Monday, February 07, 2005

Maxim # 25: அரவ மாட்டேல் -- Never take risks for machoism.

ஆத்திச்சூடி # 25: ரவ மாட்டேல் (ara-vum AA-tAyl)

Translation: Never take risks for machoism.

Rumination: I just laughed over this, but, was also taken back by the deep Philosophical meaning imbedded behind it. "அரவம்" means "snake," and "ஆட்டேல்" means "never flaunt." Tamil movies are replete with scenes of an effeminate hero handling a serpent by accident, only to turn the whole audience respond with a raucous laughter. Children have a tendency to just handle any object that attracts their attention. Despite being admonished, they evince keen interest in precisely doing what they are told not to. They are inquisitive and such activities boosts their self-esteem, and ultimately aids in their maturity process. However, Auvaiyar doesn't despise any of that. Calculated risks are worth taking, but not all risks are worth taking. Why would somebody flaunt a snake? It is not an act of macho, but moribund. Ipso facto, a snake never harms a human-being unless provoked. A sagacious act of transmogrifying an enemy into a friend is much better than provocation to war. Look no further than the Iraqi crisis for a case in point. We need snake-charmers not snake-flaunters lest we be bitten by those snakes! Auvaiyar's maxim must not be misinterpreted to shun taking risks, rather it has a subtle humor in it to demand prudence in all the risks one takes. Be prudent even as you take risks, can be another novel interpretation of this maxim.

Quotes: "Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences." -- Susan B. Anthony.

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