” You must have read about Kalnemy,” he said, smiling.
I recollected the name vaguely.
” He disguised himself as a well wisher and tried to delay Hanuman’s return to the battlefield with the elixir needed for Lakshman’s life.”
I remembered the Asura in a sage’s guise.
” Oh, and he asked Hanuman to take a bath in a crocodile infested lake and …”
” So many apparent well wishers are Kalnemys in nicely smiling disguises. The life lesson is clear. Beware of too much sweetness,” said he.
I remembered the Kalnemys I had met in my own life journey. Some had thrown me to the crocodiles too, and had been sweetness personified- until I recognised the true personality within. All that glitters is often mere imitation jewellery. Gold, I have learned, does not need to shine much to advertise itself. It does not trick, beguile, manipulate, or cause severe allergic reactions.
Unlike Kalnemy, true character, stands the test of acid. Like Cleopatra, age does not wither that gold, nor custom stale its infinite variety.
Now a days, I have started doing the Kalnemy test. I simply ask myself, ” Now, what motivates this person to behave so sweetly to me ?” And then the truth is revealed.
The way I see it, this intuitive question, has saved my life, literally and metaphorically- many times.
” So how come you lost marks in General Knowledge?” I ask my little girl.
” Bill Gates has said that one examination does not decide your future,” she says, not lifting her head from AmarChitraKatha.
I am speechless for a moment.
” Where did you read that?”
I am certain Kapala Kundala did not have that comment, last time I read it, some thirty odd years before.
” In the computer lab, amma. Have you not heard of it? Were you really scared of this story, when you were small?”
Yes, I had been petrified by the image of the Kapalik, when I had read Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s tale, when I was her age. And no, I had never heard of that particular Gate episode till now.
” If you justify every exam like this, how will you achieve anything?”
” Amma,” calls out my elder daughter, ” she is training hard to be a lawyer. She can twist any question to her advantage! To tell the truth, our computer lab has that quote!”
The way I see it, I am learning humility on a daily scale.