have to say. She is determined to remain closed-minded and is only interested in justifying her notion illogically and the irony is that this girl tries to lecture you on healthy debates. I have always thought that readers do not appreciate how much you accommodate difference of opinions-all that you ask for is decent language and a genuine willingness to discuss with an open mind.

I know that episodes of this sort make you more sad and pained than angry and that you still hope, as her teacher that the girl would see the light someday.

Warm regards
Rashmi

Debarshi Saha said...

Respected Sir,
Warm regards. I shall direct my observations to the individual concerned in this post.
1. No ‘school of thought’ (though I wonder how some comments and an observant blog-post can be termed as you have put it) advocates what you have insinuated. A pick-pocket is to blame, but maybe you have noticed the sign that says-“Beware of pick-pockets!”? It means that if you are not careful about your belongings, not aware of your environment, you are going to be pick-pocketed! The responsibility lies on your shoulders; of course, I accept that you might still be burgled- but it is right to assume responsibility in every sphere of Life, and not shirk it.
2. How about checking up on ‘etiquette’? Etiquette is a delineated code of social behaviour according to contemporary conventional norms- read it carefully, please. The rules are not based on a skewed perception of social behaviour- they are based on prevalent norms. So, tough luck to be in this society, eh? Dignity is an all-round term- it takes in every aspect of appearance, acceptability and individual worth.
3. I wonder how the maxim “Do as your heart pleases...” excludes every single act of worth, and includes all acts of self idolatry? Time and again, Sir has written many posts about admirable works performed by women- none of them include women possessing the aspect of dignity defined by you. So, I think you might have interpreted the maxim from a wrong perspective.
4. I shall tell you what is wrong with a young man/woman going on a drinking binge late at night. How about drunk driving accidents occurring? How about getting robbed/kidnapped/assaulted? Drinking responsibly is not a solution, since we have statistical evidence to prove otherwise. How about you suggest a new framework of safety for these issues?
5. Being average is not a sin, of course. Wanting to remain the same way is of course one- since the whole of mankind has continually strived forward to realize one’s individual highest potential. Otherwise, we might have remained back in the dark ages, wouldn’t we?

Since you are not really interested in a healthy exchange of views, so there is no point in going on any more. Let us live too-with our schools of thought and views, isn’t it so?

With warm regards,
Debarshi.

Sayan Datta said...

Among many other things X doesn't know that a healthy exchange of views starts with basic courtesy and decency. How does she hope to debate properly with such turmoil in her head? It's very easy to see that she is very perturbed and flustered and agitated. I thought Sir's logic is so clear that only a pinhead wouldn't understand. She should have calmed down first, thought deeply and for long, tried to grasp the gravity of Sir's words and logic and then replied. X and people like her only keep proving the truth of Sir's words again and again. This makes learning very effective for us. We get to know exactly what not to do and how not to be!

Other comment writers have already said all that I would have wanted to say; so I am not going to repeat all that. But can I be permitted to say this, that her e-mail makes for hilarious reading - a tragic comedy, if you will? Come tomorrow, Rashmi and I will get drunk and brawl on the streets of our locality, for we believe that an ideal society should flourish on the tenet of "Live and let live". Would a few others care to join us?

Sayan Datta

Dipanwita Shome said...

I think a recall of exactly what Sir had spoken about in his post titled: “What happened in Guwahati?” is required here for the benefit if the not-so-bright.
From Sir’s post and the two links he included in the said post what I gather is that Sir had posed some questions, they being:
• Was the entire video a directed pantomime?
• How could the National Commission for Women be callous enough to suggest “rehabilitation” via a job instead of actively involving themselves in unearthing evidence to find out what actually happened?
• Was a TV crew in waiting? How did it arrive so promptly on the spot?
• Why would the molesters let their act be filmed for so long by no other than a journalist (for whatever he was worth)?
• What were the “passers-by” doing for half an hour when the girl was being molested? And, who were these passers-by exactly?
• If a bungee jumper is responsible for his neck-broken or otherwise, how is it that the girl (only because she is a girl) is exempted from all responsibility for being where she was and how she was?
• What was this reporter doing there recording a molestation scene for 30 whole minutes instead of trying to gather passers-by and stop the shaming scene? What responsibility as a journalist and a human being does this Gaurav Neog show in doing what he did?
• From the links given:
 Is Amarjyoti Kalita being protected so that he cannot reveal Gaurav Neog’s involvement in the molestation?
 Is Neog being protected because he works for Riniki Bhuyan’s channel?

