Friday, 20 April 2012

Innocuous Interpretations

Man's mind works in interesting ways. Just like no two fingerprints are alike, no two minds interpret things the exact same way. We would have come across such instances many times in our lives when we agree upon a certain issue with our friends but by arriving at the agreement with different approaches. Like a solution to a mathematical equation can be found applying so many formulae, people can interpret a problem or a situation in several different but totally innocuous manners. 

I recall a very famous story from the Turkish folklore. This story is about the legendary Nasreddin Hodja about whom we all used to read extensively in the 'Tinkle' comic books. 

It so happens that one fine day a very well renowned scholar visits the village of Aksehir which is incidentally where the Hodja lived. The scholar is accompanied by his group of admirers and disciples. The learned man asks the villagers to fetch their smartest man to hold a scholarly discussion. They promptly come back with the Hodja as he is a legend in the Turkish village for his wit and presence of mind. The Hodja spoke only Turkish and the foreign savant doesn't speak Turkish so they decide to communicate in sign languages. 
The scholar uses his stick to draw a big circle on the ground. The Hodja responds by dividing the circle in two by drawing a line in between. The foreign wise man draws another line perpendicular to the Hodja's line. The Hodja not to be left behind draws with his hands 4 small circles in each of the 2 quarters. The scholar then bends over and gestures with his palms facing the sky and wiggling his fingers. The Hodja then returns the gesture with his palms facing the earth and wiggling his fingers. The foreign scholar seems to be very happy with the muted discussion and he leaves a satisfied man. One of the scholar's disciples asks him what the discussion was all about. 
The scholar explains that he drew a circle saying that the earth was round and the Hodja drew a line cutting it into 2 halves representing the equator. Then the scholar drew a line perpendicular to divide earth into 4 quarters - 3 of water and 1 of land. The Hodja drew circles indicating the presence of under currents in the oceans. The scholar with his palm gestures expressed the water warms up and raises to the skies. The Hodja reverts with his gestures that this water then cools down and falls as rain. 
Meanwhile, the villagers whose happiness knew no bounds since the pride of their village was secured by the Hodja's scholarly repertoire. When asked to explain the Hodja explains thus: The savant drew a circle indicating a large plate of baklava which is a Turkish sweet dish. The Hodja draws a line in the middle saying that he can only spare half a plate. The savant then divides it into 4 quarters indicating 3 portions of sugar and 1 portion of honey. The Hodja agreed and drew circles indicating that 2 portions be mixed well. The scholar then insisted that they heat the syrup in a blazing fire and the Hodja adds that they drop crushed nuts over the syrup!!!
This is one of my favorite Hodja stories and I thought of sharing it with you all. Today is Friday and the weekend beckons. Enjoy your weekend and be happy!