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The Pied Piper

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Pied Piper

    Well after all, Pickering, I'm an ordinary man,
    Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance,
    to live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants...
    An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,
    Who likes to live his life, free of strife,
    doing whatever he thinks is best, for him,
    Well... just an ordinary man..

    With closed eyes, I listened to Rex Harrison as Prof.Higgins belting out this song to Col.Pickering in My Fair Lady. This is one of my all-time favourites for the manner in which Rex Harrison sings it and for its lyrical content. More than anything else, the above lines exactly state my own philosophy of life.


    I have spent nearly three quarters of a century of my life holding tenaciously on to my coveted position as an ordinary man. I can tell you from my experience that it is a lot more difficult to remain as an ordinary man than becoming an extraordinary man. I have very vivid memories of my childhood. At the age of three, I recall my red ear studs, long unruly hair, half drawers and bare body. My mother was the first one to start giving some motivating lectures to me. Even when I was three, she had great visions of my future. But even at three, my mind was set on not taking any steps to distinguish myself from the rest of the pack.


    At five, I was admitted in an elementary school meant for predominantly girls run by Church of South India. My mother and brother accompanied me to the school on the first day and I still remember my mum telling the highly wrinkled teacher that she was entrusting her precious son to her care and if I became someone big, the credit would entirely go to her as my first teacher. She smiled effusively and within minutes went for her nap as soon as my mum was out of sight! She was about the only one who really understood my passion for being an ordinary man!


    My academic career thereafter was a virtual battle with every one joining hands like Force 10 from Navarone to beat me out of my ordinary man fixation and I felt at times as if I was fighting a losing battle like Abhimanyu caught in the Padma Vyuha. But unlike him, I stood my ground and ensured that my school marks did not land me in Engineering or Medical courses. In fact, the colleges that showed some interest in me were not prepared to offer me any premium courses. So I was one of the twelve students that settled for B.Sc. in Geography. But unfortunately the other eleven were fiercer in their pursuit of their ‘ordinary man ideology’ and so I ended up ahead of all of them. For want of anything better and to avoid appearing for any competitive examination, I pursued post-graduation in Geography. This decision helped me in not joining any job for another couple of years.


    While I was progressing smoothly towards my avowed objective of remaining an ordinary man, my dad who was an ex-banker delivered the biggest shock of my life one morning asking me to prepare for Probationary Officers Exam for a couple of Banks. He presented a few general knowledge books which Kumba Karna would have gladly accepted as a substitute for his mighty pillows. I was very grateful to my dad for this gesture as I was able to bid goodbye to my insomnia using these books. On the appointed day, I entered the exam hall feeling thoroughly convinced that nobody could be more ill prepared than me but I had probably underestimated my peers. When the results were announced, I found to my dismay that my name figured in the list of successful candidates. I did not lose hopes though. There was this interview thing that was aimed at filtering out all substandard people. Naturally I did not feel threatened about any impediment in my continuance as an ordinary man.


    I presented myself at the interview board as shabbily attired as possible. My tie reached almost my knee cap and my shoes were reminiscent of Charles Chaplin. But again as ill luck could have it, the Committee had already interviewed almost about two thirds of the candidates and was totally unnerved about the kind of replies they got for their questions. The members were under some kind of pressure not to appear hostile and by the time I entered the Board Room, they seemed to have made up their minds to ask only such questions for which they would get correct answers. The oldest in the group briefly subjected me to a physical scrutiny and winced in pain. He then shot off the first question, ‘Who is the Father of the Nation?’. As I sat there evaluating my answer, he turned towards a picture of Gandhiji hung in the room and grinned meaningfully. ‘Gandhiji’ I shouted triumphantly and instantly bit my tongue. I knew I had made a folly and in all likelihood would be selected for the job. I did become a Probationary Officer of the Bank.


    It was a blessing in disguise. Once I was in the Bank, my position as common man was never threatened. Almost all officers were ordinary and some were more ordinary than others. I was one of them! During my 25 years in the Bank, I lured away most of the rats from the rat race. I was rightfully nicknamed as ‘The Pied Piper’!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
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  2. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir,
    At last Pied Piper of Hamelin has arrived with a pipe wishing us all on yugadhi day.

    I don't know whether you thought of purposely describing your dress during P. O. interview as shabby as possible after assuming the role of piper or vice versa.
    I know pretty well how difficult it was to clear written exam for probationary officers in the bank and the manner in which interview was held.Every one appearing for the interview had to assume himself as P. O. even before being selected, or that is what they were advised, to boost the confidence.Cheeniya's humility has diminished all.

    We are proud to have a pied piper as our moderator.It is easy to converse and share with the ordinary of the ordinary because no one is extra ordinary here.I know pretty well that that you are putting yourself into the garbs of ours just making your brilliance get hidden in our cloud.But there,there.there is the brilliant spot which can never remain unnoticed by one all.-kudaththul milr vilakku.
    I think the name'pied piper' though given to yourself in fun is more suited and you expelling the rats of darkness of ignorant thoughts away from us and infusing some initiative by your humorous pen corresponding to the pipe of the 'pied piper'.
    These are not exaggerations but written from heart.
    Better remain a pied piper with your pen( pipe) flowing with wonderful music ( brilliant thoughts born out of platinum experience.
    Very happy to listen to the wonderful yet humorous sonf of the piper on the happy New year.
    Wish you happy New Year.

    Jayasala 42
     
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  3. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

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    The most extraordinary men are the ones who aim to be ordinary men.

    I am happy to follow your literary oeuvre.
     
