Friday, September 25, 2009

The Art of Condescension*

Just because I'm egotistical doesn't mean I'm not brilliant. -W.C. Gall

As the title suggests, this post is about one of the 9 (Human) Virtues of all time: Condescension.

This virtue is defined/documented pretty well in this sher (couplet) by the great poet Waseem Barelvi:

हम ये तो नहीं कहते की हम तुझसे बड़े हैं,
लेकिन ये बहुत है की तेरे साथ खड़े हैं|
-वसीम बरेलवी
Hum ye to nahin kahte ki hum tujhse bade hain,
Lekin ye bahut hai ki tere saath khade hain.
-Waseem Barelvi
(I am not saying that I am superior to you,
But it’s quite enough that am standing beside you!
-Waseem Barelvi)

I’m sorry to those Hindi-illiterate souls who can not appreciate this sher due to the phenomenon well-known as ‘lost in translation’. I also agree with those Hindi-literate souls who think that this is at best a ‘rough’ translation. But it has been endorsed by Shantanu (of Humans-trying-to-be-God fame) so the feelings must have been accurately conveyed! Those who truly appreciated this, would probably like to see the full video and here it is:

Another ‘well-deserved’ instance of this virtue displayed by Waseem Barelvi is in the following video:

Actually, there are many minor instances you can notice but mainly I’d like to urge you to listen to him closely around 8:00 minutes when he says “आप aap थोड़े thode दिन din बाद baad समझलें samajhlein, कोई koi जरूरी jaroori नहीं nahin की ki अभी abhi शेर sher समझें samjhein आप aap!” (Translation: I’m not asking you to understand the sher today, you can do that a few days later!) This is what I call perfection of the Art and its ‘proof’ is the resounding applause he got after making that statement!

Someone else who is good at this Art is Saba Balrampuri. Consider the following sher which she recites from 2:50-3:10 minutes in the video following thereafter and the ‘subtle’ smile which emerges on her visage as she starts the second line! This is what distinguishes her from others as an experienced practitioner of the Art.

अभी आप वाकिफ़ नहीं दोस्ती से,
ना इज़हार फरमाईये दोस्ती का!
-सबा बलरामपुरी
Abhi aap waqeef nahin dosti se,
Naa izhaar farmaaeeye dosti ka!
-Saba Balrampuri
(You are not familiar with friendship,
So do not yet declare your friendship!
-Saba Balrampuri)

This is enough ranting about poets, lets move on to other forms of ‘entertainment’ – Cable TV. And who else is worthy enough to be mentioned in this category other than John Hodgman? If you don’t believe me, have a look at this video and learn what the great Artist has to teach you:

If you were thinking about the ‘who else?’ part of the last paragraph and you came up with a name to tell me… don’t bother! I already know who you are thinking about and here is an appetizer video of Him:

Yes, He Is Stephen Colbert, the great personality who has mastered the Art, the great Human who has ensnared the position of the God of Virtue of Condescension.

After you’ve reached the level of God, there isn’t any more room to move UP now, is there? So I will have to end this post now but I leave you with a link which forces on this post a periodic boundary condition (…as a sign of rebellion?)!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

PS: If you didn’t understand the implication of the last sentence, that’s because you are staring at the link above and not clicking on it! I promise everything will make sense in a while after you click on it…

*Disclaimer: Recently(?), ‘getting offended on minor issues’ has become an obsession (or maybe it can be considered a dual to swine flu!)… So If you are easily offended, DO NOT READ this post. [But now that I think about it, if people understood & followed this statement, we would not have had so many ridiculous instances of ‘getting offended’, would we?]