Saturday, February 09, 2002

Conversations With A Creature Called Conscience

Conscience: Why do you always lie?
Me: What nonsense! I never lie
C: You are lying now.
M: Of course not!
C: Remember the time you went to that exhibition, and an artist asked you what you thought of his work. You said: “I like the bold strokes. And your use of colours speaks of pain and suffering. There is a rare bleakness to your canvas.” You were quoting from a review of a different artist you had read long back. But what you really wanted to say was: “What a messy blotch of colours. What was this man thinking?”
M: (surprised) How do you know all this?
C: I know everything about you.
M: I couldn’t hurt him, could I? He had put in such a lot of effort.
C: Are you always so concerned about hurting other people?
M: Of course I am.
C: You are lying again. Remember the fight you had with your closest friend?
M: Yes I do. He was being such a jerk.
C: You said mean things and hurt him real bad, didn’t you?
M: Yeah, I was angry then.
C: So, it’s ok to hurt people you like? But it’s not ok to hurt strangers you will never meet again?
M: I didn’t say that.
C: See, that’s what I mean. You lie all the time.
M: You are twisting my words.
C: Liar.
M: What do you want from me?
C: I want you to consult me more often.
M: What are you fees?
C: I am not one of those high-flying consultants you see these days. I don’t have a fancy office and a foreign degree. So I dispense my services for free.
M: What’s the catch?
C: There’s no catch
M: Are you lying?
C: No.
M: Why should I consult you?
C: I can make you happy.
M: Is the service guaranteed? I mean, since I am not paying you, I can’t even ask for my money back.
C: There is no guarantee. In fact, sometimes you might feel more miserable after you have consulted me. But I can assure you that I will not catch you unawares and make you feel miserable when you are actually thinking you are happy.
M: How do I contact you?
C: When you really want to, you will know how.

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