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Knower Of Nothing

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Manjureddy, May 23, 2014.

  1. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    "You Know Nothing "


    This is the staple refrain I have grown up on, introduced in my life, right after I was deemed old enough to graduate from nonsensical lullabies .


    I had the most joyful childhood one can imagine . There was absolutely no scarring incidents of mental torture or bullying.When the above remark was directed towards me - twice a day on an average - it was unbearably heavy with Love and Protective Care . The english phrase may sound slightly rude or abusive, but the vernacular original was almost like an endearment, dished out with the same sincere affection as would suffuse a remark about my nice ponytail or the tinsel stars brightening my report card.


    Being the last child in the extended family litter of 8 cousins, I was always treated with indulgence and humoring by members of all generations. Being babied by everyone had its benefits. Often the older kids were made to give in to me, solely as a tribute to my 'junior'ity. I have no qualms in admitting , at this late date, that I sometimes misused my privilege to extract my pound of flesh. Because, the older kids, who gave in, in presence of elders, often avenged their dishonour by making me a mere mascot in the outdoor games we played , never giving me a serious role that really counted, be it in cricket or Robber-police or I Spy . If i raised any objection, I was told pointblank, "you Know Nothing of the rules"


    Inspite of all that, the 8 of us were thick as thieves. I still remember the time the whole clan went to see the overcrowded Thiruvaroor Ther festival where a rural romeo tried to get fresh with me. My 7 bodyguards gave him such a scare that I doubt if he , in later years, could work up the gumption to make a pass at his own wife. But I had to live with never ending sermons for a whole week, on how to escape and ward off unwanted attention, because, what else, I Knew Nothing .


    My overprotective parents, though liberal with voicing the earth shaking truth that I Knew Nothing , dint seem to think it necessary to rectify the shortcoming in any department. It was like it dint even register with them. Be it in making plans for a vacation, buying new bedsheets, deciding on a movie to watch , I was drowned out with a You Know Nothing , in short order. Whats more, I cheerfully believed that too ! And left it all to my parents, with no regrets.


    But , later in life, when others started assuming that the phrase was something that came with the package deal called Manjula and religiously showered it on me at the lightest pretext , I was definitely not cheered. I may not have once known how to work out travel itineraries, but I definitely did have something called a commonsense and it was vexing when others dint acknowledge it, even donkey's birthdays later . Expecting the Baby Of The Family to remain a baby even at 25 or 35 is a bit looney, I would say, but who ever admits to sectional lunacy ?


    Marriage to Prince Charming did not get me out of this curse. Father was replaced by Husband.
    In the early days of marriage when there were stars, the honeymoon and other astral bodies in my eyes, having an overprotective man at my side seemed so romantic, so comforting. I believed in all lyrics Gulzar ever wrote . Three years down the line, it was not funny at all, Gulzar or no Gulzar. Being seven years older than me seemed to give the man inalienable rights to treat me as his juvenile ward. I only progressed from Knowing Nothing about bedspreads etc. to Knowing Nothing about Capital Gain Bonds, sinewave inverters, linen shirts and Mexican Restaurants. One consolation was that, unlike my Father, Hubby Dearest felt it worthwhile to educate me on things he thought I knew nothing about. Still, that dint guarantee my having a say in anything because , on a day to day basis, You -Know -Nothing continued to hold sway by sheer force of longnurtured habit, lovingly imparted education notwithstanding . So much so that if he did say I knew something, it would have unnerved me with suspicions of what he might be upto behind my back......


    Tolerating a dear husband's idiosyncracy is one thing, but I realise I am not saint enough to forgive relatives (old and young), friends (near and far), taxi drivers (goodnatured and rude), ManiShankar Iyer ( the usual, the usual ) , temple priests (earnest and devious), when they pop the YouKnowNothing trope at me.


    I cant have a political opinion about secularism or casteism in our country, because , not ever having been a Minority or OBC, I Know Nothing .
    I cant advise my cousin to just ignore his Father in law's domestic interference, because not having live-in InLaws, I Know Nothing.
    I cant even drop a hint that an aunt could have a more peaceable life , if only she dint have a shortfuse . "You Know Nothing , because you have not had premenopausal hotflashes ."


    One day, this friend tries to stuff her protesting, 18 month old child with thick curdsrice at 7 pm, when at 6pm, the child has had a whole dosai with three tablespoons of Kissan Jam. Is that a child's stomach or a washerman's vat ? I try to reason out with the overanxious mother. Only to be told off : YouKnowNothing. True, I have raised no kids, but you dont have to be a fecund hen to say that the omlette is burnt .....And this same woman considered a bachelor's (Dr. Spock ) childcare manual the Ultimate Bible. What does this prove ? That its just me, right ?