  4. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya sir,

    You don't need me to tell you that you may think of yourself as ordinary but it is the others who think of you differently. We, okay I most certainly think so and I am sure there are many here who will agree with that. I know a person who is really amazing and walks around with the attitude that he believes he is extraordinary and he should help every one realize their potential and extra ordinariness and make a difference to the world. Charming man! Mind you sir, he is not speaking from egoistic point of view at all. He is too good for that. He does indeed manage to spread that awesomeness and I don't know how still. I am yet to meet a person who comes unhappy after meeting him.

    And guess what I realized, as I typed the word extra ordinary a couple of times, I realized it is just that...more of ordinariness :D Phew now that almost makes me smile for I don't have to work to be extra-ordinary! Perhaps ordinary is special indeed. Okay, I sound like I am going in circles. I don't know how to tie this in here but I think it is not ordinariness or not that we should seek but perfection. And let me be the first one to say I do not like the word perfection and do not seek it. Agreed perfection is not attainable and completely based on one's perception but I came across this quote and have been thinking about it ever since "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi Excellence in everything we do including relationships, not attaining but giving our best is what sets us apart and I am sure as you sit back and think about your life, you have a big grin on your face and you should have. You have earned it.

    It is refreshing to read you again. Thank you for the new snippet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh what a delight getting to read something from you after all these days! Sir, having to make an effort not to get into medicine or engineering, having to make an effort to fail the Probationary Officer's exam and failing and such like are indicative indeed of how 'ordinary' the concerned person is.

    Am I to believe that someone who can belt out quotes from classics and authors unknown to ordinary mortals is indeed ordinary? Or someone who can make even the most ordinary of ordinary mortals feel good about themselves? I am unable to do so. Now that is being ordinary indeed! :-D
     
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  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear jayasala
    What can I say! I am not quoting any portion of your FB as they put me on a pedestal where I don't belong! I am truly an ordinary man and to me 'extraordinary' means being a little bit more ordinary than the rest. My life's philosophy is guided essentially by the words of Peter Deunov: 'If you pursue happiness, you are an ordinary person. If happiness pursues you, you are an extraordinary person. Do not chase happiness; let it chase you'
    I do not believe in doing things like bungy-jumping and rock climbing to be branded extraordinary. I am striving towards that situation when happiness starts chasing me relentlessly. Happiness has always remained an elusive goal for me. It makes more sense to me making myself a goal for happiness!

    Rig Veda exhorts us in the words: "Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah" which essentially means 'Let noble thoughts come to me from all directions'. This is open-mindedness of the highest order. It does not tell us to go after noble thoughts. In that case, the self-ego will determine that only such thoughts that are pursued by me are noble! This is the problem with most of the religious fanatics today.

    An ordinary person has a tendency to be happy with everything but an extraordinary person can never be happy. He is forever in pursuit of things that give him an aura of greatness and the happiness he derives from them can only be momentary. In proclaiming myself an ordinary person, I have merely declared myself as a person who lets happiness chase him. In this spirit of joie de vivre, I wish you a very happy Ugadi!
    Sri
     
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  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Amica
    Thank you for your generous compliment. And I loved your take on the subject that The most extraordinary men are the ones who aim to be ordinary men. My self assessment as an ordinary man does not come out my humility as jayasala has explained. With the limited accomplishments that I can think of, I have absolutely no claim to humility.
    Sri
     
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  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Srama
    I know your passion for parenting and how you strive to equip your children with long-lasting values. I want you to consider these two excerpts from the book 'The Parents Tao Te Ching:Ancient Advice for Modern Parents'
    “Do you have agendas for your children that are more important than the children themselves? Lost in the shuffle of uniforms, practices, games, recitals, and performances can be the creative and joyful soul of your child. Watch and listen carefully. Do they have time to daydream? From their dreams will emerge the practices and activities that will make self-discipline as natural as breathing.”
    and
    “Do not ask your children
    to strive for extraordinary lives.
    Such striving may seem admirable,
    but it is the way of foolishness.
    Help them instead to find the wonder
    and the marvel of an ordinary life.
    Show them the joy of tasting
    tomatoes, apples and pears.
    Show them how to cry
    when pets and people die.
    Show them the infinite pleasure
    in the touch of a hand.
    And make the ordinary come alive for them.
    The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

    Success of life does not depend on being continuously attempting extraordinary things but in living an ordinary life as beautifully as possible. I do not know if you have seen the Oscar Winning movie 'Life is beautiful'. That captures in essence what life is all about. Roberto Benigni portrays a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his fertile imagination to shield his son from the horrors of internment in a Nazi concentration camp. In fact, for several days after watching this movie, I was wondering if I was ever that kind of a selfless parent!
    Sri
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Satchi
    In my Masonic circle of which I have been a part for over four decades, a lot of emphasis is held on communicating happiness more than just being happy. How happy we are is not the ultimate test of our life but how happy we make all those with whom we get in touch. If I am that someone who can make even the most ordinary of ordinary mortals feel good about themselves, I have succeeded in my life's mission. Belting out quotes from classics was considered awesome in my youth when Internet was unknown. Now with the enormous resources available in Internet, we can quote sentences from any author however obscure he may be and he may himself not recollect what he had said!
    Sri
     
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  10. PriyaKathiravan

    PriyaKathiravan Silver IL'ite

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    There are no Ordinary people . Every life is extra-ordinary . And unique . People who believe in rebirth , religion etc tell us no two people can have the same kind of personality, life experiences and reactions because of the immeasurably vast variations in situation of each birth .
    Science that says no two life forms can be exactly the same kind given the mindboggling permutations possible in gene combinations.

    Either way , a common kind of life is impossible . We are all One of The Kind.
    Moreover, given the trials and tribulations one has to tackle each and every day , it takes extraordinary effort to lead an even an "ordinary" life.
     
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