26 March 2015


Recently, I was hooked onto a TV series called "House M.D.". In that, Dr. House leads a team of diagnosticians who take up complicated cases and try to arrive at the correct diagnosis to treat the patients. Dr. House is a cynic, though an excellent doctor, and his favorite line is "Everyone lies". He always questions everything the patient tells and even stoops to snooping in the patient's living quarters to get clues for "environmental causes" for disease. And truly enough, almost every episode outlines the fact that patient(or someone close) had lied about something which misled the doctors into mis-diagnosing.

Another protagonist, this time from a book - Hercule Poirot (a detective), also always said that "Keep talking to people (suspects). Someone or other lies or hides something. Once you know what that is, its easy to solve the case."

So what makes people tell lies? Some say its in good cause- to save embarrassment or pain to another. Those are the well-intentioned "white" lies. And those that are said to save the same for self - those are the black or unforgivable lies.

I came across this beautiful article on FB. It gives a good analysis on why people lie and what can be the repercussions. So then, should we always be telling the truth, which can be really brutal, harsh and bitter sometimes? Even the great Yudhishtir of Mahabharat, succumbed to the pressure of winning the war by lying about the death of "Ashwaththama" (the elephant). For this, he suffered by having the wheels of his chariot touch the ground where they were 4 inches above before.

There are so many messages on truth : "Satyamev Jayate", "Truth shall set you free" etc. But is it really possible to follow the path of truth always? The right answer is no. So what is the right course? Some people camouflage truth in a sense of humor. Some are like bulldozers who just ladle huge dollops of bitter truth down your throat. Then there are others who take the path of tact in doling out dozes of truth. But not everyone is savvy on tact and diplomacy. Also, neither are they regarded as having a lot of integrity (viz. politicians).

My policy - speak the truth always. Sometimes, temper it with tact, and at other times, serve it unadulterated. The real trick is to know with whom, or in what circumstances, to use which tactic. Most people are tactful with near and dear ones and blunt with others. I feel its important to be frank with near and dear ones. They need to hear what you feel, how they can improve or even how much they matter to you. And sometimes, in order to build new relationships, its important to proceed with tact until we are close enough to handle truth. As always, experience is the best teacher - one will usually arrive at the right formula after a few experiments with truth :-)