Was Lakshmi A Fool? I don’t Think So. Lakshmi looked like any other woman. May be she was slightly taller. She had a healthy figure and reasonable facial features. She hailed from an upper middle class family in that village. When she talked it would appear that she would never stop. Everything was quite normal about her except the fact that her IQ was very low. She could not grasp things, do even the simplest of arithmetic, haggle with the vendors or even judge people. She could be easily deceived by any one who cared to. Lakshmi was known among the village circles as the dullard and the village women either made fun of her or talked to her in a condescending tone, as if they were talking to a five-year old. Lakshmi, of course, did not mind and was happy to relate to people even if the relationship meant just being bullied and teased. Lakshmi was married to a smooth talking con-man of a nearby village. Lakshmi’s family was eager to marry her off into a good, respectable family. But as Lakshmi’s reputation had spread far and wide, very few people were interested in the match. Lakshmi’s father and her grandfather were reasonably rich. Added to that some of her uncles took pity on her and pooled their resources and ultimately got her married off to whosoever agreed to marry her for her wealth. Her husband ran away within six months of marriage. Thanks to the benevelonce of her rich relatives Lakshmi had some good properties settled in her name and she always had enough money about her. Her husband returned to her after a year. Lakshmi true to her nature welcomed him home and pampered him as if nothing happened. The villagers warned her that the husband might run away soon and he had come only for her money. Even her father advised her to be careful about her husband. All the sane advice fell on deaf ears. As expected her husband ran away with whatever cash and jewels he could manage to take from the house. Six months later the husband returned again. This time the warnings were sterner and advice more forceful. But Lakshmi as usual disregarded all that and celebrated the homecoming of her prodigal husband. The husband wept on her shoulders, asked for her pardon, slept with her night after night and after a month ran away again with whatever he could lay his hands on. The whole village was on Lakshmi denouncing her for being so naïve and trusting. She was surrounded by the headstrong women of the village who were demanding an explanation for her silly behaviour. Lakshmi saw the women through her tearful eyes and said amidst sobs: “For you, life is easy. You live with your husbands and any time you want him he is there just for the asking. But where will I go if I want male company? Who else but my husband can give that pleasure to me. Yes he is a cheat, a crook and a scondrel. But he is a man. Can you deny that? If a man wants female company he goes to a prostitute. But where will I go, tell me. That’s why I welcome him every time he comes to me. Am I wrong? Am I an idiot? Please tell me.” I don’t think so. Do you? I should have read this in a short story or some family-elder told me, I don’t know. But this incident left an indelible scar in my mind. I am afraid that in many cases we mistake cunningness for intelligence and shun the intelligence that really matters.