    If Intelligent Design had decided that bats had to live upside down, ferns had to be nonflowering , I had to be the Knower of Nothing, who am I to question that superior intelligence ?
    Why blame others when after all, I came with the manufacturing defect of KnowingNothing. The ancient Gods saw fit to entrust this unique role to me ; I just have to be a graceful recipient and do my best to keep the fair name of the title untarnished.


    And so runs my life , me Knowing Nothing , but surviving nicely , thankyou. My acceptance of it has reached such a Zen-ith, that whenever someone says something about someone Knowing Nothing about something, I immediately take that personally. Surely they are talking about me ! Nobody in the whole wide world Knows Nothing, so thoroughly, so comprehensively,so irredeemably, so longstandingly , so famously, so indisputably like I do .


    This long lament is the direct result of my having chanced upon Cheeniya's sour and dour remark in one of his rambler FBs, that people sitting in AC rooms and airing idle comments are least qualified to do so, as they Know Nothing , having never experienced the grind of The LIG populace. I promptly accepted culpability. Because I was sitting in an AC room, slurping Almond Swirl icecream from a Corell bowl, when I dashed off my FB to his OP. And there he is, saying " You KnowNothing" not directly, but indirectly. 1+1 . Simple as that.


    My dear departed Father, my darling husband and the whole kit and caboodle of my clan with a wide spectrum of intellectual credentials, cant be wrong , can they ? A sweet old rambler added to the list just makes it merrier !
    I only hope he was saying it in its nice vernacular form, with the proper affectionate tonal values, and not in stiff English or barking Italian , with tonal values usually reserved to address RaGa in private.
     
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  2. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Manju,

    You know nothing indeed.....except to write beautifully, to weave your thoughts with such charm and to make me go wah wah with fingers on key board to type eagerly trying to tell you that I know something and that you should know it too that you are an awesome writer.

    As I started reading your snippet, I so longed to be that girl who knows nothing for I come from the other end of the spectrum of having to know everything and taking care of every one :-( Not nice I can tell for I do know that positively, absolutely well. Thanks to DH who recognizes this wariness I feel and is the only person who feels I should be well babied.....:hide: It is not fun being the one who is supposed to know everything as thrust upon you by them. We are sisters in the same feeling but on the opposite sides and I share that irritation with equal passion. I am reminded of my DS who when he was 5 in school did not respond with an answer to a question and when I questioned him with a 'why won't you let your teacher know that you know this' he countered back with a 'Why should my teacher know what I know'.

    But but Manju, I do have to tell you Manju that you do know nothing about Cheeniya sir at least in the instance you have quoted. He would never in his wildest dreams write that about anyone he knows more so about you :biggrin2: Thank you sir for allowing me to write on your behalf.
     
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  3. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    The wisest person the world is the one who knows that he/she knows nothing.People who presume that they are repositories of all knowledge are a bunch of idiots. The people who thought that you knew nothing did not know a damn thing but had they known that they wouldn't have declared you a know-nothing.
     
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  4. Arunarc

    Arunarc Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Manju

    While reading this post I was thinking of my little sis,:) me being the eldest among the 4 of us and she the youngest, we use to always tell her you know nothing:biggrin2: and not allow her to do anything in the house.
    Today it is just the opposite, she is married off in a joint family and me in nuclear family where in even the in laws don't stay with me. She has become an expert, now she tells me you know nothing:biggrin2:
    Always loved reading your articles.
     
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  5. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Manjureddy,

    A very realistic one. I enjoyed reading it a lot.
    Some say firmly,affectionately or like an elderly gentleman in a nice way like our Cheeniya sir.....but essence is the same "you know nothing". One more he says is a teenage daughter or a son. " Mom, you do not know anything, have to change with times, you do not know how the outside world is blah blah", especially when I ask a doubt in PC operation or new mobile phone features (first of all I don't want a super smart phone, they coax me to buy and when I ask doubts this is the reply I get!). So, birds of the same feather we are.