Dipanwita Shome said...

Now for this “troubled” girl and her attempt at what Sir kindly terms “communication”. Really? Is this communication at all? I mean she claims to have taken a lot away from Sir’s classes, but she has clearly taken from them what she pleases. Just yesterday, I was deep inconversation with Arani about what our standards should be. He was talking about the Greek civilization. Lysistrata and her companions—the wives and mothers left alone at home, wanting the cease of war. A lone cynic standing in an arena around which sit men with spears and behind whom are heard the hooves of horsemen coming to say that another ten thousand are gone. Two goats , unwittingly waiting to be killed, and this man playing women, playing war-ravaged men to an audience waiting to eat meat at the end of a raucous laugh. THAT is GENIUS.
But, we have compromised our standards to such an extent that we plead for the average, we stand for the average. Yes, all can’t be stars, some have to be the audience too. But, have we heard or haven’t we, of enlightened audiences? Can we at least not know that with our freedom come some responsibilities too? That we have to educate our children to bare responsibility for their neck.
I am an equalist. Given that, and Sir is right, would we stand for a twenty year old guy acting as if he were twenty years old and therefore going about in his skimpy underwear? And, how can parents allow a minor to go to a place that is risky even for my mother? If that is the average we are pleading for then clearly we don’t know the first thing about responsibility.
Also, public brawling? Is that also part of the average package on offer? Are we to understand that this too is part of the “Live and Let Live” programme that we are to educate ourselves about? I mean, really, give me a break! We have to not only put up with the average now, but also idolize it?
And lastly, in continuation with the telephonic conversation I had with Sir last night, I really feel that a lot of women have been, since that post called “Unwilling Women” been coming together quietly from across age groups to attack Sir. Could you tell me girl, where exactly Sir writes that underclad women “deserve” molestation? Why do you carp about what has clearly not been written? Are you blind or are you simply moronic to say that you respect a man who you think CAN say a thing like that? I mean either you had to mollify with that “respect” bit in order to disarm or you don’t have any brains to write home about. Please please guys, READ what this man and others write before you devalue what they say. And, if there is any agenda that women unknown to each other have found a common ground in, then bring it on, guys. No, seriously, just bring it on.

Dipanwita Shome said...

And Sir, you should seriously not give a second's thought about why such women write so about you. They have suddenly come face to face with newfangled and twisted and distorted sort of feminism which is no feminism actually. They need a target to voice their "beliefs" against. It is the only outlet they have. This is not to excuse them in any way, this is just to tell you that you with your good heart serve as a squash wall for them. And, this you must cease to be. Please mean it when you say that all you got from these specimens is the fees. I see no reason to give them any more credit.

Sunandini Mukherjee said...

Dear Sir,
X seems to be determined to read only that part of the original post which she thinks she can oppose you.And she claims to have taken your classes seriously once upon a time-really?Well she should have known then that you have always emphasized that respect has to be earned and for that,one cannot do whatever one wishes to do and then criticise others if they do whatever they like.I wonder if she agrees with me that Sir will be the first person to condemn any kind of injustice and torture inflicted on any person- male or female.And if she really thinks that dressing up scantily publicly speaks of her boldness in India why does my criticising chele hyangla boys trouble her(After all I haven,t mentioned anybody!)?
I find it funny Sir that she has conversed with you without understanding even a word which you have written and has abruptly ended the conversation when you have urged her to think.
With regards
Sunandini

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thanks, Shilpi, Rashmi, Debarshi, Sayan, Dipanwita (Sunandini, you meant girls when you typed boys). Good to see that some people understand. I'd be glad to get more comments, so long as they are sane, and based on a clear understanding of just what I have said.

