The fool on the hill

Killing people with statistics amounts to zilch if you don’t have an original idea to stand on its head and yours. When I started getting letters on my rejoinder to the Jemima piece, I was a bit perturbed. Someone said I had not ‘researched’ it. Heck, she got away with the Hermes scarf and I have to go through musty books to tell her off? I like using chalk over chalk and not wasting cheese.

Besides, if you have done your work already, you don’t need a bibliography. I am happy being the fool on the hill:

Well on the way head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices is talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him,
Or the sound he appears to make,
And he never seems to notice,
But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

(The Beatles)

- - -

Funny how simple ideas, conveyed simply or even simplistically, get completely destroyed with intellectual input. I enjoyed reading Foucault at one point in time and recently when I saw the complete bafflement regarding the theory of exceptionalism, it made me wonder. Is it really all that complicated, especially if one sees it in the context of India? Or does making it complex add to the intellectual quotient of the perceiver?

I decided to detonate it:

Theory A:

George Bush imagines there are WMDs in India and thinks this is an exceptionalist idea, so he bombs Pakistan.

Theory B:

1. McDonald’s divides India. With mayo, without mayo? Dishum-dishum.

2. Historians to study how it affects caloric intake, given the sweat factor.

3. In the post-quarrel context, it must be analysed whether the sesame bun is an exceptionalist concept although it is known to always go with the patty.

4. In its crudest form, Indians use heeng to prop up culture. They therefore become custodians of morality. Ergo, culture is moral.

5. While these individuals insist on heeng, they are not open to the idea of adding mudduku, zeera or dhania that belong to different regions.

6. Those who protest against too much freedom of choice are also being exceptionalist because they are taking exception to the exception.

7. There does not seem to be a problem with the latter, but still the violence at Big Mac needs to be understood before you decide to add heeng or zeera.

8. Due to this fast-food battle, some people believe that villages are safe from such influences. However, when there is a shortage of other ingredients in the village and the local tantric is called upon to get the ‘bhoot’ out (The Exorcist replayed, in reverse colonialism), the Big M types start imagining that those creatures are weird. Irrespective of all this the Indian free market thrives because Big M and KFC co-exist and everyone stands in line to get their chicken wings.

9. The right and left in India both believe everyone likes fast food. It is an illusion, though. What Indians really want is to be Indians. Only thing is they don’t know how.

10. Mayo and heeng in fact show us the leap from colonial to post-colonial India where both can cause stomach cramps. India is therefore a democracy.


  1. Loved the spicy theories!

  2. Was the spicy stuff mere trumpery or my comprehension limited in understanding the tropes and their context? Certainly beyond me.

    Fool on the hill or Ekla Chalo re!

  3. Amandeep:

    Me too! Kaise hai aap?

    Pune S:

    Alas the trumpery was in fact pricking trumpery, therefore the niches and crannies of tropes could not have been that elusive.

    Spice scalds the tongue and is supposed to add flavour, therefore it may not quite work as trumpery, which is a redundancy.

    Shall I say, I take 'exception' to your analysis?!

    Nah. Whatever floats your boat...

    PS: Fool on the Hill and Ekla Chalo Re convey the same message from two different angles; while one has a note of arrogant pessimism, the other of self-effacing optimism :-)

    Here is Tagore's English translation:

    If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
    If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
    O thou of evil luck,
    open thy mind and speak out alone.

    If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
    O thou of evil luck,
    trample the thorns under thy tread,
    and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

    If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
    O thou of evil luck,
    with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
    and let it burn alone.

  4. FV:

    Thanks for the Tagore's version. It made compelling reading.

    On a lighter note, unable to digest the spicy trumpery subduing a bland one:-)

  5. Battle lines are drawn:

    The bland blandishes
    The spicy brandishes

    Chal akela, chal akela, chal akela
    Tera mela peechhe chhota raahi chal akela


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