    Syamala
     
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  6. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    Manju dear I was also brought up like that because I was the second daughter and the fourth child. Till I was 30 yrs old I was always treated like a child but I got married to a big family where I was the eldest daughter in law and more responsbilities. Here also everyone thinks I know nothing . In younger days I was pampered and got whatever I want. I never knew that I will be married to a big family where everyone will be expert in cooking. I learnt cooking from my husband , in the beginning used to get scared but now better than before. My sisters in law take care of cooking I only assist them. But glad I am married to a loving family where everyone work like a team and shower love. Enjoyed reading a post. I also second Srama, you write so well and its always a pleasure to read your snippets
     
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  7. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Manju,
    'Know nothing' or made to know nothing,( makku mundam ) etc are common delightful endearing addresses made to the younger ones. Of 25 cousins in the joint family of three periappas and two aithais, I was the youngest. Before I was born, two of my sisters got married. In a big family there will always be some elders or sisters ready for delivery,this 'know-nothing' was busy in fondling children, bathing them, telling stories.
    Know nothing had responsible job of counting the coconuts, keeping the coconut sheathes separate, segregate coconuts size wise.
    Know nothings were allotted summer jobs of weaving thatches out of coconot leaves.
    Even tens of years before making of the plastic wire bags came into vogue, I, the knoew nothing was an expert in weaving thatching material for our thatched house. That saved lot of labour charges.


    In Govt offices many post graduates, really intelligent, prove to be know-nothings so that they are not given any responsible job.
    People who are innocent enough not show themselves as ignorant are always posted in ledger balancing, Posting& balancing of Clean Cash in banks.

    Know nothing spiritually means
    Know nothing other than than Brahmam 'that is 'all knowing category.
    I am always proud of being addressed as ' know nothing'

    Jayasala 42
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Manju,

    Like you, I was also tired of "Know nothing" title as I as the youngest of a family of four consisting of my father, mother, brother and myself. That loving protective shield was alright until I developed wings to fly on my own. I was 15 and 1/2 years old when I started life in a hostel doing my collegiate education and never stayed with my parents after that other than a brief period after my father's retirement and when he was in death bed. Even after I was married, I had that title in my family. Even though I was boiling inside, I understood that it is normal for families to raise younger children with that kind of protective care.

    When I had a child of my own, I was more determined how to raise him. Every time, my wife was trying to throw that protective blanket over him, I resisted and asked her to let him learn his lessons by exploring the world.

    What I learned the hard way after I moved out to the hostel, my son learned even before he moved out of his home. When he makes his own decisions and when everyone else recognizes his ability to think and act, my wife proudly acknowledge the decision we have collectively taken to guide him but not make decisions on his behalf.

    It is my humble opinion that there is a thin line between showering love and making a child dependent. Every Atma comes into this world with its own agenda and let us help that to find its mission and execute rather than directing it. Help to develop discriminative mind is the best contribution parents can make to their child. "Know nothing" brand only drowns the potential of each soul.

    I agree with Sabitha that Cheeniya Sir probably would be the last person to judge anyone. However, I don't buy the argument that people sitting in A/C know nothing about LIG. Most of us sitting in A/C have come from a humble background and are contributing something or other to these people in need in many ways. We just don't want to speak about it as it is something we do passionately for our own good and not for publicity. Most importantly people like Bill Gate and Warren Buffett have set up trusts to give away most of their wealth to the people in need. I personally know many big corporations in India silently contributing to the people in need through their trusts. They all live in A/C but came from a humble background. They all understand the struggle that each generation makes to make the next one better. Most of them do understand the difficulty of worrying about the next meal.

    Viswa
     
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  9. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Manju,
    This knower of nothing title bestowed upon me in the name of 'Parabrahmam' by my relatives. I am not the youngest, but the eldest of the cousin clan.
    Now my eldest one says, whenever I play the role of the mediator between the siblings..'Amma you know nothing about sister, brother relationship, as you are the only child to your parents. :-( '.
    When I directed her to my cousins, who has the eligibility to 'advise/suggest' them, she declined the offer, as a matter of fact. :)

    Sriniketan
     
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  10. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Srama,
    So sweet of you to assure me that there is one thing about which I know something. Thank you so much dear.
    I can well understand your plight Srama. Expected to know everything about everything is indeed a heavy burden to carry .

    But just to give a more clear picture, Srama . Being Knower of Nothing does not give me the privilege of being a Doer of Nothing ! Changing bulbs and curtains, cleaning out the attic, vaccuming the car , catching cockroaches, filling the inverter batteries with distilled water , declogging drains.......I do get my hands dirty. But I get plenty of help from my dear man - in the form of free theoritical instructions and plenty of tips for improvement, all from the cosy confines of the old sofa.

    Your loyal defense of Cheeniya is touching. But he does not need it, I think i have made it clear that he has not hurled the phrase at me directly . Being , by now, in the terminal stage of Target Complex, I assume all comments of such nature let loose by whosoever , directed at whomsoever, in whatsoever form , are invariably targeted at me, the god ordained Knower of Nothing !
     

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