What hurts is the fact that there are so many people around like this girl, ex-students even, who have never really developed the capacity to judge people acutely, fully and fairly. So either they put in my mouth things I have never said, or they deliberately (or thoughtlessly) misconstrue my purpose, or they pick things out of context to provoke a quarrel (which is the very opposite of a 'healthy exchange of views') and sour up relationships. This girl, for instance, was basically polite, and even brave enough to give me her real name, but she couldn't go any further. She apparently labours under the illusion that everybody's opinions deserve the same 'respect', and she cannot bear to see someone producing a counter argument which punctures her pov (this happens because people too easily turn argument into ego assertion). It is ironical indeed that she should accuse me of not wanting a debate. And it is painful to see that she took away from my classes only what suited her prejudices - so she remembers how I insisted that one should follow one's heart, but chooses to forget how much and often I also insisted that a country is bound to drown in anarchy, even at the family level, if we insist on our rights while defying our duties/obligations to others whom we live with, within the home and outside.

And of course, no matter what she thinks, she hardly knows me at all. Otherwise she'd have known I am the sort of man who'd gladly get beaten up by a mob trying to prevent a girl being molested on the road. If she did, and she also had some real 'respect' for me, she'd have paused to wonder whether the opinions/questions of such a man deserve some serious thought, and perhaps even be persuaded to accept that I am right.

Anyway, this post was not written merely for that girl's sake. What do other readers feel about the specific queries I have raised - whether or not, for example, men and women ought to have different rights where dressing is concerned, and whether there should be special restrictions on teachers, and whether people should be as devil-may-care with their own wives and daughters as they lecture others to be?

Suvro Chatterjee said...

... and yes, as Rashmi has noted, it says something very loud and very bad about girls/women who are always ready to carp when I criticize their kind, yet never have the time, courtesy or gratitude to say 'thank you' when I write about the great women I revere - whether it be Abigail Adams or Rani Rashmoni, Sudha Murthy or Lakshmi Sehgal, Kadambini Ganguly or J.K. Rowling. They instead complain about why I don't respect 'average' people. Well, I have a multi-pointed answer: a) if it's no sin to be average, it's nothing to be proud of either; b) average people are boring, c) no one is 'average' unless one chooses to be and finds it convenient to be (I shall never have to exert myself to be a better person!), d) the women I deeply admire were also average in many respects, such as poor or handicapped or lacking in formal education - it is by dint of their strength of character and lofty visions that they became great, e) one wastes one's life unless one tries lifelong to be better than average, and one can become better only by trying to follow in the footsteps of the great who have gone before, not by losing oneself in a herd of averages...this is not even a girl thing. A lot of males dislike me for my insistence that I shall give my respect only to those who are much better than me, not my equals and inferiors. Courtesy and consideration yes, respect, no. And those who really know me well (and have even cared to read this blog and remember what they have read) will vouch that I do not respect only the rich and famous and powerful - unlike most of them, I can pay tribute even to a humble, anonymous domestic servant to whom I feel I owe an eternal debt. Before criticizing me, take time out to know me! And also think, is your real problem the fact that by constantly harping on the great and good I make you feel bad that you are wasting your life not doing anything of the slightest importance?

Finally, as someone has already noted, it is something more than faintly disgusting that women have to 'assert their independence' by taking off most of their clothes. The chimps are far ahead of them...and it is funny that no man to my knowledge ever said that that is how he feels like asserting hisindependence!

Subhasis Graham Mukherjee said...

