Bogus Arguments, a play for two

Cast
Bogus Argumenter
Naive Vaguely-smiling-face (Ilicchavaayan)

Prologue: The Trigger
Naive Vaguely-smiling-face: Do not waste food.

Act 1 (and only 1)
BA: Ah. I see. Let me ask you a question.

NVSF: Go ahead

BA: Let’s say that I overestimated the amount of rice I can tuck in without imploding. I then say – “Oh damn. What a waste. But wait! There’s always Nandini, the unfriendly neighbourhood milkman’s friendly cow”. I then take the rice I could not stuff into myself and let Nandini enjoy a snack. Now, would that be considered as “wasting food”?

NVSF: Ah. Um. Nandini, you say? No. After all, the rice served its purpose of satiating somebody’s hunger.

BA: Ah. Ok. Never mind that Oryza Sativa might disagree with your definition of its life goals, but that’s a different argument. Now, let’s consider a slight variation of the above situation. Let’s assume that Nandini was out grazing on the Chepauk cricket grounds. Hypothetically, of course. Perhaps the TNCA ran out of funds to repair their lawn mower and required the crude grass trimming services of Bos primigenius Indicus. But we digress. So, in the absence of Nandini, I find myself saying – “Oh damn. What a waste. But wait! There’s always Adiseshan and Trisanku, the friendly neighbourhood dogs who always seem to be hungry all the time. I then proceed to pull out my 22,000 Hz dog whistle to beckon Adi and Tri. I could have of course, used the latter end of the Sergeant Pepper’s album but my LP player’s 33 1/3 rpm setting plays at 66 2/3 and that tends to annoy the dogs a bit. But we digress again. So Adi and Tri happily finish off said remaining boiled Oryza. Now, would that be considered as “wasting food”

NVSF: Hmm. Dogs, you say. Oh well. It fed a hungry mouth. 2 in fact. So I’m thinking it’s probably ok

BA: Splendid. But let’s change things a little bit. Again. Koala with me, will you? Let’s now assume that Abhimanyu, the sleek black street cat with the white patch on its tail sauntered into our avenue after a hearty meal of fish leftovers from the house of Mr George M Kutty and Adi and Tri didn’t quite fancy the supercilious look on Abhi’s face. And dogs being dogs, they just had to go enquire politely what the canine equivalent of the four-letter word was a feline, that too a supercilious feline doing on this avenue. Long story short, No Nandini, Adi or Tri to finish off my leftover rice. What do I do? “Aw” I say,to which Karuppiah, the colony’s raven with the C# voice says “Caw?”, and I think – “But wait! Karuppiah and his gang could finish off the rice, and I proceed to place it on the window sill while Karups sends twitter, sms and pigeon-post messages to his friends. Now, would that be considered “wasting food”?

(Sounds of crows cawing to the tune of Moonlight Sonata as they eat rice)

NVSF: Aah. Crows. Well. I always feed the crows in the morning, so I suppose it’s not a waste if they partake of your leftovers.

BA: Smashing. Now things get a little more interesting. All hypothetically of course. Remember George M Kutty?

NVSF: Hm. The gentleman whose house provided the supply of fish leftovers that, after a chain of events involving cats and dogs, resulted in Karuppiah and his friends enjoying a spot of leftover rice?

BA: Correct. That very gentleman. But you must now know (hypothetically of course) that he and his family were celebrating the victory of a boy from his village near Idukki in Idea Star Singer. So there were quite a lot of the ossiferous remains of King Mackerels in their backyard.

NVSF: Aah I see. So I take it that there was more than enough for a cat and perhaps… a posse of crows?

BA: My man! You get my drift so well that we could practically be tectonic plates. However, one small detail. It is a “murder” of crows, not a posse. But as usual, we digress. Yes. Karuppiah and his friends were practically chewing betel leaves and Crane brand betel nuts by the time I had placed the leftover rice on the window sill. And I sat there, near the window, with a forlorn look, staring at the rice that was, for all practical purposes, “wasted”. But as a tear formed in my eye and just for a microsecond, formed a thin, watery, but magnifying layer on my eye, I noticed a black ant. You know, those harmless, non-biting Pillaiyaar ants. One of those. And she..and I say “she” not because I possess ant-gender identification skills, but simply to alleviate the monotony of all the males we’ve seen so far in our exciting trip into Hypothetica. So, she does what ants do. Leave behind a chemical trail for other ants to follow, and soon enough, we have an army of ants stocking up on rice for the winter. Not that Madras has much of a winter, but I speak metaphorically.

(sounds of ants dancing to Chemical brothers tracks)

NVSF: Ah. Small black ants. My favourite type. The always fascinate me. It’s always amazing how they manage to communicate the presence of food to just the right number of ants required to do the labour of dragging the stuff back to the ant colony. So yeah, black ants eating left over rice = healthier, more populous ant colony. I’m all for it.

