Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why I Laugh In My Sleep Sometimes

Yesterday I was dreaming about these actual conversations I had with seemingly normal, rational people. I remember each of these conversations really well, mostly because they were so dazzlingly stupid and they have the potential to entertain me even now, years (or months or days) later. And because very few things in life can make me laugh when I'm asleep.

Conversation One (with a cousin who is a software engineer, God save her soul. It happened when I was in second year of college).

Cousin: So you're studying history.
Me: Er..yes.
C: Why?
Me: Eh?
C: As in, what's the point?
Me: What's the point in software engineering?
C: It's relevant today. What I do makes a difference. How does it make a difference if you study about dead people?
Me: *mouth open, jaw slack*
C: I mean, what is the use of studying the past when you can't do anything about it?
Me: It may surprise you to realize that you've been studying history all your life.
C: No, no, I was very glad to get rid of it after Class X.
Me: All history isn't called 'History'.
C: Huh?
Me: Everything that you learned in your course; every sum, every code, every theorem, every formula - that is the history you studied. Without it, every generation would have to start at zero. We would need to rediscover gravity, heliocentrism, DNA, the fact that certain chemicals smell like rotten eggs, over and over and over again. You spent four years studying the history of software engineering. I'm studying the history of people. My learning is relevant because I can perceive this and you can't.
C: But how is studying a formula history?
Me: Because someone before you created that formula which is why you're using it today. And everytime you use it, you are using the past to understand your present.
C: Doesn't make sense. I still think history's useless.
Me: You'll be your children's history. I hope they don't feel the same way about you. I'm going to bed.

And I went to bed, angry as hell.

Conversation Two (with a random 'family friend', after I'd opted for Humanities after Class X).

FF: So, you're going to be the next engineer in the family, aye?
Me: What?! No! I'm studying Humanities.
FF: Humanities? Oh you mean Arts. But why? You did well in your exams. Why Arts? You won't get ANY jobs.
Me: Please don't worry about me. Plenty of 'Arts' afflicted people manage to make a living.
FF: All nonsense. In the past it happened, yes. But now there's no way it can happen. In fact, all schools and colleges are going to shut their Arts faculties in two or three months. And why is your dad allowing you to do this?
Me: Must be nice to have all the inside information about school management decisions. And my dad's 'allowing' me coz it didn't occur to me to ask his permission and it didn't occur to him that I needed it.
FF: Change your stream while you can. Computers are the way to go these days.
Me: Okay, thanks. Now can I get some potatoes please?

Again, I was angry as hell. But then I considered the circumstances and realized that I shouldn't be mad. After all, he was a fifty year old grocer, not known for temperance or wisdom. Being a newlywed at 50 must be hard on the brains. And he did manage to run his grocery business into the ground.

But what made me laugh in my dream was wondering how a conversation between him and my software engineer cousin about the reasons why crazy kids study Arts might go.

Excuse me while I nap. The hilarity awaits.


probe said...

Good one. Dreamgirl :)

ninkita said...

finally a post!! i love the reason you gave 'cousin'!!
sigh... but how things change

Sim said...

oh cool i must try to keep these pints in my head and explain to kids in class!!!

Eveline said...

Haha... Brilliant post! You've got yourself a new fan!

heh? ok said...

@ probe
corn is sprouting out of your ears :)

@ nin
but still, defence of histiry remains eternal :)

@ sim
yes, they'll stare at you with wide-eyed wonder :D

@ eveline
hehe, many thanks, but i must say i couldn't have done it without my two sources :P

Elucidations said...

I cannot tell you how brilliant this post is. Utterly, completely, brilliant.
*in awe and admiration and with much love*

heh? ok said...

@ elucidations
really? this was one of the rare times when i felt like deleting after i'd published. I didn't because i'm stubborn about not deleting posts. thanks, and much love back :)

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

my history teacher gave me an explanation on more or less the same lines, and i've looked at the world from a different angle ever since. people need to be told this. am SO glad you did it :D

heh? ok said...

@ doubletake, doublethink
sadly, neither of them is the wiser for it. but well, one can only achieve so much :)

the hoverer said...

you open my eyes...a very interesting way of looking at history...really never looked at it that way thanks

arykko said...

hehe....its unbelievable how ppl can be so ignorant and take things for granted so easily eh?...btw, i really liked ur post as well as the rest of the blog..

consider me a regualar here from now on.... =D

arykko said...

hehe....its unbelievable how ppl can be so ignorant and take things for granted so easily eh?...btw, i really liked ur post as well as the rest of the blog..

consider me a regualar here from now on.... =D

heh? ok said...

@ the hoverer
happy to help :)

@ arykko
thankee, and do visit, and pray i overcome laziness to post regularly.

Elucidations said...

I'll tell you why its brilliant. Because I've dealt with such ignorant people for years. Someone clearly told me I was too smart to study History when I was considering options, and all i could do was splutter. Most of the time I just don't say anything because what's the point of ranting to people who won't change their opinions anyway.

heh? ok said...

@ elucidations
my history teacher also told me that trying to change people is the most futile thing. the only thing we can do is hold on to our beliefs in our lives and hope that they eventually make sense to those who observe us living with them.

Devina said...

This one is even better!
I'm a history student myself and hv gone through this "angry as hell" phase a lot of times: sumtims fighting, sumtimes succumbing(ppl always manage to talk abt how much salary they get after doing their mba): but always loving history even more every passing day.
ur end ws hillarious!

heh? ok said...

@ devina
well i learned one thing i think i'm qualified to give out as advice. salary doesn't hold a candle to passion.