Strange, no one brought up our hero from JU,Chiranjit Chakraborty in this matter. He made a comment on short skirts of women while responding to queries on an eve teasing incident in Barasat. some of the news on this controversy-

Eve teasing is nothing new: Trinamool MLA

Short skirts cause women harassment, says Trinamool MLA

Women should dress carefully, says Mamata's MLA after eve-teasing complaint

I think he was merely trying to say that with time everything has changed- if the dresses have changed, so have the bad behavior and intensity of mistreatment during eve teasing incidents. Either be careful about the dress, or expect and be prepared to deal with worse behavior. It's a simple 'take care' message really, like reminding to wear the helmet. As for why the guys shouldn't be able to behave better - that's a different battle which has to be dealt with and enforced by the guardians of law and counselors.

Instead of trying to advise, he could have given a politically correct and totally useless response like- "we are looking into it and we'll do what needs to be done" !!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Subhasis,

In my opinion, this MLA is a cad. I certainly don't hold his views. As I have said time and time again before, I dislike girls going about semi-naked, and dislike the idea even more that that is how they think they can best 'express themselves', and I insist on my democratic right to criticise them, but never will I suggest that they ought to be molested if they behave like that: that's barbarism!

And for heaven's sake, get rid of the notion that that blogpost I wrote, 'What happened in Guwahati', was about girls in scanty clothes. IT WAS NOT. Girls in their 20s I can forgive for not being able to figure that out, but you too, my friend, at this age?

Subhasis Graham Mukherjee said...

But this is not the 'What happened in Guwahati' post, this is the Troubled Communication that has mistakenly swung the dress code way- I commented on that.

Navin said...

Dear Sir,

I totally agree with you that while no one should support any sort of molestation, it is also necessary to maintain civility and decency in public life. We should all strive to make this society more sensitive and that is also the only way out of eve teasing.

However that is not why I am really commenting. I think no one has a right to enjoy the way many people do these days, if they are not committed to excellence and greatness. Why should people who are not trying to be excellent have any fun at all, and more importantly at the cost of people who are toiling day and night for some sort of excellence and thereby providing for other people. Why should any it engineer working for infosys enjoy for what was really a narayan murty and co story. Isn't it borrowed happiness?

Sir, I wish there were more like you who continually say that there is nothing wrong in working day and night for years on end to achieve excellence.


with regards,

Navin

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Navin, your comment reminded me of a pupil's dad asking me about her, 'Sir, brilliant kemon dekhchhen (how brilliant is she)?' The girl in question was below average, but that is beside the point here. I took some time out to explain to this man what 'brilliant' meant, and that only men of the stature of Einstein or Tagore or Mozart or Michelangelo should rightly be called brilliant. None of us, he, I or the girl was anywhere near brilliant - though that would not, in the given climate, prevent her from getting a BTech degree and an IT-sector job...

All corruption begins and ends with language. We have cheapened all our superlatives with mindless overuse in this absurdly 'democratic' age, when the worst of us has pretensions to brilliance, merit, talent, excellence and what have you. We cannot even show respect and admiration for our betters any more, it makes us feel so bad! And these days it's getting increasingly difficult even to try to improve anybody (as a teacher must do perforce), because either everybody is already convinced that s/he is as good as you are, or insists that if s/he is 'average', that too is something which deserves respect... whatever respect means now!

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Just dropping in to say that this evening, during class, it was the third time that a current pupil (two in class 12, one in class 10) remarked of her own volition, having read this post: 'Sir, was this girl ever really your pupil? What got into her? It's so absolutely evident that she neither understood nor cared to understand a word of what you were saying! Why was she so eager to pick a quarrel with you?'

Good to see, once again, that intelligence and power of perception are never determined by age. One of my oldest and surest beliefs...

Suvro Chatterjee said...

This is another post that deserved to be more commented upon. What a pity that not a single female has written in to say 'Thank you for helping me to think straight'!