BA: Capital. Now I’m afraid our hypothetical scenario will have to take a slightly tragic turn. Hypothetically of course. Assume that small black ants were extinct in Madras. Just like the sparrows. Perhaps conservationists figured out later that they went extinct because the background music from all the soap serials on Tamil TV happened to affect their reproductive systems. Hypothetically of course. So, no ants. The rice lays there. Ignored. But not for long. Ramakrishnan, the filamentous mold and Bhakthavatsalam, the rice-loving bacteria arrive at the scene once they sense a complete lack of cows, dogs, cats, crows and ants. For their size, this amount of rice is worth setting up a civilization for. They then proceed to that, and soon enough, the furry heights of fungal skyscrapers reach the towering heights of human visibility and I then say to myself – “Ah. So somebody did eventually eat my wasted rice”.

NVSF: Now hang on a minute. Ants I can understand, but Fungi and Bacteria. There’s got to be limit.

BA: By limit, I assume you are referring to an arbitrary, entirely illogical preference for species that are qualified to assuage homo sapiens’ guilt about overestimating appetite, and in which Kingdom Fungi and Bacteria are cruelly considered unqualified.

(Exeunt all)

Epilogue
NVSF (to cook): I think we will need only 1 and a 1/2 cups of rice today. BA tends to have this bad habit of wasting food.

31 Comments

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  1. Haha.. I am first today! But KA surely Mr. and Mrs. E should have benefitted from this whole hypothetical series of events before Ramakrishnan and Bhaktavatsalam got there. Of course, since there is this cock and bull story or rather a house fly story that E(s) are present only in tamil months that end with ee.. like Aadee, Aavanee and Margazhee.. we can hypothetically suggest that it was one of those “ai” months like Thai or Karthigai and therefore no ees were present.

  2. Why did you name this cow Nandini 😦 I’ve been pinged all day long and laughed at 😦
    Ashok: Apologies 🙂 My grandmother’s uncle owned a cow with that name in Nagercoil back in the 1930s. It’s from her stories about how it preferred a particular kind of banana, the Matti pazham over others that I just happened to remember this name.

  3. There was a speech competition where I explored a similar line of thought – that pollution is good for micro organisms! And it is our privilege to create circumstances which will lead to their thriving, after all we need to maintain the balance in eco system! But, you beat me mate 🙂

    Destination Infinity

  4. There was one ticket for the illichavayan to prevent disaster i suppose. just admit that feeding cows is also a waste of food.

    Or he or she could have taken the line that we all do this identification with animals thing. the closer animals are to humans, the more we respect their feelings. So he or she could have asked you why you don’t eat all animals without preference? Or why you do not keep a porcupine as a pet and all.

  5. Aah…so we humans apart from discriminating based on religion, caste ,race , bank balance, fair and lovely applying skills, etc based on evolution and revolution(of well meaning and idiotic kind) we decide to discriminate based what constitutes wastage of food as well…interesting 😀

  6. Hehe…very interesting but arbit conversation…My experience has been that long and arbit conversations simulate a long walk and long walks before meals have been proved to improve appetite….so I guess here they are going to fall short on food 🙂 …neways as usual an interesting read KA.

  7. Appa, soopper post before i goings to sleep! By the way, next time you have to name a cow, name her Gayathri so that Ms. Nandini doesn’t get pinged, okay waa? 🙂
    ant gender identification! – after a death by powerpoint experience and that too on a conference call, your post suddenly has me awake, laughing and enjoying the snowstorm outside my window!
    looking forward to a post on satyam happenings! 😦

  8. Hmm…Interesting convo here. I’m thinking of putting into practice this pongal/sankranthi time when all sorta delicacies will be thrust upon ill-prepared folks such as yours truly.

    My only fear is that the folks will have foreseen this (they also read blogs u know!) and will refrigerate the leftovers and implore me to become the bacteria/fungi/crow/cow/dog in the evening 😦

    P.S: as to the cow’s name, u can try Cowsalya 😛

  9. My younger son came up with the theory that wasting food is good, because it helps farmers get better prices.

    Since he is only 12 and evidently did not come up with it on his own, the needle of suspicion has swung to me (most unfairly, if I may say).
    On his part, he insists that he thought it up himself though he got clouted one for not finishing his rice.

    Great Post!

  10. So SMS version of the phrase “what the canine equivalent of the four-letter word ” would be WTd(F) ?

    where d(x) is the “cannine equivialent of” x

  11. We should name the cow Ranga 😉

    No offence! 🙂

    I’m from Bangalore and I’ve been made fun of all my life for my name thanks to the Nandini milk. Very crude jokes at that, sigh. So, this is very trivial matter 😛

  12. Fantastic argument. Don’t know why it never occurred to me during all those times, as a little kid, i sat at stared at the mound of rice on my plate?

  13. Sparrows are extinct in Chennai? Then are those little sparrow-like birds that keep making nests in the A/C vent?

    Anyway.
    Ashok: Well. perhaps almost extinct then 🙂

  14. First the pets – Nandini, Adi and Tri and then the street cat: Abhimanyu and then come the common pests – Karuppaiya and gang. Entry of the ants was good. And finally Bacteria?? Ha Ha. I wanted to see the face of NVSF.

    Great post mate. Keep writing!!

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