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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

thumb rules

The thumb is strategically placed, is set apart from the bunch of the other fingers and is unique. It enjoys a special position in our lives. Who can forget the stories of Tom Thumb or of Thumbelina or the great actor Pran singing ‘bolega toh bologe ki bolta hai’ in the film Kasauti (1974) and trying to convey his thoughts via two characters created on his pair of thumbs.

The thumb is the only organ that has a variety of uses. As a new born, we begin by sucking our thumbs – it is delicious. In school, we thumb our noses at others to show contempt. As young persons, the adventurous ones among us love to thumb lifts – standing on the deserted roads or highways we raise our hands at passing vehicles and indicate with fists closed and the thumb pointing in the direction we want to go that we want to give the passing motorist company for some distance. Sometimes we manage to convince him that we have no evil intentions. Sometimes, we do not know the intentions of the motorist who seems to be kind enough to oblige us. Later on in life, we learn that raising the thumb means ‘all clear’ – it probably has its origins in the Air force when the ground crew signals ‘all clear’ for take off to the pilot. Similarly, the thumbs-down indicates things are not happy.

It is said that after the construction of the Taj Mahal, the thumbs of all workers involved in the construction were severed so that they can never replicate their masterpieces. The same tradition used to be followed for the artisans who wove brilliant designs into silk and other fabrics that were meant only for the Kings.

As a tribute to the thumb, one of the cold drink giants has marketed their product with the brand name ‘thumbs up’.

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