Liar liar, pants on fire! No, Mr. Liar’s pants are not on fire. In fact most liars are making fortunes by selling alternate reality. Times have changed and we no longer have the face to tell children, “It’s bad to tell lies.” The truth about lying is that it has become pandemic.
The biggest liars are the advertisers who promise the earth and the sky. Their claims never cease to amaze me. When a nondescript university screams that their placements are better than IIMs, is it not a lie? When a deodorant claims that dousing Axe will have women all over you, is it not a lie? Then, my cynical mind looks for *, the little stars printed in small fonts which reveal that the map not to scale, sale on selected items,or conditions apply!
But the advertisers will not accept that they are molesting the Truth. They simply indulge in smart deceptions imperative to attract attention. Fine!
Even smarter are the pollies who guise their lies in the wizardry of words. In the parliament the honest head of the most corrupt government admitted to the CVC appointment as an ‘Error of Judgment’. Dr Singh, I am sure you know that ‘Truth’ is not violated by lies, but outraged by silence. When Barkha Dutt was caught on Radia tapes she lied by clinging on to the same phrase – ‘Error of Judgment’. I am not sure how far this jugglery justifies a lie. It erodes faith for sure. Bill Clinton lied under oath about his romp with Monica, Nixon lied but was not impeached, but the cake along with the cherry on top goes to President Bush who initiated a war citing large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!
A survey declares that ordinary people lie three times a day. And ordinary people do not include politicians, scribes, lawyers or movie stars. According to a book, “Born Liars’ penned by Ian Leslie, most of us are born liars. As we grow up so do our lies. From harmless white lies to necessary social lies, to the dangerous dishonest lies.
I am not above board when it comes to fibbing. But mine are social lies, intended to please and compliment. The conscience is clear and intentions sincere. No offence meant, none taken. I do say, “Ready in five minutes”, knowing well that I will take another twenty minutes.
When my host asks, “Hope you enjoyed the party?” After a jaded evening and oily food, I do oscillate a bit and blurt “Oh…absolutely. Thank you for a wonderful evening.”
A harmless social lie!
However, I never lie in print, unless I am attempting fiction. Readers are unforgiving when it comes to fibbing in print. The social lies, however can be taken to another level when one artfully drops names or conceals ones age.
My initial lies were perhaps in school. Once we returned late after attending a cousin’s marriage. Consequently, the following day I missed school. My father, a doctor, refused to sign on the medical application, “Go, and tell the truth.” As a result, I had to stand for forty minutes with my ‘hands-up’ by a merciless teacher. “Where is the medical certificate? Disciple is discipline,” she roared. So next time I missed school, I made sure that dad signed a medical certificate saying that the child is suffering from ‘low grade pyrexia’. Fever was too lame an excuse. The teacher couldn’t comprehend the term ‘pyrexia’ and gave me a sympathetic look… “Tsk, tsk..Hope you are fine, my child?” she cooed. Needless to say, my day was made.
More forgivingly put, social lies are necessary for our existence. However one falsehood can spoil several truths.
How about you? Are you above board? Honestly, haven’t you ever faked illness while remaining glued to the telly, watching that final. Or faked a smile and said that your mother-in-law is a wonderful cook! But then these are not lies, are they? What would you call them? Innocent misrepresentations of facts, harmless half truths, errors of judgment, little white whoppers, necessary fibs or plain and simple lies?