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Monday, November 07, 2005

the flip option

The game of crorepati has, in its reincarnation, added an exciting option in their help lines – the flip option. When the occupant of the hot seat finds a question that is difficult for him to answer, he looks apologetically at the great Amitabh and selects the way out – ‘I’ll go for the flip option.’
To be frank, this option is nothing new. We have grown up with it. Remember the school days – there would be, for example, eleven questions and you were expected to answer only ten. And, in order to answer them to the satisfaction of the examiners, the student needed to possess adequate knowledge of the subject. He could not just tick and get away with it. On the contrary, he earned bonus points if he by quoted relevant extracts from authentic sources that are not usually covered in the prescribed text books – such acts earned the appreciation of the examiners. They would readily identify a potential personality in the making. The answer book used to present a pathetic sight unless its pages were nourished with adequate doses of the goodies accumulated over the years by the students. A well stacked answer book earned respect, always looked divine and was an examiner’s delight.

The flip option is a favorite of politicians. In common man’s parlance, it is called ‘changing the subject’ – whoever comes to power waxes eloquent whenever he faces the commoner but, when pinned down on his failings will sing the song: ‘I have just now taken over. These were handled miserably by the previous government. I assure you that things will change very soon’ - or words to that effect. The politician is more slippery than an eel dipped in oil. He makes no promise after he assumes office and loves to give evasive replies. If asked to indicate how many rail passengers perished in an accident, he will retort ‘the statistics show a downward trend; in fact our record is better than that of foreign countries’. If you ask him to confirm the final tally of natural disasters like floods and earthquakes, he will quote figures of similar calamities in other parts of the world. If questioned on the periodicity of the visit of water tankers to drought prone districts or villages, he will counter with – ‘the situation is completely under control’.

It is unfortunate that life is not that simple – when you do not have any option open before you, you turn to God and pray for deliverance. His is the final option.

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